How 'insecurity' and a thirst for 'revenge' motivate Trump, Elon Musk and Kanye West: conservative
Since acquiring Twitter in late October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hasn’t been shy about throwing his weight around. Musk has fired some of Twitter’s top executives as well as the company’s entire board of directors, and he has been laying off much of Twitter’s content moderation staff.
Many Musk-related articles published in early November have focused on the chaos and upheaval that Twitter has been experiencing since Musk took over. But Never Trump conservative Tom Nichols, in a think piece published by The Atlantic on November 7, takes a different angle. Nichols analyzes Musk’s mentality, describing some of the things that the Tesla CEO/new Twitter owner has in common with rapper Kanye West, a.k.a. Ye, and former President Donald Trump.
“On October 7,” Nichols explains, “the Republican House Judiciary Committee cryptically tweeted, ‘Kanye. Elon. Trump.’ The tweet was, predictably, ridiculed — especially after Ye, as Kanye West is now known, just days later, threatened ‘death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE’ on Twitter. But intentionally or not, the Committee had hit upon a basic truth: The three are alike.”
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Musk, Trump and West/Ye all epitomize the crude, in-your-face brashness of new money. And according to Nichols, they thrive on grievance and believe that they don’t receive the respect they deserve.
“What unites these successful men — and, yes, Trump is successful — is their seething resentment toward a world that has rewarded them money and influence, but that still refuses to grant them the respect they think is their due,” Nichols observes. “And if we should have learned anything since 2016, it is that resentment is perhaps the most powerful political force in the modern world.”
West/Ye has been a highly influential figure in hip-hop as well as someone who has inspired plenty of heated debates among hip-hop fans. When West/Ye emerged during the George W. Bush years, he projected a very different image from all the gangsta rappers who had been popular. West/Ye had no interest in promoting what is known as “thug life” in the hip-hop world; his message was money and unapologetic materialism, which explains his affinity for Trump.
West’s pro-Trump politics and support of the MAGA movement are quite a contrast to all the rappers who are known for their left-of-center politics — a list that has included Public Enemy, Ice-T, KRS-1, Paris, Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Grandmaster Melle Mel and Immortal Technique, among many others.
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Nichols notes that West’s “early career was marked by his anger at being shut out, as he saw it, from hip-hop and then the fashion world.” And he goes on to describe the role that a thirst for “revenge” plays in the politics of Trump, Musk and others.
“Prominent and wealthy Americans such as Trump and Musk, along with the former White House guru Steve Bannon and the investor Peter Thiel, are at war not so much with the American political system, whose institutions they are trying to capture, but with a dominant culture that they seem to believe is withholding its respect from them,” Nichols argues. “Politics is merely the instrument of revenge.”
Nichols continues, “Don’t be fooled when such people protest that they hate the dominant culture and want no part in it. Trump has spent his life as the outer-borough mook with his nose pressed to the windows of Midtown Manhattan, wondering why no one wants him there…. Musk, for his part, has put people in space, but when Twitter users started impersonating him, mostly to show him how idiotic his new ‘verify everyone for $7.99’ plan is, he blocked and suspended them…. Trump — and Bannon, Thiel, and others — is enraged, apparently, that his transition to elite-class status did not produce respect, or at least not the kind of respect he wants from the quarters of society from which he seems to crave it. Never underestimate the kind of anger that such insecurity can produce.”
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