There’s an old saying that nobody easier to manipulate than a manipulator. In our current decadent time there is probably no bigger class of manipulators, as a group, than our current political class. That, in the end was their undoing. They were so used to their consulting and their focus groups that they forgot the voters concerns. They still don’t get it. Just watch the media, day after day. This candidate did this, that candidate did that, here’s this expert and that pundit. The one thing none of the people in the massive media election machine never seem to do is actually seem to do is talk to the people that really matter, the American voter. The governing classes were so busy talking to themselves and parading what they thought what the American voter was SUPPOSED to be concerned with that the voters voices couldn’t be heard over the noise.
The Republican party blew what was it’s greatest opportunity in the last 75 years because it didn’t have a clue what the American voter’s concerns were. Apparently the consultants and pundits, the Party high ups just thought that it would be another round of business as usual. They needed to drive through the country once in a while rather than flying over it. If they had they would have realized just how screwed up the country was. Then maybe they would have been capable of understanding the forces at work. Instead they are still tone deaf as far as the noises going on across the country.
The reasons for why the GOPe blew it are many, but it all comes down to the fact that they are more concerned with their power and privileges than they are about the condition of the country. The American Voter is coming to understand that and they don’t like that very much at all.
But I think Trump was listening, perhaps more than people understand. He’s been hanging around at CPAC and other venues for years. Yes he hangs out with the swells and plays NY politics, but I’ve heard too many stories over the years of encounters with plain folks to not believe that he doesn’t have his ear to the ground. And those TV shows? I can’t believe that he didn’t have some real reason for doing them. I think that he’s been planning to manipulate the manipulators for a long time now.
A reality-TV star, Trump appeals to those who despise reality-TV celebs like the Kardashians. A billionaire, he is the hero of those who hate billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett. A vain narcissist, he earns the loyalty of those who are repelled by the vain narcissism of Barack Obama. A man who dyes and does his hair, tans his skin, and stretches his face, he appeals to those who have neither the money nor the desire to do the same. A self-described Republican, he attacks Republicans more than Democrats. An elite insider, he blasts elite insiders. He is both to the right and to the left of Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio. Trump rails against dirty campaign fundraising — and he assures us that no one knows such corruption better than he himself, since as a donor he used to spread cash around precisely to influence. Why else should anyone give?
Looking at this video, the emphasis is on the map and the pretty red and blue. The map though, is not the territory. Especially the territory that’s been run roughshod over by the Democratic machine for a decade now. Everybody seems to forget that in 2014, except in the usual safe places a Democrat couldn’t get elected dog catcher. Hillary being a woman isn’t going to change that.
The key to this race is going to be economics. The American voter has been trashed for decades and they want things to change. Change the Democrats have taken out of their pockets. On the other hand I think that people get the feeling that Trump knows his way around an economy. And that he’s not afraid to try and fail. The American voter is tired of no try and fail harder, with the American voter’s money. They also know that the Clintons are big time crooks beholden to everybody and anybody. I don’t think that the American voter sees much future for them in what the Clintons have to offer. And they don’t see much difference in the GOPe.
The decline of American manufacturing hit the black community hard. In 1975, 40 percent of young Midwestern black men were employed in manufacturing; by 1990, that proportion had dropped to just 10 percent. The new century brought similar problems to the white working class. Today, while unemployment is at Great Depression levels among less-educated black men, it has also mushroomed for working-class white men. Both communities find themselves plagued with similar social maladies—especially drug and alcohol addiction and an increasing reliance on government safety-net programs, such as food stamps and disability insurance.
On the left, however, identity politics, always quick to cite black victims, make no room for white working-class hardships. Recent evidence on rising addiction and early death rates among whites has been largely ignored, and the Left sees white working-class scorn for government and resentment of low-wage immigrants—especially prominent among supporters of Donald Trump—as racist. Liberal professionals don’t seriously look at the employment consequences of low-skill immigration, because such immigration offers them substantial benefits: low-cost childcare, cleaning, and gardening services, while increasing demand for teachers, health professionals, and social workers. Working-class Americans, however, fear that immigrants are taking away jobs from native-born workers and that competition has hurt wage growth—and evidence supports these fears. “What seems like racism to college professors and journalists might seem more like economic salvation to struggling families, even ones with roots in Latin America,” writes Joel Kotkin, in regard to Trump’s support among Nevada Latinos.
Not surprisingly, surveys consistently find that many blacks and Latinos share working-class whites’ economic concerns about immigration. A 2010 Zogby survey found that 68 percent and 56 percent of Latino and African Americans respondents, respectively, believed that current immigration was too high. Rejecting the liberal argument that low-skilled immigrants take jobs that no Americans want, 81 percent and 65 percent of black and Latino respondents, respectively, believed that many Americans would take these jobs, especially if wages were higher. A 2013 article in the liberal American Prospect found that this anti-immigrant stance is particularly strong among working-class blacks. It noted that while identity politics can reliably predict black responses on a range of issues, it was less reliable on the question of immigration, where strong class differences arise. “Working-class blacks, like working-class whites, show substantially more support for restrictive immigration,” noted Jamelle Bouie.
