August 11, 2015


The following, from Jim Geraghty, seems a bit too psychoanalyzing, but interesting.  I wonder if Trump is the candidate that best reflects the incivility of the online world and is being rewarded for it: 
So who are Trump’s supporters? Matt Continetti, among others, explains their lack of concern about Trump’s distinctly un-conservative stances and moments -- from “Single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland” to the donations to Democrats to his enthusiasm for eminent domain -- by concluding they’re the “radical American middle”:
Formerly known as the Silent Majority, then the Reagan Democrats, these voters had supported Ross Perot in 1992, and were hoping the Texas billionaire would run again. Voters in the radical middle, Newsweek wrote, “see the traditional political system itself as the country’s chief problem.”
The radical middle is attracted to populists, outsiders, businessmen such as Perot and Lee Iacocca who have never held office, and to anyone, according to Newsweek, who is the “tribune of anti-insider discontent.”
Discussions on and offline about the Trump phenomenon have focused whether the Trump fanbase is what Sam Francis described as “Middle American Radicals”:
Middle American Radicals are essentially middle-income, white, often ethnic voters who see themselves as an exploited and dispossessed group, excluded from meaningful political participation, threatened by the tax and trade policies of the government, victimized by its tolerance of crime, immigration and social deviance, and ignored or ridiculed by the major cultural institutions of the media and education.
You hear a lot of commentary that “even if the Republican party can’t stand Trump, it needs a way to win over his fan base.” I’m not so sure that’s possible, and even if it is, it isn’t sustainable.
For starters, Middle-American Radicals appear to awaken every ten years or so, shout loudly, and then go back to muttering about something else. You probably remember John Derbyshire; back in 2010, he, pointed out that Middle-American Radicals can be intensely passionate, but that passion rarely lasts:
[They] may grumble picturesquely about the state of public affairs. If his job or property values are threatened, you may get him out to a rally. Eventually, though, his heart will return to where it belongs: his family, his TV, his job, his skeet club. He is, after all, middle-aged (to judge from the Tea Party gatherings) and cannot easily acquire new habits.
There’s one clear policy preference for the Middle-American Radical: serious border security and a deportation of those in the country illegally. After that, it gets fuzzier.
The Middle-American Radical/Trump fan feels wronged and victimized. He’s convinced that he’s not doing as well as he feels he should because of malevolent outside forces -- illegal immigration (but there’s probably some disapproval of current levels of legal immigration, too) and affirmative action. It’s fair to wonder how many find the increasing ethnic diversity of America a good thing.
You don’t have to be a Middle-American Radical to look around and feel like you’re losing something – in particular, the America you grew up in. Notice Trump’s perfectly simple, hopeful rallying cry, “Make America Great Again.” It is hopeful, but driven by a sense of loss. Interestingly, even though these people feel like losers in the economic game, they’re convinced that the people running America are the ones who deserve to be called “losers.” Trump’s fans love when he calls somebody a “loser.”
What many of us see as name-calling, a lot of Trump’s fan base sees as very effective arguments -- “You’re an idiot! You’re a moron! You’re a loser!” 
“Things were better when I was younger” is a common sentiment, and in some cases may be true. But the United States government is not a time machine; it is hard to imagine a set of policies that would mimic the nostalgic vision of America in the minds of the MARs.

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