Explaining Trump’s Popularity: The Unprotected Vs. The Protected

What explains Donald Trump and his massive popularity among voters which includes your basic Republican, your squishy Republican, Conservatives, moderates, independents, and even some middle of the road Democrats? How is it that Trump can have such great support among Republicans, especially Conservatives, when he has now and had in the past many Democrat positions? How is it that the support not only doesn’t waiver, but grows stronger even after attacks on him and his gaffes? Peggy Noonan thinks she has the answer

Trump and the Rise of the Unprotected
Why political professionals are struggling to make sense of the world they created.

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But I keep thinking of how Donald Trump got to be the very likely Republican nominee. There are many answers and reasons, but my thoughts keep revolving around the idea of protection. It is a theme that has been something of a preoccupation in this space over the years, but I think I am seeing it now grow into an overall political dynamic throughout the West.

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

That does make some rather good sense, does it not? For all his faults, and money, Donald Trump has tapped into that feeling and made himself the leader of the unprotected. It’s more than just Establishment Vs. Outsider. For those old enough, remember Bill Clinton saying that he felt our pain. It felt legitimate. Regardless of Bernie Sander’s political leanings, I like the guy because he seems real, not manufactured. He’s a cranky old man, and means what he says, says what he means. If he tells you to get off his lawn, it hasn’t been focus grouped to death. Trump comes across as real, as a real person, not a carefully groomed politician.

One issue obviously roiling the U.S. and Western Europe is immigration. It is the issue of the moment, a real and concrete one but also a symbolic one: It stands for all the distance between governments and their citizens.

It is of course the issue that made Donald Trump. (snip)

If you are an unprotected American—one with limited resources and negligible access to power—you have absorbed some lessons from the past 20 years’ experience of illegal immigration. You know the Democrats won’t protect you and the Republicans won’t help you. Both parties refused to control the border. The Republicans were afraid of being called illiberal, racist, of losing a demographic for a generation. The Democrats wanted to keep the issue alive to use it as a wedge against the Republicans and to establish themselves as owners of the Hispanic vote.

Many will call it fear of immigrants, both legal and illegal. Well, yes. When wages are deflated, when we don’t know who’s coming across the border, when they take our jobs (see Disney requiring workers to train their foreign replacements), when they not only refuse to assimilate, but demand that America changes for them, when they won’t speak the language, when they demand that the Southwest be given back to Mexico, when they complain that Americans wear an American flag shirt, when they bring values that are incompatible with American society, etc, and the Protected do nothing, people are fearful. And angry. And Trump rises.

Make sure to read the entire article by Ms. Noonan.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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