So I tuned into Fox News last night to see how they were framing things. I assumed it would be much as Trump was–about extremism on “many” sides, and how Obama started this by refusing to condemn the Black Panthers and so on. The show I tuned into was Steve Hilton’s, the English populist’s, and his message was pretty much that Trump was ruining populism by refusing to condemn White Nationalism. Populism is a response to economic inequality, he said, and black people are the biggest victims of that. What we need is economic nationalism, not white nationalism. Populism must be multi-cultural. Etc. It made me wonder: will this be the face of Fox after Murdoch Sr. and Trump are out of the picture? It also made me realize how much Trump has squandered.
Had he done what he said he would–hit the ground running with a trillion dollar infrastructure program, shored up Social Security and Medicare, made health care cheaper and better, and started a trade war instead of outsourcing everything to Goldman Sachs and the Koch brothers, he would have redoubled his support among Democrats and Independents. As it stands now, the only policies that are uniquely his are the Wall and the Muslim ban–the rest is right wing Republican boilerplate. Islamophobes, racists, and anti-Semites who like David Duke may also like Trump more than they would someone like Pence, but it’s not like they would ever vote for a Democrat. Politically speaking, they don’t really bring him anything except the kind of tsuris that he opened himself up to this weekend.
I think the electoral map is so tough and the Democrats so divided that Trump will retain the Senate in 2018. If he doesn’t finish his term (and I don’t think he will), it’ll be because the Goldman Sachs wing of his own party decides that he is a liability. Had he built on the populism that he ran on, he might have become president-for-life.