Wednesday, April 13, 2016

In a follow-up... my post yesterday about Donald Trump and the Republican Party, Steve Rattner explains the Donald's appeal in an op-ed piece in the New York Times (all emphasis mine):

For too many, those new dynamics have been painful indeed. In Michigan, where Mr. Trump won big, wages in manufacturing have fallen from a high of $28 per hour in 2003 to $21 at present, after adjustment for inflation, a stunning 25 percent decline.

Meanwhile, the number of manufacturing jobs in the state has fallen from almost 900,000 in September 1999 to just under 600,000 at present, a picture that is repeated across the country.

...And the establishment's response? According to Josh Barro, writing in Business Insider:

What are the apparent planks of [Paul] Ryan's vision for the party? One is that Republicans shouldn't use Trump-style appeals to white-identity politics. A second is that Republicans should talk more nicely about poor people while cutting their benefits. A third is that Republicans should maintain their orthodoxy on free trade, free markets, and the need for cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

You might recognize these principles as substantially identical to those espoused by Marco Rubio — and one key lesson from this campaign is that Republican voters have very little interest in Rubioism.

Ryan understands that he is about to be thrust into leadership of the Republican Party without ever seeking or receiving its presidential nomination. But he does not yet get that the party's substantive policy agenda must change if its candidates hope to win a majority of voters without the appeals to protectionism, nationalism, and racism that are so compelling for Trump voters.

The bottom line? The Republican Party base is hurting, Trump appeals to them, and the establishment's best answer is more of the same.

GOP, say hello to the wilderness.

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