Liberals also mistakenly see racism in Trump supporters’ belief that many Americans are exploiting safety-net programs. Looking to explain why poorer white communities are increasingly voting Republican, Alec MacGillis found that, contrary to the racist accusations, a large share of the white working population was upset with their own white neighbors—and some family members—for gaming the system, seeking permanent government benefits rather than pursuing efforts to gain employment.
These attitudes help explain Maine governor Paul LePage’s 2014 reelection. Throughout his first term, LePage championed welfare reform, claiming that too many adults had left the workforce. The share of those who reported that they were physically unable to work rose from less than 10 percent in the 1990s to 12.9 percent at the outset of LePage’s tenure. Maine was not the only state with a declining manufacturing base to see such a trend. The share of adults on disability increased from 8.9 percent to 11.5 percent in Michigan and from 9.2 percent to 12.2 percent in Ohio. By contrast, in Texas, where job growth remains high, the proportion of disabled adults declined from 7.1 percent to 6.9 percent.
It appears that the black community substantially shares the attitudes MacGillis documented. A CNN survey asked respondents to quantify the role that various factors play in the economic and social problems facing African-Americans. As expected, a majority of black respondents classified discrimination and a lack of employment opportunities as “major reasons.” Sixty-one percent, however, believed that black family breakdown was also a major cause, while only 18 percent believed that it was no cause at all. Similarly, 42 percent of black respondents believed that lack of motivation and unwillingness to work hard were major causes, while only 21 percent believed that they were no cause at all. In fact, black respondents were more likely than white respondents to highlight these factors.
The fact is that more and more often the American voter is asking where they are in the scheme of things. And not liking the answers they are getting. There is an ongoing and long term feeling that the path forward is more and more being concentrated in a small clique of well connected swells who don’t care about the rest of us. In that kind of atmosphere, when the majority of the American voters feel disenfranchised. Nor that they are going to give the swells the finger any which way they can.
Despite this year long news story, the politicians and their backers in both parties want to increase immigration! Obama is violating Federal law so he can import hundreds of thousands of Islamic terrorists. You could be forgiven if you started to wonder if these people actually hate you. How is it possible to be this blind to daily reality in America? It’s as if these people live on another planet and pop in every once in a while to stage a political show.
I’m fond of pointing out that all you have to do is spend a little time with grad students at an elite university to understand why Mao sent these people off the rice paddies. They manage to combine wrongheadedness with smug condescension to the point where you want to smash them in the face. I suspect a corollary here is that you can understand the French Revolution by spending a few minutes following American politics. A normal man wants “to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
This is why Trump exists. It’s never been about Trump, what he says or what he promises to do. That’s just the glitter on the stripper. The Trumpening is about the people in charge and their callous disregard for their duties and the country they allegedly serve. It’s as if the voting public went out and found the one guy who most offends the ruling class. Trump is a more polished version of Chuck Tingle and the voters are the Rabid Puppies. It’s not about voting for something as much as it is voting against something.
Trump is the warning shot. He’s the food riots before the revolution. He’s the stack of letters to the editor in protest over some issue. People do not go from happy to bloody revolt overnight. It’s a process and the early stages are warnings, at least they should be viewed as warnings. If the people in Washington insist on flooding the country with helot labor, despite what’s happening in the election, the people are going to insist on building scaffolds in Washington. The Trump phenomenon is the warning.
Trump isn’t the cause of the political class’s problems. He’s the consequence of the results of policies inflicted by the political class for a very long time. This is the end game and those policies are crashing and burning, threatening to take the country down with them. What the political class doesn’t seem to understand that people have gone beyond voting with their wallets to voting with their frequently empty stomachs. The American voter see that they have been sold down the river and they don’t like it very much.
A recent study in March from the Levy Economics Institute found that 90% of Americans were worse off financially in 2015 than at any time since the early 1970s. Furthermore, for the vast majority of Americans, the nation’s economy is in a prolonged stagnation, far worse than that of Japan. Worse than Japan?
When we think of the Japanese economy, we think of the “Lost Decades.” Japan’s economy was the envy of the world in the 1980s, but starting in 1991, it fell into a prolonged recession and deflation which lasted from then to 2010. Japan’s GDP fell from $5.33 trillion to $4.36 trillion during that period, which saw wages fall by apprx. 5%.
So are we really worse off today than Japan? The Levy Economics Institute at Bard College thinks the answer is YES, when it comes to real income – that is, income adjusted for inflation. According to their findings, 90% of Americans earn roughly the same real income today as the average American earned back in the early 1970s.
As a result of this stagnation in incomes and the plunge in housing values during the Great Recession, 99% of American households have seen their net worth fall since 2007 according to the study. Economic stagnation hasn’t reached the remaining 1% of the US population, which has seen a recovery in their real incomes over the same period to near new highs.
Trump is an effect, not a cause. If the establishment is worried about Trump they need to understand that if they somehow manage to overturn the protest vote, what comes next is the protest, which the next time is not going to be the nice people of the TEA party. The next time, it’s going to be a million angry people with five million guns and who knows what else and how much rope. The American voter wants a country that works for them, not just a small bunch of Washington ruling class, Wall St. and media people in their enclaves. Trump is just yet another way of trying to send the message that the American public has had enough.