In the event of a victory by Donald Trump in November, political analysis will take on a forensic cast. How did establishment politics — first in the GOP primaries, then in a national electorate — come to die?
Privately, Democrats would regret their selection of one of the most joyless, least visionary presidential candidates in recent memory. Publicly, they would blame trends that incubated within the Republican coalition, particularly a nativism incited by conservative media and carried by a candidate — alternately cynical and frightening — who is unbound by truth, consistency or decency.
And, by God, they would be right in much of this critique. But this is adequate to explain only how Trump seized a powerful plurality of Republican primary voters. Stipulating a Trump victory, Democrats could not dismiss the winning coalition as an ocean of deplorables. If Hillary Clinton loses, it will be because she was the résumé candidate in an anti-establishment wave election. It will be because she argued that the United States, with incremental corrections, is on the right track set by Barack Obama, while more than 60 percent of Americans believe the country is off course, and have thought so for years.
If Trump succeeds in essentially turning out the midterm electorate in a presidential year — whiter, older, angrier — the main motivating issue may be the restriction of immigration. But the general atmosphere of contempt for government that helps Trump — of disdain for the weakness and incompetence of the political class — is due to the Affordable Care Act.
More than six years after becoming law, the proudest accomplishment of the Obama years is a political burden for Democrats. A recent Gallup poll found that a majority of Americans disapprove of Obamacare. The larger concern for Clinton and her party comes deeper in the numbers. Only 18 percent of Americans believe the Affordable Care Act has helped their families; 80 percent say it is has hurt or had no effect. A higher proportion of Americans believe the federal government was behind the 9/11 attacks than believe it has helped them through Obamacare. Read article here.