A guest post of mine has just gone up over on Mere Orthodoxy. Within it I respond to claims that Donald Trump’s supporters are merely driven by racism, xenophobia, a hunger for unjust power, and enthralment to celebrity culture. I make the case that a more attentive examination will reveal unflattering truths about American politics and the deep yet often dissembled classism of American society more generally and the responsibility that Trump’s opponents and critics have in preparing the ground for him.
The success of Trump, if I am correct, is in no small measure a result of the failure of other politicians and the establishment more generally to take a number of genuine public concerns seriously, to treat the working class with respect and dignity rather than self-righteous superiority, to address the ineffectiveness of government, to resist the special interests of lobbyists and business that undermine the government’s commitment to the public interest and the common good, to stand for America as a nation, and to encourage a society of robust civil discourse rather than officious and censorious speech policing and pathologization.
When the establishment has demonstrated its lack of genuine respect or concern for a large segment of the population, it is not surprising that such pronounced anti-establishment sentiment should arise. Much as one might wish that Trump supporters—especially the evangelicals among them—followed politicians that sought to maintain a well-ordered and dignified political system, the appeal of Trump is at least as unflattering a revelation of the failure of the establishment to serve the common good and its captivity to party interest as it is of the sentiments of people who will vote for him.
Read the whole thing here.