Friday, September 23, 2016

Reticent Voter? I Don't Think So

The guardian of the conventional wisdom, Peggy Noonan, says that 2016 is "The Year of the Reticent Voter."

Not after this CBS News item about rust-belt Democrats leaving the sinking ship.

And not after yesterday. I was in line at the supermarket and a 50-ish white guy started rambling pro-Trump asides about Trump and Clinton. In the heart of Washington State's 7th Congressional District, one of the most Democratic districts in Congress! With women and minorities present!

Imagine someone daring to mention the name of Trump in the middle of Liberalville! Where the special snowflakes and the SJWs roam! The noive!

After leaving the store I realized that I should have sat him down, bought him a cup of coffee, and de-briefed him for the benefit of my readers.

No. I don't think this is the year of the reticent voter. I think this is the year that the Republican Party truly becomes the party of Middle America.

They used to talk about "country-club Republicans," and I suppose the insult had a grain of truth in it. Certainly, the GOP was heavily influenced by Buckley's National Review, by free-enterprise advocates, and latterly by the Religious Right.

And that meant that the "Reagan Democrats" could never really belong to the GOP, because, as we are seeing this year, the white working class wants the government to take care of it. It wants a degree of Patron/Client relationship, and if the old GOP stood for anything it was that it stood against Patron/Client politics.

(If you want an unsettling comparison of Patron/Client with Master/Slave and Lord/Serf, you could read this piece that a lefty calls a defense of slavery.)

But the truth is that in a country where the Patron/Client government programs of Social Security, Medicare, and government education are sacrosanct, then the championing of a government of personal responsibility is a dead letter.

That is what Donald Trump has demonstrated. And that is why the NeverTrumpers are so annoyed.

I've been watching recent Trump speeches, such as this one in Chester Township, PA, and can appreciate what he is doing. He is saying that when he is president he will care for everyone. He riffs off the Charlotte Riots by advocating for the decent folks that have to live in the riot-torn cities, trying to build a life of work and raising and educating children. Think of them, he says.

This line was startling to me, because the default conventional wisdom of the past decade has been to care about minorities and women -- as minorities and women -- and completely leaving out the ordinary non-minority-and-women people that are also struggling in these times. For Trump "inclusivity" means everyone, not just outreach to the previously "excluded."

You can see why the white guy at the supermarket would have been touched by this. Democrats haven't cared about people like him since before Archie Bunker was dispatched to Outer Slobbovia as a racist sexist bigot. But Republicans haven't cared either. They have appealed to people that obeyed the law, went to work, and followed the rules and didn't expect nuttin' from government. But people like my white guy want the government to care about people like him.

Well, Donald Trump has changed that, and he has changed the Republican Party.

It means, in the future, that the Republican Party won't be trying to do serious reform of the welfare state. Not until it is well and truly broken and the people demand that the government "do something" about it.

That's a pity, because when the welfare state breaks, it will be women and minorities -- and the white working class -- hardest hit. As usual.

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