Search This Blog

Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Trump and Jesse Jackson

In Defying the Odds, we trace Trump's outsiderism to earlier figures. As I mentioned in a previous post, 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 was also a morally-compromised leader with deep prejudices and a disregard for factual accuracy Jackson was an sought adulation for himself while giving voice to the inchoate frustrations of large group of Americans who thought that the system was rigged against them. In the book, we quote Jackson's description of his followers: "My constituency is the desperate, the damned, the disinherited, the disrespected, and the despised."
Trump voters complain that there is no respect for President Trump or for people like them who voted for him. One older white working class woman from Macomb recalled when she first started voting “there was so much respect for the president. And I don't care what he did, or what he said, there was always respect. It was always ‘Mr. President.’ And now, it disgusts me.”