5/10/16, "Trump Won with the Working Class Voters the GOP Forgot," John Hayward, Breitbart
"It’s no surprise that Donald Trump is talking about NAFTA too,
and getting a huge response at his campaign rallies, even as analysts
on the Left and Right scratch their heads and wonder why he’s talking
about a “settled issue” from two decades ago after Bill Clinton signed
it into law.
To the missing voters, NAFTA has never been a settled issue, or a
forgotten one. They’re still hurting from the shift of jobs and
opportunities out of the country. They were told not to worry about it,
because new high-tech jobs with better pay and working conditions would
replace the “jobs Americans just won’t do”…and then those jobs got sent overseas as well, or filled with H1-B visa workers.
There is a line of argument from free trade enthusiasts that insists
such policies are good for the country overall. We’re told that
controlling legal immigration, or even cracking down on illegal
immigration could significantly damage the U.S. economy. These grand
strategies overlook the fact that the people who have been getting
clobbered for decades to provide this higher level of national
prosperity are tired of being the designated losers. On both the Left
and Right, there is anger from people who believe they have been
exploited to make others wealthy. That’s the fundamental argument of
liberal ideology, but Republican leaders really should have noticed when
a substantial number of their traditional constituents began feeling that way.
These disaffected working-class people are especially weary of master
plans that deliberately injure Americans for the benefit of big U.S.
investors and foreign interests. That’s why a willingness to speak
frankly about immigration was such a powerful signal to the missing
voters, a sign that Trump was aware of them, in a way that few other Republicans were.
The core element of any fair deal for neglected American workers is the acknowledgement that America exists, and
its government understands that it has a unique responsibility to
American citizens. There is nothing inherently hostile or xenophobic
about that understanding. The put-upon citizens of the most open and
generous country in the world are tired of being insulted as selfish and
hateful for insisting our national priority should be our nation.
For decades now, our central government has asserted the wisdom and
moral stature to pick “winners and losers.” Those assertions are
especially loud from Barack Obama, but he wasn’t the first to make them.
The people who feel they’ve been picked as losers, for generations, are tired of it.
(Sean) Trende talked about the shifting “priorities” of these voters, which
could go a long way toward explaining why Cruz didn’t get the support he
was looking for in the South. It’s not so much a question of those
voters rejecting Constitutional conservatism, as their political priorities shifting to more immediate concerns.
They’re under attack by the federal government, and they
want relief. Intellectual discourse on the Constitutional basis for
freedom of religious expression has less political value when the
federal government is sending a battalion of lawyers to escort men into
the women’s restroom. They still care about our future of unsustainable
government debt, but their more immediate concern is getting
the economy moving for their regions and income brackets again.
Abstract discussion about the proper limits of government gives way to
more concrete concerns: What will you do to bring the jobs back, nourish our wages back to health, and make us feel like something more than targets?
Romney got creamed because he couldn’t appeal to these disenfranchised working-class voters. He should have
been able to do it, because his message of creating a business-friendly
environment where jobs could flourish was reasonable and consistent
with what the missing voters want....
The problem was that Romney never made his message directly relevant
to the alienated working class. He didn’t speak their language or act
like he personally cared about them, the way Trump does. Romney was so
thoroughly defined by the Obama campaign’s early attacks that he would
have needed enormous populist charisma to overcome it. He had no
detectable populist energy at all.
Romney would bring a hundred entrepreneurs onstage to support him, but not their employees. For some reason, it didn’t occur to his campaign that they could repel
Obama’s foolish assault on venture capitalism by deploying an army of
regular folks whose jobs had been saved by capital investment. He took
great umbrage at Obama’s “you didn’t build that” speech, without
understanding why Obama’s line had populist appeal, or how to counter
it. Romney stood up for entrepreneurs against socialists, without
showing the working class why they are the natural adversaries of socialism as well.
Some of the blame for those errors is due to the Republican Party at
large, which frittered away the Reagan legacy through both Bush
presidencies, and allowed the Left to teach the masses what “capitalism”
means. Reagan brilliantly redefined the relationship between American
citizens and their government, but as soon as he was gone, the GOP
allowed that new understanding to be erased, perhaps mistakenly
convinced it was unnecessary to defend capitalism from socialism while
the Soviet Union was busy collapsing into a pile of ashes.
A gulf developed between Republican leadership and the voters they should be
able to reach. Until now, they didn’t realize how wide that gulf was.
They didn’t invest nearly enough effort in figuring out who the missing
voters were or how to bring them back. On the contrary, the GOP
leadership devoted more energy to stamping out the first sign of renewed
political life from those disaffected Americans, the Tea Party
movement. Instead of understanding who those people were, absorbing
their strength into the Republican coalition, or really listening to
what they were saying, the GOP Establishment set about marginalizing
They didn’t realize how much damage they were doing to themselves
among people who were watching the fate of the Tea Party movement, without being active members of it. Exasperating signals were sent, and received.
Both supporter and critic will agree that Donald Trump sends a very
different set of signals. The clearest is the signal he sends about
putting American government to work on behalf of working Americans. It’s so different from what they’re used to hearing, from both
parties, that they cut him slack on almost everything else. Republican
leaders simply did not understand how much the priorities of their
current and potential electorate had shifted, so they watched
in numb amazement as Trump scored with constituencies that shouldn’t
have been willing to vote for him, or should have vastly preferred
someone else. And in state after state, they saw Trump boosted by
voters they had written off decades ago.
Of course, it remains to be seen whether these returning voters will
stick with Trump through the general election. He could make mistakes
that lose them, they could become disgusted with politics again and go
home, or the Democrats could poach some of them. Democrat leaders are
hopelessly out-of-touch with working-class voters too, but they’re
aggressive about buying affection with government money. The media
generally considers it revealed truth that support for Big Government
programs equals compassion, which is supposed to outweigh the
tone-deafness, corruption, and conspicuous consumption of liberal big
It would be a crying shame if the various elements of the Republican
Party fail to learn the right lessons from Trump’s primary run. The
most obvious one is that American workers, American taxpayers, want a
President who genuinely likes them and thinks the American government’s
first duty is to them. It’s amazing how many people seem to have been waiting a generation or more to hear that."
Commenter to above article at Lucianne.com:
"Reply 4 - Posted by:
otronome, 5/11/2016 12:03:18 AM (No. 10782061)
The GOPe didn´t forget about them...they have defecated on them
for 20 years. Now, they are shocked that voters are tired of being
played by liars who ask for votes and betray their hardest working
supporters. Welcome to 2016."
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
From 2016 Republican primary voters one learns NAFTA has never been a 'settled' issue. These Americans want a president who genuinely likes them, thinks US government's first duty is to them, have been waiting decades to hear that, or even that they're not selfish and hateful-Hayward, Breitbart
Posted by susan at 2:33 AM