Donald Trump is riding a historical force that threatens to rewrite the party alignment in this country.
The Democrats from Woodrow Wilson to Bill Clinton were socialistic, but in a nationalist way. They were socialists, yes, but they wanted to Take Care Of Our Own. Delivering on programs like the Tennessee Valley Authority had them owning the South for decades.
The Democrats in the Internet era though have shifted toward a more post-modern, Communistic socialism. Though instead of a classical Marxist class-based division, they're using privilege theory to determine who to overthrow. And that's squeezing out the last edges of the Democrat coalition that existed from the New Deal to the Contract with America.
In the past, if you were an American, the Democrats were ready to lend you a hand. The end goal was cradle-to-grave socialism for all Americans. Food programs for the young, unemployment insurance and unions for adults, and Social Security for the retired. But now, the Democrats want to pick winners and losers. They're losing groups that used to be their staunch allies, like poor whites, police unions, and coal miners.
You've got all these white Democrats who see everyone else in the coalition getting set asides, but now instead of getting theirs, they're being told they need to check their privilege, apologize, and then stop talking.
Those are the Trump Democrats. People who for decades were middle of the road Democrats who believed in welfare, a moderate foreign policy, and regulation of big business. These are people who voted:
- Obama or stayed home in 2012 Romney was a rich jerk.
- Obama or stayed home in 2008 because McCain was Bush 2.0.
- Kerry or stayed home in 2004 because Bush lied and they were tired of nation building.
- Gore in 2000 because they wanted 4 more years of Clinton.
- And they voted twice for Clinton because he was their ideal President.
These people have hit their breaking point. They're being squeezed out of the Democrat party, as it realigns under pressure from Internet activists, and they're flocking to Trump. They're making this move because Trump's Make America Great Again is the spiritual successor to the New Deal and the Great Society.
Unions used to oppose illegal immigration. They listened to their members, and they made the argument (right or wrong) that illegal immigration depressed wages, by throwing rightfully-union jobs to illegal aliens at illegally-low wages. Now, AFL-CIO even is talking the Democrat party line.
If Donald Trump wins the nomination we may see the entire party system overturned, in a way we've only seen five times in our nation's history.
Let me pause here to demonstrate that yes, it's Democrats who are giving Trump his edge. Here's a list of all the states who have voted, and how stringent they are in making sure only Republicans voted:
Notes: A closed primary/caucus only allows Republicans to vote. An open primary/caucus allows any registered voter in to vote. A modified open primary/caucus allows Republicans and independents in.
Trump has yet to crack 30 in a closed primary, and his only good result in a closed caucus was Nevada, a state where it's reported that caucus officials were seen wearing Trump gear at the caucus and not checking ID to enforce the closed caucus rules, leading to accusations that the caucuses were rigged.
Further, we can see that Republican turnout has been way up in these open primary states, at the expense of the Democrat turnout. Despite the Democrats having a spirited contest, the Trump Democrats are abandoning the Democrat primary, and voting for Trump in the Republican primary. These are likely first-time Republican voters.
Because of that, I think Trump could win 400 or more electoral votes in the general election if he could hold the Trump Democrats plus the Mitt Romney voters. I don't think he could hold the Trump Democrats though. He has the same authenticity problems Romney had, and once he's the nominee the Democrat-leaning press, that has up until now given him countless hours of free airtime, will instead give all that free air to Hillary Clinton. Then once she regains that Arkansas twang she gave up in 1993, she wins.
But just because Trump personally is unlikely pull off the new coalition, it doesn't mean someone else will not. And if that happens in the GOP, then conservatives are the ones who get squeezed out. And then what do we do?
Once these dominos start falling, I don't think any of us knows for sure just what the American political alignment will end up being. But one thing is clear: I don't see an outcome that's great. The Sixth Party System brought conservatives close to the promised land. But a Trump-style revolution would set us back 80 years. Or worse, because at least in 1932 the rump Republicans were still conservative. In the Trump era, the Republicans would be populist-left, and the Democrats Communist-left.
I know there will be criticism of my thesis here. On a basic level we're all grasping at straws when we try to find trends like this, because with a secret ballot we have no real way of knowing who votes for whom, and when. But there's a movement here for Trump, one that's surpassing expectations. I think it's coming from the Democrats.