Skip navigation

Daily Archives: June 11th, 2018

Selena Zito and Brad Todd’s new book, ‘The Great Revolt,’ is essential reading for those looking to understand how Trump got elected. Unfortunately, the establishment figures who need to read it the most probably won’t.


By Liz Sheld
June 11, 2018

The presidential victory of Donald Trump in 2016 surprised many Americans. For more than a year, the public had been treated to a steady diet of political commentators and celebrities assuring us of Hillary Clinton’s inevitable ascension to the U.S. presidency. Across cable and network news, on late-night entertainment shows, at Hollywood award celebrations, during sporting events, we could not escape it: Clinton’s candidacy was strong and popular, while goofball Trump was wretched, unrefined, racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic. Who would ever vote for this clown? was the daily, even hourly, message.
It turns out, plenty of people did vote for President Trump, and a new book provides insight and clarity into who those people are and why they voted the way they did. The Great Revolt:Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics by Salena Zito and Brad Todd presents a delicious mix of quantitative and qualitative data analysis regarding the 2016 election cycle. You might remember Zito through her dispatches from flyover country during the election in publications such as The New York Post, The Washington Examiner, and The Atlantic. Many election-watchers may have been caught off guard when Trump won the presidency, but I suspect Zito was not.

Her co-author Todd, a GOP consultant and political ad guru, also had a reputation for unique insight into Trump voters. Todd’s observation that “voters take Donald Trump seriously but not literally, while journalists take him literally, but not seriously” ended up as one of the most quoted lines of the 2016 election.
Seven Archetypes
Much of the the book revolves around The Great Revolt Survey, a post-election survey of 2,000 self-reporting Trump voters in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Wisconsin, and in-depth interviews with Trump voters who “broke rank” and voted for Trump in ten important counties that Obama had won in previous elections. The Great Revolt breaks down its interview subjects into seven categories: Red-Blooded and Blue Collared; Perot-istas, Rough Rebounders; Girl Gun Power; Rotary Reliables; King Cyrus Christians; and Silent Suburban Moms.
For each of the seven categories, Zito and Todd provide the background of the area and their interview subjects: how they came to their place in life, how their communities and industries were affected by previous political promises and policies, and how the demographic had voted in past elections. Trump outperformed Hillary Clinton and Obama in these places, and outperformed past GOP presidential nominees like John McCain and Mitt Romney.
“Part of the difference as to why Trump won Erie and no other Republican in recent history has is that Trump actually came here. He showed interest. He told a different story. I believe Romney and McCain both just basically felt, ‘Hey, I’m the Republican candidate. Statistics show I can’t win Pennsylvania, so I’m not going to spend any time there,’” said Michael Martin of Erie, Pennsylvania, who came from a family of Catholic Democrats. “Trump did what nobody else did. He paid attention to the states that he shouldn’t have won and he did that, that was one of the things that really brought people to his attention. People were craving someone to pay attention to what was going on their community.”

What was it about Trump that led voters away from Clinton? The seven archetypes’ interests have some similarities and some differences, observe Zito and Todd. Trump held a certain appeal to very different people with different priorities. There were those concerned with growing religious liberty restrictions; those who had watched their town decimated by globalist political policies; those who were concerned about their personal security; and those who were concerned about losing the American traditions of a hard day’s work and patriotism.
While some voters were hesitant to pull the lever, fully aware of Trump’s shortcomings, their trepidation could not outweigh their dissatisfaction with beltway business as usual. One thing you won’t find coming from the interview subjects is the tired refrain we hear from the political celebrity class, hopelessly doomed to misunderstand the 2016 election: Trump voters are racist, sexist, xenophobic, and the like. Rather, the common theme from these unexpected voters was a revolt against the status quo, a revolt that transcended political partisanship.
It wasn’t that one party or another had let them down. It was the entire political system and those in its orbit that had failed at addressing their concerns. They were very intentionally voting for a complete outsider.
Abandoning Good Faith
It would be comforting to think that the group most in need of understanding The Great Revolt will read it and reflect on how the Trump victory came to be. However, the political industry has abandoned good-faith reflection in favor of doubling down on their cartoonish characterization of President Trump and his supporters as part of their political advocacy.

