Don't victimize me, bro by @BloggersRUs

Don't victimize me, bro

by Tom Sullivan

Plenty of victimhood going around on this Labor Day.

"Being a conservative is all about grievances," LOLGOP writes at Electablog. That is why Donald Trump's complaints about Hugh Hewitt's gotcha questions, rather than hurting him, play right into the sentiments of his base:

To be a conservative enduring the regime of Barack Obama and facing the end of the end of white Americans making up the majority of population is to be a person who is justifiably pissed at everything.

Jonah Goldberg is pissed at the Trump "cargo cult" masquerading as conservatism. He's got a list of grievances about how Trump represents "the corrupting of conservatives." The movement isn't about politicians or even about self-interest. It is about "shaping a conservative electorate that lines up the incentives so that politicians define their self-interest in a conservative way."

Except the conservative movement has suckered shaped the electorate for decades by feeding its base a steady diet of bluster and bullshit (as Paul Krugman again points out this morning). It's what the base has been taught to like. It's what they've been taught to want. Trump is just better at delivering it than mainstream conservatives (if that term has any meaning left).

By riding instead of manipulating public opinion like a proper conservative, Trump makes a mockery of conservatism. Goldberg complains: Trump the populist is running on popularity rather than principle; the megalomaniac has no character; he doesn't care enough about the country to even do his homework, as if homework is for losers.

In this, Trump's cargo cult seems to have embraced the supposed attitude towards education among "inner city" youth that conservatives have condemned for years. In this, conservatives are on track to elect a president in the mold of the famous pool hustler, Minnesota Fats. "Practice is for suckers." "Modesty is for suckers." "Keeping score is for suckers." Feeling pressure? "Pressure's for suckers."

Movement conservatives have long capitalized on low-information voters to get what they want. Matt Taibbi looks at how that is coming back to bite them:

Republicans won middle American votes for years by taking advantage of the fact that their voters didn't know the difference between an elitist and the actual elite, between a snob and an oligarch. They made sure their voters' idea of an elitist was Sean Penn hanging out with Hugo Chavez, instead of a Wall Street bank financing the construction of Chinese factories.

Trump similarly is scoring points with voters who don't know the difference between feeling sorry for themselves and actually being victims. We live in a society that is changing for a lot of reasons, and some of those changes feel annoying to certain kinds of people, particularly older white folks who don't like language-policing and other aspects of political correctness.

The 2016 election may be, at least for conservatives, Taibbi writes, a "referendum on white victimhood." Well, there are plenty of victims to go around.