Thursday, August 11, 2016

What Have We Learned From The Rise Of Donald Trump?

Donald Trump has been engaged in an exercise of self destruction after he captured the GOP presidential nomination.  He is unlikely to win the election in November but he has exploited issues in our economy, and within our political system, that will not go away after the election.  I have posted two articles which offer explanations for Trump's political success and the effect that he has had on our political system.  The Republican Party has been broken by Trump's success.  It has traditionally been supported by the business class which has been successful in setting the Party's economic agenda.  However, it has become dependent upon exploiting a cultural agenda which is often in conflict with the interests of the business class.  The cultural agenda is powerfully described by the Republican Party's platform in this article.  Trump has successfully exploited the cultural agenda but he has also taken advantage of the fall out from the Party's economic agenda which has not been good for a large segment of the population.  His appeals to nativism, racism and sexual values are inconsistent with the interests of most multinational corporations and with the values of the highly educated upper middle class. The conflict between the Party's economic and political agenda is apparent in Trump's weak effort to develop an economic agenda.  He has thrown a bone to the business class by making the tax system less progressive, in the Reagan tradition, and by blaming government regulations for our poor economic performance.  His tirades against free trade and globalization does not set well with the business class.

The second article  confirms the problems that Trump has exposed in the Republican Party.  It is dependent upon the support of those who are struggling financially but it has no solutions for them beyond the cultural issues which binds them to Trump's base supporters.  The Democratic Party has problems which are not easy to resolve.  It has accepted  many of the economic orthodoxies that have influenced Republican economic policy.  It has lost the white working class which formed the base of the Party since the New Deal.  Moreover, it has not found a way to better manage globalization which has been a root problem in developed economies across the world.  Trump's solutions are unworkable and offensive to many.  The problems in the Democratic Party were made visible by Bernie Sander's successful campaign in the primaries.

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