If it’s OK with you, I’m going to continue to hate both the game and the player:
If a person were to read only one article about the contemporary American conservative movement, it should be this one:
The history of that movement echoes with the sonorous names of long-dead Austrian economists, of indefatigable door-knocking cadres, of soaring perorations on a nation finally poised to realize its rendezvous with destiny. Search high and low, however, and there’s no mention of oilfields in the placenta. Nor anything about, say, the massive intersection between the culture of “network” or “multilevel” marketing—where ordinary folks try to get rich via pyramid schemes that leave their neighbors holding the bag—and the institutions of both evangelical Christianity and Mitt Romney’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
And yet this stuff is as important to understanding the conservative ascendancy as are the internecine organizational and ideological struggles that make up its official history—if not, indeed, more so. The strategic alliance of snake-oil vendors and conservative true believers points up evidence of another successful long march, of tactics designed to corral fleeceable multitudes all in one place—and the formation of a cast of mind that makes it hard for either them or us to discern where the ideological con ended and the money con began.
On one (multi-level marketing) level, the original New Right, that was born with the Goldwater presidential campaign, and reached its first crescendo with the election of Ronald Reagan, has always been at its core a gigantic affinity fraud, designed to rip off frightened old white people.
That Donald Trump eventually became that movement’s avatar is a perhaps slightly less mysterious development than it has been treated as being by the ever-credulous priests of the Church of the Both Sides.