Sunday, March 06, 2016

Trump Taps Something That's Long Been Ignored

If Super Tuesday proved anything, it’s that a large number of American voters will, indeed, pull the lever for Donald Trump — and for valid reasons.  It’s clear Trump has found a trigger point among many voters. And he’s hitting it with incredible consistency.

“My market is the people in the country who want to see America be great again,” Trump explained. “It’s very simple. That’s a lot of people. That’s not broken down by age, or race or anything.”

While it’s all too easy to judge Trump supporters by the candidate they follow, Trumpmania’s real appeal goes much deeper than political theater — and it’s worth understanding.

As much as we despise politics via class stratification, that’s where we must begin. For it’s working-class Americans — blue-collar, lacking political power and without friends in high places — who believe they have at last found an ally, an advocate, a voice in the man who proudly claimed to “love the poorly educated.”

In an astute explanation of “Trump’s America,” Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute writes of “the emergence of a new upper class and a new lower class and … the plight of the working class caught in between.” Populating the new upper class are the elites — politicians, professors, cultural icons, business moguls. They shape policy, wield power, and are heard simply by nature of their status.

The new lower class includes those “who have dropped out of some of the most basic institutions of American civic culture, especially work and marriage.” Meanwhile, the working class is left in the middle. “Trumpism,” Murray writes, “is the voice of a beleaguered working class.” And “the central truth of Trumpism as a phenomenon is that the entire American working class has legitimate reasons to be angry at the ruling class.”

We’ve noted that he is the ace of anger affirmation before.

And indeed, it’s the so-called working class — not the ruling class — that has borne the impact of the exportation of millions of manufacturing jobs and the influx of illegal aliens who now hold many working class jobs.

Peggy Noonan describes it as the rift between the “protected” and “unprotected.” She writes, “The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back.”

And if today’s “protected” make up the “ruling class” — those who create the world in which the rest of us live — is it any wonder the “unprotected” have grown disillusioned?

As Claremont Institute Fellow Angelo Codevilla writes, “Ordinary Americans have endured being insulted by the ruling class’s favorite epithets — racist, sexist, etc., and, above all, stupid…. No wonder, then, that millions of Americans lose respect for a ruling class that disrespects them, that they identify with whomever promises some kind of turnabout against that class, and that they care less and less for the integrity of institutions that fail to protect them.”

A look at who actually supported Trump on Super Tuesday bears this out. Residents of economically distressed communities were more likely to vote for Trump than voters in prosperous areas.

Need more convincing? Just listen to what a recent caller told Rush Limbaugh: “It’s kind of like a few callers ago said that us guys are low-informed voters. I mean, just ‘cause we didn’t march out of somewhere with a Harvard degree or whatever, I guess we’re not qualified to vote for the president of the United States. I feel like that’s the whole thing. It’s like we’re not important, yet here we’ve been carrying the country on our back with taxes for years and years and we get no appreciation whatsoever.”

We in our humble shop are hearing the same. A reader recently wrote, “The Patriot Post needs to quit bashing the best chance of defeating Hillary: Donald Trump. Support the guy who’s winning over the American People.”

Another says, “I am tired of the elite running my country into the ground. I served a career defending what used to be the USA, only to see the socialist and RINOs take and trash her.”

It’s for this reason Trump boasts, “I’ve brought in millions and millions of people into the Republican party.” That’s true, but with big caveats. As we’ve also argued, Trump’s supporters are right to be tired of the elite., and they’re asking the right questions.

No matter what we think though, the fact is Trump supporters aren’t necessarily voting for Trump because he’s someone important. Trump supporters are voting for Trump because he says they’re someone important. And they’ve been missing that for far too long.



Donald Trump: Defender of the Faith

Charles Krauthammer

What happened to the evangelicals? They were supposed to be the bedrock of the Ted Cruz candidacy. Yet on Super Tuesday he lost them to Donald Trump.

Cruz still did make a reasonably good showing, winning Alaska, Oklahoma and Texas, the latter by an impressive 17 points. But he didn’t have the great night he needed to put away Marco Rubio and emerge as Trump’s one remaining challenger.

Cruz had done all the groundwork to win evangelicals and sweep the South by putting together strong alliances with local pastors and leaders. And yet, outside Oklahoma and Texas, he lost them to Trump by stunning margins — by 21 points in Alabama, 13 in Georgia, 14 in Tennessee, 16 in Virginia and 36 in, of all places, Massachusetts.

How could this have happened? A more scripturally, spiritually flawed man than Trump would be hard to find. As several anti-Trump evangelical voices have argued, Christian witness cannot possibly support a thrice-married man with such an impressive list of sins, featuring especially spectacular displays of the seven deadlys.

