The full title of this book is “The Great Revolt, Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics.” When I was told I needed to read this I was a little resentful. I don’t enjoy reading about politics for the most part. This may be because lately political books are typically candidates telling us their inspirational biographies and why they are uniquely qualified to save the United States and by extension the whole free world. Obama, Hillary, McCain, blah, blah, blah. But I dutifully bought it two months ago and put it into the stack.
So, I started it. It’s a combination of election analysis identifying the categories of voters who flipped the election to Donald Trump and then interviews with people in those categories. The analysis is interesting but the interviews are riveting. As someone who understands the anger over being categorized as a deplorable or being dismissed as unimportant or openly mocked as a defeated yesterday man with no future I was fascinated. The stories being told by people from small towns and dying cities in the Rust Belt resonated like a tuning fork with what I felt. Now here I am, an Italian American from Brooklyn living in New England and an engineer working in a 21st century industry and yet I feel more kinship with these unemployed factory workers and small business people than with any of the people I work with every day who don’t believe in any of the things I do.
They voted for Trump for a variety of reasons depending on the type of person or their specific circumstances but as a whole they were voting for the idea that they still counted and couldn’t be just discounted because they weren’t the coalition of tomorrow. Their grievances weren’t progressive enough and they were too white. They were old news. And the interesting thing so far is that all of them that voted in 2008 and 2012 voted for Obama. I’ve still got a bunch to read and I have to digest the analytical stuff to see what it means to my understanding of national politics but I can already see that the personal stories are the bigger news. This proves to me that the Trump rallies were very significant. A lot of these people voted because it was personal. Trump reached them with his message. It spoke to them. These marginalized people in depressed areas of what used to be the industrial heartland resonated to a message from a billionaire New York City reality show cartoon character. I think this means both parties have abandoned a very large swathe of Americans and if Trump can address what they want he actually could ignite a Populist Revolt. If most people figure out that they’ve been used by both parties we could have a real awakening and some big things can get done.
I’ll get into more detail when I finish this, but I’ve already learned more about the 2016 election from reading the personal accounts than by all the political analyses that came out in the last almost two years. I’ve met the people that made Trump president. Zito and Todd have written an important book.
Back in 2015 Vox Day identified Donald Trump as the best candidate for president. He understood how Trump would handle the republican field and how he would connect with the American people. Between Vox and Scott Adams I read about how a NYC billionaire was going to win Pennsylvania for the republicans for the first time since 1990s. And they were right. And eventually everyone found out they were right. And the right wing rejoiced.
But believing in Donald Trump seems to be difficult for many people. They expect a traditional politician and he’s anything but that. And they doubt his conservative bona fides. And it’s easy to understand. If you’re a dyed in the wool Second Amendment advocate then the bump stock sacrifice may seem an unforgivable sin. Or if you are a fiscal conservative the budget deal probably looks like an abomination.
But what you have to remember is that in a war sometimes tactics allow you to survive to fulfill your strategic goals. President Trump is adept at dealing with bad optics. He knows when to deflect and when to distract and he knows when a tactical retreat may be needed. Basically, he knew that the gun control furor required a gesture. He provided one. But it’s a small retreat if it deflects the main assault. And in the long run the Supreme Court (if appointed by someone like Trump) could find the bump stock provision unconstitutional anyway.
Right now, plenty of people on the right are throwing in the towel and declaring the end of the Trump presidency. I guess I understand their low morale. They’ve been conditioned by the entire post-Reagan republican experience to expect failure. But what they don’t understand is they will never have a better chance of actually reversing some of the damage that thirty years of liberals has already done.
So now Vox is naming names for the record ( http://voxday.blogspot.com/2018/03/woe-is-us.html ) and asking that the record be kept. And once again, I agree with him. In Trump We Trust. He may be defeated by the Deep State and drowned trying to drain the swamp. But at least he’ll go down swinging. So good for you Vox Day and long live the God Emperor, Donald Trump. And here’s hoping the faint of heart may soon recover their hope. Because Trump is our last best hope.
Some of my friends are panicking about Trump and the bump stock executive order. They feel betrayed and think the “end in near.” I told them to calm down, take a deep breath and look away from the news for a couple of days. Here is my logic. School shootings panic women. Women turn on a dime against gun rights. The midterms are coming around. So that accounts for President Trump demonizing bump stocks. He needs something to say he’s “doing something.” He’s placating the idiots. Do I like this? No. Am I wringing my hands and banging my head against the wall and denouncing the President? No. I trust that he will cut the best deal we can get. He’s the right man for the job. I wouldn’t want any of the usual suspects getting involved (McCain, Rubio, Romney). I don’t even prefer that a Second Amendment hard-liner take the lead. Trump’s the man for the job. Hopefully he can get the damage control done as quickly as possible and move onto his agenda.
After a year in office my motto is “Let Trump be Trump.” He’s got better skills and instincts than anyone else. How would we do better than to let him do his thing. I feel my best action is to spread the gospel. I try to calm the nervous. And believe me I understand. We’ve been betrayed by the weak and the wobbly and the wolf in sheep’s clothing. It takes courage to trust. But I think I’ve seen enough from this man to give him some space. As Ann Coulter said “In Trump We Trust.” It’s remarkable to see how few of our politicians know anything about human nature. Politics in a democracy is a combination of salesmanship and coalition building. Sounds like the place for a deal maker.