Trump’s Wild Card

Ever since Donald Trump entered the race last month, the Republican battle has been upended in a way no one would have predicted.  Although he is derided as a clown and a bozo in both the main stream media and in conservative media and Republican Party circles, his speech announcing his entry into the Presidential race I found strangely compelling, as did the rest of the world.Trump

But we apparently heard different things.  If you are a member of the mainstream media, or an establishment Republican, what you heard was this:

“I’m Donald Trump, I’m super rich, and I hate Mexicans.”

That’s not what I heard.  What I heard was a not very coherent, but rarely heard appeal to the working classes of both parties:

-The country is in serious trouble.

-We’ve gotten the short end of trade deals, particularly NAFTA but also with Japan and China.

-The US is being taken advantage of.

-Illegal immigration is hurting us, not helping us. It’s bringing in crime, drugs, and illegals are stealing jobs.

-GDP and Employment is dropping, and the labor participation rate is skyrocketing.

-We need to bring jobs back to this country.

-The whole world is laughing at us, and I’m going to change that.

If you hadn’t heard his official announcement, it’s understandable if you think his oversized media attention is due mostly as a result of his celebrity status and his entertaining take downs of other Republican candidates.  I’d urge you to listen to it.  Yes, being a celebrity is part of it, but what everyone is trying to obscure is that if you take his mish mash of statements and boil it down, it comes down to a very clear policy direction.

Economic Nationalism.

Economic Nationalism used to be a fairly common populist trend in US politics, but in a certain sense, both parties have abandoned working class issues in favor of establishment concerns.  The Democrats started to abandon the working class after the New Left take over that begin during the 1968 Democratic Convention.  They support Labor Unions, but not labor.  The Republicans picked up the language and culture of the working class beginning with Reagan, but never went beyond the cultural concerns.  At this point, neither the Democrats nor Republicans provide more than lip service to real working class issues.

So multibillionaire real estate heir Donald Trump sounds like a breath of working class fresh air compared to the platforms of all of the other candidates. Illegal immigration cuts directly into wage rates for the unskilled and semi skilled working classes of this country, yet both parties to various degrees continue to support the idea; Democrats because they are courting future voters, and Republicans because they are courting a current low wage workforce with no employment or legal rights.

Opening trade with China and the expansion of NAFTA has resulted in losses on the order of one million to 3.7 million US jobs. Combined with the real threat that automation poses to both low end and high end jobs, the future isn’t very bright for the average worker, and even less bright for those on the left hand side of the Bell Curve.

So with 16 Republican candidates and 4 Democratic ones, only Trump is highlighting, and addressing these working class anxieties.

Try as I might, I just can’t take Trump seriously as a Presidential Candidate.  He’s too much of narcissistic celebrity blowhard.  But he’s a blowhard that has shown the Republicans a path to winning in 2016.  A clever Republican candidate could cherry pick and refine some of Trump’s economic nationalism agenda into a ticket that would be attractive to working class voters in swing states.

Will that happen?  I think it’s not too likely.  Everything that Trump is for, the establishment Republican Party and its donor base opposes.  Otherwise there would be multiple legitimate Republican candidates running on this platform instead of just Trump.  For the Republicans, Santorum and Walker are just dancing on the edges of working class populism.  For the Democrats: just Jim Webb. Bernie Sanders, as an old time class warfare leftist, started out that way, but has been shaped and molded by the identity politics left that now runs the Democrats out of that mold.

So the future for Trump candidacy?  He’s not getting the Republican nomination.  I think ultimately it’s too much work for a job that pays too little.  But his influence could be positive on the Republican Party if they manage to learn from his success and see what worked and borrow from it.  More likely though, the Republicans would rather form a circular firing squad and go after any candidate who shows any signs of “Trumpism” in order to please the donor class, with the end result that the Republican donor class will have helped to elect a Democratic candidate in 2016.

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11 thoughts on “Trump’s Wild Card

  1. I think the big problem with Trump will arise should he run as an independent. It could siphon away enough Republican votes to tip the election to the kleptocrat Clinton. He has often enough supported and made donations to Democrat candidates, that this may actually be his Machiavellian scheme behind his entire campaign.

