by Edward Ring
It’s been clear to millions of Americans for decades that the media was biased, that the Democratic Party and their government employee union allies controlled and corrupted big city elections, and that the “climate crises” and the threat of “white supremacy” were being oversold. These and other annoyances were perennial. But for many skeptics, the level of mistrust remained tolerable. The system itself was resilient. Nothing is perfect. The tide can turn. The good guys could still win. The 2015 arrival of Donald Trump on the national political scene changed the rules. The system not only revealed itself to be even more fraudulent than most people had previously believed, but it became malevolent.
For over six years, representatives of every established institution in the country have stereotyped Americans who voted for President Trump as bigots, idiots, ignoramuses, haters, psychopaths, and traitors. The virulence of this condemnation has escalated each year, culminating during the 2022 mid-term election cycle with a full-court press to tag anyone who supports the former president as a fascist and and potential “domestic terrorist.”
Those who openly proclaimed their support for Trump, even if they expressed themselves with tact and rational arguments, focusing on his policies, and even while acknowledging Trump’s often confrontational persona, lost lifelong friends and faced threats to their livelihood. By the millions, they were made to feel unwelcome in their own country.
Anger breeds anger. Contempt breeds contempt. With Newtonian certainty, the disgust has become mutual. But on one side, with rare exceptions, the entire institutional weight of the most powerful nation in the world has lined up. The media, the search engine and social media platforms, the entertainers, the teachers and professors, the corporations, the government agencies, the politically active billionaires: Almost all of them proclaim Trump supporters to be horrible, dangerous people.
This asymmetrical assault is personal and profoundly alienating. Perhaps more than 100 million Americans now believe, with good reason, that they have been completely rejected by the nation in which they grew up.
Trump didn’t attract millions of Americans to support him because of his bombastic attacks on his opponents in politics and the media. That was comedic relief. Trump’s instant and enduring popularity owes to the way he speaks for millions of people who feel betrayed by the institutions they need to trust. Trump’s resiliency offers inspiration to them as he defies a mob that has destroyed the lives of countless individuals who dare to challenge a growing assortment of absurdities.
The Death of Trust
With good reason, millions of Americans now question the integrity of elections. Poorly maintained voter rolls, universal mailed ballots, early voting, same-day registration, ballot harvesting, and a host of other supposed “reforms” to eliminate “voter suppression” have turned Election Day into Election Month, which is really a circus of gaping loopholes for manipulation of votes—both legal and illegal. Nearly every race that’s close on election night breaks for Democrats after a few days, or weeks. As this is written, a week after the November 8 election, there are still eight seats in the U.S. Congress that have yet to be called. Six of these eight are in California. Nothing to see here, folks. Poke around too much, and we’ll call you an “election denier.”
Evidence of lost integrity in American institutions is everywhere. During the COVID pandemic, doctors were thrown off social media and threatened with professional sanctions merely for proposing early treatment protocols. These doctors correctly asserted their obligation to do more for their patients than simply send them home with some Tylenol and instructions not to seek further medical help until they were mortally ill and needed to be hooked up to a ventilator and would probably die. It was reasonable for a conscientious doctor to conclude that was an inadequate approach, and to try to come up with something more.
It doesn’t matter if many treatments these dissident doctors advised were experimental or even useless. As it turned out, many early and alternative treatments were effective. The betrayal was the lack of any official suggestions for early treatment, the persecution of doctors who tried to fill the void, and suppressing the exchange of information. It was obvious and inexplicable.
The establishment mob, nurtured by social media and condoned if not supported by mainstream institutions, has betrayed and destroyed the careers of college professors who refused to postpone exams or lower standards in deference to militant students who claim victim status. It has marginalized doctors and other medical professionals who question the wisdom of providing “gender confirmation” drugs and surgeries to minors including preadolescent children. It has ruthlessly attacked the reputations of qualified meteorologists who counter the “climate emergency” narrative, all but silencing them.
Examples of absurdity multiply in lockstep with demands we must accept all of it or live as pariahs. Mistrust grows, and morphs into fury.
Why America’s Elites Betrayed the Rest of Us
Americans who feel betrayed look for answers. That’s a normal and sane response. And the answers aren’t pretty. For the last 50 years, America’s economic policy has been to export manufacturing jobs at the same time as its immigration policy has been to import unskilled workers. This robbed millions of people of middle-class jobs while forcing these displaced American workers to compete with millions of immigrants for lower-paying jobs.
