Aborted Medium Post on David Frum vs Steve Bannon Munk Talk

I was starting to to write a Medium post but abandoned it. Here’s the rough text. It’s underlying message is an attack on what I term the soft-center vis a vis Frum, which includes the mainstream political class spanning from Hillary to Bush Jr, and of course Joe Biden. You’ll find some version of this group in every Western country.

Munk Debate: Frum ws Bannon and everything wrong with soft-center elites

Last Friday, the University of Toronto Munk Center hosted its annual Munk Debate, titled The Rise of Populism. The debate featured Steve Bannon, former Chief Strategist of President Trump, and Atlantic Magazine Senior editor David Frum.

The debate was centered around a prediction: what would be the future of politics- populism or liberalism?

The post-mortem upfront

Frum himself provided an analysis of the debate in The Atlantic, which is worth reading in conjunction with watching at least a portion of the debate. Frum’s views, demeanor and most importantly inability to see any wrongdoing in permanent political classes (especially Bush Jr, but even Obama or Hillary which would be strange as a Republican-leaning journalist if not for Trump derangement syndrome) is probably the best living embodiment from the Republican or center-right political elite which has managed to encrust itself onto political systems throughout the Western world.

Frum de-dumm dumm

As the debate began, something odd struck me. Frum, a lifelong Republican and former speech writer for President George W Bush, presented himself as the voice of reason and was received like a Clinton democrat representative by the mostly upper-middle class Toronto audience, who were happy to applaud along with pretty much anything he said. Throughout the debate, I couldn’t help but think that if Bannon were somehow speaking anonymously, he would probably have been taken to be a Bernie Saunders strategist and the audience might have applauded him against the crony-capitalist cheerleader Frum.

I was incredulous to see the degree to which Frum embodies the almost parodied ‘elite’ persona. He questioned whether the lower-classes can understand things or vote in their own interests. One highlight was his statement “Unlike Trump, Bush was someone who did what he said he would do”. Frum also claimed that any criticism of Soros is de facto anti-semitism- the oldest play in the book. I think a lot of people don’t even now Soros is Jewish to be honest.

Author: rinijose

twitter: @JoeRini6 From Toronto, living in Kiel (after 8 years in Berlin). Interests:, economics, sociology, complexity studies, philosophy, political/cultural movements, history. MA in international and development economics Work experience: Economics and systemic risks research at a German publicly funded think tank, as part of 3 EU-funded projects (Financial Stability, Green Growth, and the Precautionary Principle); 2) SaaS consultant at a Berlin startup; 3) Internships at UNCTAD and DIW Berlin

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