Strangers in a strange land

That’s how a large block of Americans feel right now. They’re the white working class who still believe in God, mother, country and apple pie.  In a Reuters/Ispos survey, 58 percent of Americans (72% of Republicans) say they “don’t identify with what America has become.” While Republicans and Independents are the most likely to agree with this statement, even 45 percent of Democrats share this feeling.

Results of the Reuters/Ispod survey of public attitudes:

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Sixty-two percent of Republicans say they “feel like a stranger” in their own country.

In a few short years they’ve seen their country transformed in so many ways they don’t like. They don’t recognize it anymore. Everything that used to be solid has gone squishy. How could anybody have ever thought that we’d be arguing over whether a man can shower with your daughter and use your wife’s bathroom if he wakes up in the morning somehow feeling like he’s a woman? How could it have been predicted that the screwy idea of same-sex marriage, which had been soundly rejected in every state where people were allowed to vote on it, would be unceremoniously shoved down America’s throat by five malignant narcissist lawyers in black robes?

Barack Obama warned us that he intended to transform America. Rush Limbaugh immediately said he hoped Obama would fail. He didn’t fail. He succeeded, and it feels like totally to the white working class, and I’d bet to a sizable number of African Americans as well. At least the ones who pay taxes. Both groups feel like strangers in their own country.

Donald Trump appeals to these people because he promises to “Make America great again.” That’s a message that resonates with them. They want their country back.

A piece at Breitbart today explores this idea further. Democrats long ago abandoned the white working class because they would have needed to soften some of their liberal social policies to get them. So Democrats don’t have their vote, but Republicans cannot always count on it either because these are people who are perfectly willing to vote for “none of the above.” That’s not a selection on any ballot, but staying home on election day accomplishes the same thing.

If this voting block can deprive Republicans of victory by not voting, and they did just that in 2008 and 2012, they can also deliver a win to Republicans when they’re motivated to do so.

So what are the wizards of smart in the Republican establishment doing to win in 2016? They’re doing all they can to torpedo Donald Trump. A Super Pac for John Kasich has announced that it will spend several million dollars in an effort to take Trump out.

Like it or not, Trump is the hope of a voting block large enough to deliver Republican victory in states like Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. These are states the Republicans must win in 2016. Alienating these voters seems to be a strategy for Republicans to lose those states, and thus the Presidency.

Breitbart writer Mike Flynn says:

Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” is perfectly attuned to those voters who feel increasingly like “strangers” in their own country.

Panic breeds actions born out of emotions rather than somber reflection. The Republican establishment is understandably panicked at the thought of Donald Trump capturing the party’s nomination for President. It is convinced, perhaps incorrectly, that a Trump candidacy will doom the party’s chances next year.

Its zeal to derail his campaign carries huge risks for the party, however. The Trump phenomenon is not simply the product of a media-savvy, hyper-personality candidate. It is drawing strength from very real sentiments of a huge block of voters. The Republican party may take out Trump, but it alienates these voters at its peril.

I get the feeling that the Republican establishment so wants to rid itself of conservatives they’ve decided they wouldn’t mind going back to being the permanent minority party. That’s what they were from 1932 to 1980 and they were happy with that (Democrats controlled both houses of Congress for all but the first two years of Eisenhower’s presidency and all of Nixon’s term). Republicans gained the majority of both Houses in 2012 and the leadership establishment has given every indication that they aren’t very happy about that, and are willing to see it handed back to the Democrats. They’d never admit that, of course. We can judge them more accurately by their actions than their words, however.

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