Saturday, August 20, 2016

No Substantive Pivot

In January Politifact rated as "pants on fire" the assertion of Michigan Representative Mike Rogers, who had on CNN argued "I think we're missing one important point here. Donald Trump is appealing as much to Democrats as he is to Republicans.And anybody that misses this point by missing the folks on the street who are drawn to his campaign."

It is now seven months later and the meme, now repackaged as support deriving from voters facing economic anxiety, will not die.  Trump's popularity, Steve M. recognizes, now is often mistakenly

attributed to white America's increasing sense of economic displacement, as manufacturing jobs continue to disappear and the well-to-do benefit disproportionately from the economic recovery. We've been told that Trump is appealing to the same sense of economic unfairness that drove the campaign of Bernie Sanders.

It is hogwash now, just as it was early in the year, and SM blows  the whistle on it by pointing out that the voice on Trump's new commercial remarks

In Hillary Clinton’s America, the system stays rigged against Americans. Syrian refugees flood in. Illegal immigrants convicted of committing crimes get to stay, collecting Social Security benefits, skipping the line. Our border open. It’s more of the same, but worse.

Donald Trump’s America is secure, terrorists and dangerous criminals kept out. The border secure. Our families safe. Change that makes America safe again. Donald Trump for president.

The ad "starts by telling us that the system is rigged (but) doesn't see any rigging in the economic system."  Instead, the thrust is

about fear of the Other -- including, we can safely infer, that opening shot of a polling place entrance and the words "system rigged," which, to Trump's base, is a dog whistle meaning "Democratic machine bosses in big cities with large non-white populations are going to manipulate the vote in Clinton's favor."

Shortly before the 2012 election, a Monmouth University poll found that 51% of Republicans thought "voter fraud is a major problem nationally," as its analysis put it.  A few months earlier, 57% of Republicans were found by The Washington Post to consider it a major problem in presidential elections.  Earlier this month, Trump claimed he would lose Pennsylvania in November only "if cheating goes on."

 African-Americans and illegal  immigrants, in the minds of many Republicans, are manipulated into voting for Democrats. With surveys now indicating that Hillary Clinton may surpass Barack Obama's share of the two-party black vote, there is little doubt who is suspected of cheating.

The myth is reflected in Trump's recent statement, theoretically directed toward African-Americans, "You're living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. 58% of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?" Why, he might have asked, do you persist in being manipulated into voting against the Party which in many states is trying to deny you the right to vote?

Just as Trump's ad suggests no manner in which the system- or anything- is "rigged," so he offers no substantive proposals for improving the lot of the impoverished, which in his telling, apparently includes all blacks. (But it's all Hillary Clinton's fault.)

There is no new Trump. There only is the same old Trump, lumping together everyone of an ethnic group (such as blacks, Mexicans, and Arabs), who vote illegally and cheat to get free benefits, all the while manipulating a "rigged" system (or rigged something).   Add it all up, and to Donald Trump, the opposition- like John McCain - represents a bunch of losers.

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