Thomas Frank wrote the famously clueless book, What's The Matter With Kansas, mewing doe-eyed* about why the voters of Kansas kept voting for Republicans when it was "clearly in their economic interest" to vote for Democrats. He didn't understand that the people of Kansas knew what he didn't, which is that this is nonsense on stilts. The Democrats are terrible to the working class, speaking in economic terms.In reality, the Republican Party hasn't been so hot for the working class' economic interests lately, either. I'm pretty surprised that you really don't hear much about this when the Talking Heads and Usual Suspects blather on about how horrible Trump is and how it's incomprehensible how those stupid proles keep supporting him when he says the trumpism du jour.
It's actually entirely understandable. Trump is running a strongly populist campaign, the strongest I've seen in my lifetime. The working class have felt shut out and put down by the establishment - both parties - for a long, long time. Trump is tapping into that.
The establishment (both parties) has free trade on the brain. They push it in increasingly secretive agreements (The Trans Pacific Partnership is the most glaring example of this). The Guy On The Street wonders when he'll see the benefits of these agreements; after all, the factory closed down four years ago and he's been in and out of part time jobs ever since. The Talking Heads spout a lot of economic theory about rising tide floating boats, but he sees his kids wearing clothes from Goodwill.
Trump talks to this guy, who sees Trump's policies as being in his own economic interest. If fewer illegal aliens (trigger alert!) come into this country - or if some of the ones already here go back home (trigger alert!) - then Joe Everyman might think that he could land some construction work.
In fact, Joe Everyman is entirely rational when he thinks this. It's really quite astonishing that the Talking Heads simply don't get this. But it's worse (for the establishment): so far this has all been about economic interest. What about Joe Everyman's interest? Economists like to say that everything is about economics, but c'mon. Joe quite frankly finds himself on the wrong end of social pressure, where political correctness is used as a club against Joe and his friends by calculating political interest groups. Because he's white, he's racist; because he's male, he's sexist; because he didn't go to an Ivy League school, he's an ignoramus. Everything about him is wrong, wrong, wrong, and he needs to change, to get right with Society RIGHT DAMN NOW.
And along comes Donald Trump with his anti-PC hammer, blowing away nonsensical establishment PC groupthink time and time again.
How could Joe possibly not think that The Donald was the guy for him? And Joe is entirely rational in thinking that a vote for Trump is a vote for his own interest. If Trump follows through on even a little of what he says, Joe absolutely will be better off.
The whole thing is the simplest calculation anyone could make. And so of course it has the Talking Heads flummoxed.
I don't know whether Trump will make a good President or not, but we're sure fixin' to find out.