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Let's hope this isn't really an education and class thing

Ronald Brownstein argues in The Atlantic that the rise of Donald Trump marks a change for the Republican party from a party divided by ideology to one divided by class and education.

I have just wasted a great deal of time and effort trying to find something in that thesis to disagree with. Unlike, it seems, most Trump voters (and by his own admission unlike the Donald himself) I am ashamed of my "dark side." The elitist snarkiness that Trump supporters elicit in me is not something of which I'm proud.

Moreover, it's a phenomenon with which I'm uncomfortably familiar. Growing up in a white working-class neighborhood threatened by social change, I know all about frightened and angry people who may not be inclined to political philosophy or have time for it,  and who simply vote out of their fears and anger. Back in the early 'Seventies, the Left was contemptuous of working-class Americans, Nixon's "Silent Majority." They weren't too keen on the "Reagan Democrats," either.

I was a liberal Democrat back then. And I was a snarky elitist.

But compared to the Trump phenomenon, both were intellectual reformations. Working-class support for Nixon was a reaction to the Hippies and Yippies and the lifestyle which to this day is celebrated on the Left. It was in a great measure a reaction against mindlessness, not in favor of it. The values of the 'Sixties were pointing us in the direction of disaster, as subsequent experience has illustrated to those of us who think with our minds rather than with our emotions.  The "Silent Majority" was for something specific, and against something specific.

The "Reagan Democrat" phenomenon was to a large extent a reaction against an economy gone haywire and an ineffectual president who didn't have a clue. Whether one agreed with him or not, Ronald Reagan had strong beliefs about what was wrong, what had to be done to fix it, and how to go about it.

The Trump phenomenon, on the other hand, is a frustrated and frightened reaction without rhyme or reason. Scapegoat the Mexicans and the Muslims? Sure. Why not? Build a wall across the Mexican border and make the Mexicans pay for it? Sounds good to me! Although the point seems to have escaped the likes of Ann Coulter, Donald Trump has absolutely no idea about how to put any of his off-the-cuff promises into effect. In fact, he has absolutely no idea what he's talking about on any of the major issues. He just talks.

Ask for specifics, and he changes the subject. Press him, and he attacks you personally. He offers platitudes,  but no solutions. He's an outlet for anger, but there is nothing constructive about him. He is simply a means to lash out. He is an outlet for anger. He is not a leader in any sense; he's just a symbol.

One hopes and prays that the thesis of the article turns out to be wrong- that once the predominantly white, uneducated working-class folks who follow Trump realize that, they'll abandon him. I don't think it's going to happen tonight. But I pray that it happens in sufficient time before the convention to spare us another four years of the Democrats.

It will certainly happen long before there's any danger of Trump actually being elected. It may be my own working-class roots speaking, but I find it hard to believe that those are that shallow.

HT: Real Clear Politics

Photo By DonkeyHotey via


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