In a Tuesday post, Esquire blogger Charles Pierce complained that Ronald Reagan’s anti-government rhetoric discouraged many from voting, thereby benefiting Republicans, but Donald Trump’s anti-government rhetoric encouraged many to vote, thereby benefiting Republicans.
Pierce noted that Reagan, in his first inaugural address, declared “that government was not a solution to the problem, that government was the problem. This basic political heresy, contrary to the first three words of the Constitution that Reagan had just sworn to preserve and protect, is the root philosophy of every bit of conservative politics that came afterwards…The people of the country were told that ‘government’ was something alien to them.” The Reaganite GOP, Pierce alleged, implemented a “political strategy of crippling ‘government’ in order to prove that ‘government’ could do nothing.”
The government-bashing, Pierce charged, was meant
not just to convert voters to conservative policies that were otherwise unpopular, it also was [meant] to frustrate people into apathy and non-participation. The question of why people voted against their own interests was the wrong question. The real question was why people didn't vote at all, which had been the point of this whole strategy in the first place.
Then along came Trump, with his call to “drain the swamp.” “Somehow,” Pierce observed, Trump “managed to weaponize the people who otherwise wouldn't vote to the point at which action swamped apathy.”
Regarding an 80-year-old man in Maine who’d never voted Republican in a presidential election until he voted for Trump, in part because he thinks Democrats no longer are “for the working class,” Pierce wrote (bolding added):
There is one party that wants to privatize Leo's Social Security and one that does not. There is one party that wants to hand him a worthless voucher and call it Medicare and one that does not. There is one party that at least tepidly supports organized labor through which Leo got his pension, and there is one party that does not. There is one party that wants to keep Leo's pension out of the hands of hedge fund cowboys and Wall Street thieves, and one that wants to hijack Leo's pension into the casino economy.
How, I wonder, are the Democrats no longer “for the working class,” and why doesn't Leo feel that anymore?