Trump can’t lose White working class voters with a bad AHCA

It’s no secret that the Alt Right supported Donald Trump in the election — indeed, we were the only recognizable intellectual perspective to endorse him. What we liked about him — and continue to like about him — are, first and foremost, his attitudes on immigration, but also his America First economic nationalism and his foreign policy pronouncements in opposition to neocon nation building. It’s also well known that Trump won the election by getting out the vote in several key swing states among White rural and working class voters who saw Trump as supporting their interests in rolling back immigration that depresses wages and disrupts traditional homogeneous White communities that are still common in rural America. Trump’s stated trade policy and economic nationalism also benefit working class Americans because of the promise to keep jobs in America. All of these policies were opposed by powerful factions in the GOP, particularly big business interests and neoconservatives, not to mention the left.

Trump’s populism enabled him to win an election, but for him to have a chance to win in 2020 and for the GOP to avoid disaster in 2018, he will have to hold on to the coalition of voters that propelled him to victory. Indeed, he must add to it, given that the ascendant non-White coalition that is the backbone of the Democratic Party will continue to increase in size.

Since the election, the vast majority of media attention has been on Trump’s executive orders on immigration, seen by the left as evil. This is not surprising, since the left has abandoned all pretense of caring about the working class, opting instead for sexual and (non-White) racial identity politics. Indeed, the left is rapidly fashioning a legal system where every human has a affirmative right to immigrate to America.

Trump’s appeal to the working class was based not just on jobs, but on promising not to destroy the safety net and to actually improve it. Parenthetically, much of the blame for the current state of things has to be placed ultimately on globalism. Globalism, which was a consensus among the donor class of both parties until Trump came along, disproportionately benefits the 1% and has dramatically increased wealth disparities; it has also had disastrous effects on the White working  class, as employers competing in a global marketplace increasingly fail to provide health care and unions have become steadily more marginalized, as non-government jobs are shipped abroad.

The point here is that throughout the campaign, Trump promised to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something much better. His voters took him to mean that they would get a better deal on health care. But if something like the present bill passes, it’s going to be a disaster (see Katie McHugh, “7 Reasons Why Obamacare 2.0 Is All But Guaranteed to Impose Crushing Costs on Voters, Hurt Trump’s Base, And Hand Power Back to the Democrats“).

I’m no expert on health care, but it seems to me that, assuming there is going to be a health care safety net, it’s a pretty much insoluble problem if medical costs aren’t dramatically lowered, given the levels of serious, expensive-to-treat chronic diseases. For example, over 29 million Americans have diabetes, and 86 million more are pre-diabetic.

Health care is a huge issue for many of the people who voted for Trump. Whatever bill he signs has got to be something that helps these voters deal with health care. We can’t just dismiss the criticisms from the left and centrist Republicans that are being put forward against Paul Ryan’s AHCA. Even though estimates of the effects of this bill made by the Congressional Budget Office are to be taken with a grain of salt (given their predictions about Obamacare), there is certainly a large streak in conservatism that opposes a safety net. The fact that there is a tax cut for the wealthy in the bill is a huge problem and will likely be trumpeted by Democrats in the next election if it remains in the final version.

True populism means working for the best interests of the people. It’s quite compatible with national socialism (lower case) — a sense that the country is a collective rather than a conglomeration of individuals who have no responsibility to each other. Granted that the increasing ethnic diversity makes investing in social capital a tough sell for many Whites who rightly see these programs as more likely to benefit people not at all like themselves — a common finding in research on multiculturalism is that people are less willing to contribute to public goods in ethnically diverse societies. Still, we have to understand that many of our people and a lot of Trump voters need help with health care. Trump and the GOP will lose the next round of elections if they don’t do something to address their concerns.

The Alt Right is most interested in immigration because of its effects on the future demographics of the country and generally opposing the legitimate interests of White Americans in not becoming a (persecuted) minority in the country they built. But the Trump administration’s attitudes and policies on immigration, even if they become reality — which is proving to be difficult indeed, will be short-lived if issues like health care are dealt with in a way that ignores the interests of the White base of the GOP.  If the bill is seen as benefiting more traditional GOP constituencies — big business and ideological libertarianism — it is a death sentence for Trump’s populism.

61 replies

Comments are closed.