There is more to Donald Trump than the man, abrasive personality, rich guy, and Republican candidate. His name will morph into an historical description – even an era. It was simply predictable…bound to happen.
National politics contains both math and romance. He may win most political primaries, eventually secure the Republication nomination…win the presidency – or lose it decisively. All this simply does not matter…it’s the romance that’s undeniable. And, oh yes, Trumpism has now entered the history books. Its spirit has permanence.
Trumpism is securely locked into a new populist movement which was born in the mid-1970. Those who know anything about American History can smell a renewed Populist Movement/The Agrarian Revolt (1880’s-90): the gold/silver battles; the revolt of less educated agrarians – emotionally, economically desperate for monetary system changes; less sophisticated in religion. All of this is accompanied by the sheer greed of a Gilded Age ruling class, which carelessly allowed it.
My 11th grade AP history classes learned what the 16 to 1 ratio meant, how it brought black and white Americans commonality, how it was nuanced – finally featured in L. Frank Baum’s master piece: The Wizard of Oz. Want to know the origin of OZ? Buy me lunch sometime.
No doubt, solid contemporary historians began to detect these trends; yet, their ideological anxiety on presidential elections every four years – would snag them up. While warning signs (now Trumpism) became obvious – the pertinent reality went almost unacknowledged. Trumpism is the dark, deep anger many Americans feel over their obvious dismissal and exclusion. It really has little to do with “Republican obstruction.”
Recently, wonderful Peggy Noonan, WSJ columnist, labeled it: the Protected vs. the Unprotected. She dangled the term “elites” with her “Protected” group….by the way, most of you reading this Wallace column are the “Protected”. Noonan glides on about the Protected relishing a buffer zone…from the Unprotected. Inaccessibility and blamelessness completes their desired scenario. Then there is the “Unprotected” conviction that there is no representation for them – in their once representative government.
If you’re burdened with curiosity, internal fortitude, plus willingness to examine what’s plaguing the U.S.A, there are two books which measurably teach: Samuel Huntington’s Who Are We (2004), which shows our national identity dissolving (Anglo-Protestant heritage, and the loss of our American creed: egalitarianism, liberty, and individualism)… plus Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, (2012), which describes the advent of a new, careless, political upper class – in my mind reminiscent of F. Scot Fitzgerald novels. Grief counseling for readers may be recommended. Our nation’s growing lack of healthy class-sensitivity, conscience is yielding an irreparable societal damage – almost unmendable.
With concentrated condescension reigning in a new socio/ political grouping, ordinary Americans (“rednecks” and citizens of “fly-over” country) receive feckless attitudes chocked with carelessness. Economically, socially; these millions of Americans (aka working Reagan Democrats) are a choking labor population – with pitiful job opportunities…in what society use to consider the “backbone” of America. Their history is atrocious:
- Participation in the labor force dropped from 96% in 1968 to 79% in 2015. Over the same period, the portion of these men who were married dropped from 86% to 52%…totally dangerous for US society.
- The real family income of people at the bottom half of income distribution hasn’t increased since the late 1960’s.
- In the same half century, the U.S. government allowed the immigration of legal, and illegal, of tens of millions of competitors for the remaining working class jobs.
- Half the children are now born to unmarried women.
- Charles Murray writes that neighborhoods, once with civic cultures, are no longer friendly, or pleasant, much less safe.
- Currently 93,688,000 Americans NOT in labor force.
- Most apparent, the inventive tech world will yield horrors beyond our imaginations to those millions who remain broken.
Additionally, there is a sea change with large-scale ideological defection from the principles of liberty and individualism. Who would have ever thought that Political Correctness would ruin freedom of thought, speech…on college campuses? It reminds one of Mussolini; additionally, affirmative action demanded that people be treated as groups – leading to equality of outcome, replacing equality before the law. Civil Rights and feminist’s movements, notable for their justifiable grievances, energized this Group ideology further.
As the new upper class was separating from the mainstream – a very different lower class emerged from within the working classes – this has created the solid Trumpism, which will be formidable…and enduring.
Can America’s “Protected”; its “New Upper Classes”; its new crop of “Politicians”, face this consequential plight of millions? Will they begin to restore a “valid opportunity” for fellow Americans?
If it does not get right with its unprotected and dismissed, we lose forever what we were suppose to be. Trumpism will not disappear – only strengthen.