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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Which 1988 Candidate Foreshadowed Trump?

I am writing a book about the 1988 presidential election.  Reading Elizabeth Drew's Election Journal, I came across this passage, which sounds as if it could apply to Trump.
For a large portion of [his] supporters and would-be supporters, whether his proposals stand up to scrutiny is irrelevant. Their support for him is in a different category -- as the leader of a movement. [He] has become the vehicle for their discontent -- with current policies, with the other candidates. He stands in bold, interesting contrast to some fairly dull candidates.  He is the anti-politics candidate. Measuring his program is linear, rational, while most of the support for him is based on emotion.
In this case, the candidate was ... Jesse Jackson.  

The comparison is less bizarre than it may seem at first.  Like Trump, Jackson was an outsider, a narcissist seeking adulation for himself while giving voice to the inchoate frustrations of large group of Americans who thought that the system was rigged against them.  He was also a morally-compromised leader with deep prejudices and a disregard for factual accuracy.