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    • The thought had occurred to me that Trump is playing Trojan Horse to try to throw the election to Hillary. It wouldn’t be the first time that an eccentric rich guy would alter the course of a Presidential election for personal reasons (cough*Perot*cough).

      But yeah, Trump is no conservative and like Rand Paul, the full measure of all of his different positions would make it impossible to win the Republican nomination. That doesn’t mean that he hasn’t tapped into something important though.

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  2. Trump is more concerned about the way he is perceived then the way he is…

    Guess what that translates to…fixing the “image” of the country while doing nothing else to actually increase its standing…just like him

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  3. I have to say Trump jas given better answer tk most of the questions thrown at him than anyone from either party. .in one of his first PCs after the megyn-kelly-carnival he was asked to explain how he would accomplish everything he’s talking about..china,fences,jobs etc..I dont remember his first answer because i wasnt really paying attention. .But when the reporter interrupted Trump to demand an answer by saying in essence ‘you haven’t answered my question sir’ I started listening (more on that in a minute) Trump’s answer was brilliant and probably the most honest i’ve ever heard..which was,pparaphrased, ‘i dont use a 16 point plan,i go in and punch and punch and beat the hell out of ppl to get what i want!’

    It was a brilliant, honest,easy to understand non-answer (and cmon,no pol answers in details how they are going to do what they promise because its too fluid of an answer to give one) but more than anything, his answer was one people can rally behind.

    He also said Americans are going to have to be flexable when getting what they want on obamacare and a cpl other things..again,the most brilliant answer that is so much more realistic than ‘on my 1st day as potus i will repeal obamacare!!’ No you wont asshole,because you know the catastro-fuck that would cause. .so stop with the news reel one-liners..

    Anyway, i was extremely impressed with trump’s answer..

    As mentioned above, i find it hilarious and a little unfair that the media repeatedly Demand specific answers from Donald,yet softball questions and allow totally non sequitur, sound byte,vague answers from the other 16-17 canidates.. that in and of itself will get trump more and more respect from the voters until he clinches the nomination if the right wing media and establishment isnt careful

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    • I think it shows how badly both the media and the GOP establishment want to take Trump down. I guess it’s nice in a way to see the Media, which hates Republicans with a red hot passion, and Republicans, coming together in common cause!

      You’re right that Trump, and only Trump has had to give very specific policy answers when we are six months away from even the first primary vote. But being a media personality himself, Trump seems to know how to handle interviews and reporters far better than the usual politician. I thought he would have blown over by now but I’m thinking he might really be in for the long haul.

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  4. I think you’d better get used to the idea that Trump will be leading your party around by the nose for the foreseeable future., Everything that would have taken down a lesser candidate has only rocketed him to a double digit lead over everyone else in the field..

    that in and of itself is shocking, but when the rest of the candidates start acting and sounding like Trump just to remain relevant.. that is when the party will fracture even more…the tea party started that fracture and this whole Trump domination and the waves that it will create should worry the GOP.

    oddly, as I was writing this ( I started writing the other morning and didn’t get back until today) Trump sounded his bugle and declared the 14th amendment enemy no. 1 of the state… of course, to keep up, 1/2 the candidates decided to come out as “let’s repeal the 14th amendment’ … champions as well.. wow, did I see that coming..lol.

    while this idea may bring sweet, rainbow and unicorn dreams to the most rabid ‘white power’ of the conservative base … it really does nothing for the rest of the slight-right or middle of the road Repubs.. it’ll never be repealed and to campaign on it does nothing but rile up the hatred and piss off and push away the parts of the country the GOP needs to stay relevant..

    of course I can blame all these woes on GWB and Sarah Palin.. 😉 but I’d just be wasting good breath to do so…. 🙂

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    • I get it. Trump will be around for a while. Contrary to all media expectations. Of course, it always pleases me when the media gets everything wrong. But in this case, hey, so did I.

      As for Trump fracturing the Republican Party, yep you’re right about that as I wrote about here, but that fracturing has been going on for a while. Trump is taking the fracturing into a totally new direction. So we’re entering uncharted territory, at least for American politics. So stay tuned, politics might get really interesting for 2016!

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  5. Lil Mike said….

    “..gets everything wrong…, hey, so did I.”
    “..yep you’re right about that”

    highlight-right click-save

    LOL

    odd days indeed… 😉

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