The Republican Party is held together by the core premise that the status of some traditionally important groups be supported and indeed extended. That would include “white male producers,” but not only. You could add soldiers, Christians (many but not all kinds), married mothers, gun owners, and other groups to that list.The challenge of democratic politics has always been to craft policies that appeal to what are at base emotional affiliations. The great master of this in my lifetime was Ronald Reagan, who combined tax cuts, a muscular-sounding but not too dangerous foreign policy, some small budget cuts, and rhetorical nods toward whiteness, nationalism, Christianity and tradition into a package he called "conservatism." The problem for Republicans is that, as Cowen puts it,
The older Republican policy positions haven’t delivered much to people for quite some time.So along comes a new voice:
The success of Trump by the way is that he appeals to that revaluation of values directly, and bypasses or revises or ignores a lot of the associated policy positions. That is why the Republican Party finds it so hard to counter him and also fears it will lose its privileged position, were Trump to win.Fascinating. Instead of bothering to figure out what policies might help his constituents and advance their goals, or even crafting policy positions that would appeal to them, Trumps just leaves the policy out and goes straight for the emotional rhetoric. Politics always has a large element of theater, rhetoric, and group solidarity, but it also concerns how the country should be governed. Not for Trump; his campaign is all theater, rhetoric, and group solidarity, with a few policy ideas that few take seriously as window dressing.