The Trump ‘Coming Together’ Moment

Ann Coulter tweeted a link to Scott’s hugely viral article YOU ARE STILL CRYING WOLF about how the left’s fears and suppositions of Trump being an extremist with KKK-ties, are unfounded.

There are a few things to unpack:

It’s remarkable how Scott, a liberal, wrote the ultimate pro-Trump article that all the hundreds of pundits on the ‘right’ wish they had written but didn’t, and was so good Ann Coulter tweeted it. That’s a testament to his perceptiveness.

Scott Adams and Scott Alexander have more creative and intellectual freedom than most pundits, by successfully branding themselves omnipotent observers who criticize both sides without being too partial to either. Ann Coulter has to toe the ‘party line’ at all times – that’s what is expected of her and when she defects, people get angry as we saw a few days ago when she criticized Trump. But also, both Scotts are not immune to rebuke: Scott Adam – for being ambivalent about the veracity of pizza gate, which angered some of his more ardent pro-Trump readers, and Scott Alexander – for being too close to the ‘right’, peeving some of his more liberal readers. By always being provisional, that makes them anti-pundits of sorts, and is a reason for their success in the post-pundit era we find ourselves in, in which readers have stopped trusting pundits as much as they did in the past.

Scott’s blog Slate Star Codex, which caters to a high-IQ audience, gets a jaw-dropping amount of traffic – way more than your typical fitness or ‘weight loss’ blog, that’s for sure. As evidenced by the huge success of Wait But Why, Priceonomics, and similar ‘smart’, data-driven sites, there is significant demand online for deep intellectual content. The fastest growth is not ‘popular’ topics such a sports, cooking, celebrity gossip, or fitness – all of which have plateaued, are saturated, and have huge advertising budgets behind them – but rather in smart, esoteric topics like physics, ‘social theory’, and coding, all of which are seeing rapid organic growth and have large, loyal audiences who are interested in this sort of technical stuff.

Ann Coulter favorably tweeting his blog despite Scott being a liberal is further evidence of the ‘intellectualism passport‘ idea (Scott, a left-leaning intellectual who doesn’t even like Trump, gaining ‘entry’ to Ann’s right-wing ‘tribe’), as well as the ‘showing not telling’ style of online journalism as described here and here. Scott’s article is chock-full of links and data – to read all the links embedded within it would probably take an entire day of my undivided attention, and although few will actually read all the links, having them, arranged one after another like a brick wall that enforces itself, conveys authority and credibility – and is part of the ‘showing’ method of post-2013 online journalism and a major reason why the article was so viral and successful.

Overall, it’s a brilliant piece, and one need not be a Trump supporter (as Scott goes to great pains to show he isn’t one, calling Trump’s election a ‘disaster’) to see how the liberal media has created a false narrative that fits with their pre-existing beliefs (that Trump has close ties with ‘racists’ or is one), not reality. Here is a passage that stood out, that shows how media sensationalism of a supposed Trump-KKK connection vastly outsizes the actual membership of the KKK, which is very small:

If you Google “trump KKK”, you get 14.8 million results. I know that Google’s list of results numbers isn’t very accurate. Yet even if they’re inflating the numbers by 1000x, and there were only about 14,000 news articles about the supposed Trump-KKK connection this election, there are still two to three articles about a Trump-KKK connection for every single Klansman in the world.

But regardless of whether you voted for Trump or not, the aftermath of his win has seen the greatest ‘coming together’ movement in decades, as millions of people take to Reddit and social media to debate and discuss how and why their ‘side’ won/lost. And these debates are productive and civil. Many Hillary voters are conceding that, yes, their candidate wasn’t very good and that the media’s tendency to paint all alt-right and Trump supporters as ‘racist’ and ‘extremist’ was not only an abdication of journalistic integrity, but may have also backfired. Not even in office yet, Trump has brought both sides to the table to at least see eye to eye, which Obama in all his eight years couldn’t do. Hell, it even made Ann Coulter favorably tweet a liberal.