The most popular framing of Trump‘s victory last week is that it is a repudiation of ‘elites’ and a victory for right-wing populism. Now, the little guy – who has been stomped down by a combination of economic forces, globalisation, multiculturalism and political correctness – has truly had his day and is ready to snatch America back.
But the so-called elites aren’t just the lefties – it was also the conservative media establishment who the Trumpers say were more obsessed with pointless culture wars and voodoo rich person economics than strong American nationalism. So it wasn’t just progressives who were slapped down by Trump’s victory, it was the wealthy coastal conservatives who didn’t have a clue what real Americans were actually thinking.
Which is why it’s very, very funny that Australian conservatives think they’re carrying the torch for the little guy. Sorry guys, if you’re being paid six figures to pump out shit takes for The Australian or Sky News, you’re elite. You’re not a battler.
Case in point – Andrew Bolt, in his Trump victory column:
Trump spotted this disconnect between the political elite and the public way back. In 1988 the billionaire casino owner told Oprah Winfrey he might run for president.
“If it got so bad, I would never want to rule it out totally, because I really am tired of seeing what’s happening with this country.
“We’re really making other people live like kings and we’re not.”
But the elites didn’t take the tip.
What’s an elite to Bolta? I doubt a bloke who gets paid huge bucks to yell things to a dwindling audience via Sky News is really attuned to the struggles of the average punter. It’s curious that Bolt’s all about the political correctness angle, but doesn’t mention at all the huge support for Trump in economically depressed Rust Belt – which is literally where he won the election – because it doesn’t really fit Bolt’s neoliberal economic advocacy.
Ditto the Daily Telegraph‘s Rita Panahi, who inexplicably chose a photo of Trump standing in front of a solid gold door as evidence he was smashing elites. I dunno what makes you part of ‘the media class’ but I guess having a regular column in one of Australia’s most popular newspapers doesn’t quite cut it.
When you’re a columnist on a 6 figure salary swooning over a billionaire + his racist mate in a golden palace coz it sticks it to the elites pic.twitter.com/4BM5TFn90n
— matt (@mathaiaus) November 13, 2016
Hilariously, former Australian editor Chris Mitchell called out this very behaviour from his own side in a paragraph in today’s media column which hits the nail on the head:
It is hilarious to hear multi-millionaire media demagogues who in the main also did not pick the Trump win now hailing a revolution against the elites that may soon swamp Australia, as if they themselves were working-class stiffs rather than elites from the conservative side.
The Trump revolution might come to Australia in a different form, but it may well be predicated on similar things: a toxic combo of economic decline, xenophobia and rejection of media elites. We’ve already seen the form it could take in the anti-politics rejection of the Nationals in the safe seat of Orange on the weekend, or the resurgence of Pauline Hanson‘s One Nation.
But to those comfy Aussie right-wingers trying to edge their way into Trump’s revolution? When it’s time to throw down, don’t be surprised if you get left behind in the tide.
Photo: Sky News.