You asked for it

Also loved this post-election take from Catherine Rampell:

Maybe the only way for Americans to really, truly understand how toxic, wrongheaded and futile Trump’s policies are is to let him provide proof of concept.

That is, to give us Trumpism, good and hard.

Maybe the only way to prove that Trump can’t bring back manufacturing jobs, or coal jobs, or other jobs displaced by technology and productivity gains, is to let him try to do so through his ill-advised tariffs.

Yes, this may spark a trade war. Yes, it may lead to the losses of millions of jobs. But maybe that’s what Americans require in order to believe such things would happen, since they clearly don’t trust experts’ projections on such matters.

Likewise, maybe the only way for Americans to recognize that immigrants inject our economy with vitality and innovation, and help keep Medicare solvent, is to let Trump wall them out, and then see what happens to our workforce and entitlements.

Speaking of walls, maybe the only way for Americans to realize how much magical thinking infuses Trump’s promises is to let him try and fail to persuade Mexico to pay for his big, beautiful wall.

And also to let him try and fail to keep sick Americans from “dying on the streets” and prevent health-care prices from spiraling out of control, while simultaneously shredding Obamacare’s coverage and cost provisions. Let him twist in the wind as he struggles to define the vague “something terrific” that will replace the Affordable Care Act.

And also watch him try and fail to close the deficit while simultaneously implementing a $7 trillion tax cutwithout any spending offsets.

With Republicans dominating both houses of Congress, Trump should have little trouble transforming his many harebrained, math-challenged policy schemes into law, assuming he’s ever able to commit them to paper. With time, his economically anxious followers will realize that even after the swamp is drained and the bums thrown out, tough-talking Trump is still unable to improve their economic standing.

Yep.  I think a big part of how this all plays out over the next four years is how smartly Democrats respond to the way Trump will inevitably deeply disappoint his supporters.  I don’t don’t that last part; I doubt how smartly Democrats can capitalize.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

4 Responses to You asked for it

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Trump will blame any failures on someone else. Could be the Democrats, the press, civil servants, foreigners, various ethnic and religious groups, never Trump Republicans, Speaker Ryan, and on and on. Could even be “betrayals” of some of his current supporters.
    But whatever goes wrong will never be his fault.

    • Mika says:

      Our own populist party, The Finns Party got a huge victory at the parliamentary election 2011. Before the election they had 4 MP’s and after the election 39, out of 200 (total number of MP’s). After the election they stayed in the opposition and again at the parliamentary election 2015 they did well, they got 38 MP’s and their share of the votes was 17,7%. At both elections their message was anti-EU, anti-Immigration and they promised to change things.

      After the 2015 election they got into a coalition cabinet with two established parties, Centre Party and National Coalition Party. The favourability of the cabinet has come seriously down since it started. Now it is one of the least favoured cabinets in 20 years. Also the parties’ support has come down. When they started 23,1% of voters said at poll that they’d vote CP and 16,7% would vote NCP. Nowadays their numbers are respectively 19,6% and 18,8%. (heck, actually NCP’s popularity has risen, I didn’t remember that 🙂 )

      Well anyway my point is that while the numbers for those two established parties have come down a little bit, the populist party’s support has crashed from 17,5% to 8,5%. I guess all three parties have their core voters left but especially in case of the Finns party all the people who don’t usually vote but who they got to vote have again turned into non-voters. That might happen to Trump’s voters also when the change doesn’t come as fast as they thought it would come.

      When the Finns Party was at the opposition they could always say that it’s the cabinet who has the power. That was the reason why they couldn’t bring the change they promised. Now they are at the coalition cabinet and the excuse they use is that there are two more parties at the cabinet but substantial part of their voters no more believe in them. That might happen to Trump also.

      • itchy says:

        Agree with R Jenrette. Trump will blame everyone else, and his supporters will believe him.

      • Mika says:

        That is possible but there is some more support from Europe to the hypothesis that a populist party gains support when it’s a opposition party but when it starts governing it isn’t good for it’s popularity. That’s exactly what happened to Freedom Party from Austria and to Dutch Party for Freedom. Danish People’s Party gives mixed evidence, it’s support has risen when it has been an opposition party but it’s support didn’t go down when it was a cabinet party. About Swiss People’s Party I’m not going to claim anything because Swiss political system is even more complicated than yours. Hungarian Civic Alliance, Fidesz’s, popularity has gone both up and down when it has been a ruling party so it might be an example of a populist party that gains support while governing. Although it happened between 1998 and 2002 when – I’d guess – the Hungarian party system was still forming after the Soviet collapse. Norwegian Progress Party became a governing party last year and according to a poll it’s popularity has come down from 16,3% (elections 2015) to 12,8% (my very rarely read anything in Norwegian so I’m not sure about this).

        That’s about it, to my knowledge there aren’t more populist parties in (West) Europe that have been in national governing positions. Of course it might be questionable to compare these parties’ and Donald Trump’s fortunes but there are some similarities in their political positions and who their supporters are. These are of course very broad generalizations and if I’m brutally honest I know very little about these parties so that’s a big caveat right there 🙂

        (Thanks for disagreeing, it was fun to find out these things about these parties!)

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