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The New York Times published a series of articles Thursday by its opinion columnists beginning with the phrase, “I was wrong.” As part of the collection, Bret Stephens admitted that calling Trump supporters “terrible” was a mistake.
“The worst line I’ve ever written as a professional,” Stephens said, was the first line he wrote about Trump: “If you haven’t found it by now Donald Trump horror, you are terrible.”
“Since August 2015, this opening salvo was the first line of what would become dozens of columns condemning Trump as a unique threat to American life, democratic ideals, and the world itself,” he continued.
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Stephens said, “I’m sorry[s] What I said about this man and his close associates was almost nothing swipe wide to their selectors caricatured them and winked at me.
“It probably helped more than hindered Trump’s candidacy. Telling voters they’re morally ignorant is a bad way to get them to change their minds,” he said. “What were they seeing that I wasn’t?” he thought.
“What Trump’s supporters saw was a candidate with the proudly raised middle finger of a complacent elite whose entire existence is creating a failed status quo,” he said.
“I was blindsided by it,” Stephens admitted. “I belonged to what my friend Peggy Noonan called ‘the protected,'” he said, admitting his own financial luxuries.
“Trump’s appeal, according to Noonan, was mostly to what he called the ‘vulnerable.’ Their neighborhoods were not that safe and miserable. His schooling was not that great. Their livelihood was not very secure,” he wrote. “Their American experience was often one of cultural and economic decline, sometimes felt in the most personal sense.”
“It was an experience that, in Obama’s infamous 2008 phrase, was combined with the insult of being treated like a loser and a racist because of the “clinging to guns or antipathy to religion or people who don’t look like them.”
“No wonder they’re angry.”
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Stephens acknowledged that Trump supporters’ anger was “unwarranted and illegitimate” or “misdirected.”
“Trump voters had a strong case that they had been betrayed three times by the nation’s elites,” Stephens admitted. “First, after 9/11, when they pulled most of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, only to see Washington get confused and then abandon the effort,” he wrote.
“Secondly, then 2008 financial crisisEven as so many people were being laid off, even as the financial class was being bailed out, he continued. for those who don’t.”
Stephens also cited the “great American cultural revolution” that took place in the 2010s, in which “traditional practices and beliefs” changed.
“It’s one thing for social customs to evolve over time with respect for differences of opinion. It’s another for them to be suddenly imposed by one side on another, with little democratic input but great moral violence,” Stevens noted.
Stephens also acknowledged that “the Steele dossier and all the bogus allegations so convincingly parroted in the mainstream media” that have undermined Trump’s presidency – the Russia collusion story – are “another hoax” and “there is no other word.” he “.
Despite the revelation, Stevens insisted that he would not take Trump’s words “morally” wrong. current supporters who want him back in the White House despite his refusal to accept his election defeat and January’s historic outrage. 6.”
However, Stephens acknowledged that such an insult would amount to bad politics.
The RealClearPolitics average shows Trump beating Biden by 2.5 percentage points in a 2024 rematch and leading among potential GOP candidates with 32.3 percent of the vote.
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