Sunday, December 03, 2017


If you want to know why Donald Trump retains the loyalty of his voter base, take a look at one anecdote from a new book co-authored by Corey Lewandowski, Trump's first campaign manager. The Washington Post reports:
In a section of the book written by Lewandowski, Trump is described as flying on his helicopter when he learns that [Paul] Manafort [Lewandowski's successor] has said “Trump shouldn’t be on television anymore, that he shouldn’t be on the Sunday shows” and that Manafort should appear instead. Trump was angrier than Lewandowski had ever seen him, ordering the pilot to lower the altitude so he could make a cellphone call.

“Did you say I shouldn’t be on TV on Sunday? I’ll go on TV anytime I g--dam f---ing want and you won’t say another f---ing word about me!” Trump yelled at Manafort, according to Lewandowski. “Tone it down? I wanna turn it up! ... You’re a political pro? Let me tell you something. I’m a pro at life. I’ve been around a time or two. I know guys like you, with your hair and skin...”
It's the last bit that really explains Trump's appeal to America's white resentniks.
You’re a political pro? Let me tell you something. I’m a pro at life. I’ve been around a time or two.
That's the sound of every blue-collar guy who's ever expressed contempt for someone with a college education.
I know guys like you, with your hair and skin...
And that's class resentment bred of insecurity.

But this is nuts. Trump grew up in a mansion. He brags about his education. His father gave him millions as he was starting out. The money spent on plastic surgery and hair care in the Trump household over the years could probably feed a family of four for life. Why does he have to play the "I went to the School of Hard Knocks" card? What right does he have to play it?

But he's like the mansion-dwelling multi-millionaires -- Ailes, O'Reilly, Hannity -- who built Fox News, and like billionaire who signed their paychecks for years, Rupert Murdoch: No matter how successful or plugged in these guys became, someone else was always the "elitist." If you're reading this, you're probably the elitist, according to these millionaires and billionaires.

They're all delusional, but they sell this worldview because they sincerely believe it. It's an insult to people who've really had to struggle, including their own fans. But the fans lap it up.

Trump in this story isn't the aggrieved proletarian who wishes he could tell his boss to take this job and shove it -- he is the boss. He's been the boss for most of his life, even though he doesn't believe it. To the blue-collar deplorables -- and to the better-educated heartland suburbanites who've been conditioned to feel sorry for themselves because they've been told that coast-dwellers have contempt for them -- Trump's lack of self-awareness feels like class solidarity.

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