Today, we focus on this from the WaPo’s Marc Fisher who profiles the kind of people who support Donald Trump and finds they are mostly older white men and women:
The way Joe McCoy sees it, the last time America was great was when Ronald Reagan was president, when people played by the rules. No, it was in the ’70s, Holly Martin says, when you could depend on Americans to work hard. No, to find true American greatness, Steve Trivett contends, you need to go back to before the Vietnam War, ‘when you could still own a home and have a good job even if you didn’t have a college education.’
Fisher says this demographic resonates with the Donald’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”. And even if they don’t agree on exactly why, they do accept Trump’s contention that the US has become “an economic wasteland” and that it is “committing cultural suicide.”
The premise behind “Make America Great Again” is that while the country is no longer great, it can be great again, and Trump is the can-do billionaire who can make that happen.
This can be difficult to watch, like a slowly-developing accident on the freeway. People seem so easily misled, and they say such unsophisticated things about immigration, about Putin and Syria, about our economy, about the threat from Muslims who live in America.
But do we have good Party establishment choices in the 2016 election? No, voters don’t have good, clear choices, despite the unprecedented number of candidates.
Republicans made their voters a bunch of promises over the past 10 years, some of which they had no hope of keeping, and others which they had no intention of actually delivering. It’s also clear that the Republican “Establishment” is frustrated with the Republican candidates, and their supporters who actually expected the Party to be more effective. That’s why so many Republican voters have no interest in Jeb Bush or Scott Walker, and it’s clear that the GOP Establishment misunderstands their own base.
So, Donald Trump appeals to many Republicans as someone who’s pretty effective at holding the media’s attention and driving the national conversation. Someone who looks to be a better bet to actually shake things up and make possible a few things that currently look impossible.
It might be a GOP Hail Mary pass, but what’s the alternative?
For Democrats, Hillary Clinton looks like the candidate who’s “turn” has finally come. She is a product of their “establishment” as much as Jeb Bush is of the GOP’s.
And is it really all that different that the progressive left looks to Bernie Sanders to create a “revolution” in the political climate, making a progressive America possible? Sanders may be more of a Hail Mary pass than Trump.
Since both parties suck and won’t work together, many on both sides are looking for an anti-establishment Messiah to lead them to the political Promised Land. What makes this risk seem worth it is that, while folks understand they’re inviting chaos, they feel our politics are already chaotic. So, people think “What’s the difference?”
And it’s hard to argue with them. American politics feels like a metaphor of Easter Island: Some of us spend our lives trying to get new trees to grow, while the majority are happy to keep chopping down the old ones as fast as they can.
Trump is saying if we vote for him, he’ll make it all better. And if you read Senator Sander’s stump speech, you’d know he is saying he can’t do it alone, that people have to get together and organize to effect change.
That is “a substantive difference” between these two “insurgents”.
That’s why Bernie Sanders’ use of the Democratic Socialist label is disorienting. It shakes people out of their normal process enough to wonder how he thinks he could possibly win. He can’t.
And the mainstream media and both party establishments say: “things really aren’t as bad as they’re made out to be.” They hope that in the end, most voters will agree with their sentiment, and vote for their establishment candidates.
But voters have spent decades lowering their expectations (in Wrongo’s case, except for a short-lived upswing in 2008). Screw that. People need to raise their expectations. Because lower expectations and the “what did you expect” attitude is essentially giving permission for poor results.
We need to expect MORE, demand more.
Because it’s better to have high expectations with the risk of disappointment, than it is to have low expectations that guarantee more of the same old stuff.