Now that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is no longer a bizarro mid-summer distraction but a real-life thing that is actually happening, the response of the political class is beginning to change. At first, they treated “The Donald’s” candidacy as a welcome distraction from Hillary Clinton. But then Trump broke one of their cardinal rules — “Thou shalt not take cheap shots at Sen. John McCain” — and from that point forward, the relentless snark has been traded for “smarm” as far as the eye can see.
And with Trump still holding a small but significant lead over his rivals in national polling, the smarm is only getting worse. The smarm coming from Republicans is easy enough to explain; if he wins the nomination or runs as a third-party candidate, the GOP will lose in 2016. But elite media is getting rather smarmy, too; and it’s hard not to conclude that elitism is part of the reason why they write about Trump’s fans as if they were anthropological curiosities. After all, how are Trump supporters any weirder than those who’ve decided to back eccentric amateurs like Ben Carson or Carly Fiorina?