Peter Sage: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both make strong cases against the corrupting forces hurting "regular Americans." In my previous post I said that Sanders focused on the corruption of American politics by economic elites: the lobbyists, K Street, big corporations, big political donors--all of them taking care of themselves at the expense of regular people. Sanders punched up. Trump, I said, mostly was punching down, focusing on immigrants, refugees, the undeserving poor and on interlopers and upstarts attempting to rival America economically or militarily, including China and Russia.
Guest poster Thad Guyer is a litigator who specializes on whistleblowing employees. He looks closely at what kinds of messages are persuasive to judges and juries.
He argues that in taking on big media (including the Republican Fox News) while simultaneously condemning the influence of big money in politics, which as a participant he said he understood thoroughly and affirms its corrupting influence, he shows himself to be a populist condemning both poor and rich punching out, not just down.
But Guyer's more ominous warning for progressives is his belief that Trump has found and amplified a powerful theme: consciousness of who is and is not an American. Immigration is an issue that people care about, Republicans and Democrats both. The Democratic candidate needs to voice a policy that addresses this concern, or the issue will be conceded to the Republicans.
Thad Guyer's comment
Trump Punches Outward for “Citizens America”
I generally agree with the Up Close metaphors of Trump punching down and Sanders punching up. But I’m a little disoriented about up and down on Trump. I agree that not many Trump voters will go for Sanders, but I have no doubt that many Sanders voters are going to go Trump—secretly and anonymously. He will win millions of them.
Here is whom I see Trump punching in addition to your list:
• The Republican Establishment- one of the most powerful and richest institutions in world history.• The Mainstream Media (left and right)- the near monopoly opinion-makers guild since World War II, which is now controlled by moguls like Jeff Bezos and Rupert Murdoch. The New York City based NYT and Fox are primary guild members.• Islam as controlled by theocratic royalty on the Shia (moderate) and Sunni (right) continuum. These are oil kingdoms that fund militants and terrorists in their proxy orbits worldwide.• Global free-trader oligarchs who chase cheap inhumane labor wherever it can be found, and by whom American jobs and well-being are bartered.
Trump punches hard and up at this axis of powers. His punching down at illegal immigrants and political-correctness claimants will be the bigger vote getter, and certainly will be the one with the greatest cross-over appeal to alarmed “Citizen America”. Citizenship itself is now nearly a politically incorrect term, and you would be controversial if you wore a button saying “Proud citizen of the USA”, or even “God Bless America”, our national anthem.
Citizen America includes white, black, brown and yellow, left and right, educated and uneducated bound in a thing called “citizenship”. Trump understands that illegal immigration concerns all citizens, it is the ultimate non-partisan multicultural issue in the US and Europe.
Polls consistently show Trump already has at least 25% immigrant-citizen support nationally, see The Economist/YouGov Poll (November 5 - 9, 2015) https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/47uo0nmep5/econTabReport.pdf, and other polls place his non-white support much higher. “A quarter of the British public support Donald Trump's plan to ban all Muslim immigration”, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/a-quarter-of-the-british-public-support-donald-trumps-plan-to-ban-all-muslim-travel-and-immigration-a6766606.html.
Trump’s popularity is punching neither down nor up— - it is punching outward. Outward is where the illegal immigrant invaders, currency trade manipulators, and infidel-hating religious cultures are amassing at the gates. Punching outward is how Donald Trump may well become the vanguard of the post-establishment political revolution.
And if it comes to a general election between Trump and Sanders, then Trump will definitely be punching in one direction—down. With Hillary, he would be punching up.