TL;DR: Most people seem to support Drumpf because he talks about ending harmful trade and not because they’re racist. His abrasiveness is seen as an indication of trustability. I think the best course of action is to vote for Bernie in the primary.
For everyone as baffled by the Drumpf phenomena as I am I *highly* recommend reading this article. It has provided me with data that is critical in making up my mind for what I did today.
It’s the economy stupid.
The aformentioned article is the first one I’ve read that confirms what I suspected to be the case. Bigotry, ignorance, and racism are not really the driving force. For relatively liberal persons as myself it’s easy to commit the fundamental attribution error and not enter empathetically into the world of those who support Drumpf.
This article presents evidence that working class Americans (not necessarily uneducated) have suffered at the hands of both parties due to free trade agreements (thank you Clinton for NAFTA). There is also evidence that their numbers far out-rank the professional class which is accustomed to being the majority voting populous. This is also why there’s a remarkable interchangeability between Sanders and Drumpf supporters.
Is social disregard a sign of sincerity or something sinister?
What we find repulsive about Drumpf is what attracts people to him. Essentially, his abrasive rhetoric is seen as an indication of his honesty and sincerity since it contrasts with the rhetoric employed by the rest of the political establishment. An establishment I need not remind anyone is not known for honesty.
Will Drumpf follow through on his promises to end harmful trade agreements bringing back working class jobs? Is his lack of concern for PC talk an indication he’s capable of making sure it happens? Does his business acumen translate? Will his success free him from outside interests? I’m exceedingly doubtful. First, because in his own corporations he has not followed a domestically favorable policy. Many of his clothes are outsourced and properties are staffed by immigrants. Second, because someone who is so shameless as to spew the vile things he does indicates psychopathy, not honesty. With that shamelessness comes a pathological ability to lie and lie on a grand scale. Third, his business success is dubious at best. He has exploited the government through multiple bankruptcies. Also, seeing how he is exploiting evangelicals, I have no reason to trust him. Finally, I cannot see the logic in why it would be a good idea to elect someone who embodies corporate interest as a means of reducing corporate influence in federal politics.
What would happen if we won?
What do I think his game is? I think he might be somewhat sincere about his desire to end free trade agreements. If that is the case it is because he stands to benefit from it. If not, his election will be the apotheosis of his brand which is sufficient motivation for an unabashedly greedy narcissist like himself. It is likely he will actually leave a lot of the more important executive questions to seasoned political establishment and only perform grandiose gestures which will be efficacious to the degree that bringing jobs home benefit him. Unless there are deals happening in the background to appease our enemies and allies his rhetoric will result in alienation or worse yet, war. Given his affection for Putin I’m doubtful it would be with Russia. China on the other hand is not going to be thrilled. His previous comments indicate that I think many conflicts in the middle east would be ended, but with America committing genocide on an unfathomable scale. A holocaust, not silent, but advertised in high definition fueled by bloodthirsty euphoric cries of applause from a previously terrified now rage-drunk populous. It is becoming the evil we claim to hate that horrifies me most. Never mind that this course could lead to a world war. Liberal democracies and enraged dictators would side with outraged muslims world over and retaliate against the already resented American imperialism.
Can another republican be nominated?
Can this be stopped? The likelihood of another republican candidate winning the nomination is extremely implausible. Less plausible in my mind than Bernie winning the Democratic nomination. The republican establishment, blinded by personal ambitions, missed their opportunity to rally around the most electable candidate a long time ago. The establishment failure to identify the zeitgeist of Drumpfs base is a result of being economically segregated. This has enabled them to adhere to principles which benefits their beneficiaries more than their constituents making them fundamentally tone-deaf.
Clinton would guarantee a Drumpf win.
If Clinton gets the nomination this will almost guarantee that Drumpf will win. Clinton is seen as dishonest even by people who support her. There is even reason to believe many Democrats would choose Trump over her. Those of us in the professional class would prefer to vote her because we fear a scenario that could lead to WWIII. In other words we would vote for not-Trump, rather than for Hilary. We WANT the status quo when compared to an alternate reality in which Biff wins the presidency. But for Americans who are suffering due to economic exploitation from policies Bill Clinton has enacted and Hillary would continue, we must recognize they already live in a dystopian post-apocalyptic world. All it takes is a trip to Detroit or Virginia or Arizona to see why they would willingly risk a global apocalypse. It would just even the playing field if that was the outcome.
Bernie to the rescue?
Would a Sanders nomination fair any better? Perhaps. I’m afraid the narrative in American culture is so anti-socialist that the finer points of Democratic socialism vs strict socialism is lost on most people. But because he’s so radical, charismatic, patently sincere, and an “outsider” it makes it more plausible. More plausible than a more palatable Republican nominee. Bernie has the same caustic east coast no nonsense aura Trump has, without the racism or orange skin. The thing is that his big promises for education and higher minimum wage basically promise the working class that their lives will improve no matter what. Regardless of whether they will enter the professional class through free college, a class which they envy and despise, they will still have a better life working in service industries.
I am not optimistic about Bernie’s policies. His pro-abortion stance is chilling to say the least. Drumpf is no better on this issue. Many fear that Bernie would usher in a soft-totalitarianism which would quietly strangle Christianity. I’m a little less pessimistic and a bit more cynical. The pro-life movement’s incompetence has enabled politicians to be elected who only perform theatrics. They benefit more from abortion being legal than pro-abortionists because they will have a base beholden to them who otherwise would be more Democratic. Nevertheless, WWIII in which most of the human race is annihilated is a far worse evil than abortion. On the economic side, as a Catholic I eschew the worship of neo-liberalism which is part of the neo-conservatism embedded in Republicanism. I think democratic socialism (which is distinct from the strict socialism condemned in Rarum Novarum) is more Catholic than unfettered capitalism. Even if the government is more bloated and inefficient it is a step towards mercy rather than blind selfish competition. Does it foster a government that will slowly choke out our religious liberty? Perhaps, but I think it is more certain an explicit war on Islam would be worse.
The least risky
For the record, I’m also not optimistic about his economic policies. I think they are pretty unrealistic. However, Bernie will be hindered by the other branches of government, whereas what Drumpf could do is not as limited as it has been in the past. His grand-standing and utter disregard for norms (and law) could be devastating. If Bernie was successful it may lead to economic collapse. Especially if we alienate multi-national corporations too much. While I see many, if not most conglomerates as noxious parasites, their sudden removal would result in death to their host. Given a choice between economic collapse (or soft-totalitarianism) verses a dictatorship leading to WWIII, I’ll take my chances on the former. It is for this reason that I voted for Bernie in the primary rather than another Republican. Naturally, this is a game of guessing and harm-reduction based on probabilities abstracted from a limited data set. At this moment, it seems to me more probable Bernie could win the Democratic nomination rather than someone else win the Republican nomination. That may be mistaken, but it’s where I see things going.