Talking head Ann Coulter called the US election in 2015. Appearing on Bill Maher’s show, Ann Coulter claimed Donald Trump was the strongest Republican candidate to win the election. The liberal audience was quick to laugh and jeer at the conservative pundit, but they wouldn’t be laughing for long. In retrospect, Coulter now appears prescient and the audience looks smug and complacent. Perhaps this complacency was a factor in Clinton’s humiliation at the hands of a meat-headed blowhard.
Almost in the same breathe, Coulter said that the Sanders campaign had the most promise for defeating Trump and winning the White House for the Democrats. These words were greeted with cheers from the crowd. Yet her point was that Trump and Sanders both understand the American working-class and speak for its interests. Of course, we now know that Trump’s base is a lot more middle-class than the US media claims, while Sanders actually talks about working-class interests.
That being said, Coulter was right that Hillary Clinton represented business as usual. The Democrats opted for the most establishment candidate they could, and they paid the ultimate price for it. Clinton stood for elite interests and the status quo. So the American left found itself circling the establishment wagon, at a time when a populist wave was surging around the world. We may never know if Bernie Sanders would have knocked out The Donald, but it is true that Sanders polled far better than Hillary. It seems plausible the Democrats could have won.
How did Coulter get it right? Was it pure luck? Or was it just that the media establishment was out of touch? Almost every commentator and every poll called it for Clinton. Everyone thought Trump wouldn’t win the primary, and he did. Everyone thought he couldn’t win the election, and he did. Only a few eccentrics called it. Ann Coulter was among those voices. She first emerged during the early culture wars, particularly the Republican onslaught against Bill Clinton over his sex scandals.
Never one to avoid controversy, Coulter became one of the most provocative supporters of George Bush. She was not alone in circling the Bush wagon, as the right-wing media coalesced around the cause of “fighting terrorism”. One of her more notorious interventions was the call to attack the Muslim world after 9/11: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” She also jokingly called for the carpet-bombing of civilian areas. It was a bit much for National Review, and Coulter was cut loose.
Like many others on the right, Ann Coulter has built a career railing against “political correctness“. She was widely accused of anti-Semitism when she said she just wanted to see “Jews to be perfected”. Perfection meaning converted to Christianity. But this remark should not surprise observers. It’s too often forgotten how comfortably pro-Zionist sentiment meshes with anti-Semitism on the Christian right. Many conservative Christians support Israel as a pre-condition for the Rapture and the swift conversion of 140,000 Jews before the rest are sent down to burn.
Coulter’s remarks about Arabs and Muslims have been equally disgusting. She craves the shock value of phrases like “raghead” and “Jihad monkey”. It’s much less shocking to find Coulter producing articles for VDARE.com – a white nationalist website, so named after the first child of English settlers born in the New World. She writes there alongside other refugees from National Review: Peter Brimelow and John Derbyshire. The website is now a part of the alt-right cesspool and caters for white racists of all stripes.
It is a sign of the times that Coulter now appears to speaks with foresight. The American political system began decomposing long ago, and now a vulgar charlatan has filled the opening left over. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are vulnerable to populist takeovers. The difference is the GOP has spent years nurturing a right-wing insurgency, over which it has lost control. It’s the dynamics of the situation, not people like Ann Coulter, that led to Trump’s breakthrough.