Yet Another Theory of Trump

 

Here’s another theory of Trump. Well, it’s not really a theory, more just a set of disparate observations. I’ve broken it into chunks so you can tell me which parts you agree with, don’t agree with, and why:

  1. Trump means ratings. Trump means pageviews. Trump means advertiser sponsorship. The media (very much including Ricochet) deserves a large share of the blame for the Rise of Trump, in so far as it’s driven by relentless competition for profit. The media gave Trump a massive amount of free publicity, not realizing — because the media is part of a clueless elite — that Trump was not just an entertaining bonanza for ratings and a guaranteed-clickbait diversion, but a serious political candidate who spoke to and for a very significant number of their fellow Americans.
  2. The opening of the ownership of broadcast channels, cable, and satellite to private investors has changed our civic culture, and not for the better. It did not result in a competition to provide informative news coverage to a civic-minded public. It resulted in just what you’d expect: competition, period — and thus a race to the bottom for ratings. The result was the creation of a mass culture of empty commercialism and short attention spans unconnected to deeper spiritual, moral, or civic values. Shopping channels, infomercials, product placement, and reality TV gave rise to a population fascinated, even obsessed, with consumer brands, products, celebrities, and super-celebrities. The Rise of Trump or someone like Trump was, in this culture, inevitable.
  3. The Internet, likewise, failed to meet its potential as an instrument for communicating conservative political ideas, traditional and religious values, and democratic civic mores. Only media outlets with well-established brand names and an already-large audience, or huge financial resources, have been able to enter the Internet media market and draw the attention of the public in significant numbers. The profit model of major media and their portals (Facebook, Google) is based on selling goods. The audience is no longer captive — as it was in the time of newspapers and the broadcast cartel — and thus there’s ferocious competition to amuse it and keep it from switching to another channel or clicking on another site. The media has severely cut back on news reporting and analysis; what little reporting they do is often based on press releases from corporations and lobby groups, foreign and domestic. (The number of people who work in PR now vastly exceeds the number who work in investigative journalism.) There’s a massive focus on providing shows and websites that are immediately attractive to audiences and advertisers: sex, sports, violence, and comedy, rather than detailed and informative reports about complex trade negotiations, the budget, tax reform, or health care.
  4. Advertisers don’t, generally, like programs and websites with complexity and disturbing reporting that interferes with the “buying mood.” They seek programs, themes, and stories that lightly entertain and fit in with the spirit of the primary purpose of program: selling their products. (Thus people are far more likely to read about restaurants and vacation destinations abroad than elections or deeper geopolitical trends.)
  5. Western elites, political and economic, understood the fall of the Berlin Wall as a vindication of free-market capitalism. The victory was so complete and so overwhelming that regardless of evidence, this elite has blindly assumed free trade to be always and everywhere benevolent and even democratic (although exceptions are allowed when private firms need subsidies and bailouts). The mainstream media, which is part of this elite, internalized this ideology.
  6. The steady encroachment of marketing and advertising into every aspect of our lives displaced both religion and the political public sphere, replacing it with a shallow consumer culture unsuited to thoughtful, democratic participation. Increasingly, we live in a world of virtual communities built by advertisers and based on consumer demographics.
  7. Whereas once we lived in a world of physical communities, sharing a social life and common concerns with our fellow citizens — of all classes — increasingly we live in virtual communities that may superficially be political, but whose chief purpose is to buy and sell goods, not to create or service the public political sphere and a healthful democracy.
  8. This social sorting has been accompanied by geographic sorting: Increasingly, we literally have no idea how the other half lives. They don’t live in our neighborhood; they don’t watch the same television, and we don’t even talk to them on the Internet. In fact, we deliberately “unfriend” people who don’t share our view of the world. (This helps to account, for example, for the massive disjunct between the Ricochet primary and the real primary.)
