Old-fashioned big government can win back (some) working-class whites.
Presenting a pure question of a big government economic redistribution scheme divorced from any questions about candidate personality or culture war politics, the ballot initiative was a roaring success, passing with what looks to be about 60 percent of the vote. In the Democratic stronghold of Portland, it ran 5 points ahead of Hillary Clinton and secured 81 percent of the vote. But it also carried inland towns like Ellsworth and Dover-Foxcroft that Trump won.
That suggests that both blades of the Trumpist scissors — economic populism and white identity politics — mattered to Trump’s success. And that while Democrats certainly won’t win white rural America over to their column, their candidates have ample opportunity to make at least some inroads by emphasizing traditional social programs and downplaying culture war issues.
There were two parts to Trumpism, he’s only governed with one
As a presidential candidate, Trump amped-up culture war politics, brought back “tough on crime” rhetoric from the 1980s, and positioned himself and the Republican Party as squarely anti-immigrant and anti-immigration. But he also softened the traditional GOP line on taxes and the welfare state, promising to raise taxes on the rich while avoiding cuts to major safety programs, including Medicaid.
I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2015
As president, Trump has governed very much the way he campaigned on culture war topics — but very differently on economic ones.
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