[contains spoiler to the film Fight Club]
From the moment he came down the Trump Tower elevator to join the political fray, President The Donald has displayed one distinctive talent: an uncanny ability to inspire his political opponents to destroy themselves. It’s Fight Club: the opponent turns out to be an illusion. They think they’re swinging at him but he’s them and they end up with the black eye.
Think of Marco Rubio’s awkward descent into Trumpian insult-slinging — "You know what they say about men with small hands..." Think of Jeb! Bush’s pushback against the nickname "Low Energy Jeb," — a defense so weak it made the nickname stick. And, of course, think of the patrician disdain that caused Hillary Clinton to curse Trump voters as "deplorable," and thus unite them into an impassioned tribe.
Trump’s openly boorish belligerence causes his opponents to sink into their worst selves and thus give away the truth: for all their pretty pieties, they are no better than he is at his worst. At his worst, he is them, and they are him. It’s Fight Club.
So it is with the Democrats’ Brett Kavanaugh debacle — which may turn out to be one of the signal political missteps of modern American history.
To stop the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice whose jurisprudence might limit the words of the Constitution to their meanings, the Democrats and their press pulled off a kind of Circean Backfire: They turned themselves into swine.
A vicious attempt at character assassination; a moral panic that used and degraded the legitimate complaints of assaulted women; bullying and intimidation in the halls of the Capitol; an intellectually corrupt exercise in moving goalposts — and the result? As I write this, polls show conservatives newly energized for the upcoming midterms, Trump’s approval rating is on the rise, even Never Trumpers like Bret Stephens are siding with the president — and Kavanaugh seems on the verge of being confirmed.
All praise to Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley for holding the line, but it’s Trump who drove the other side into such a self-debasing tactical error. Because he’s them. He’s who they really are. And it makes them crazy.
They call him rude. He is. But it’s the left and their press who have slung abusive insults at the American people for the last three or four decades. It’s the Democrats and the media who call us racist, sexist, homophobic or Islamophobic in lieu of honest debate.
They call him hateful. It’s true sometimes. But it’s the left and the press who make excuses for the violent fascists of Antifa, who use the term "white male" as a pejorative, and who turn viciously on any black or woman or gay person who refuses to tow the leftist line.
They call him an authoritarian. Is he? When has he actually transgressed the bounds of constitutional governance the way Obama did when he used the IRS to silence conservatives or used the Justice Department to spy on a political opponent’s campaign? When has he actually censored the opposition as the left censors the right on Google and Facebook and Twitter? And why is it his judges want to read the Constitution as written, while the left’s want to make law by fiat from the bench? Trump presents the image of authoritarianism perhaps. But the left is the real deal.
Trump came up supporting Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Chuck Schumer. His presentation and personal life were shaped by popular culture, which is all left wing. He is a product of the media, which is likewise left wing. He supports conservative ideas today, but in his style, at his roughest, at his crudest, at his meanest, at his worst, he is just like a Democrat. He is who they are, and they hate him for it. And in hating him, they reveal themselves to be him. And in revealing themselves, they destroy themselves.
It’s a gift he has. It’s Fight Club.