I read Michael Goodwin’s article “Why it’s time for a Trump Revolution”, was dismayed and disappointed, and then tried to move on. It stuck with me, though. There are so many half-baked justifications for supporting Trump, and this article captures a few of them. The problem with these justifications is a lot of the logic doesn’t actually follow through.
The writer, Michael Goodwin, admits that Trump was not at all his favorite candidate initially. Though he’s a registered Democrat, he doesn’t care much for the Democratic candidates–he’s “just not that kind of Democrat”. He did like some of the Republican candidates, but they’ve been driven out of the race by Trump’s success.
His argument against front-runner Clinton is that voting for her would make it “impossible to demand honesty from any political official”. His reasoning is that she’s corrupt and a through-and-through liar. While it’s debatable whether his premise is false, his reasoning only seems to apply to Clinton. Trump is demonstrably a liar. He makes patently and verifiably false claims (http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/statements/byruling/false/). To be fair, so do all candidates. The problem here is not that Trump makes false claims and that Clinton doesn’t. The problem is that Goodwin’s reason for opposing Clinton is that she’s a liar. He doesn’t want to put a liar in the White House. Yet he wrote this article supporting Trump, who is also a liar.
Goodwin never actually says why Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be a good alternative to Trump or why he’s not a good Democratic nominee, other than a vague statement about how he’s not the Democrat to correct the “course that was dangerous and unsustainable” that Obama set the country on. Moving on…
Goodwin then acknowledges that Trump’s “policies are as detailed as bumper stickers and his lack of knowledge about complex issues scares me.” That’s okay, though, because there are 7.5 million people who have voted for him. So, Trump’s rhetoric isn’t empty and ignorant because 2.4% of the population have voted him? That doesn’t make any sense. Just because there are people that support a candidate does not somehow make that candidate an effective leader nor a reasonable wielder of power.
The next claim is that the general rejection of Trump must be because so many of those 7.5 million supporters are middle-class White people. According to Goodwin, the prejudice against White middle-class people “is perhaps the last acceptable bigotry”. This sets up the biggest argument of the article, and it is an argument that circulates amongst Trump supporters. The power of hard-working White people has been stolen and given to the poor, to “nonwhites”, to illegal immigrants, even “rioters and looters”. Trump represents those oppressed and forgotten White people seizing back power.
This argument would make a lot of sense, but those people never lost power. What’s happening is that when oppressed groups, such as those in poverty, or people of color, or immigrants, gain power, the dominant culture–White middle-class and wealthy people in the US–see the relative power change as a loss of power. White people are still more than represented in government and media. White people are still disproportionately represented in leadership positions. This argument from Goodwin makes it clear that he doesn’t actually understand the dynamics of social justice nor any narrative other than his own. And that’s who is supporting Trump. People who think empowering others necessarily means stripping power from those who currently have it–White people.
“What is his great sin?” Goodwin asks, and then answers, “Breaking the taboo about what ails the middle class?” Well, if that’s a great sin, then Sanders is guilty of it too, as his platform is built on supporting the middle class. If you didn’t know this article was about Trump, the last 7 or so paragraphs would seem like they’re about Sanders. For all the reasons Goodwin sees to support Trump, most of them could be equally applied to Clinton’s challenger for the Democratic nomination. Which makes me wonder what the real reasons are that Goodwin supports Trump.
Goodwin concludes that Trump is a revolutionary and that a political revolution is following Trump. Now, I wonder myself if a Trump presidency would mean revolution, but I don’t think it’s the same type of revolution that Goodwin has in mind. It would likely be the revolution that occurs when progress is stymied and those just starting to gain power within the system suddenly find themselves powerless once again.