Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Over the span of four years, the Democrats constructed one of the greatest cultural monuments to hate in this nation’s history. It is difficult to measure the sheer number of hours that CNN and MSNBC dedicated to Trump conspiracy theories, the gigs of podcasts, the millions of ad dollars, and the total extent to which their entire narrative circulated around hating one single man.
This cult of anti-personality unified the party, enabling its radicals to adopt policies that were as insane as they were incomprehensible, from police defunding to critical race theory to lockdowns, and the elevation of two politicians, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who are short on palatable personalities, riding on the coattails of a program to militarize the capital, federalize elections, pack the Supreme Court, add two states, and usher in a virtual dictatorship.
There was only one problem with their plan: President Trump was no longer in the White House.
The systemic shock from that reality is still setting in. Gallup reports a swing from a heavy nine point Democrat party preference to a “rare five-point Republican edge “. The swing, “among the largest Gallup has measured for each party in any quarter”, parallels the massive collapse of Biden’s approval ratings, the 90% drop in CNN’s ratings, and similar declines among the media.
They’re all interrelated.
The Democrats and their media are waking up from a Trump Derangement Syndrome overdose. After years of getting high on hate, they’re crashing down to earth.
Unfortunately for them they haven’t learned to function any other way. After building an entire movement around hating Trump, they’re still churning out the same familiar antithesis messaging about Trump investigations and pushing claims of systemic racism. They’re trying to spin the failure of their pandemic policies by pumping out hatred for the unvaccinated.
And none of it’s working.
Building an anti-personality cult is a neat trick, but expecting most of the public to ignore inflation, homeownership sliding out of reach, gas prices that make it too expensive to drive, rising crime, not to mention a climate of instability and fear, over a hate campaign directed at a guy who isn’t even in the White House was never a realistic prospect for most of the country.
The dirty secret of leftists is that they’re much better at being against things than for them.
They’re much more plausible critics of capitalism than defenders of socialism. Ask them what’s wrong with corporations and they can make a thousand movies, but inquire how exactly their alternative economic system is supposed to overcome human nature, and they spout nonsense.
Black Lives Matter and its radical allies built an entire mythology around police abuses, but their assertion of alternatives to the criminal justice system makes even the media roll its eyes.
The Left is fantastic at attacking individuals and institutions, but then the time arrives when it has to make good on its plan for an alternative to the economy, the police, the military, the nuclear family, sex, art and whatever other basic element of humanity it seeks to replace.
And that’s when the horror sets in.
Invariably the Left either tries to keep the old ways going while making them seem more edgy and woke, or, worse still it actually implements its insane ideology leading to utter disaster.
The Biden administration has managed to do both at the same time with terrible results.
History may repeat itself as farce, but this particular leftist farce has been running for nearly two centuries with no one having learned anything from the ruinous failures and mass deaths.
And that’s because the Left is really good at picking or inventing enemies. It’s always fighting on the side of justice against an evil that is both contemptible and outrageous. It harnesses hipness, manufactures slogans, and encourages rebellious teens to join its cause. They show up at rallies and declare that they are the future because they know nothing about the past.
But then the moment comes, and it always does, when they come to power and they can no longer hide behind hating industrialization, consumerism, the bourgeoisie, Nixon, Reagan, Thatcher, Trump, Netanyahu, the police, the military, or whatever their latest hate object was.
And then before long everyone can see that the red emperor has no clothes and never did.
Trump Derangement Syndrome was a fantastic success on a branding level. For four years the Democrats never had to really explain anything or defend their agenda because their agenda was an antithesis. Anything they proposed was immediately good because it was anti-Trump.
It never occurred to them to wonder what they would do without him.
But anti-Trumpism was always a front for a naked power grab. Trump Derangement Syndrome was a massive distraction for a total assault on everything from education to the family to the government. Using TDS, they subverted the FBI and the military, broke off elements of the GOP, and hatched a plan to fundamentally transform the country as soon as they replaced Trump.
And like Wile E. Coyote, it never occurred to them that as soon as that happened, they were running on air. Trump had been holding them up all this time and now there’s nothing underfoot.
The Americans who bought into Trump Derangement Syndrome have been waking up. The massive poll swings are what happens when people get up off the floor, shake their heads, and search for the nearest exit. It’s taken longer for the Democrats to wake up and even longer for them to even begin to understand what happened last night and why their heads hurt so much.
And they still don’t get it.
Democrats killed the goose that had laid all their golden eggs. They built everything around hating Trump, much as they did around hating Nixon, and ended up with a Carter rerun.
Who could have predicted that one?
Their only hope now is the return of Trump or a hate object that may prove equally compelling, whether it’s Ron DeSantis or that guy at the gas station who refuses to wear a mask. But to utilize that hate object, to turn it into the focus of an anti-personality cult, they have to lose first.
Hatred of the kind that their movements are built on can only be justified when it’s wielded by those who claim to be out of power. And such claims, despite their best efforts, are only marginally plausible when they’re not actually sitting in the halls of power. All the rhetoric about threats to democracy don’t amount to much when coming from the people with all the power.
To be reborn in the fires of hate, the Democrats and their leftist flank need to lose. And after losing, they will rise again, animated by hatred, asserting that they are the advocates for the wretched of the earth, denouncing the criminal tyranny of those who beat them at the ballot box, organizing marches, protests, and rallies that promise to hate their way to power once again.