Government & Politics

Trump Taps Something That's Long Been Ignored

Allyne Caan · Mar. 3, 2016
Courtesy Darron Birgenheier, Flickr

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. No, we haven’t suddenly jumped on the Trump Train (and don’t expect us to any time soon), but 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. They’re just coming up with the wrong answer, and that’s true in part because he hurts those he’s supposed to be for.

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.

Click here to show comments