At the same time Americans were losing their ability to earn a living wage, environmentalism ran amok and caused the cost of living to explode. Recent events have made this unmistakable, but it’s been going on for decades. Needless restrictions on urban growth; failure to construct new and upgraded water, energy, and transportation infrastructure; perpetually multiplying regulations making it harder to build or manufacture anything; endless litigation; shutting down pipelines, mining, and drilling—all of this done in the name of saving the planet—have made life in America much more expensive and unpleasant.
What is also clear by now to millions of Americans is who benefits from all these changes. Corporations take manufacturing offshore for cheap labor, and import destitute migrants into America to drive down wages for the remaining service jobs. Government agencies acquire more money and more mandates to provide aid and subsidies to fill in wherever people can no longer manage economic survival through their own private efforts. Drug companies make a killing on new vaccines, lifelong prescriptions for “gender confirmation” drugs, opiates, and anti-anxiety medications.
Financial institutions buy up homes nobody can afford anymore and rent them to the newly dispossessed. Billionaires and hedge funds buy up land for the water rights and sell the water back to displaced farmers and desperate towns and cities. Mediocre graduates with otherwise unmarketable degrees get positions as diversity commissars in major corporations and across academia.
The dysfunction is ubiquitous. The scope of this betrayal is life-changing.
America’s elites have used lies about race, gender, health, climate, environment, and energy to gut the middle class, explode the dependent class, and transfer trillions in national wealth upwards into their pockets. They’ve used the mob of aligned and very powerful institutions to enforce this, at the same time as they’ve manipulated social media and permitted brainwashed mobs of grassroots leftist activists to rampage through the streets.
Are you a conspiracy theorist if you think the establishment was sending a clear message in the summer of 2020 when tens of thousands of people burned down cities across America? Wasn’t the message “you elect Trump, and we will burn down the rest of the country”? Or is it naïve to think that was not orchestrated? There is plenty of evidence that these mobs were receiving cash from major corporations and wealthy activists, and as well that they were encouraged by Democratic politicians all the way up to the vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
Trust is lost whenever someone questions these dubious actions and assertions, and in response, the term “conspiracy theorist” is thrown at them, as if that terminates their credibility and ends the discussion. It’s maddening and absurd. Does accusing someone of being a conspiracy theorist somehow negate the possibility that conspiracies can even exist? And in any case, why must any of this be the result of a conspiracy? It’s no conspiracy that Americans are being betrayed, or that lies are necessary to sell the scam. It’s a consensus openly proclaimed by America’s elites and their international counterparts. They don’t think an American middle-class lifestyle is sustainable, and they want to take it away. That’s not a conspiracy. That’s the publicly acknowledged plan.
Countering the Mob—Offering a Better Way
The ultimate betrayal of Americans by their institutions, however, is that the institutional consensus is just plain wrong. For example, the establishment narrative on race in America invites social conflict. Our cultural institutions, starting with the public schools, are now teaching schoolchildren that if they’re white, they’re oppressors, and if they’re not, they’re disadvantaged victims. Meanwhile, in barely a half-century, America’s population has gone from almost 90 percent white to nearly 50 percent of all 2021 newborns being nonwhite. In a country that is transforming its national population that fast, you must discard the incorrect and racist message of oppressor and victim, and instead inspire all Americans to believe they have opportunities in a nation that is fundamentally not racist.
When it comes to energy and the environment, the institutional consensus is putting the entire world economy at risk of a catastrophic implosion. Here again, there is an alternative message of hope. Develop all forms of energy, using it as responsibly as possible, because abundant and affordable energy is the prerequisite for broad-based prosperity. Let renewable energy technologies and alternative methods of farming compete with conventional solutions and put faith in the perennial, proven ability of humans to adapt and thrive. As prosperity grows, population growth slows. There aren’t too many people. The planet isn’t about to perish. The future is bright.
This optimism is another trait, rooted in common sense, that has been a consistent subtext in all of Trump’s speeches, easily recognized by his supporters and frightfully elusive to his opponents, most of whom only see Trump’s lowlights as selectively clipped by the media. But the mob that attacks Trump and his supporters are attacking much more than that. They are even attacking more than Trump’s policies, or the desperately needed policies of a movement that transcends one man.
The anti-MAGA mob is attacking a way of viewing the world. It is a worldview that rejects the fear they’re selling: fear of disease, fear of racist and sexist oppression, and fear of an environmental meltdown. They are attacking a worldview that is practical and optimistic and embraces an economic and social strategy of abundance in all things, material and ephemeral. That joyful destiny, that broad-based prosperity and freedom, that unmanaged and pluralistic future, is a mortal threat to the established wealth and hegemonic power of America’s elites. All they offer is fear and the mob.
Mistrust is warranted. They must not prevail.
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Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is also is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).