Analyzing Trumpism on the Quick

Vox posted this morning about people trying to get a handle on Trump’s ideology — a tall order, since he doesn’t really have one in the sense we’ve come to expect from politicians.  He has beliefs and goals, of course, but they weren’t formed by years of fitting into a political party and being instructed by special interest groups.  They come from a lifetime of seeing what works — and maybe more importantly, what doesn’t work, because he’s had plenty of failures too — and applying those lessons to situations as they come along.

The irony of so many conservatives attacking Trump is that his viewpoint and attitude are much like that of their idol Reagan. Reagan was more intelligent and educated than people thought, but he didn’t have an ideology based on white papers and party politics either. He had a common-sense, small-town conservatism that came from growing up and working in the Midwest. That gave him an optimism about America that may have led to some mistakes — most notably the immigration amnesty in 1986 — but which also helped him to inspire people and lead them to accomplish things which hadn’t been thought possible.  He had a “Hey, this isn’t right, let’s fix it” mentality that’s very traditional American.

Trump is the same way. His image of America may not always be entirely realistic, but goals don’t have to be. What matters is that he’s going to walk into the office each day asking what is being done to move America in that direction, instead of what needs to be done on the other side of the world today, or what he can say to look good in the media.

The knee-jerk perspective says that a man who owns casinos and is on his third marriage can’t hold a Norman Rockwell-like ideal of America.  But maybe owning casinos and being through divorce, and seeing what that world is like, makes a man long for a better America.

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2 thoughts on “Analyzing Trumpism on the Quick

  1. Good to see you blogging again.

    One of the things a lot of people don’t know about Trump (and I didn’t know either) is that he’s quite a bit more down to earth than a lot of people think he is. He was brought up in Queens, NY as part of a traditional family, living with his parents and siblings, all living together in the same house. Because he’s from Queens he has that regular middle class mentality and attitude, both from rubbing shoulders with, living with and working with, so many such people and from his own upbringing, even though he came from money. He’s not been insulated from hardship and tragedy. One of his brothers died from severe alcoholism. Having watched his own brother slowly drink himself to death, Trump resolved never to let that happen to him, so he is a total nondrinker.

    Though Trump is a billionaire and is an in your face kind of character, he is “one of us” – he’s American in loyalty, outlook, attitude, perseverance, work ethic, and mentality. He has not spent his life shitting in gold plated toilets, attending tony private schools, having Daddy and his money save him from his youthful indiscretions and felonies, and eating with silver spoons. He has spent his life working his ass off and enjoying the spoils, but also showing other people how he does what he does. And because he’s “one of us”, it’s how he was able to relate to much of the electorate so well.

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