Donald Trump and Economic Insecurity

Yesterday’s Nevada results continue to reflect the running theme of Trump’s candidacy:

While Rubio dances around the electorate’s resentments, Trump revels in them. On primary night in South Carolina, he tapped into their nationalism as he whacked at Mexico and China. “They’ve taken our [sic] jobs, they’ve taken our money, they’ve taken our everything,” he declared.

In this context, I think the term “nationalism” is unfairly pejorative. He’s getting at their economic insecurity. If one believes that at the end of the day, the only thing people really care about is whether they can provide for themselves and their families, and have the same expectations for their kids, then this is everything. Maybe you’re a very religious person, but you’ve also lost a job recently and only been able to replace it with temp work. Ted Cruz is selling the same old supply-side bullshit, which just redistributes more wealth to rich. But Trump is talking about slapping tariffs on Chinese imports. For whom do you vote? It seems like a no-brainer.

In each state so far, Trump has finished stronger among blue-collar voters than white-collar ones. And in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, exit polls show Trump’s support dropped with each additional education level a voter attained. Among non-college graduates, he topped 40 percent in the latter two states and scored a majority in Nevada.

“Whether someone has a college degree or not has become a major fault line in American politics these days,” noted Bolger.

As has been discussed many times before, that’s Trump support in a nut. Usually with “fringe” candidates (can that term be used to describe the Republican front-runner?), mainstream candidates co-op parts of their message to undermine their support. That hasn’t happened with Trump, which in some ways illustrates his point that the system is rigged against the little guy.