Strange bedfellows: Donald Trump and the white working class

Third, Trump bluntly acknowledges an acute sense of loss that has been uniquely felt by the white working class.

For white working class people understand loss. The U.S. economy has lost several million manufacturing jobs, which have been replaced by unstable, often contingent work. They lament America’s transition from overt to covert world power. They also sense their own loss of social status in the country they once defined. They feel outnumbered and discomforted by the ascendance of minorities, and disfavored by the elite echelons of American society.

Trump, who talks about losses to China, Mexico and Japan, like a tour by the U.S. soccer team, communicates his awareness of this lost status in simple, blunt terms. Shamelessly showboating his own successes, Trump promises to spread his winnings to a town near you.

This unexpected alignment has given Trump a commanding lead, thanks largely to dedicated support from an objectively small, but relatively large plurality of voters. Because he emphasizes the fact that he is an outsider, Republican voters have overlooked his lack of governing credentials, some wishy-washy statements on social policy and his status as a self-aggrandizing plutocrat.