Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Trump Coalition

Jon Chait has hit on something here.  He notes that Trump is to the right of the GOP elites on immigration, but to their left on taxes.

And the 25-30% of the GOP base who are devoted to Trump are perfectly cool with that.

One of the enduring political truths of the modern GOP is that the elites mobilize culture warriors on issues like affirmative action, abortion, gay rights and immigration, but once in office, they pretty much pursue fiscal policies that redistribute wealth upwards.

Trump has exposed a major fault line in the GOP coalition: white working class voters really don't want taxes on the rich cut.  They want hedge fund managers taxed at higher than 15%.

The question that Chait leaves begging is why do those GOP voters who are flocking to Trump vote for guys like Reagan, the Bushes and Romney?  It has always mystified earnest liberals why working class whites vote against their economic self-interest when they vote for a guy who will cut taxes on the rich and gut programs that these voters really like: think Bush's plan to privatize Social Security.

Given their movement towards Trump, it's not religion.  It's not taxes.  It's not a mantra of small government libertarianism.

It's racism.

We've all known this, since Nixon launched the Southern Strategy and Reagan spoke of state's rights at Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1980.  Lee Atwater made it perfectly clear on his deathbed.

There are a lot of white working class voters who simply hate "them" so much that they have been willing to vote for economic royalists like the Bushes and the Romney, rather than for the black guy who is giving them health care.

The poobahs who run the GOP have been struck dumb by Trump's ascendancy.  Everyone has noted that he is a monster of their own making.  But what is terrifying to them most of all is how he is forcing them to come face to face with the racism that they have been exploiting to win elections for the past 40 years.

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