Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Trump in Trouble

Given the unrelentingly negative media coverage -- such as this morning's "Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s Campaign Manager, Is Charged With Battery" by Maggie Haberman and Michael Grynbaum; or, "Donald Trump, Revoking a Vow, Says He Won’t Support Another G.O.P. Nominee" -- I don't think Trump can survive as a viable general election candidate too much longer.

Basically The New York Times has given over its editorial page to an unending string of Trump attacks. Yesterday it was a David Brooks dissection of Trumpist misogyny, "The Sexual Politics of 2016," paired with a broadside by Roger Cohen, "Trump's New World Disorder," accusing Trump of calling for a nuclear arms race in East Asia.

The goal is to drive up Trump's negatives so high only the most fervent of supporters will back him. Trump will be left only with uneducated, working-class white men. He might win the GOP nomination, but he will not be electable in the general.

This appears to be the establishment strategy du jour. MoveOn is polling its members to see if they want to engage in an extended anti-Trump mobilization.

But good reporting has also been done on the Trump phenomenon. Nicholas Confessore's "How the G.O.P. Elite Lost Its Voters to Donald Trump," which appeared Monday, is a must-read. The answer to the question of lost voters is lost jobs. Trump was able to get traction by attacking trade and immigration.

Corporate-managed trade policy, which has de-industrialized large swaths of the United States, is emerging as the premiere issue of the 2016 presidential race. The New York Times, always a stalwart on free trade, has attempted to obfuscate the issue with a series of think pieces -- Neil Irwin's "The Trade Deficit Isn’t a Scorecard, and Cutting It Won’t Make America Great Again" and Eduardo Porter's "Nafta May Have Saved Many Autoworkers’ Jobs" -- which acknowledge that jobs might have been lost because of U.S. trade policy but overall the country is stronger.

That might sound good in a corner office in Manhattan, but it makes no sense to most voters. People want jobs, affordable housing and health care, quality public education, efficient transit and well-maintained roads and decent food. Oh, and some green space. That's about it. They don't care about the dollar's hegemony and the rest of the Great Game bullshit.

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