Even anti-Trump Republicans, still bitter over the Trump victory, are investing more time in damaging the Trump agenda than they ever did the Obama agenda. The media, entertainers, and the political establishment live in cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Washington DC, and they are far away from the communities and personal realities described in Zito and Todd’s book. The authors write:
Within a generation, the religiosity that was once honored by both parties became mocked by one as merely a basis of bigotry. Angst about financial insecurity was derided by coastal elites in both parties as the last wheezing of an outmoded appendage on the global economic animal. Even in the wake of their decisive role in the elections, Rust Belt voters watched on cable television as the Left and journalists pigeonholed their rebellion as an ugly bout of white nationalism, doubling down on all the elitist snobbery those voters sought to rebuke.
What does the future hold for “Trumpism?” Can this coalition who came together to put Trump in office continue beyond his time in the presidency? Or will politics revert to business as usual when he is gone? That remains to be seen. We are now in the midterm election season, the first wide-scale election since the last presidential race. The Great Revolt is perfect preparation for November, considering a repeat performance of 2016 is more likely than the establishment would have you believe.
Liz Sheld is editor-at-large at PJ Media. Follow her on Twitter @starchambermaid.


Please Donate


The Resident has reached a new high in trying to achieve his agenda and as usual uses any misinformation he is told. His favorite target is still President Obama. The recent stretch is regarding 100 plus Judicial vacancies. These vacancies are primarily the fault of the Congressional majority and its leader Bitch McConnell, McConnell if we recall stated publicly that “this President (Obama) will be a one term President and to that end not much legislation submitted by President Obama got passed, few Judicial appointments were approved. This is the party of President Trump. As a voter the actions of the current majority party and it Titular heads should enrage you. The current administration and the Congressional leaders have their own agendas and we as voters are not part of it. It is wise to remember that for many years most of our “representatives” on both sides have become increasingly self-indulgent and lie to us when election time comes. We now have the ultimate punishment :Donald Trump as President (in his mind Emperor). The effects of this Presidency will be chaos for a number of years and if we do not oust the current Congressional leaders we will fare no better. Forget the rhetoric, the tweets and finger-pointing. Pay attention to the actual facts, get these facts by reading a variety of publications because that’s where the truth lies. The entertainment “news” is merely the unilateral opinions of people who do not share your interests and are seeking ratings rather than the truth. If we ignore the activities of this administration and the long serving Congress we are doomed to have the same poor Governance we have now. How to correct it? Just remember or read the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and even Caligula, all dictators who lied to get the support of the people and in the end devastated their countries and others. Lies are always lies, the truth never sounds as good but remains the truth.


Please Donate

It is well to note that incivility has been the stock and trade of this administration with the Majority party looking on in silence. It might be well for all voters to pay attention and remember dictatorships begin in much the same way. Ultimately we the people can correct it.MA

Why America’s Incivility Is A National Security Threat
Foreign cyber-propaganda is preying on American discord and divisiveness. Civility may be our best defense.


By David Marcus
June 11, 2018

Over the past few years, much has been said and written about the growing incivility in our country. From the news media to social media to the man in the White House, coarse name-calling has overtaken measured, civil discourse. There are myriad reasons this is a dangerous trend, but we need to understand and bear heavily in mind one in particular. Our growing incivility is a grave threat to our national security.
To understand why, look at the D.I.M.E. paradigm, a way of military thinkers have devised of looking at instruments of national power. The acronym stands for Diplomacy, Informational, Military, and Economic. Beneath these four levers of power exist all of the ways and means that every country may employ to exert power and influence.

