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Wed May 16, 2018, 08:54 AM

President Trump snookered voters with his promise of 'populism'

By Jennifer Rubin May 16 at 9:00 AM

How did the presidential candidate who promised to help the “forgotten man and woman,” who railed against a rigged system, who decried politicians as crooks (stupid crooks, actually) and who promised to stand up to American adversaries become the dream president for Big Business, Big Pharma, China, Russia — and rich people just like him? He certainly has managed to turn the presidency into a trough for himself and his Cabinet. In fact, Trump never had a well-thought-out, or even a not-so-well-thought-out, populist economic agenda: His anti-trade agenda was based on a lifelong xenophobic attitude toward foreign business; his ignorance about the ultimate payer of tariffs (consumers), and the downside for domestic workers and farmers, remains; his immigration notions were rooted in white grievance, far more than about jobs; and his fabulous health-care idea was nonexistent.

Trump has always been for Trump, and now is no different. In every policy arena, from the tax plan to his latest stunning concession to China to his fondness for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the ordinary Americans he played to during the campaign might feel more than a little short-changed. Trump has actually doubled down on policies that promote income inequality and vastly increased the amount of corruption in government. Along the way, he has benefited an interesting array of foreign governments.

As my colleague James Hohmann reported, “In the deeply interconnected global economy, the devil is always in the details and the implementation of some policies may do more to hurt than help the people who put their faith in him to fix their problems.” That includes worker shortages that pinch small business, trade wars that hurt agriculture and consumers, rising gas prices (thanks to his pullout from the Iran nuclear deal). His restrictionist immigration policies have been a boon to the economy — of Canada, which gladly welcomes tech workers.

His tax plan hugely favored the rich and corporations. The promised benefit to workers (thousands of dollars in increased wages!) has yet to appear. CNBC reported earlier this month, “Through the end of April, S&P 500 companies are on track to give back a record $1 trillion to investors through dividend increases and stock buybacks, according to data compiled by Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Dow Jones Indices.” That dwarfs any one-time bonuses given out by corporations, in the interest of good PR, after the bill was passed. Meanwhile, Trump’s other domestic “achievements” are shrinking government payrolls (i.e., eliminating jobs) and cutting back on regulations. Not much there for the non-college-educated voter in the upper Midwest. Moreover, the massive debt increases and potential for inflation spawned by the tax cuts are beginning to be felt in the form of rising interest rates.


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Reply President Trump snookered voters with his promise of 'populism' (Original post)
DonViejo May 2018 OP
ProudMNDemocrat May 2018 #1
frazzled May 2018 #2

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 09:03 AM

1. Democrats are pouncing on this and winning......

In Districts Trump won by asking the hard questions. Voters care about how much things are going to cost. They care about Health Care now and in the future. They care about world affairs and more war. They care about their kids, their rights, their lives.

Democrats have their backs. Republicans do not. It is about the Bread and Butter issues, people!

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 10:09 AM

2. Populism is always a campaign strategy, not a legislative accomplishment

It's about reeling in voters with "power to the people" slogans and appealing promises, whether right-wing populism or left-wing populism. Progressive populists who promise the eradication of the 1% or free college for all or other lures are not going to deliver that, either.

Of course, Trump takes it to a new level. While the left-wing populists may promise and try (or fail to try, because of the risk of failure in Congress), Trump just turns around and does the opposite of what he promised. Or he keeps his promises and people find out how wrong-headed and destructive those promises were in the first place.

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