White elites are the main reason Donald Trump’s campaign hasn’t sputtered and failed.
Why do the angry white poor and working class support the unlikely populist Donald Trump — a spoiled bully who made and lost fortunes in part by gaming the system, who seems to take gratuitous rudeness and cruelty as a birthright, whose lifestyle is symptomatic of American excess, and who for the last half-century has embraced no ideology other than Trump, Inc.?
Perhaps it’s because Trump is a phantasm. He is not a flesh-and-blood candidate judged as crude or acceptable on the basis of the usual criteria. His attraction rests on about 100 sound bites over the last year that shattered taboos and attacked elite sacred cows, in a manner that no candidate has done in the past — or is likely to do in the future. Trumpism is nihilism. A reckless Trump had no political career or social capital to lose, unless one thinks that The Apprentice discriminates against the outrageous and crass, or that the New York real-estate industry blackballs prevaricators.
His supporters would prefer to lose with Trump than win with a sober and judicious politician such as Jeb Bush or Paul Ryan. If Trump or Hillary is elected as a result of white-middle-class furor or abdication, the Republican establishment pays either way. Trump’s constituents see him as their first and last chance at getting back at their enemies and, more importantly, the enablers of their enemies. Trump is a gladiator, and his supporters are shrieking, thumbs-down spectators. Sheathing his blood-stained blade would empty the stadium and put him back on The Apprentice. Does a Kim Kardashian suddenly stop flashing her boobs on YouTube in worry over what others might think?
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