These theological arguments are both eloquent and impassioned but, in this season of fear and anxiety, beside the point. This time around, evangelicals are not looking for someone like them. They’re looking for someone who will protect them.

They’ve tried backing exemplary Scripture-quoting Christians — without result. After Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum and considerations of Cruz himself, they are increasingly reluctant to support like-minded candidates who are nonetheless incapable of advancing their cause in a hostile political arena so dominated by secularism.

They have no illusions about Trump. They have no expectations of religious uplift. What he offers them is not spirit but “muscle” (to borrow a word from the notorious former Professor Melissa Click of the University of Missouri).

The transaction was illuminated by Trump’s January speech at Liberty University. His earlier halfhearted attempts to pose as a fellow evangelical were amusing and entirely unconvincing. At Liberty, he made another such I’m-one-of-you gesture by citing a biblical verse in “Two Corinthians,” thereby betraying a risible lack of familiarity with biblical language and usage.

Yet elsewhere in the speech, he described how Christians abroad are being massacred and Christians here at home are under cultural and political siege. He pledged: “We’re going to protect Christianity.”

Interesting locution. Not just Christians, but Christianity itself. What Trump promises is to stand outside the churchyard gates and protect the faithful inside. He’s the Roman centurion standing between them and both barbarians abroad and aggressive secularists at home.

The message is clear: I may not be one of you. I can’t recite or even correctly cite Scripture. But I will patrol the borders of Christendom on your behalf. After all, who do you want out there — a choir boy or a tough guy with a loaded gun and a kick-ass demeanor?

Evangelicals answered resoundingly. They went for Trump in a rout.

The essence of Trump’s appeal everywhere, far beyond evangelicals, is precisely the same: “I’m tough, I will protect you.” That’s why he remains so bulletproof. His lack of policy, the contradictory nature of his pronouncements that pass as policy — especially their capricious eruption and summary abandonment — have turned out to be an irrelevance.

Who cares? His support has nothing to do with actual prescriptions. Tuesday night, the immigration issue ranked low among Republican voters' concerns. Only about 10 percent deemed it their No. 1 issue. The political success of Trump’s draconian immigration stance lies not in the policy but in the attitude — a not-going-to-take-it-anymore defiance.

That’s the reason none of the rhetorical outrages that would have destroyed another candidacy have even left a mark on Trump. He mocks John McCain’s heroism, insults Carly Fiorina’s looks, fawns over Vladimir Putin — nothing. If anything, he gains support for fearless “telling it like it is” candor.

This is a man who three times last Sunday refused to disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. No other candidate could survive that. Trump not only survives, he thrives. Two days later, he wins seven out of 11 Super Tuesday states and ascends to the threshold of presumptive nominee.

Which is why the only possible way to stop Trump is a full-scale, open-the-bomb-bay-doors attack on the very core of his appeal: his persona of the tough guy you can trust to protect you.

It may be too late. But everything else will simply bounce off the Teflon.



Gov. Scott Walker on How Obama Helped Conservative Movement Thrive

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, said Thursday that President Barack Obama has helped the conservative movement expand during the past seven years.

Since Obama took office in 2009, Walker noted, the number of Democratic governors across the United States has fallen from 28 to 18.

“The only nice thing I can say about this president is he’s been an incredible recruiter for conservative candidates,” Walker said during the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, at Maryland’s National Harbor near Washington, D.C.

He cited Matt Bevin’s unlikely win in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race in November as evidence that the grassroots conservative movement has gained momentum under the Obama administration.

Bevin’s defeat of Jack Conway, Kentucky’s former Democratic attorney general, made him the state’s third Republican governor since World War II and one of 31 GOP governors who currently hold office across the United States.

“The reason why we see that kind of change is because Americans are looking for leadership that counters the failed policies of Barack Obama,” Walker said.

Republicans also have seen their party grow in state legislatures. Since 2009, Walker said, roughly 1,000 new GOP lawmakers have been elected to state legislatures throughout the nation.

Walker noted that 27 state legislatures were controlled entirely by Democrats when Obama took office, and eight were evenly split between the parties.

Today, Democrats control 11 state legislatures. Eight remain split.

“The conservative movement is alive and well in states all across America,” Walker said. “Why? Because our policies are working.”

The Wisconsin governor pointed to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s success in bringing the unemployment rate down to the lowest it has been since March 2011. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, meanwhile, has added 30,000 state residents to the workforce who previously were on welfare.

“Positive, commonsense, conservative reforms work on economic policy, they work on fiscal policy, they work on social policy,” Walker said.

Running through Saturday, CPAC offers conservatives across the country an opportunity to gather with fellow activists and leaders for speeches, panels, exhibits, and other activities at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside Washington, D.C.



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