2016-10-10 – Trump’s appeal is in being a bad boy and he knows it. That’s why he talks about puncturing “political correctness.” That’s why he talks trash when other politicians talk policy. That’s how he won the Republican nomination. Because that’s the party that values disdain over the harder work of getting anything done for the nation.
Trump’s self-knowledge about this was in full view in last night’s debate with Hillary Clinton when he said: “I’ll tell you what. I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it.”
He could have said this about most of his outrageous statements—and last night was not the first time he used a formulation like this. Sometimes he uses it as a tease—praising himself for not saying the outrageous thing. But last night he said it.
And the outrageous thing he said was that he’d try to lock Hillary up if he wins the election.
Pretty outrageous, but just one in a string of outrageous things he’s said over the course of the campaign. Shock value has worked for him. A sizeable fraction of the electorate wants someone to shake things up. They wanted him first to destroy the Republican Party. Done. And now they want him to destroy the governing structures of the nation.
A sizeable fraction, but never a majority.
This fraction is subdivided into “deplorables” and a poorly defined other group (Hillary’s other “half”) that is simply frustrated with the way things are—the people that Democrats like to say vote against their interests.
The sad part is that, while the deplorables might be happy with a Trump presidency, the frustrated group is just going to get more and more frustrated.
If Hillary can find a way to reach out to the frustrated group in victory (and she has talked in those terms often—though she is ignored on that point because it doesn’t fit the narrative), Trump will have done more good inadvertently by being the bad boy than he could possibly do as President.