  9. Non-stop entertainment (including sports) doesn’t just help to sell goods. It is, even if inadvertently, a vehicle for the transmission of the elite class’s political ideology, as well as the contemporary equivalent Roman circuses. It diverts the public from politics, reinforces the beliefs of the elite class, and creates political apathy — until the dam breaks.
  10. The public has nonetheless been aware that it has been working harder with stagnant or declining incomes; it has inadequate medical care at high cost, and education is the pathway to the elite class — but education is increasingly unaffordable, and the culture of our educational institutions increasingly bizarre. It knows that things are done in their name all over the world, often involving their sacrifice or that of their families, but not, seemingly, to their benefit. Few understand our foreign policy or its history, because the media provides almost no substantive information that would help them place any of it in context. Neither does our educational system. The media does not see providing this information as its key responsibility. Its key responsibility is to shareholders and advertisers.
  11. Case in point: NAFTA. Substantial American majorities opposed NAFTA. Only the elite favored it. But media editorials, news coverage, and “experts” overwhelmingly reflected elite preference. The “experts” repeatedly intoned that the benefits of NAFTA were obvious and understood by all qualified authorities, and that only demagogues and “special interests” were opposed to it. (The “special interests” who were the losers included lower middle-class white males.) The media dealt with the awkward fact that polls showed steady majority opposition to the agreement mainly by ignoring it or occasionally suggesting the public was uninformed and didn’t recognize its own interests.
  12. The lower-middle class, white men in particular, has been under siege in the United States for the past several decades, adversely affected by the deflationary policies of the 1980s, corporate downsizing, globalization, and the government’s support of, or indifference to, the damage being done to them. While this class experienced significantly diminished wages and benefits, more onerous working conditions, and greater insecurity, a “protected” elite in government, finance, tech, tenured academia, and the media failed even to notice this, no less consider its long-term political implications.
  13. Since the 1970s, the income of the top 1 percent of households has grown by 85 percent and the top 10 percent by 45 percent, but the bottom 60 percent lost ground. The income of the lowest 20 percent fell by 12.5 percent. Real hourly earnings among the working class fell 5 percent. This, along with the adverse trend of social indicators (morbidity and mortality, drug addiction, suicide) suggests that the welfare of the majority of the country declined in the age of globalization — a point that was unnoticed because of the abovementioned points: The elite class became ideologically ossified after the failure of the USSR, which they took as dispositive proof of the benevolence of free markets and their ability to lift all boats in their rising tides; moreover, the elite class mentally and geographically separated itself from the rest of the country, and thus literally did not see what was happening to it. The mainstream media, drawn from this class, barely noticed that only a minority had been the beneficiaries of global trade. It briefly noticed this issue during Pat Buchanan’s 1996 campaign, then forgot it again entirely.
  14. The media and professional politicians — the elite whom Peggy Noonan calls “protected” — thus failed to notice the discontent of the public. The elite domination of the media occurs so naturally that media news people, even when operating with complete integrity and goodwill, are able to convince themselves that they choose and interpret the news “objectively” and on the basis of professional news values. These constraints are so powerful, and built into the system in such a fundamental way, that they don’t see that they’re operating within them. Thus the media confused a public that had been lulled into apathy by cheap imported goods and cheap non-stop entertainment for a public that was, in the main, satisfied with politics as usual.
  15. As a result, the media both failed properly to report the sentiments of this public to policy makers and failed properly to report to this public with information it could use to guide its political decision-making. This public is now in full-scale revolt.

