Until Donald Trump, the GOP was the party of free trade agreements, military adventurism, cutting capital gains taxes, corporate welfare, tax loopholes, trickle-down economics, super pacs, and lobbyist influence in campaigns and government.
Trump ignored establishment orthodoxy and repudiated establishment priorities. In doing so, he commandeered the party and on the presidency.
Trump was able to take his message condemning military intervention and perpetual war to the people without the need to raise campaign money from the arms manufacturers, munitions lobbyists, warship builders, and the aircraft industry.
Trump was able to fight trade agreements like NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) because he did not need bribes from multinational corporations, Wall Street, and banking lobbyists.
Trump was too rich to be bribed and didn’t need to steal.
Donald Trump may well be the most talented and effective politician since Abraham Lincoln. Most scholars credit FDR with the mantle of the most skilled politician in modern times, but critical analysis has handed the mantle to Bill Clinton. In light of the 2016 election cycle, the title belongs to Donald Trump.
I have been a political strategist and consultant to politicians for over 40 years. Donald Trump is the most effective candidate I have ever seen. He has an almost prescient capability to read a room and an audience. He is a brilliant and well educated man who has the ability to speak to crowds using the lowest common denominator of communication. He understands what will play in the media and what will not. He dominated the news, the discussion, the polls, the primaries, and the delegate count since he first announced his candidacy.
Nothing in modern political history even comes close to Trump’s domination of the media, the issues, and the voters.
His populist, anti-establishment message resonated with a huge segment of the American public.
Take me, as a case in point. I disagree with Trump on almost every issue. He wants to build a border wall, I favor open borders. He wants to build up the military, I want it drastically reduced. He calls himself a conservative. I call myself a state socialist. He is in favor of the police. I think police are generally thugs. Not much of a political match, right?
I supported Bernie Sanders for president, and certainly preferred him to Trump. But what happened when Hillary was nominated?
Like a great many progressives, I saw Hillary as the enemy. She was and is a Wall Street puppet, a tool of the banking industry, and a proponent of trade agreements. She indicated she would continue Obama’s policies. And I had contempt for most of those very policies. Wild horse roundups, the killing of wildlife for the cattle ranchers, the drone strikes that kill innocent civilians, the appointment of industry executives and lobbyists to regulatory positions within the government which oversee their very industries, the sell out of the environment to Royal Dutch Shell, the massive deportations of undocumented Hispanics, And the Trans Pacific Partnership.
Sanders opposed the TPP. Hillary had favored NAFTA, trade deals with China, Korea, and Viet Nam. She called the TPP the “gold standard” of trade agreements until Sanders entered the race against her. Then she decided that there were “problems” with it, not specifying what they were or what she would do about them.
Trade agreements make is easier and more profitable to kill animals. They encourage and reward live export. They make it cheaper to produce corpses. They override US cruelty standards, such as they are. They make it impossible for the US to ban the import of even the most horribly exploited and slaughtered creatures.
The differences between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were, and are, fundamental and profound. And on trade, Sanders voters were much closer to Donald Trump than they were to Hillary Clinton. I know I certainly was.
Which is why trade was the most important issue in the general elections, and why Donald Trump was my candidate over Hillary.
Trade is why Donald Trump is president of the US.
Trump carried the Rust Belt and won the electoral vote. Traditional Democratic states went to Trump. Michigan. Wisconsin. Ohio. Iowa. Pennsylvania.
And Trump carried those states because Bernie voters supported Trump.
For years, middle class, lower income, and poor Republicans have voted against their own economic interests, because their social values have been held hostage to the interests of billionaires and Wall Street. Doctrinaire conservatives extorted support from evangelicals, anti-abortionists, gun nuts, and bigots with their checkbooks.
“You want your conservative social issues advanced? You need to vote for our guy!”
The Donald trumped that political norm.
Trump appealed to a populist base that was distinguishable from the populist left only on social issues. And Trump was far more attractive to blue collar Democrats and left wing populists than was Hillary Clinton.
Hillary supported trade agreements. Trump did not.
Hillary supported military interventionism. Trump did not.
Hillary supported corporate welfare. Trump did not.
Those profound differences, and their political consequences, were lost on every hack and pundit last year.
Political pundits and establishment apologists seem not to have learned their lesson.
To a person, they all were wrong in their analyses and prognostications of the Trump and Hillary campaigns.
They never saw it coming. They were busy in their echo chambers denigrating Trump and making fun of his supporters.
And they are back in their echo chambers again.
They are clueless to the body politic outside the Beltway.
They are pontificating on how poorly Trump is handling the presidency.
They are attempting to fuel outrage over one misstep or another.
What they do not realize is that NO ONE IS LISTENING.
The establishment media and talking heads have lost their grip on public opinion and the ability to influence enough of the public to dictate national elections.
They are dead men (and women) walking.
The good news is that they have similarly lost their grip on their target audience: rank-and-file Democratic voters.
The writing is on the wall.
Progressives are taking over the Democratic party.
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