Salena Zito and Brad Todd
5 Star Insights Into How and Why Trump Won — Complements Our Towns
The authors combine experience as a national political analyst for reputable media organizations with national-scope Republican advertising and opinion research. The book offers deep insights into how and why Donald Trump captured so many “Reagan Democrats” at the same time that he attracted many eligible non-voters back into the election process.
This book is a perfect complement to Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America by James and Deborah Fallows for which my summary review is available free online.
The opening is breath-taking. Here are just two quotes:
QUOTE (3): Thirty-five counties in Ohio, long the nation’s premier presidential bellweather, smung 25 or more points from 2012 to 2016. Twenty-three counties in Wisconsin, thirty-two counties in Iowa, and twelve counties in Michigan switched from Obama to Trump in the space of four years.
QUOTE (5): Donald Trump’s electoral coalition is smashing both American political parties and the previously impenetrable political news media…
This book helps explain how Trump’s penchant for brand building has converged with the emergence of populism, nationalism, and the revitalization of conservativism pushing back against liberalism and globalism.
Trump did what Romney could not: pulled white voters across party lines and into the act of voting. His core issues of jobs, opposition to trade agreements and multinational agreements, and to illegal immigration, both detrimental to jobs, was his “center.”
Trump’s methods of twitter, Fox, earned media, and live rallies pulled in far more non-Republican voters than anyone understood at the time (today up to 60% of his rally participants are #WalkAway Democrats or Independents).
Trump absolutely passed the smell test on being authentic and being a counter-force to the political, cultural, and economic forces that are frightening the average American.
Two huge advantages for Trump were the early support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) which delivered an astonishing array of supporters including women who believe that being armed for self-defense is both a right and a means of personal empowerment; and the Supreme Court vacancy resulting from the death (I personally believe the murder) of Justice Scalia.
Trump’s swing vote wants a flat tax, an end to income taxes and all other taxes including the death tax on small farms and businesses.
Trump was hugely appealing to the “disposable deplorables” who believe that the media lies and the government cannot be trusted.
I learn that many of Trump’s supporters, especially those that crossed over, do not like his Tweets, but judge him as a whole man and have no trouble at all with any personal imperfections as long as he sticks to representing the underdog — the Democratic Party has totally lost its credibility on that front.
On the jobs front I learn that Obama’s making easy money available for college for everyone had the unintended effect of destroying the vocational and apprenticeship pipelines for the trades, leading to a current shortage in skilled blue collar workers. I learn there is a desperate need across America for a combination of retraining of those put out of work by automation and others forces, and “help the kids stay near home” training that qualifies them for the vacant jobs that needs skills but not college.
The book suggests that the women’s political movement in America has lost its way — there is no question but that Hillary Clinton was not at all the role model and leader most women wanted and suggests to me — the authors do not touch it — that is Trump were to propose an Election Reform Act that eliminates the two-party presidential debate commission and restores — codified in law — the League of Women Voters as the debate managers at all levels, there would be benefits all around.
Repeated throughout the book — and this point is made in Our Towns as well — the public is seeing a Washington political establishment, a corporate economic establishment, and a media cultural establishment that does not hear the voices of the average American, does not “get” their concerns. The elites are totally disconnected from the reality that a majority of Americans face every day.
QUOTE (230): …the danger increases that people who have so much influence on the course of the nation have little direct experience with the lives of ordinary Americans, a make their judgments a bout what’s good for other people based on their own highly atypical lives.” To which I would add, or bribery and blackmail, which seems to hover over all Members of Congress, most judges, and many celebrities and corporate chiefs.
Trump’s base wants less spending overseas — I dare to hope he will still withdraw from NATO and close down all US military bases around the world beginning with those in the Middle East — and more spending at home. His base and his swing vote both understand that US corporations are not loyal to the USA or the communities in the USA, but are globalist entities.
The meat of the book is summed up toward the end:
QUOTE (235): The emerging schism between the intensity of support for Republican candidates who represent this populist-conservative fusion in rural and industrial areas, and the newly competitive nature of educated suburbs that previously titled Republican, is the core axis of our new politics.
Translation: college-educated people who live side by side with non-college-educated people will lean toward the 99% and Trump; while college-educated people on the east and west coasts that live only among college-educated people will lean toward the 1% and be anti-Trump.
The mechanics of the next election are discussed. Among core ideas:
01 Liberalism has failed — the Democratic attempt to paint conservatives as bigots and intolerant is seen for what it is, absolute bullshit.
02 Peer to peer communications has buried the fake news media. Trump is likely to ride a wave of earned media with the dying mainstream media while inspiring many new networks of alternative media but — and this is my thought — he desperately needs a new truth channel with voice and video, text and email, that cannot be censored or manipulated as is the case with Amazon, Facebook, Google, MeetUp, Twitter, YouTube, and Wikipedia, all pieces of what I call #GoogleGestapo, where tens of thousands of conservative voices have been digitally assassinated in the past two years.
03 Corporate leaders are betting that Trump is a transient.
04 Trumpism will outlast Trump.
QUOTE (266): The demand of these newly mobile populist voters for cultural respect, their resistance to multilateralism abroad and multiculturalism at home, their siege-like defiance of the loudest voices in American corporate and societal life, and the intensity of the Left’s reaciton to them, wll now animate not just our politics but our nation’s debates about commercial and societal norms.
Translation: the Deep State, the Shadow Government, the two-party tyranny, the media and entertainment mandarins, are dead men walking. America has woken up and the fight for the soul of America is on.
This is one of those books that absolutely merits reading by every citizen.