RUSH: Here’s Dave in Broad Ripple (I’m glad I pronounced that right), Indiana. Great to have you on the EIB Network, sir.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush, and intellectual nutritionist dittos to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much. We try. We try to do our best here.
CALLER: Oh, you do. You more than try. You do. I’m calling… One interesting thing or the dynamic of this election, I think — and you’re a big part of this — has been to expose the establishment as the third party that they warned us not to vote for. And when you think about it, that’s who they are. They are the implausible third party that survives, really — and this will sound harsh, but when you think about it, it’s not… They survive solely in the protection racket of what is really resume fraud. They don’t deliver. They promise, they promise, they promise, they never deliver, and the people have figured it out.
RUSH: Okay. What does that say about the Democrats, though? Because the establishment’s actually… When you strip it all way, in the establishment you’ve got the same people. Some of them are Republican, some Democrat, but they’re both together. They have ideological differences, but as you see, the Republicans are not standing up for theirs.
CALLER: No, and the problem is Republicans figured out they liked all those perks, too. They abandoned representation in favor of self-service. And people are at an all-time level of awareness, and they’re done with it.
RUSH: Here’s what I think about this. It’s interesting you refer to the establishment now as “the third party.” I know what you mean, that they all of a sudden — out of the clear blue — end up the minority. I mean, they’re the outcasts. They’re the ones that are not the primary movers. This movement… Call it what you want: Populist, nationalist. Populism’s been around forever. Nationalism is relatively new as it relates to the current populism. But nationalism is also a movement that has timeless aspects and characteristics to it.
But this anti-establishment mentality has been around; it’s not new. It didn’t just come to life in this campaign, and it was not birthed with the Tea Party. The modern era of this anti-establishment mind-set — whatever you want to call it, anti-Washington, anti-professional politician, whatever — in the modern era, I can trace it back to at least the early 1990s. And I’ll bet you if I thought about it, I could find roots of this stuff all the way back in the seventies.
And I think… Now I say, “in the modern era,” ’cause populism been around since the country’s been around. I don’t mean to say that there’s never been populism before. I’m talking about the current incarnation of it. It’s much older than what people living through it today think. Trump did not give birth to it. It’s not an insult or a criticism. You could say Pat Buchanan was the grandfather of all this if you wanted to.
I mean, he’s the one that ran against George H. W. Bush in 1992, and he did it on many of the same premises (and so did Perot) that Trump is running today. Buchanan’s primary assault was on NAFTA, and that was the powers that be — American corporate interests aligned with political interests — conspiring to destroy American manufacturing. I mean, that was a prominent characteristic. It was beaten back in the nineties, and partially beaten back by the ascension of Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America.
The Republicans and conservatives winning the House in 1994, and that became the home of what populism you want to describe. I remember calling Pat Buchanan a populist on this program back in the nineties, and I remember a lot of people just getting mad at me. “He’s not a populist! He’s a conservative!” It was considered an insult. Today it’s a badge of honor. But even back in the nineties and even before that…
I think you could trace it maybe even to the sixties with the beginning of the demise of the American culture, there have been people — small numbers at first, growing and growing — angry and distrustful of what’s happening in Washington. But it was always small. And the people that gave voice to it were categorized as kooky and fringe. And then jumping way forward with the Republicans and the conservatives winning the House in 1994, remember what that was thought to be?
That was thought to represent finally a continuation of the Reagan eighties and a further ascension of conservatism. And there was real anger when that bunch of people failed. In the future… John Kasich, as an example, was a member of that freshman class. John Kasich in the 1990s is not the John Kasich you saw on that debate last night, for example. But back then, there was a genuine excitement that conservatism was ascending.
And the Tea Party comes along in 2010 anti-Obamacare, anti-establishment, and again it’s thought that it is a conservatism that is ascending. The media attacks it as such and tries to diminish it by relegating it here to kook status, when in fact this has been building and building. It predates the Tea Party. You can find definite roots of this all the way back in the nineties. It has just… It has taken a while. I think the reason it’s come to a head now is because people understand the country as founded is really at stake here.
The last seven years are not something that portend a bad future. The past seven years are not something from which we can devise theories of what’s to come. The past seven years are the manifestation of the horror and the evil and all the rotten, terrible things that can happen when the people are ignored and abandoned and the political class, for the first official time in people’s lives. It openly mocks and makes fun of and disregards the people that elect them.
And there’s even a strain of this happening on the Democrat side now with whatever’s going on with the Bernie Sanders campaign. But it really is the point, and this stuff has deep foundational roots now. This is not just a Trump cult, is the point — and I maintain to you that the depth of this anti-establishment mentality, mood, whatever you want to call it, is so deep, that it’s why Trump can’t hurt himself with impolitic things that he says or does.
And it’s why substantive criticism that in many people’s minds exposes Trump as the neophyte, political neophyte that he is, doesn’t hurt, either. In fact, the more distance somebody has from anything that reminds anybody of politics-as-usual, the better. The more inexperienced, the more incompetent in the ways of Washington, the better. That’s how deep the anger and distrust is. And that mind-set is shared by a lot more people than the establishment thinks. Now, how big it is, we won’t know.
We won’t until there’s a presidential race — and if all this, as it is now, maintains itself and grows. But there’s sheer panic everywhere in professional political circles. You can see it. There’s the evidence of it each and every day. You see the futility. I guarantee you (well, I can’t guarantee, but I’m pretty sure) watching the debate last night, certain anti-Trump people — be they pro-Rubio, be they pro-Cruz, be they pro-establishment, whatever — were probably thinking, “All right! Finally!
“Finally this guy’s been exposed, this Trump guy’s been exposed, and he’s nothing there. There’s nothing there. The guy can’t handle an assault. He can’t handle any legitimate criticism. The guy’s got nothing. He’s just a big wad of nothing.” And those same people, if they’ve seen the Trump rally today, have lost all that enthusiasm and they’re sitting there back in the depths of depression wondering what the hell happened last night, because they are still of the opinion this is all fleeting.
Go back to the early moments of the program. People wanted to know where was all this last night in previous debates; where was Cruz, and where was Rubio attacking Trump months ago? Why did it not happen ’til tonight? And the answer is everybody thought Trump was gonna bomb out. Everybody thought Trump was gonna implode, or thought Trump was gonna quit. One thing or another, Trump wasn’t gonna finish — and in the meantime, nobody wanted to anger his voters.
So they didn’t go after Trump because they wanted to be there to pick up Trump voters when it was widely assumed he would quit the race or be defeated or what have you, or implode. But it isn’t happening, and so now the anti-Trump forces are left to lament that, “Yeah, it was great last night. Oh, man!” but they’re all reporting, “It’s too little, too late.”
You can read the fatalism, defeatism in some of these people. And as far as I’m concerned, I just watch it play out here each and every day, and I find aspects of it, like you, frustrating, maddening, and others I find uplifting and fascinating. So we’ll just keep our eye on it, keep our heads level here, folks — and that’s what I’m for. Don’t doubt me.