Trump times… May 10, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
There’s a most interesting analysis from the ever excellent Jamelle Bouie on Slate which suggests that Trump may have real structural and other problems facing him in respect of winning the Presidential election even before the first debate between him and (one presumes) Clinton. In regard to women voters, Hispanic voters, black American voters and others Trump has massive disapproval ratings. The example of Florida is given.
Florida, for example, is critical. Republicans can’t win without it. To flip the state, Trump has to outperform Romney with Latino voters—there just aren’t enough non-Hispanic whites to make up the difference. How does Trump fare among Latinos?
Eighty-seven percent of all Latino voters have a negative view of Trump, according to a new Latino Decisions national survey. In Florida, it’s 84 percent. In other Latino heavy swing states like Colorado and Nevada, it’s 91 percent and 87 percent, respectively. If Trump loses 87 percent of Latino voters nationwide (and nothing else changes from 2012), the Democrats add North Carolina to their 2012 haul as well as 8 million more popular votes.
But in a way, and assuming that Bouie’s conclusion that Trump is hugely unlikely to win, is correct, there’s a deeper issue. Trump may just be the first of many such candidates. ‘Self-made’ politicians, million and billionaires, using populist rhetoric and in many respects distorting or fraying the political structure as they weave through them. Nor is he entirely anomalous. Berlusconi (???) is not a million miles from him. There are others too even closer to home though none that has reached the heady heights of Trump.
What strikes me most about Trump is how he manages to blend nothing in with his rhetoric. And I mean nothing quite literally. His policy platforms are tissue paper thin, and yet those who support him don’t care. His rhetoric is the main thing – ‘you’ll win big, you’ll be so sick of winning’ etc, etc.
And yet it succeeds – or has succeeded. Perhaps in an American conservative milieu riven between libertarians, social and religious conservatives and neo-liberals of one stripe or another that was near enough inevitable (check out this view from inside the Republican party which notes some of the distinct groups within them – ). The Republican’s party seeming indifference to its own base – near enough contempt for it, had already led to one rupture with the appearance of the Tea Party. But Trump is a different phenomenon from the Tea Party (indeed notable is how low profile the TP is in all this) even if some of its enthusiasms are represented by him. But he’s not of the TP exactly – hence his apostasy on certain issues. But their intransigence isn’t alien to his bluster. Anything but. It is simply that he has overridden their concerns as he has the concerns of the Republican establishment and so on.
In a way the question as to whether Trump is a fascist is beside the point. What he represents is a structural deformation in US politics, one perhaps that encompasses the entirety of the spectrum from left to right where the centre of gravity has tilted ever more rightwards but again in such a way as to lose significant portions of the base.
Perhaps that is why he can win in the seeming house of cards that is the Republican party, that edifice seems rickety at best, but not further afield.
And perhaps not even there. It is striking to see so many Republicans publicly turning their backs on Trump. I’m trying to think of a similar dynamic in recent years and I can’t. Whether Romney, McCain or Dole there weren’t these sort of fissures, this sort of dissidence. It’s genuinely remarkable. If only a few percent of Republicans – if their votes run to libertarian candidates, or other third parties, or they just sit on their hands, that too will weigh upon the outcome.