You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

David Brooks’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton is a gift to Donald Trump.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Normally, getting the support of a prominent right-wing pundit would be a real boon to a liberal politician like Clinton, since it would get her message out to voters outside her fold. But Brooks’s support for Clinton was phrased with such a mixture of elitism and condescension that it can only add fuel to the fire of Trumpian anger.

Brooks begins by describing a Trump voter he met. The entire passage has the tone of John Steinbeck as re-written by Thurston Howell III, the clueless millionaire from Gilligan’s Island:

A few weeks ago I met a guy in Idaho who was absolutely certain that Donald Trump would win this election. He was wearing tattered, soiled overalls, missing a bunch of teeth and was unnaturally skinny. He was probably about 50, but his haggard face looked 70. He was getting by aimlessly as a handyman.

I pointed to the polls and tried to persuade him that Hillary Clinton might win, but it was like telling him a sea gull could play billiards. Everybody he knows is voting Trump so his entire lived experience points to a Trump landslide. He was a funny, kind guy, but you got the impression his opportunities had been narrowed by forces outside his control.

This “funny” guy is unlikely to be persuaded by Brooks’s remaining argument, which is true enough—Clinton is a competent politician who is more likely to have a real legislative legacy—but spruced up with the irritating lingo of Silicon Valley hucksters. (Hillary, for example, is described as being “the bigger change agent.”) Brooks’s Idaho pal would be well justified to tell the Times columnist, thanks but no thanks.