Summary: Political gurus have mocked Trump, run silly pictures of him, and dissected his soundbites without finding the source of his appeal to so many voters. Now they’re descending into hysteria, surprised by his predictable primary wins. Instead let’s look at what he says. Surprisingly to those that rely on journalists for news, Trump says some sensible things with broad appeal — including a few that appeal to Left and Right. No matter if he wins or loses, 2016 might start a populist redefinition of America’s political coalitions. Whether for good or ill is up to us.
By Ethan Miller; Getty Images.
Since the foolish rebuttals have failed to derail Trump’s campaign (e.g., running silly pictures of Trump, mocking his soundbites while ignoring his policies, and stern condemnations), let’s try hearing what Trump says. Perhaps it might explain some of the popularity that has brought him so close to the GOP nomination — and so close to Hillary in the polls.
The CNN-Telemundo Republican Debate on February 25
Trump’s Opening: explaining his goals
My whole theme is make America great again. We don’t win anymore as a country. We don’t win with trade, we don’t win with the military. ISIS, we can’t even knock out ISIS … We don’t win in any capacity with healthcare. We have terrible health care … You look at our borders, they’re like swiss cheese, everybody pours in.
We’re going to make a great country again. We’re going to start winning again. We’re going to win a lot, it’s going to be a big difference, believe me. It’s going to be a big difference.
… I’ve been a big contributor to Israel over the years. I’ve received many, many awards from Israel. I have a great relationship with Israel. And I’m going to keep it that way. And if I could bring peace, that would be a fantastic thing. It would be one of my greatest achievements as president.
WaPo reporter Aaron Blake comments: “Trump’s heart didn’t seem to be in this. He almost seemed tired and bored of saying the same thing over and over again.” This probably reflects Blake’s boredom with such sentiments, instead of the trivia that excites sophisticates like him about soundbites, polls, and the horse-race.
Trump’s statement probably appeals to a wide range of Americans who remember post-WWII America. We helped win WWII and established the first international order based on law and justice (however imperfect). An America of rapid growth of GDP and education, improvement of civil rights, and bold ventures such as Apollo. We’ve lost all that (left and right miss different aspects, of course).
Caring for our fellow Americans
… the insurance companies take care of the politicians. The insurance companies get what they want. We should have gotten rid of the lines around each state so we can have real competition. We thought that was gone, we thought those lines were going to be gone, so something happened at the last moment where Obamacare got approved, and all of that was thrown out the window.
The reason is some of the people in the audience are insurance people, and insurance lobbyists, and special interests. … The insurance companies are making a fortune on every single thing they do. … That’s going to solve the problem.
That’s quite daft, of course. Pure conservative voodoo economics. But demonizing insurance companies is smart politics.