7.11.16

CHANGE YOUR FOCUS, CHRIS.

Last week, I alluded to a Chris Matthews coda to Hardball that took seriously the discontent driving the Donald Trump insurgency.  Go to Cleveland, conclude some terms with a couple of train firms, stoke up on Hungarian Hot Dogs, come home, and check the archives.  Paydirt.
Six days to go to the election, I find it important how close this election is drawing. Not close enough for Donald Trump to win, I remain convinced, but enough for the ruling class to pay attention. By that I mean the people who think they have it all together and think the regular people out there should leave them to run the show, letting them continue to alternate Democrats and Republicans, one party replacing the other in the revolving door of routine establishment politics.
You have a platform, Mr Matthews. Why not, once the votes are counted and the electors' reports certified, be a prototype of paying attention?  For instance, identify some interesting local developments and some up-and-coming young reporters and give the issues and the reporters a platform.  James Fallows has been out on the road, and the good news is that not all the news is bad.  Maybe there's something involving school choice in Rockford or Section Eight housing in Dubuque or economic development on the reservations that doesn't rely on casinos and the attendant hotels and eateries or mass transit in Phoenix and Salt Lake City ... any of which, Mr Matthews, is likely something you might not know, and that more than a few of your viewers don't know.  That would be a refreshing change of pace from the usual suspects beginning their handicapping of the 2020 race.
If this election is close, if Donald Trump carries big states like Ohio and Florida, if he comes within a couple of states of winning the presidency, if someone carrying his trainload of baggage is able to seriously challenge someone with Hillary Clinton`s resume, it`s an election for the record books. The people of this country will have spoken very loudly, so loudly even a deeply flawed candidate like Trump gets hoisted up all the way to 40 percent, that means he could have won this thing without all that baggage he`s accumulated year by year.

If he could manage in one year of campaigning to get close to winning after all those years of behaving like he did, it tells you something about the power of his message. I believe he was on to something in this race. I believe that half the people in this country maybe more have had it with establishment elite politics. They`re tired the of the same best and brightest who took us into Vietnam, went for broke there and then come back to take us into Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Syria and God knows what next desert war.

They`re tired of watching whole wastelands of this country where manufacturing once was king or the government to establish an honest immigration policy all Americans would be proud to see work. They`re tired of the elite making decisions or failing to make them and dump everything on the working people. The ill-conceived wars, the global economics that destroys so many local economies, an immigration flow that affects where working people live, leaves the elite to live where it has the least possible impact.
The first paragraph invokes Mrs Clinton's resume. The second paragraph lists the action items on her resume. The third paragraph gets to the heart of Mr Trump's appeal.  If you agree with the wall and a different approach to waging war and a more protectionist trade policy, the locker room talk is irrelevant.

And Chris, there is so much more to add to that recitation of government failures.  Urban renewal.  Conrail.  The so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Its undoing is in progress.  You've been in the political punditry business for a long time.  Set an example.  Pay attention to that discontent.  Call out the elites.  Stop sitting around under pictures of Washington landmarks participating in the Cult of the Presidency.  I repeat: focus on something else for the next three years.
If Trump comes close, if he gets a popular vote in the mid-40 percent, the ruling class ought to note the percent he got, not the percent he came short because that 40 percent could soon be looking angrier and for a leader, even stronger.
Perhaps, Chris, more diverse as well.  The Chicago Cubs just celebrated a World Series win.  The despair, and the carnage, elsewhere in Chicago continues.  The elite live east of Wrigleyville or along the lake or near the Magnificent Mile or the Loop, including, for whatever it's worth, in Chicago's Trump Tower.  Go south from Wrigleyville to Printers Row in the South Loop, and east to the lake, you have what, fifteen square miles of privilege surrounded by the Third World.  How long can the Democratic part of that bicoastal, bipartisan elite sustain that coalition?

We still transfer power with ballots and ceremonies.  The militias await.  Or the pitchforks, torches, tar, feathers, pikes, tumbrels, and the odd diseased yak lobbed over the city walls.

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