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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Post-Ideology v. Identity Liberalism

At The Washington Post, James Hohmann reports on the post-election conference at HKS.  He quotes Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio:
“We really live in a world where everybody thinks that ideology is linear, and that, ‘If you answer these 10 questions correctly, that makes you a conservative.’ But not every conservative is pro-life. Not every conservative is anti-gay marriage. Not every conservative puts 100 percent emphasis on this or that.”
“One of the problems is many people tried to look at the Donald Trump phenomenon through the ideological lenses which had defined previous Republicans presidential nominating contests,” Fabrizio added. “Donald Trump is post ideological. His movement transcends ideology … Through his own antennae – and, trust me, many times I had this conversation with him – Donald Trump understood the fold in American politics. It’s the reason so many Trump supporters and so many (Bernie) Sanders supporters agreed on so many things.”
....
“Every time he said something … and doubled down, that was proof to voters he’d speak his mind and not lie to them. It’s what they wanted,” Fabrizio said of Trump.“His best group of voters were those who said they were ‘angry.’ And let me tell you, in the Republican primary, a third of voters would tell you they were outright angry. With another 60 percent telling you they were dissatisfied. So he had a rich pool to tap into.”
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-- Policy didn’t matter. “What we missed was that nobody cared about solutions,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who managed Mike Huckabee’s campaign until he dropped out and then joined Trump’s operation as a consultant soon after. “They just wanted to burn it all down. They didn’t care about building it back up. They wanted to burn it to the ground and then figure out what to do with the ashes afterwards. There was no understanding of this electorate and the anger on the front end in terms of just how pissed off they were. You may have the best policy in the world to get every single American the best job they’ve ever had. Nobody cared.”
-- Experience didn’t matter. From Marco Rubio campaign manager Terry Sullivan: “We got hit with commercial after commercial about how little experience (Marco had) and how many missed votes in the Senate. It didn’t matter. People don’t care. The Senate sucks. Why would we want to be there? We’re not voting. Who cares? And voters bought into that. Experience was a liability. It was not an asset. We figured that out early, but Trump took it to the next level.”
At The New York Times, Mark Lilla writes:
One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.
(Compare and contrast with Bill Clinton in 1992).