POV you’re a billionaire pic.twitter.com/EzUoUkRQKa— Queenfish Sadie Long (@MrsHueyLong) February 5, 2021
they do not make politicians like they used to folks pic.twitter.com/FINdkiU8Jp— shoe (@shoe0nhead) February 5, 2021
Corporations conspired to manage the election the same way that they would a managerial firm: America is nominally owned by the people, but in reality controlled by a separate group with its own interests https://t.co/PbT7UJWHQH pic.twitter.com/RgjpEn1c5R— Pedro L. Gonzalez (@emeriticus) February 5, 2021
This is excellent.
I feel vindicated by this survey.
Donald Trump won in 2016 by running as a moderate, a populist and a nationalist and away from “True Conservatism.” He won by leaning into the disaffected Center which is the reason why he electrified the Alt-Right. The so-called “far right” was the big block of White voters in the middle.
After winning the 2016 election, Donald Trump began to make a series of wrong moves all of which were pointed out on this website and discussed in detail at the time. The first big mistake was bringing clueless Manhattan socialites like Jared Kushner and Ivanka to Washington and empowering them in the White House. The second big mistake was selling out to the Republican donor class and dumping the Alt-Right which was dismissed as this small fringe group rather than a noisy online proxy for a larger block of Trump voters. The third big mistake was hiring Reince Preibus who filled his White House with Never Trump conservatives and blowing his political capital on advancing Paul Ryan’s wildly unpopular legislative agenda. Donald Trump inexplicably began to disassemble his own coalition and move to the Right and cater to the priorities of the donors who he had ran against and defeated in the primary.
As the Trump presidency unfolded between 2017 and 2020, Donald Trump began to alienate the White Independents and moderates who had been his original supporters and had driven him to victory in the primaries. It was this enormous swing of White Indies and the continued loss of suburbanites to Joe Biden that killed him in the 2020 election. He was running on the Platinum Plan, the tax cuts and moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. The three biggest mistakes of the Trump presidency were 1.) embracing Paul Ryan’s health care plan, 2.) using budget reconciliation to pass the tax cuts and 3.) the way he mishandled COVID. This is clearly reflected in the polls whereas Charlottesville didn’t even register because the White voters in the Center are more working class and have stronger racial attitudes.
This survey is encouraging because it only reflects Trump 2020 voters. It doesn’t include people like me who got fed up with him because he moved away from populism, embraced the stale conservative policy agenda and “monitored the situation” for four years as the elite cabal described by Molly Ball in her Time article wiped us all off the internet. Donald Trump’s terrible leadership is the reason why he lost White Independent voters who had voted for them first time when he ran as a populist. In spite of it all, it appears that most of his supporters stuck with him as the lesser of two evils. The people he lost were those who couldn’t take it anymore and were ready to move on and find new leadership. Most of the White Indies who peeled away were far more moderate on economics and couldn’t stand his “Socialism Sucks” Turning Point USA campaign and embrace of the Reaganism we thought we had defeated.
The solution to “adding” to the Republican coalition and turning it into a majority is clear. You have to find a candidate who can build out into the middle from the populist or moderate wing of the party. Donald Trump won 25% of the DLWC vote in the 2016 election and could have done much better.
As the panel notes, Trump voters are motivated by a sense of White grievance and feeling under siege. They are quite flexible on the policy agenda and voted for him anyway just to “own the libs” in spite of all his betrayals on that front. More than anything else, they want a champion who defends them against their enemies – the Democratic Leaning Independent Elites (DILEs) – who attack them for being White and working class. Unfortunately, Donald Trump never leveraged his personality cult to push a populist policy into the mainstream until he lost the election and embraced $2,000 stimulus checks.
The shifting politics of wealth redistribution show the way forward. There is now room for a Huey Long-style populist insurgent candidate to run well to the Left of Trump on that issue. It is conceivable that such a candidate could run on the destruction of the oligarchy, the redistribution of wealth in the United States and hammering Joe Biden on cultural issues like wokeness and open borders.
I can hear the 2024 campaign now!
Note: We need to find someone smarter, someone much more clever than Trump who can mobilize a populist majority. Donald Trump was a warm up act.