Why Past Was Better Than The Present For Half The Americans

  • Resurgence of populism evident
  • The ‘Trump card’ has potential to sway the white

 Washington (DC): Trump thinks present America is far worse a place than it was in the past. So, his slogan for the election, “Make America great again.” He lashes his opponent’s policies as a continuation of the present. Hence his tweet: A vote for Hillary is a vote for another generation of poverty, high crime, and lost opportunities.

Venkata Kondubhatla

Venkata Kondubhatla

Not just Trump, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center based on registered voters, about 47 percent of the voters say the country is worse compared with fifty years ago. This includes about 19 percent of Clinton supporters and about 81 percent of Trump supporters.

Voters graph-24The big support Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders were getting for the populist policies was the precursor to this report. The populist presidential candidates of the past, such as George Wallace and Pat Buchannan, couldn’t even become the nominees of their respective parties. How come then populist Trump succeeds? The resurgence of populism and the anger in the working classes are because of the growing inequality?

The country itself is not doing that badly — the economy is slow but certainly doing well, and the unemployment rate is below five percent after many years. But almost half of the voters are unhappy.

A section of people blame their unhappiness on the Wall Street. The salaries of the working class are low and stagnant, while that of the executives of the Wall street companies have increased to fourfold after the 2008 financial crisis. The government bailouts to save the Wall Street firms from busting after the crisis helped the firms to recover and stabilize, but the benefits have not trickled down to the bottom strata of the society, resulting in anger and restiveness among taxpayers.

When Trumps calls to raise taxes on the rich, it resonates well with the blue-collar workers and the middleclass workers, although his opposition argues that his tax plan is not that pro-poor as it appears. When Bernie called for “breaking the banks,” it resonated well with the people the same way.

About 52 percent of the White feels the past was better. Majority of them, especially the white working classes, blame immigrants of taking away their manufacturing jobs and that the jobs are moving away from the country. Trump’s push to “build the wall”on the Mexico border and deport the 11 million illegal immigrants attracts some, while his trade policies, such as raising tariffs on China exports, appeal to some.

Banning Muslims to enter the country is another such Trump’s populist stance that appeals to the population, especially uneducated, who fears the rise of ISIS and the potential threat to their country.

The resurgence of populism in the country has allowed the Republican leader to part his ways with the conventional party moderate policies and still win party nomination. He is able to tune into the grievances of the distressed sections of the population, and his campaign on its path to election also has changed the face of the Republican Party, only to the bitterness of its Republican stalwart leaders across the party spectrum.

Venkata Kondubhatla

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