DSA has certainly been a beneficiary of the Dirtbag Left and its iconoclastic rage; Chapo Trap House frequently directs its guests to support the socialist organization, and its founders are in Chicago for the DSA convention. Mother Jones called the podcast a “gateway drug” for democratic socialism, and DSA’s leaders recognize that’s correct. Even if DSA won’t adopt Chapo’s insult-humor shtick in its official platform, it’s hard to imagine that some of its beliefs won’t seep in some way into the organization through new membership.
Chapo’s “dirtbag” politics have alarmed other left-leaning writers. In an essay for the New Republic, Jeet Heer warned against what he called its “dominance politics” as counterproductive to building a coalition with center-left Democrats.
But in an interview last year, Chapo Trap House co-host Matt Christman countered that Donald Trump had captured the “transgressive thrill of defying the cultural expectations of the elite,” and that the left would be wise to reclaim it. Incisive put-down humor, he suggested, isn’t just useful for amassing a podcast following; it could also be helpful to an ascendant left-wing politics.
“The gonad element of politics is now totally owned by the right. All the left has now is charts and data. You cannot motivate people with charts and data and lecturing,” Christman said. “If we’re going to win, we cannot allow [right-wing provocateur] Milo Yiannopoulos and all of these carnival-barking Nazis to have all of the fucking fun.”