Insightful Article about Trump’s Appeal

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Insightful Article about Trump’s Appeal

Postby KeithE » Tue May 03, 2016 7:50 am

Trump understood the voters the GOP forgot by Eugene Robinson. Some excerpts:

Traditional Republican orthodoxy calls for small government, low taxation, tight money, deregulation, free trade and cost-saving reforms to entitlement programs. If I were independently wealthy, that might seem an agreeable set of policies. Ditto if I were one of the “small-business owners” to whom GOP candidates sing hymns of praise.

But most working-class Republicans are, get ready for it, working-class. They are more Sam’s Club than country club. They don’t own the business, they earn wages or a salary; and trickle-down economics has not been kind to them. Their incomes have been stagnant for a good 20 years, they have seen manufacturing jobs move overseas and job security vanish, they have less in retirement savings and home equity than they had hoped, and they see their young-adult children struggling to get a start in life.

This segment includes military families that have borne the awful weight of more than a decade of war. Repeated deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq have caused tremendous strain; “wounded warriors” have returned bearing grievous physical and psychological scars.


Did Trump cunningly craft a message for these orphaned voters, or did he stumble across his populist appeal by way of beginner’s luck? At this point, it hardly matters. He offers policies, however far-fetched, that address their wants and needs.

Trump also plays on these voters’ insecurities, resentments and fears. He makes Hispanic immigrants and Muslims his scapegoats. He goes beyond attacking President Obama’s policies to also impugn his identity — in effect, portraying the president as the incarnation of demographic change that many white Americans fear. And Trump delegitimizes establishment Republicans by painting them as cogs in a system that is rigged to favor the rich and powerful. (In this, he’s basically right.)


In no way do I minimize the ugly side of Trump’s appeal — the naked chauvinism, the authoritarian streak, the cynical appeal to his supporters’ worst instincts. But it is wrong — and, for the Republican Party, suicidal — to ignore the fact that he is doing more than merely rousing the rabble. Trump is filling a vacuum left by years of inattention to voters who have been patronized and taken for granted. The fissures he exposed in the GOP will not go away.


Imo, Sanders is courting the same type of voters but his “democratic socialism” has been so demonized that many of these voters cannot believe in what he offers. Trump is promising deliverance (has engendered hope) but has little in terms of a viable plan to improve the plight of the working class (or how to pay for it). Just “trust him”, there will be thousands of jobs.
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