In three of these areas, the United States has unquestioned dominance over all other nations on earth. But in the informational area, that dominance is nowhere near as certain. Informational levers of power include public relations, communications, and, most importantly, propaganda. The United States’ offensive informational capabilities are second to none, but our defensive capabilities are hampered by one of our most cherished institutions: the First Amendment.
While an ultimate good, freedom of speech is also a dangerous hole in our ability to defend against the growing threat of propaganda operations. Our primary foreign adversaries — Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea — are all repressive regimes vastly more capable of defending against propaganda. If speech is being used to sow division and discord in those nations, they just squash it. They shut down websites, close newspapers, and even kill journalists. These are defensive options that thankfully our government cannot use.
The Propaganda Threat Is Growing
Over the past several years, our country and its leaders have awoken to cyber-attacks’ grave threats to national security. Quite reasonably, the most focus has been placed on major operations such as shutting down power plants, actions that can potentially kill many Americans. But in the wake of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, we are increasingly focused on small, grey-zone attacks that undermine our society without reverting to acts of outright war.
While propaganda is as old as warfare, the cyber age has created abundant new opportunities for our adversaries to manipulate our information and discourse. The Russians, for example, have always stoked divisions in our country, but before social media they were much more limited in how they could do so. This is because in the analog age there were gatekeepers to most corridors of information. This is simply no longer the case.

Today, foreign information campaigns can and do go directly to the American people with no middlemen. Anonymous social media accounts can not only more easily spread propaganda, these accounts, often deployed from large troll farms, can also interact with citizens. They can pour gasoline on the issues that divide us, in massive operations that make Americans believe they are dealing with peers, not foreign agents. As stated above, these threats are asymmetrical, because our government often does not have the authority to silence the speech attacking us in ways our adversaries do.
Civility As Defense
If Americans choose, as they should, to engage each other in more civil and less angry and emotional ways, there will be two huge benefits to our efforts to stymie propaganda. First, we create a much less target-rich environment. If a politician, news anchor, or anyone with a decent follower count calls an opponent a “lying dog,” for example, within minutes meme magic can plaster that opponent’s face on the image of a dog and send it far and wide to the jocular amusement or horrified anger of millions of Americans.
If, on the other hand, the person criticizes his opponent by saying, “While my friend with whom I disagree is well-intentioned, here is what they are getting wrong,” well, that would make a pretty terrible meme. It’s important to consider that, every time we “trigger the libs” or “own the conservatives,” we are creating opportunities for those seeking to harm our society.
A second way that greater civility in our discourse can help protect us from propaganda is by making it easier for us to spot. If we are name-calling at and dehumanizing those with whom we disagree, foreign actors simply blend into the background of incivility. If, on the other hand, more or most of our discourse is polite and respectful, these foreign efforts will stand out more starkly.
Freedom Isn’t Free

When we think about the idea that freedom isn’t free, we are generally thinking about the brave men and women who serve in our military. But in regard to informational threats, the price of our freedom and our ability to defend it depends upon a citizenry that uses speech responsibly. Because our government cannot control our speech, it is we the people who must police our own speech and consider the second and third-order consequences of what we say and how we say it.
Far too many Americans on all sides of our political divides have come to believe that they are essentially at war with their fellow citizens and that the positions they disagree with must be destroyed, not discussed. This is an ideal situation for foreign powers wishing to sow discord and, in the case of 2016, even enjoy some ability to affect our electoral process. In a free society, combating informational propaganda campaigns meant to harm us is a responsibility that falls on all of us.
None of this is to say that we should not have healthy debates or strong disagreements, or that our news media should be shy about criticizing our government or society. Ironically, it is this very freedom that we use to convince countries around the world to be more like us and less like North Korea.
There are times for angry protestations in news and social media. There are outrages to confront head on, and maybe there is even a time and place for name-calling. But if we continue down the road of defaulting to anger and outrage, we are handing nations like Russia a very dangerous weapon to use against us.

As our lives become more connected to the Internet, as we use Twitter and Facebook; post blogs, articles, and memes; as we call each other deplorable or snowflakes, we must always be considering how foreign actors can turn these moments of malicious mirth into tools that degrade our communities and institutions. We must teach our children and ourselves that respectful and civil discourse, beyond being their own rewards, also go a long way towards limiting the informational capabilities of foreign powers.
This problem isn’t going away, and our government can’t save us from it. Only we can do that. Treating each other with civility and respect is not just the right thing to do, it is a powerful defensive weapon in a very dangerous world.
David Marcus is the Federalist’s New York Correspondent and the Artistic Director of Blue Box World, a Brooklyn based theater project. Follow him on Twitter, @BlueBoxDave.


Please Donate

%d bloggers like this: