While Trump is in many respects working within a well-established political tradition, it matters that he used half-entendres rather than double-entendres to mobilize racist resentment, and the brutal truth is that it was effective:
— Tom Wood (@thomasjwood) April 2, 2017
Racism and economic dislocation, of course, cannot be neatly separated. But nor does good Democratic policy that provides material benefits to people guarantee that people will resist Trumpism:
For years, Tammy and Joseph Pavlic tried to ignore the cracked ceiling in their living room, the growing hole next to their shower and the deteriorating roof they feared might one day give out. Mr. Pavlic worked for decades installing and repairing air-conditioning and heating units, but three years ago, with multiple sclerosis advancing, he had to leave his job.
By 2015, Ms. Pavlic was supporting her husband and their three children on an annual salary of $9,000, earned at a restaurant. That year, they tapped a county program funded by Congress, called the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, to help repair their house.
The next year, they voted for Donald J. Trump, who has moved to eliminate the HOME program.
The Pavlics’ ceiling may no longer be cracked, but in the zero-sum game that Mr. Trump’s budget seeks to set up, the nation is showing new fissures. The president’s budget proposal would cut deeply into the Department of Housing and Urban Development, paring rental assistance and eliminating heating and air-conditioning aid, energy-efficiency assistance, and partnerships with local governments like HOME. With the savings, Mr. Trump says, he would beef up military spending and build a wall along the Mexican border.
“Keeping the country safe compared to keeping my bathroom safe isn’t even a comparison,” Mr. Pavlic, 42, said. “We have people who are coming into this country who are trying to hurt us, and I think that we need to be protected.”
People who say that Pavlic is “voting against his own interests” fail to grasp that white supremacy is an interest.
But the article is also a reminder that people who vote Democratic because of these programs remain in these areas too:
To William Brown, a former trucking company manager in Masury, the proposed cuts are not fodder for an academic argument: They’re just wrong.
“Everything he is doing is systematically horrible for this country,” said Mr. Brown, who voted for Hillary Clinton and hasn’t worked since 2009 after he had a heart attack and was laid off from his job. “For him to even consider taking a program away when we can spend all this money for him to go down to Florida every weekend, how many people can use that money?”
We shouldn’t ignore the potency of what Trump has unleashed, but DEMOCRATS ARE DOOMED being the takeaway is neither useful nor accurate. Trump’s electoral coalition isn’t exactly rock solid. He’s got less than 100,000 votes to spare, he will have failed to fulfill most of his promises, he is extremely unpopular, and the media both mainstream and left is much less likely to fap itself silly over inane trivia about the Democratic candidate with Trump actually in the White House. It’s a problem, but it’s not an insurmountable problem. Killing Trumpcare is a good start, both substantively and politically.