"The cause is the same as in 1964: reaction against social change that
has eroded the value of white privilege. But at another level, this is a
revolt by Republican voters who no longer believe that their party
supports their basic economic interests. While the leader of this
rebellion is one of the rankest opportunists ever to appear on the
American political scene, the white working class’s feeling that it has
been seduced and abandoned by the Republican party is perfectly
Jacob Weisberg (a Salon columnist borrowed for this essay) writes that Democrats appealed to uneducated Southern white people because they stood for them economically and defended them against the monied interests. Along came the Republicans who appealed to these Southerners' basest instincts: racism, homophobia and resentment of liberals.
This group of Republicans "do
not support free trade and globalization. They do not favor tax cuts
for the wealthy, or bailouts for banks, or financial deregulation, or
the rollback of consumer protections. And, though nationalistic, their
families are the ones that paid the human cost for the neoconservative
fantasy of bringing democracy to Iraq."
The result of this split? "Granted
the nomination, Mr. Trump will drive away the Republican elite in this
year’s election. Denied it, he may lead the white working class out of
the party for good, or clear the path for its slow-motion removal." Neither of which breaks my heart.
However, my next concern could well be Democrats overplaying their hand--as the party in power seems unable to avoid--and destroying itself once again. It is a cycle that appears to be as unavoidable and inevitable as climate change's fierce storms.
parties rupture in this way," writes Weisberg, "only a master of constructive ambiguity
like Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton can paper over their fundamental
disagreements. There is currently no such figure at large in the