April 09, 2018

Is Thomas Frank right to worry that Trump can be re-elected?

As he does here?

Yes and no.

He's right to worry that national-level Dems are too reliant on Robert Mueller putting Trump behind legal guns.

He's wrong, IMO, in thinking that Trump is going to get a Slickster Clinton economic goosing.

First, his own trade wars — wrongly framed, even though fair trade vs "free trade" is an issue — will shoot him in the foot.

Second, labor force participation has remained flat for the last four years and is still far short of pre-Great Recession numbers. With or without trade wars, I don't expect Trump to fix that in the next 2.5 years.

So, it will have to be Trump getting an economic expectations goose. Trump train voters, especially in coal-mining West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and manufacturing Great Lakes states, will have to believe that Trump has indeed fixed the economy. Those tax breaks for the rich and big biz will have to trickle down.

Can that many voters stay that self-deluded (in many cases) that much longer, in the face of no more than modest economic gains?

Or, if Dems regain the Senate, can they fuel themselves with social revenge votes? That seems more likely.

That means a Democratic candidate who can get minorities, as well as working-class whites who may be less than totally self-deluded, to turn out.

There's one such person, who is not perfect, but is better than the last few Democratic candidates. And, he's starting to make more sense on guns now too.

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