Donald Trump, Class Warrior – Bloomberg View

Aaron David

A fourth generation Californian, befuddled.

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51 Responses

  1. Christopher Carr says:

    This is so off. I realize that Trump is hard to get, but this isn’t it.

    People are disgusted with the government because they’ve experienced how the government doesn’t work. They support Trump because they think he’s a hard-nosed, results-oriented businessman, and they’ve seen him fire people who don’t do their jobs on the Apprentice. This is appealing. The idea that Trump supporters are just voting for Trump out of some passive aggressive mentality is patently absurd.Report

      • Chris in reply to j r says:

        In fact, I think Carr’s description is a pretty good causal explanation for why they’d be “voting for Trump out of some passive aggressive mentality.”Report

        • Christopher Carr in reply to Chris says:

          What’s passive about it?Report

          • Chris in reply to Christopher Carr says:

            Have you read any of Damon’s comments here about why he’s voting for Trump. He’s not voting for Trump because he likes Trump; he’s voting for Trump as a fuck you to the people he doesn’t like. Not the candidates or the parties he doesn’t like, but the people who will be offended by a Trump candidacy. And his reasoning for disliking them sounds a lot like the one you offer (with the added component that he doesn’t like how condescending they are towards the working class). Going after someone not by confronting them directly, but by creating a situation that will upset them when they are forced to confront it (a Trump nomination, or worse, presidency) is pretty much the definition of passive-aggressive.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

              Well, Damon…

              I tend to think, from various anecdata, that there is a group of people who actually know better than to support Trump in an idealized scenario but given their perceptions of the current context they support him because a) doing engenders a shakeup within the party and b) if he’s elected gummnt won’t be business as usual, which, given how bad things are from their pov, is viewed as being better.

              So even those folks, who are the most cynical short of Damon-types, aren’t voting to stick a finger in Dems eyes, but are trying to make their own party and governance in general better. At least from their pov. fwiw.Report

              • Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

                I don’t mean to imply that all Trump voters are Damons. I don’t think he’s all that unique, though.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Chris says:

                Does Damon just not like these folks, or does he just not like their politics?

                I for one have a mischief desire to say:
                “you know that smooth talking over reaching, social authoritative left, turn it up to 9 president you empowered?

                Well what’s wrong with a authoritative right, turn it up to 11 president?”

                If we’re doomed to having ‘max authoritarian’ lets drive this sucker into the ground.

                My reservation with this position is usually the anti-authoritarians on the other side of the aisle get run over.
                Chomsky, and our own zac and b-psycho will likely be at complete opposition with Trump.

                I don’t reserve anything for the left ‘authority’ types, they nearly built this, and to see them flailing holes in the ground and sweating rivers, yeah that’s good stuff.Report

              • Chris in reply to Joe Sal says:

                I think he almost certainly disagrees with their politics (while he identifies as liberal), but all of his justifications have been personal. In particular, he dislikes the way they talk about the working class. And for that I don’t blame him, I just don’t think voting for Trump is a particularly effective, or mature, way to counter that.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Chris says:

                I mostly agree with you. Although it is difficult and often not useful to be the lone dissenting voice. I think MA used to dismiss it as hecklers veto.

                At times it’s much easier to pickup the broken piece of the machine and start swinging it.Report

              • Chris in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Oh don’t get me wrong, I understand what it’s like to be the lone dissenting voice, even here. And I’ve certainly reacted to the frustration that creates with immaturity more than once.Report

              • Damon in reply to Joe Sal says:


                “Not like” is too strong of a word. Generally, I “don’t care”. I disagree with a lot of their politics, but I disagree with a lot of people’s politics, both left and right. That’s natural for a Libertarian-ish/Anarchist-ish type of guy. However, some of my closest friends are hard core liberals. I enjoy tweaking them because they often live in a bubble of their own making and it deserves to be pierced once in a while with contrarian thought to remind them that bubble exists.Report

              • Zac in reply to Joe Sal says:

                While I don’t mind the name-check, I don’t love getting lumped in with Chomsky. I have substantial disagreements with his view of the world, though I think in some cases it can serve as a useful perspective in the broadest sense.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Zac says:

                I apologize if it offended, it wasn’t a Chomsky lump as much as a area of the anti-authoritarian left. Correct me if I’m wrong there also.Report

              • Zac in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Oh, no, I’m not offended; I just wanted to clarify that I’m not a Chomsky-ite, for more or less exactly the reasons Chris outlined here.Report

              • Chris in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Chomsky has actually spoken on Trump, and Sanders (same link).

