While people have described Palin as engaging in identity politics, that sells identity politics short. Palin along with the proto-movement surrounding her–Palinism–practices what could be call ‘politics of the blood.’ It’s derived from Giovanni Gentile’s description of fascism: “We think with our blood.”… In Palin’s case, it’s an emotional appeal to a romanticized, mythical past of “real America.” And that’s why I think the fixation people have on Palin’s complete policy incoherence and ignorance is missing the point.
Her policy ignorance isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Palin is conceptually and intellectually poor because her politics are not about policies, but a romantic restoration of the ‘real’ America to its rightful place. The primary purpose of politics is not to govern, not to provide services, and not to solve mundane, although often important, problems. For the Palinist, politics first and foremost exists to enable the social restoration of ‘real’ Americans (think about the phrase “red blooded American”) and the emotional and social advantages that restoration would provide to its followers (obviously, if you’re not a ‘real’ American, you might view this as a bad thing…). Practicalities of governance, such as compromise and worrying about reality-based outcomes, actually get in the way. Why risk having your fantasy muddied by reality?
In this way, symbols and short phrases are the goal, not a means (although others, such as corporations and lobbyists, are willing to co-opt the emotions these symbols generate to further their own agendas).
Pretty much fits Trump to a T–and he does this better than anyone else in the field.
There’s a reason I mentioned creationism in the title. One of the frustrating things about creationism is that it’s typically well-funded–or at least, funded enough such that they never go away. There will always be ‘professional creationists’ between rich crazy people and rubes that can be gulled. Now conservatives are getting a taste of their own medicine: Trump, with his wealth, is funded sufficiently such that he doesn’t have to drop out. I don’t think Trump can win the Republican primary, but he has enough money which means can’t lose either, which means he leaves the race when he wants to (
NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER1).
Have fun riding the tiger!