Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ornstein on the Meaning of Trump

Norm Ornstein, scholar ofthe conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute, explains the meaning of Donald Trump's Presidential campaign in The Atlantic.

We head into the first presidential debate in Cleveland with Donald Trump leading the field and confounding the confident predictions of a slew of pundits that his collapse was at hand—whether after the Mexican-rapists comment, the slam at John McCain as no hero, or other statements that offended elites but only seemed to attract more support from Republican hoi polloi. What explains the Trump bump? The answer is the emerging, even dominant force in the GOP—an angry, anti-establishment, anti-leadership populism that was triggered by the financial crisis and the 2008 bailout, cynically exploited in 2010 and 2012 by the “Young Guns” in the House and other GOP leaders in Congress to convert anger into turnout and elect Tea Party-oriented candidates. This force is now turning on those leaders, creating problems not just in the presidential race, but in a Congress whose leaders face the possibility of implosion ahead.

The angry populism has only grown with conservative rank and file incited to expect the repeal of Obamacare and an Obama capitulation on debt-ceiling showdowns and government shutdowns, ending repeatedly in disappointment. The sharp drop in Republican Party favorability shown in a recent Pew survey was driven by disenchantment among Republicans—an 18 percent decline in only six months.

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