Do you agree with some, all, or none of the above? If so, why?

There are 154 comments.

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  1. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Do you agree with some, all, or none of the above? If so, why?

    Well, sort of.

    Allow me to point out that you’re not forwarding a theory so much as assigning blame. The first ten or so items are all problems, that is, causes for things going wrong. Didn’t work, wasn’t supposed to, doesn’t happen, can’t won’t, etc. So right away, these are answers to the question What is wrong with these people?

    There’s nothing wrong with these people. Whether the facts you cite are true or not, we are furious at the GOP and have zero confidence that they mean what they say, and very little confidence that they can pull off even those things they do want, except for goals shared with democrats. This has been coming for a long time, and now it is here. The real question is What is wrong with you people?

    We understand the establishment-friendly point of view. We came from there. I suppose I could cite a laundry list of moral collapses and ever-less constitutional measures — similar to your media malpractice listed above — to excuse a lethargic, myopic establishment. But it won’t do any good.

    I have zero confidence that explanations will avail either side of anything, and very little confidence that even if you understand us clearly, it will make any difference. I thank you for the conversation. I feel nothing will come of it.

    • #1
    • March 10, 2016, at 3:23 AM PDT
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  2. genferei Member

    This will probably not surprise anyone, but I disagree with almost everything stated here, particularly the romantic premise of the media’s role – historically or theoretically.

    • #2
    • March 10, 2016, at 3:29 AM PDT
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  3. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    genferei:This will probably not surprise anyone, but I disagree with almost everything stated here, particularly the romantic premise of the media’s role – historically or theoretically.

    Go on …

    • #3
    • March 10, 2016, at 3:34 AM PDT
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  4. I Walton Member

    Marshall McLuhan meets … everybody else? That list will keep folks busy for decades. It’s a good list and can be taken as evidence that there is so much going on that the notion of controlling things centrally is absurd. Take free trade, it is disruptive, hurts some helps some but we do not know how to reduce its impact without doing more harm than good. We’ve made adjustment more difficult and growth slower than if we just let it rip. There have to be ways to ameliorate the destruction part of creative destruction, but it won’t be fixed by a remote, non accountable k street dominated administrative state. These new technologies enjoy nearly infinite economies of scale, but also open up new possibilities for radical decentralization

    • #4
    • March 10, 2016, at 3:39 AM PDT
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  5. genferei Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: The media gave Trump a massive amount of free publicity, not realizing … that Trump was not just an entertaining bonanza for ratings and a guaranteed-clickbait diversion, but a serious political candidate who spoke to and for a very significant number of their fellow Americans.

    To be fair to the media — I promise this will be the last time — I don’t think Trump realized this, either. My theory of Trump is that he entered the race on a lark to publicize his brand and accidentally found himself in a position where he had staked too much on one project.

    • #5
    • March 10, 2016, at 3:40 AM PDT
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  6. NCforSCFC Member

    Trump, like Buchanan and Perot before, speaks to the part of the electorate that comes out on the short end of gain/loss from free trade, globalization, and productivity improvements. Republican leaders trumpet the gains (which are real) but ignore those on the losing end. Democrat leaders have no time for the white working class because it has no place in the identity politics world. They have the one identity nobody is allowed to care about. When there are no candidates that give voice to their concerns, I suspect they generally sit out politics. Trade wars are not a solution to the problem, but where are the other proposals to help those caught on the loss side?

    • #6
    • March 10, 2016, at 3:53 AM PDT
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  7. genferei Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: The opening of the ownership of broadcast channels, cable, and satellite to private investors … did not result in a competition to provide informative news coverage to a civic-minded public.

    Who has ever provided informative news coverage to a civic-minded public? More importantly, what person or entity that owns a means of production has ever had this for a goal?

    It resulted in … a race to the bottom for ratings.

    This being the purpose, end or telos of broadcast media how could it be otherwise? Why does the BBC make and show Strictly Come Dancing? Is BBC News any better than Buzzfeed?

    Shopping channels, infomercials, product placement, and reality TV gave rise to population fascinated, even obsessed, with consumer brands, products, celebrities, and super-celebrities.

    Ponder an alternative explanation: people rationally spend effort on acquiring information that is useful or entertaining. If I am buying a car I — in common with everyone, now — will do all sorts of research before making a decision, because I can affect the outcome. If I am casting a vote I — quite rationally — might not do any research whatsoever because I cannot affect the outcome.

    I might use the time I save from not pointlessly “informing” myself about “the issues” to read about Kim Kardashian because it makes me feel good (or bad), or, if I have different tastes, to read about the civil war in Ruritania. Or discuss politics on Ricochet. All of which count as entertainment. And only entertainment.

    • #7
    • March 10, 2016, at 3:56 AM PDT
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  8. Shawn Buell (Majestyk) Contributor

    Claire, I have to disagree strongly re: Wages.

    Wages are only one aspect of a basket full of items employees receive as compensation. While real wages may have slipped, total compensation itself is likely to have increased due to how much more expensive health care benefits are today.

    Almost all wage growth has been swamped by increases in the cost of health insurance (driven hugely by Obamacare mandates) and if you analyze wages and compensation from the perspective the earners at the bottom of the distribution have benefited a great deal more than what wages alone would tell.

