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Reported Post (Famov)

Shapiro is the closest thing millennial conservatives have to a Rush Limbaugh type figure.

Rush's secret to success in the 80s and 90s was the authentic rapport he had with his primarily blue collar audience. He spoke their language very effectively. He had, and continues to have, the bearing of a down-on-his-luck slob; sitting at a bar stool at 6 pm, pointing to the television screen and half drunkenly appealing to the bartender with the phrase "Let me tell you what's wrong with this country.". Now, Rush is a lot smarter than that would imply (and most of his audience weren't drunken slobs, just so we're clear on that) but to the working men that listened to him he seemed like one of their own.

Contrast this with Ben Shapiro. Shapiro's catch phrase is "Facts don't care about your feelings.". He's practically tried to brand himself with it. Unlike Rush he's fit, doesn't seem to care about football, and is not entirely disdainful of high culture. He speaks primarily to an audience of under 40s on an internet-age platform. Whereas Rush listeners would catch his show on their way home from work or while they were driving their route, Shapiro fans encounter him on Youtube and Soundcloud while exercising, doing household chores, waiting for their next class, or just browsing the internet from home. And finally, quite unlike Rush, he didn't content himself with being agnostic about the Trump candidacy in 2016. He routinely reminds his listeners that he didn't vote for the current president, though I suspect that he is warming to the idea for 2020. I am not, for what it's worth.

Shapiro's style of debate is something along the lines of "Here are the seventeen reasons why your argument is bad in ascending order of importance, and if you take offense from anything I say that's on you and you probably deserved it anyway.". His matter of fact phrasing and cadence gives off the impression of the dork who got swirlies in high school for opening his mouth to correct the wrong "jock" at the wrong time on some trivial technical matter... and strange as it may seem that is part of his appeal. Shapiro knows how to speak to his people as much as Rush knows how to speak to his, and I am a regular Shapiro listener. He presents his fans of a sort of idealized version of what they think they are. I suspect many of the most successful pundits, left or right, find their voice in this way.

Why do I listen to Shapiro? It's not just because he reminds me of myself, even though he does. I listen to him because he is relentlessly consistent to his stated principles, and because he is not afraid to tell Republicans that they're wrong in compromising their own stated principles for the sake of political expediency and in order to "win", as if victory can ever be found if we become the things we claim to be against. Not many conservatives in this business have the audacity to go to CPAC and end their speech with a warning. "We must always tell the truth." he says, "We can't become tribal." Remember, the point of CPAC is to cheerlead. Who among the Democrat punditry would ever dream of doing this at their own conference? Not bad for a spiritual successor to Rush Limbaugh.

Peterson, on the other hand, is the right man at the right time. The most fascinating thing about him is how much money one can make by merely telling grown men to take care responsibility for themselves. The second most fascinating thing about him is how much he threatens the far left by doing so. I read as many so called "think pieces" as I can just to see the wild dissonance between what Peterson actually argues for and what the left claims he argues for. It has to be seen to be believed.

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