In previous articles, I have explained how there was this group of White Independent voters in the Center who were social conservatives and economic populists who for thirty years were labeled the “Embittered” or “Disaffected” swath of the electorate by the Pew Research Center. These people were never traditional conservative Republican voters. They were the Obama-Trump voters.
In 2016, the Disaffecteds who became the Hard-Pressed Skeptics were lured into the Republican Party by Donald Trump’s MAGA agenda which unlike Zombie Reaganism was more populist and was right up their alley. These people were the cornerstone of the Trump coalition and became the Market Skeptic Republicans in the latest Pew typology. They took a leap of faith on Donald Trump in 2016:
This is the same group of voters:
If you have been paying attention to the Trump presidency for the last four years and Trump’s disastrous 2020 campaign, you can probably imagine what went wrong for him with this group.
As soon as the dust settled from the 2016 election, it all began to go south. Steve Bannon admitted in his 60 Minutes interview in 2017 that Donald Trump sold out to the Republican establishment within 48 hours of winning the 2016 election. He never “Drained the Swamp.”
It was over in November 2016:
‘In the 48 hours after we won, there’s a fundamental decision that was made,’ Bannon said to Charlie Rose in a ’60 Minutes’ interview. ‘You might call it the original sin of the administration. We embraced the establishment. I mean, we totally embraced the establishment.’ Bannon said many of the people that had staffed the backbone of the campaign – including himself – comprised an ‘island of misfit toys.’ ‘So he looks around and I’m wearin’ my combat jacket, I haven’t shaved, I got – you know, my hair’s down to here, and he says – he’s – he’s thinkin,’ ‘Hey, I’ve gotta put together a government. I’ve gotta really staff up somethin’. I need to embrace the establishment.’ Bannon told Rose that the task of ‘draining the swamp’ was a bigger accomplishment than any one administration could pull off, predicting it would 15-20 years of ‘relentlessly going after it.’
I watched the Trump transition like a hawk.
In those two or three months between the election and the inauguration, the first order of business was dumping the Alt-Right baggage that had won the 2016 election by clobbering the Left online in order to appease the donor class and the GOP. The Mooch showed up on the Trump transition team. Gary Cohn, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, was hired as Trump’s top economic adviser. The Trump agenda was also set … it would be delivering the Paul Ryan Better Way agenda on health care and tax cuts. After winning the 2016 election as an interesting nationalist and populist who was going to shake up the system, Donald Trump executed a pivot in 2017 to embracing the most unpopular GOP policies.
Trump’s image changed in that first year in office:
What was he thinking?
Who knows? Did he assume that he was the reason he won the presidency and it was all about him and not what he had said in 2016? He seems to have assumed we played no part in it.
For the last four years, Donald Trump walked away from the people who won him the 2016 election. He shifted away from the Center and to the Right on everything from race to economics to foreign policy. By the time of the 2020 campaign, the message was BLEXIT and based blacks, the most pro-Israel president of all time, the gayest president of all time, the biggest tax cuts and DOW 30,000 and Dems R Real Racists and Socialism Sucks. Charlie Kirk and QAnon became the public face of Trumpism. The shift from the Alt-Right to Charlie Kirk and QAnon reflects the bait-and-switch that was the Trump era.
As always, we found ourselves getting screwed:
The Trump era was the GOP at the trough.
The “Business Conservatives” or “Core Conservatives” had their way.
When you look at the Pew typology, you can see that the GOP in the Trump era was divided into four groups that strongly differed on a number of issues.
Market Skeptical Republicans are pro-science. They believe economic system is rigged and favors powerful interest groups. The overwhelming majority say economic inequality is a big problem. They want to raise taxes on the wealthy and large corporations. They want a strong leader who is going to enforce strong borders who is going to be less involved in the world and more focused on this country. They also think immigrants are a burden on society. They are more in favor of a social safety net. These people are younger, more populist and moderate and far less financially secure than the Boomers.
So what does the GOP under Donald Trump do to build on bringing them into the Republican Party? To ask the question is to answer it. The tax cuts? Moving the embassy to Jerusalem? Criminal justice reform? The Platinum Plan? Allowing Antifa and Black Lives Matter to burn down the country?