    • #8
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:01 AM PDT
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  9. genferei Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Only media outlets with well-established brand names and an already-large audience, or huge financial resources, have been able to enter the Internet media market and draw the attention of the public in significant numbers.

    This is to focus on a tiny portion of the Internet (do we still capitalise this?) phenomenon. As experienced by most people it’s about a proliferation of voices (and, yes, business models). There are thousands who now make a living by posting videos on YouTube. There are millions who write blogs or make vlogs or contribute to sites for nothing. (There are literally dozens who pay to write for Ricochet.) The contributions of the millions and the thousands cover topics like philosophy, classical music, computer games, adventure travel, history, artificial intelligence, knitting, chess, outdoor survival, learning languages, … The full experience of being a human being.

    The media has severely cut back on news reporting and analysis

    Indeed.

    [The conventional news media is not providing] detailed and informative reports about complex trade negotiations, the budget, tax reform, or health care.

    And yet there are many motivated and talented individuals who do provide this information. But it is not packaged into a half hour of faux sobriety and beamed into every house in America where the population, held hostage by the lack of any alternative, pretends to nod along to the approved narrative.

    • #9
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:09 AM PDT
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  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    See, CLaire’s list is easily half success story. No longer are the masses bound to what has always been at least partially state-run media. Oh, there’s no green field of integrity lurking around the internet, either, but if you believe in free markets, you should holler your Hosannas as you wave goodbye to old media and embrace the animating contest of getting a message out online.

    Either that, or you;re not conservative and deserve all of Brian Watt’s scorn and abuse. Really, he’s doing you a favor.

    • #10
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:14 AM PDT
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  11. Titus Techera Contributor

    Mr. Genferei, these many motivated & talented individuals also do not have an audience. Or do you feel they have found the audience they want or which you feel they deserve?

    Otherwise, they’re going to have to come together & make a concerted claim on public attention. & then you’re going back to the romance of the media!

    • #11
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:18 AM PDT
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  12. dbeck Inactive

    A better explanation than others I’ve read. BLM & student campus unrest super charged the anger along with presidential stirring of the discontent pot.

    • #12
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:18 AM PDT
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  13. genferei Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: The steady encroachment of marketing and advertising into every aspect of our lives displaced both religion and the political public sphere, replacing it with a shallow consumer culture unsuited to thoughtful, democratic participation.

    Could you spell out the mechanism by which this “encroachment … displace[s] … religion”, for example?

    Oh, for those simple, ad free days!

    Advertisement1870 TimesSq

    Increasingly, we live in a world of virtual communities built by advertisers and based on consumer demographics.

    I certainly live in a world of virtual communities. I don’t think any of them has been built by advertisers.

    • #13
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:30 AM PDT
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  14. Scott Wilmot Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Trump means ratings.

    Your #1 is not a theory. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves admitted as much:

    “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” he said of the presidential race.

    #6 and #7 speak to the rot of our culture. Something has surely replaced religion for many people, and that something furthers the rot. I added a short post last night on a new take on the “Benedict Option”, wherein Fr. Dwight Longenecker proposes an antidote to this mess. Speaking to #6 and #7 he writes:

    As a society, we have broken marriage, abused children, murdered one another, waged war and robbed the poor. Our hearts and minds are now darkened. Riddled with the intellectual cancer of relativism, we cannot hear reason or make arguments. We are, therefore, left with the maelstrom of emotions — tempest tossed by anger, irrational rage and demonic frustration.

    That is a pretty good summary of our political culture in my view. But Fr. Dwight is a man of faith and proposes and lives out a way out of this mess. You can find out more here.

    • #14
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:33 AM PDT
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  15. Larry3435 Member

    Claire, I sort of agree. Some people are the kind of mindless couch potatoes you describe, and their brains are filled with whatever mush the media feeds them. But, I suspect that such people do not generally involve themselves in politics. They prefer reality TV. Their minds are not full of MSNBC, but rather full of Gawker and TMZ. A lot of them will come out to support Trump, because he is a reality TV “celebrity. But their involvement in politics will not persist past the fading of Trump’s celebrity.

    However, we have to acknowledge that there is no cure for the “low information voter.” You can lead an apathetic and ignorant man to information, but you can’t make him drink. For those who are interested in actually informing themselves, the means are readily available (including right here on Ricochet).

