Ben Domenech spoke candidly and courageously during a panel discussion about the future of conservatism, when he lamented that there were no Trump voters on that panel.
The moment happened a few days ago (9/28/18) during The Texas Tribune Festival; a days-long event covering a variety of social and political topics.
The panel Domenech appeared on was called “Making Mr. Right: Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan, and the future of conservatism.” And per the schedule, it was part of the program’s “The Trump Administration: Year Two” discussion.
There was just one problem…
There were no Trump voters on the panel.
And before saying anything else or contributing in any other way, Domenech made that point without mincing words: “First off, I have to say, while I appreciate being invited here by the Texas Tribune folks, the make-up of this panel is just not good when it comes to charting the future of the Right.” He continued, pointing to himself as well, “No one on this stage voted for Donald Trump.”
The moderator — anti-Trump propagandist, New Yorker staff writer, and CNN darling Susan Glasser — tried to hurry Ben along by affirming his observation with a series of “Mm hmm”s along the way. But Domenech wasn’t finished: “The fact that we don’t have someone here who represents the opinion of the millions of Americans who went out and voted for Donald Trump, is ludicrous. We need to have that be part of this conversation before we dictate where anything’s going, and pretending that it doesn’t exist, which is typically what you see in the make-up on cable news.” A few audience members who came to hear this panel of largely NeverTrumpers applauded as Domenech concluded, “It’s just stupid. And I don’t know why it still happens.”
The panel consisted of Matt Lewis who is a one-time conservative thought leader now demoted and working for the liberal Daily Beast, and who hates Trump.
Amanda Carpenter — an exiled GOP “strategist” who built a career losing, got drained from the swamp, now works for CNN, and also hates Trump — was there.
And of course Bill Kristol, who is perhaps the most vocal and aggressive leader of the entirely neutered NeverTrump right.
Our hero of the moment, Ben Domenech, is the publisher and co-founder of The Federalist, which is a pretty good site; home to the incomparable Mollie Hemingway. But even The Federalist is still run and contributed to largely by right-minded elitists who, if they support Trump at all, hold their noses while doing so.
And finally, as noted, the panel was moderated by Susan Glasser, who is one of CNN’s most recent additions and like many in the mainstream media, masquerades as an impartial journalist while delivering a constant stream of entirely partisan, always anti-Trump propaganda.
If you want to watch the entire hour long panel, you can do so by clicking here.
WHY A TRIPLE, AND NOT A HOMERUN?
I watch just about every Sunday morning news program: Face The Nation, Meet The Press, This Week, State of The Union, Fox News Sunday, Reliable Sources and Media Buzz. And as you can imagine, that usually makes for a pretty bleak news day on my part because it’s just an onslaught of anti-Trump groupthink. (So why do it? Because hearing people I disagree with sharpens me, and also because exposing media bias is part of my charter in our pro-Liberty movement.) But Domenech, a sometimes guest on Face The Nation, has been great several times. And he’s made the aftermath from 7 hours of anti-Trump propaganda sometimes at least not intolerable. The short version: I place premiums on intellectual honesty and original thought, and Domenech is often uniquely solid on both counts.
Still, his website The Federalist is no shining example of equal representation for actual Trump supporters, either. They’ve got several people explaining Trump supporters who aren’t actually Trump supporters. And they’ve got a lot of people who make excuses for the right in spite of Trump supporters. And they’ve got a long list of people who grudgingly support Trump but only because they feel they have to at this point, or it’s a last resort because he’s doing a few things they like. And they’ve got one of the shortest lists in the business of people who do it just for the clicks. But to my knowledge, they don’t have any actual Trump supporters on staff. So here’s my email to him after watching the above clip…
You raise a good point about Trump voters, and if I weren’t tired of talking to brick walls, I’d probably write about it.
But I am.
So I won’t.
Curious, though: Who on The Federalist staff was a supporter of candidate Trump’s? I don’t mean who among you was eventually dragged along and became a supporter after the election based in large part on the media inspiring you with their own bad behavior. I mean who among you was actually a supporter, even — gasp — before he won the nomination?
I’d love to bookmark that person’s work.
Obviously, I’m not still tired of talking to brick walls. And probably never will be. Especially in this case because his dressing down of that panel in that way merited amplification from every corridor. And there was no way I was going to let it slip by without doing my part to help make sure people got to see it.
But the question remains about his own world at The Federalist. I can’t think of a single person there who actually had the guts or foresight to support President Trump during the primary, and only a handful who dragged themselves along to do so during the general. They have plenty of people like Bethany Mandel hanging around, who treat Trump supporters like a cancer that can’t be ignored and must be treated. And they’ve got a lot of people like Sean Davis (co-founder with Domenech), who is really pretty smart and sometimes even insightful, but among the most elitist snobs anywhere in any media and definitely a Trump “last resorter.” And as noted already, they’ve got one Mollie Hemingway who — alongside Michelle Malkin and Sharyl Attkisson — is one of the greatest contributors to intellectually honest and evolution-minded media in our lifetime. But even Mollie, I’d guess by her own admission, would at best be described as someone who supports some of President Trump’s agenda but does so grudgingly and is a long way from a “Trump supporter.”
And so even The Federalist — long considered by yours truly to be some of the best political reading out there — still has a long way to go, just like the panel its co-founder laments. Because it’s not just cable news and/or mainstream (liberal) media that’s failing us by not having any actual Trump supporters included at the table where the conversations never end. It’s serious-minded conservative and right-thinking media, too.
They still, despite having gotten crushed by the Left socially, culturally and by default politically and legislatively for decades before Trump (and his supporters) came along, think they’re the smartest people in the room. And the rest of us are just rubes.
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