The Appeal of Donald Trump

As Donald Trump continues to dominate the Republican field (with a double digit lead in most polls), people ask: “why”?

There are probably several reasons he appeals to such a wide audience. Paul Krugman weighs in:

Frank Bruni marvels at polls indicating that Donald Trump, with his multiple marriages and casinos, is the preferred candidate among Republican evangelicals. Others are shocked to see a crude mercantilist make so much headway in the alleged party of free markets. What happened to conservative principles?

Actually, nothing — because those alleged principles were never real. Conservative religiosity, conservative faith in markets, were never about living a godly life or letting the invisible hand promote entrepreneurship. Instead, it was all as Corey Robin describes it: Conservatism is

a reactionary movement, a defense of power and privilege against democratic challenges from below, particularly in the private spheres of the family and the workplace.

It’s really about who’s boss, and making sure that the man in charge stays boss. Trump is admired for putting women and workers in their place, and it doesn’t matter if he covets his neighbor’s wife or demands trade wars.

The point is that Trump isn’t a diversion, he’s a revelation, bringing the real motivations of the movement out into the open.

That is part of it. Part of it is Trump’s positions themselves:

The matrix here shows the possible positions. A welfare state available to all is the Democratic position, which is pretty much what other Western countries call the social democratic position. The dominant role in the modern GOP is played by a faction that links de facto disdain for Those People with a desire to slash social insurance. Libertarians are, in principle, small-government without the undertones; they are also basically absent from the actually existing electorate.

And then there’s the empty box. Once upon a time that box was filled by southern Democrats, who preserved Jim Crow while supporting the New Deal. But they’ve all moved over to the GOP now, and in the process become anti-social-insurance. But there are plenty of voters who want Social Security and Medicare for people who look like them, but not those other people. And at some level Trump is catering to that unserved population.

Remember that things like cutting entitlements are deeply unpopular positions. Some put up with it because of what comes with it:


But, well, there is part of him that I actually like.


This first came about with his first exchange with Megyn Kelly at the first Republican debate

Now don’t get me wrong: insulting people is tacky and boorish; I don’t approve of the public name calling. But the “evil” (if you will) is only so big and, yes, there are more important things to talk about.

And, in my opinion, calling his subsequent “twitter attack” on Ms. Kelly is absurd. I think it is juvenile, silly and stupid, and certainly not at all presidential. Do you want this man with the nuclear codes? But bullying? She doesn’t work for him, he can’t have her fired, and, well, she doesn’t have to read his tweets.

Then there is Mr. Trump throwing out a reporter who tried to jump his turn and speak over other reporters at his press conference. No, a reporter doesn’t have an inherent right to the floor nor does he have the right to hijack an event.

So I approve of what Mr. Trump did here.

Now, of course, my opinion on this issue is deeply unpopular among “progressives”. But sorry; people don’t have the right to hijack an event and hold others to a captive audience.

I was disgusted by this:

And this:

And this:

Life is too short to give self-aggrandizing “activists” a captive audience.

So, I am glad that Mr. Trump threw that reporter out.


August 26, 2015 - Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , , ,

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