So the legitimate issues that Trump has raised are very likely to be frozen out of elite political conversation, at least in the short term. That’s a problem in and of itself. But it’s a bigger problem because of the constituencies showing Trump the most-vigorous support.
To take the most important example, while foreign policy practitioners overwhelmingly support Clinton, military personnel vastly prefer Trump — and did so during the primaries as well. That partly reflects the partisan lean of the military, but it also likely reflects profound dissatisfaction with the way the military has been used since the end of the Cold War. It’s worth noting that Ron Paul also earned disproportionate support from active-duty service members in the 2008 and 2012 election cycles. A political system that refuses to discuss, much less address, the concerns of those who actually fight America’s wars, is not a system that will last long.
The same can be said about those voters drawn to Trump for his views on trade or immigration — or merely to the message that their stagnant or declining incomes and the dim prospects for their children are not something they just have to accept as the price of overall progress. It is no answer to say that their problems are actually not more pressing than those of, say, an African-American mother in Baltimore or a teenager fleeing chaos in Central America. Having such a large slice of the citizenry feeling like the political system will not even listen to them is dangerous for the stability of that system.