                Even though my politics align a great deal with Chomsky’s, I’ve never had a real Chomskyan period (even in cog sci, in fact), and always found his True Believers more than a little annoying, but I cannot understand the reflexive anti-Chomskyism that’s so common even among the American, er, “left.” Particularly since so few of them have actually read a word the man’s written.Report

              • Christopher Carr in reply to Chris says:

                Agree that Chomsky is someone that a lot of people don’t get as well. I’ve always found him to be more or less a conservative.Report

              • Chris in reply to Christopher Carr says:

                The way someone once described it to me is that if the left-right axis were actually a circle, Chomsky would be right next to right libertarians.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Chris says:

                If the plots of Chomsky I have seen are accurate, he falls low on the y-axis and near middle of the left x-axis.

                The anti-Chomsky left are probably high on the y-axis. I also am aware of the group of believers you mention, but I don’t pay them much attention.

                His framing of fear is probably pretty good. I have the “fear is the lifeblood of the state” quote scratched on a piece of paper some where on my desk.

                Conservative as pretty high right, nearly into right facism, I’ve never thought Chomsky being close to that area, and usually near opposite of it.Report

              • Chris in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Chomsky is an (avowed) anarchist, specifically syndicalist, who believes that few if any institutions of authority are legitimate (he has strict criteria for legitimacy, which are almost impossible if not completely impossible for governments to meet). This is why he can be placed near libertarianism.

                It’s genuinely hard to place left, anti-war anarchists on a political axis.

                My biggest problem with Chomsky is his willingness to, er, dismiss certain rather ugly events in order to criticize foreign policy decisions that can easily be criticized for other, more valid reasons. See., e.g., most of what he wrote about Kosovo.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Chris says:

                I would say that he may have appeal to the lower region of the libertarian spectrum, but mostly anyone high in the libertarian y-axis would start to diverge.

                The Kosovo material I’m not familiar with, he could have an agenda, or model to fit/support of which bias creep sets in ultimately/obviously.

                If you wonder about anti-war anarchists on a political axis, ask subjectively what the state is for.

                I suppose for the far left it will have significant value for reasons of social /organized society. Moving to the right the value of state will taper to nothing in the regions of ultra anarchism.Report

              • Chris in reply to Joe Sal says:

                I should have said pacifist anarchists. Most anarchists are anti-state-sponsored or state-supporting war, of course. However, pacifism is rarer. Chomsky is pretty close to a pacifist, though has stated that he is not a pacifist outright (very few people are, I suppose).Report

              • Chris in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Chomsky has pretty egregiously attempted to minimize, to the point of denial, some of the crimes at Srebrenica. See, e.g.Report

              • Glyph in reply to Chris says:

                I don’t mean to imply that all Trump voters are Damons.

                That’s good, we don’t want to reflexively-damonize those with whom we disagree.Report

              • Chris in reply to Glyph says:


              • Damon in reply to Stillwater says:


                I’d like to state that I categorically WILL NOT VOTE for Trump. He’s a blowhard and I disagree with quite a few of his positions, although I haven’t bothered to familiarize myself with his platform since I’M NOT VOTING FOR HIM and I don’t really care what they are.

                My posts regarding Trump all have been associated with enjoying watching the hair pulling of both the Repubs, Dems, and the media, who are all in a twitter over his candidacy; that he’d never win, etc.and of teasing folks who HATE HATE HATE him because I get a rise out of them, like my mom, and my “VERY LIBERAL” (her words) friend.Report

              • Chris in reply to Damon says:

                You have, in the past, suggested that you would vote for him, haven’t you? I don’t mean to misrepresent you.Report

              • Damon in reply to Chris says:

                Ehh, I may have, although my snark may have not been as strongly worded as it could have. If that confused anyone..well that’s my bad.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Damon says:

                That’s a precise clarification! I do recall a comment where you basically said what Chris said you said, tho. Maybe you were just trolling. 🙂Report

              • Damon in reply to Stillwater says:

                Sadly, that could be the case. My trolling skills never were good and they atrophied more once I left the Anarchy Online forums. 🙂Report

  2. DensityDuck says:

    People are sloooooooowly coming around to the idea that Trump is successful because he doesn’t care that people think badly of him. He doesn’t crave that people think good thoughts about him, and he has enough money that he doesn’t need them to; it’s not like he’s gonna get fired if someone doesn’t like him. You say “Trump’s a racist! Trump’s a sexist! Trump’s a bigot!” and he and his supporters reply, “so what?”Report

    • greginak in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Wrong. Trump wants people to love him. He just doesn’t care if he has to smack talk other people to get him to love him. Trump is thin skinned as hell. He wants approval but isn’t afraid to piss off the people he doesn’t give a crap about to get it from the people he wants.Report

      • Hoosegow Flask in reply to greginak says:

        That image of him sitting stone-faced at the Correspondents Dinner while Obama was mocking him and everyone else laughed didn’t lead me to believe he doesn’t care what others think.

