Trump did not come from out of nowhere. People appalled by Trump are unhappy with the wrong thing.
Trump is a reflection on America. He speaks for a great many Americans. Perhaps not for you, but for people who live in your community. Fellow Americans. Voters.
Progressive and culturally liberal Americans are at risk of learning the wrong lesson from this season of 24-7 Trump. Trump is a master of showmanship and grabbing media attention, and so we think it is all about Trump. It is not. Trump is the vehicle, not the message.
Indeed, Trump has done so many things that would appear to disqualify himself from holding public office that it demonstrates that Trump-ism is as strong or stronger than Trump. Many people voted for Trump despite Trump being Trump.
The election of Roy Moore in Alabama is a bit of evidence. Rush Limbaugh described it as the Trump voters having Trump's back. They voted Trump-ism notwithstanding Trump's weird, qualified, apparently uninformed or mis-informed endorsement of Luther.
Asked the question in a Remington poll, should NFL players "stand and be respectful during the National Anthem" some 64% of voters said yes; 25% said no; 11% were unsure. A majority of Americans disapprove of the NFL players. They don't see the issues of the protest. They see it as disrespect for America. Is this wrong, misinformed, unfair? Maybe, but it is reality. Taking a knee at the National Anthem is big body language. People read it as they see it. America is being dissed, not honored. A great many people don't like that.
In the past 24 hours multiple news sites have headlined that polls show a majority of people--57%-- do not favor the outright firing of all NFL players. The implication is that Trump's position is being rejected.
I believe the real meaning of the poll is the opposite. A majority disapprove of the protest. In fact, their disapproval is so strong that a significant minority want them outright fired. This includes a strong majority of the Republican base, but there is crossover into Independents and Democrats. Those 19% of Democrats who feel so strongly that the players should actually be fired are voters that would be expected to vote Democratic but who are being estranged from their party on this cultural issue.
|Click Here: It's a simple matter of disrespect for America.|
Readers of this blog likely respect nuance and likely distinguish between a message of protest against racial injustice versus intentional disrespect for the flag, but angry rants like the one shown here on Fox do not happen in a vacuum. They happen because they reflect the beliefs of many people, including people in upper midwest states who were presumed to vote Democratic but who do not.
Jon Oliver's satire show this week used a clip of this astonishing rant by the Fox commentator as an example of laughable over-the-top invective. Her comments did not need amplification or exaggeration to make the satirical point. It is shocking on its own, and indeed funny. Look at the crazy lady. But there is another, opposite, reality to consider, and that is that for a great many people her outrage and invective and passion were not laughable. They agreed with her. She did not air that talk as comedy. She did it straight and in earnest.
Today's news is full of discussion of civil war within the GOP. Senator Robert Corker of Tennessee is leaving office, realizing this conservative senator will face Tea Party opposition in a primary. He just doesn't need the hassle. Senators in the "governing" wing of the Republican party are on notice. Steve Bannon and the insurgents are on the warpath. Being very conservative is not enough. One must be angry and uncompromising. Congressman Eric Canter and Senators Bob Bennett and Richard Lugar are cautionary examples.
GOP officeholders see it happening. The GOP electorate is not the party of Romney and Dole, and indeed they are now the enemy. It is a party of talk radio and Trump. Republicans in Oregon had every opportunity to vote for Governor John Kasich instead of Donald Trump in May of 2016 when the choices had been whittled down. They overwhelmingly chose Trump. They did not conservative and sensible. They wanted someone Trump-like, and Trump was the genuine article. There is a Trump-ian plurality among American voters, and on cultural issues very probably a clear outright majority. The cultural and economic changes happening in America are unsettling and Trump promised a return to better days.
Trump leads a populist revolt, but he did not create it. It was here.
The challenge for Democrats is to recognize the reality on the ground among voters. Belittling Trump, mocking his quirks, even impeaching him if they had the majorities to do it, would be like killing the rooster because they disliked the dawn. The Democrats have huge advantages. They likely lead majority opinions on issues of taxation and health care. But they lose those majorities when they dismiss the cultural fears and resentments of voters. It's the economy, stupid, but it is also whether Democrats communicate that they share American values.
Democrats can and must remain a party of racial tolerance and justice, with commitment to racial, religious, and ethnic inclusion. Patriotism and pride in America can be the unifying glue, but Democrats have ceded that to Republicans. Take it back. Trump is claiming his tax plan is designed to help the working and middle classes. Democrats need to re-claim that mantle as well.
The Bernie Sanders campaign demonstrated there is a large constituency of liberal populism and anti-elitism. There are common-man sensibilities regarding patriotism, religion, and coastal elitism that cross party lines and over-lap between Tea Party cultural conservatism and Sanders populism.
Democrats will not lose in 2020 because their policies are wrong. If they lose it will be because their cultural sensibilities are exclusively those of snobby coastal elites. They will have failed to assure voters that they are proud to be Americans.