    For all the denigration of “elites,” I think we might give the “elites” credit for being the people who (at least try to) follow the facts, rather than whatever the advertisers want them to watch. I, for one, could not identify a Khardashian in a line up. I don’t think of myself as an “elite” for cultivating that particular line of ignorance, but maybe I am.

    • #15
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:48 AM PDT
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  16. Dr. Strangelove Thatcher

    The root cause is our primary system. Previously aspiring politicians had to win approval of other experienced leaders.

    In contrast, under the primary system they just need to preform before an amateur audience.

    Trump would be DOA if he was forced to make his pitch to a room full of leaders who know how the world works.

    • #16
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:48 AM PDT
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  17. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Scott Wilmot: Your #1 is not a theory. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves admitted as much:

    Yes. Exactly.

    • #17
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:57 AM PDT
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  18. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    John Hendrix: a room full of leaders who know how the world works.

    Would that room full of leaders know what Trump’s supporters are seeking to convey to them?

    • #18
    • March 10, 2016, at 4:59 AM PDT
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  19. Titus Techera Contributor

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    John Hendrix: a room full of leaders who know how the world works.

    Would that room full of leaders know what Trump’s supporters are seeking to convey to them?

    Maybe they get to decide the elections, too?

    • #19
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:12 AM PDT
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  20. Zafar Member

    Would you call this a market failure, or is it a problem that the market can’t really resolve – in which case, what can? (If anything.)

    • #20
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:24 AM PDT
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  21. Tim H. Member

    Titus Techera:Maybe they get to decide the elections, too?

    Thanks for posting this, Titus. I’ve always loved the Stonecutter’s Song. They as much as admit they’re responsible for making Trump a serious candidate, just as they admit they made Steve Gutenberg a star.

    • #21
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:30 AM PDT
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  22. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Zafar:Would you call this a market failure, or is it a problem that the market can’t really resolve – in which case, what can? (If anything.)

    I don’t know; in fact, I don’t know whether this is a good theory (or a useful collection of observations). I was mostly wondering if people thought any of these observations were accurate or useful; before bustling about thinking of ways to solve the problem, I’d rather first figure out whether any of these propositions even make sense.

    • #22
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:32 AM PDT
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  23. Tim H. Member

    Let’s not jump on Claire if we disagree with the premises of her theory. I’m guessing that these are meant as points for debate, rather than (necessarily) statements of absolute truth.

    • #23
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:33 AM PDT
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  24. EJHill Podcaster

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: The opening of the ownership of broadcast channels, cable, and satellite to private investors has changed our civic culture, and not for the better.

    To put it bluntly, this is just a complete pigs breakfast. It runs counter to two things: 1) Conservative thinking and 2) Actual history.

    First, no conservative worth their salt would ever attempt to argue that government-run enterprises are better than private ones.

    Secondly, private commercial broadcasting in America will celebrate its 96th year this November. While individual public institutions have owned licenses almost from the beginning*, there has never been an official state broadcaster in the United States. There is no equivalent to the BBC, the CBC or the ABC** in America.

    Nothing is controlled by the Feds, not even PBS. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in 1967 and while its Board of Directors are political appointees the CPB is legally prohibited from owning any stations.

    Even C-SPAN, the nation’s premier low-budget political network that broadcasts the proceedings of the House and the Senate is a private enterprise run by America’s cable television providers.

    The government entity that oversees broadcasting is younger than most AM stations and both NBC and CBS.***

    From their very beginnings, broadcasters in America took their public interest requirements very seriously. NBC owned and operated a world-class symphony orchestra and commissioned operas. Meet the Press predates television. CBS had a robust documentary division and ABC was the home to Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic.

    If anything the interference of government is what led to the decline. By creating the CPB in 1967, Congress and the Johnson Administration absolved commercial broadcasters of this responsibility.

    *WNYC, owned by the city of New York went on the air in 1922 and remained in city hands until the Guliani Administration sold it to a non-profit foundation in 1997.
    **In this case ABC stands for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and is not to be confused with the Disney-owned ABC in the States.
    ***The Commerce Dept. handled broadcast licenses starting in 1912. They did such a bad job of it the FCC was created in 1934.
    • #24
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:34 AM PDT
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  25. Titus Techera Contributor

    Zafar:Would you call this a market failure, or is it a problem that the market can’t really resolve – in which case, what can? (If anything.)

