First let me apologize for my broken polling plugin. It works OK if you’re logged in, so I didn’t notice it was broken for those who were not logged in. A lot of WordPress plugins are hot garbage, unfortunately. But I wanted to follow up on some themes from Trump supporters. I am not becoming a Trump supporter myself. Both my preferred candidates are out of the race by this point, and I have no intention of voting for Trump (or perhaps anyone) in the primary because I just don’t trust him, and that’s a low bar as applied to politicians. But I do want to learn the lessons of the Trump phenomena, something that the GOP would be wise to do themselves.
I’ve come to believe the success of Trump in the GOP primary rests on three legs of a gold plated, terrific, really the best stool ever. The first is outrage with the left. A lot of working class voters were fooled by Obama, believing he’d improve their lot after the financial crisis. Eight years later, and it’s very good to be upper middle class, but for everyone else, things have only gotten worse. The people supporting this leg are rough-around-the edges-working class types, and they are not ideologues. These are the folks most receptive to anti-immigration anti-free-trade rhetoric. These are the people who didn’t show for Romney.
The second leg is outrage with the GOP beltway insiders. Even before Trump came along, I’ve long thought that the GOP would do itself a huge favor if it would hire a consultant to go down K street with a flamethrower, rather than hiring consultants to help talentless hacks lose elections. For better or worse, Trump is the first guy to come along in some time that actually has genuine raw political talent. Rubio has talent in abundance too, but Rubio also listened to a lot of talking heads and K-street hacks about how to brand himself for this race, and it was all wrong. A monkey could have told you it was all wrong. The GOP has not had anyone in the White House not named Bush since Reagan, and all the losing candidates have tried to follow the Bush model on how to win. I’ve never been of the opinion the Bush family have remarkable political talents and instincts. In fact, they are about as responsible for Trump as Obama.
The third leg is Trump enthusiastic rejection of political correctness. He says what he wants and gets away with it. There are a lot of people out there who have felt afraid to speak their mind because of the stifling conformity and groupthink demanded by the left. The downside to this is Trump has freed people to speak that I really wish wouldn’t (such as genuine racists and xenophobes). But I think supporters believe Trump is the path to ending the current wave of political correctness. They want to win back some legitimacy for their views.
Let me conclude that I don’t believe all the chicken little predictions that Trump will lose in a landslide to Hillary, and that he’ll throw all the down ticket races to the Democrats, and the seas will rise and skies will blacken. If Trump, or really anyone, can manage to win an election without K-street and the GOP think tanks in their corner (i.e. the real GOPe), they’re done, and they know it. There’s a lot of money made in losing elections for talentless hacks, and less but still good money in flushing real talent down the sewer with focus grouped poll tested bullshit (like they did with Rubio). You can bet they will stop at nothing to prevent anyone from strangling their golden egg laying goose. When he first appeared on the scene, I had hoped Rubio could be the guy who gave the finger to these hacks, and tried to go it on instinct, but unfortunately he disappointed.
Again, I am not a Trump supporter. I am interested in understanding his candidacy as someone who has followed politics closely for a long time.