        I wonder if Jon Stewart would have retired had he known that Trump would be leading the pack at this point or if Trump would be doing as well if Stewart was laying into him night after night.Report

        • greginak in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

          Yeah he was fuming at that dinner. He had many many spats with various people in NY and AC in the 80’s and 90’s. Always some argument in the news about some petty thing or just being a loudmouth needing the last word.Report

        • j r in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

          or if Trump would be doing as well if Stewart was laying into him night after night.

          Apologies in advance for singling you out, @hoosegow-flask, but this is a pretty good example of how many people have simply failed to come to realistic terms with Trump’s candidacy.

          Just how big do you think the overlap is between people whose politics is similar to or influenced by Jon Stewart? The bubble is real.Report

          • El Muneco in reply to j r says:

            I have to agree. Stewart is almost everything a Trump supporter is against in life. The only way he could be more abhorrent is to be Trevor Noah.

            Any utility they might have is to firm up the membrane of the bubble. On both sides – they might keep some people from transporting in to the bubble, but at the same time they firm up even more the resolve of those already in it.Report

          • j r in reply to j r says:

            edit – that should read:

            Just how big do you think the overlap is between Trump supporters and people whose politics is similar to or influenced by Jon Stewart? The bubble is real.


            • Hoosegow Flask in reply to j r says:

              I think Stewart going after the press for being uncritical of Trump could have had a significant impact. I also think non-Trump supporting Republicans would have amenable to watching and sharing The Daily Show clips that humiliated Trump so long as they didn’t cast too much negative light on their own positions.Report

              • j r in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

                First, I question the assertion that the media have been uncritical of Trump. The media have been plenty critical. It’s just that their criticisms have largely been ineffectual and that’s in large part because the media haven’t been very good at understanding the whole Trump phenomenon.

                Second, you’re making the same set of false assumptions. Trump’s campaign is fueled by the scorn coming from the mainstream media and political ecosystems. They make movies like this, where the general wants to nuke the monster but it doesn’t work cause atomic energy only makes the monster stronger.Report

              • Kim in reply to j r says:

                +1. The media can’t help but go after trump. going after trump makes money.Report

              • Hoosegow Flask in reply to j r says:

                Last year Trump everyone “knew” Trump would fade before the primaries, but he was great for ratings. They didn’t try to nuke the monster, they put it on display and now it’s out of control.Report

          • Alan Scott in reply to j r says:

            j r: Just how big do you think the overlap is between Trump supporters and people whose politics is similar to or influenced by Jon Stewart? The bubble is real.

            I’d say more than you think, but still not enough to matter. As you said below, Trump supporters are not just in X, Y, or Z niche.Report

  3. Chip Daniels says:

    He offends the “superior” people?
    Like, a Mexican immigrant sweeping the floor? A Muslim refugee family? Disabled reporters?

    ” You say “Trump’s a racist! Trump’s a sexist! Trump’s a bigot!” and he and his supporters reply, “so what?””

    Now this is more accurate. Instead of a Lee Atwater coded message, the nativism and hatred is open and naked, loud and proud.

    Trump supporters are angry, and thrilled by the thought of beating up on their enemies both above and below them, either figuratively or literally, personally or vicariously.Report

    • greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      +1000…it’s nice to say Trump is just pissing off those other people who think they are superior, those snobs and such, but to many of his targets are weaker or marginalized or just easy to demonize. Are american muslims or immigrants superior??? Bull pucky, there is a good bit of his message that is about being a tough guy to people he can pick on.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to greginak says:

        I think the snobs are well to do white liberals who take defense of marginalized groups seriously. I think Trump supporters see white liberals as race traitors.

        Trump is Herrenvolk Democracy. The Welfare State is good but only for the “right” people.Report

  4. j r says:

    There is a pretty interesting thing happening in regards to media coverage and Trump. If a candidate is getting 30 and 40 percent of the primary vote, the one thing that should be absolutely clear about that candidate is that he or she is not a niche candidate. That is broad electoral appeal. And yet, every day I read a new story talking about how Trump supporters are in X, Y or Z niche.

    The implication is profound: that the political media simply cannot understand or relate to the vast majority of the American people on their own terms.

    Also, the very act of voting, and voting in a primary, is itself positively correlated with things like income and education, which means that the median Republican primary voter is likely higher up the SES than the median American. If the media can’t even understand Trump voters, what is the chance that they have any real connection to or understanding of the millions of Americans who are much poorer or who have less education than the average Trump supporter?Report

    • Kim in reply to j r says:

      What are the chances you have much understanding about someone who digs through trash for a living? (takehome’s about $20,000 a year, and that’s good money where he lives). [I’m not claiming to have understanding, mind, but the guy occasionally works for a friend of mine]

      I haven’t been listening to the media, I’ve been listening to the relatively non-biased meanderings of someone who worked on the Bush campaign.Report