    I’m not sure people think of the market as delivering what Miss Berlinski wants by way of civic-minded attention to events.

    But the market does no better when it comes to popular music or the movies. To call that a failure implies an intention–I’m not sure many people or most people would grant that assumption anymore…

    • #25
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:34 AM PDT
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  26. Red Fish, Blue Fish Inactive

    genferei: To be fair to the media — I promise this will be the last time — I don’t think Trump realized this, either. My theory of Trump is that he entered the race on a lark to publicize his brand and accidentally found himself in a position where he had staked too much on one project.

    I do not agree with this. I think Trump felt and continues to feel, genuinely, that the country is on the wrong path. His campaign has tapped into that anger because he personally gets it. As evidence of this, just look at how unusually good he has been at generating more support by taking actions that would, in other cycles, destroy his campaign. Like it or not, the guy has captured their imagination because he is one of them, culturally.

    The economics behind the coming apart have been discussed a lot. I would focus on the cultural aspect of it, because that cultural aspect is what is turning what would otherwise be a normal fight into something much more existential for the parties.

    Somewhere since the late 80s, the culture of the upper half began to diverge. WASPs faded away and in their place was a new group of professional wealthy, who developed preferences that separated them from the lower half. The example I always like to use is back to Mitt Romney. When he was raising his kids, they took vacations on lakes in the Northeast, right next to the working class people in his community. They shopped at A&P and their kids wore clothes from Sears. Maybe, if they splurged, some switched to Food Emporium, which was basically A&P’s high end brand. At home, the family meal looked a lot like the family meal from the lower half. Some pasta, a piece of generic meat cooked on the stove or in an oven, and some processed bread. My family was wealthy in the Northeast, and that is how I was raised in the 80s (born in 1975). We all bought Fords and Chevys. Maybe the lefty types liked the Subaru. A Mercedes was a true luxury. In to the 90s, things changed for us. Remember when salmon was rare and expensive? We would eat lobster once per year as a family tradition. By the time I cam home from college in the mid-nineties, my mom would routinely have shellfish on the table. Gone was the processed bread. There was a Mercedes in the driveway. The last American made car my family bought was one of the original Chevrolet suburbans from the mid-eighties.

    The people in that same wealthy position today have likely never been inside a Stop & Shop. They don’t do Sears. They vacation in Europe or Asia, or the Caribbean. It’s all Audis and BMWs and Mercedes. Meanwhile, the consumer choices at the bottom level mirror, in large part, the choices made by all classes when I was younger.

    • #26
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:36 AM PDT
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  27. Titus Techera Contributor

    Tim H.:

    Titus Techera:Maybe they get to decide the elections, too?

    Thanks for posting this, Titus. I’ve always loved the Stonecutter’s Song. They as much as admit they’re responsible for making Trump a serious candidate, just as they admit they made Steve Gutenberg a star.

    That was the cruelest one. I don’t care about the electric car that much, but this…

    • #27
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:36 AM PDT
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  28. Red Fish, Blue Fish Inactive

    Essentially, we made wealth the determining factor for life choices in ways that only existed around the edges for most of the 20th century.

    We created two cultures, and then those in the wealthier culture sneered back at those in the less wealthy culture. It’s that dynamic that turned the economically disenfranchised into revolutionaries of sorts.

    • #28
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:39 AM PDT
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  29. PHCheese Member

    Wages for the bottom have fallen because of welfare benefits, and let’s not forget the underground economy, it’s huge. On other sad fact is that American workers were over paid (in relationship to the rest of the world) after WWll until the seventies. Now the unskilled are forced to compete and can’t or won’t.

    • #29
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:43 AM PDT
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  30. Tommy De Seno Contributor

    Ricochet included in the media blame for the rise of Trump?

    Our main feed has had more anti-Trump rants than a player who just got denied a comp after losing this month’s mortgage payment on a river card at the Taj.

    • #30
    • March 10, 2016, at 5:49 AM PDT
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