How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

Mission Possible: How You Can Start and Operate a Soup Kitchen

More thoughts on Trump

Is there any rational explanation for President Trump's increasingly irrational behavior? Not if you view his performance from a traditional two-party perspective. Rather than building bridges with congressional Republicans he continues to viciously attack and criticize them. If, however, President Trump has decided to run as a third-party candidate in 2020, it may not be irrational at all. He will blame his inability to get anything done to the entrenched status quo consisting of both political parties and the "fake media." He will be blameless.

From the get-go President Trump has systematically fostered and stoked racial and ethnic division. His challenge of the U.S. citizenship of President Obama, support for a border wall, his immigration policy, his questioning the motives of Pakistani-American Gold Star mother, his bringing in of Stephen K. Bannon to the inner sanctum of the White House, his response to the violence in Charlottesville, and his defense of Confederate monuments, claiming that "they" are trying to "take away our heritage and our history" are all part of a consistent, concerted effort to cater and kowtow to bigotry and racism and fears that the U.S. is in danger of losing its culture and identity.

President Trump and his advisers recognize that many of his core supporters have deep-seated fears about cultural displacement and illegal immigration. A PRRI/Atlantic Report found that "White working-class voters who say they feel like strangers in their own land who believe the U.S. needs protecting against foreign influences were 3.5 times more likely to express a preference for Trump than those who did not [and] white working-class voters who favored deporting immigrants living in the country illegally were 3.3 times more likely to express a preference for Trump than those who did not."

President Trump did not misspeak when he neglected to condemn white supremacists and Nazis after Charlottesville. He knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted to foment further racial conflict which he and his alt-right buddies believe is appealing to a significant segment of the American people who are tired of "identity politics." Likewise, his periodic rallies are designed to rile his angry base by spreading hatred, discord and lies and offering oversimplified solutions to complex problems. The most blatant example was the assertion by Attorney General Sessions that one the reasons that the Deferred Act for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was being rescinded was because DACA recipients were taking jobs from native-born Americans.

Listen to Bannon: "The race-identity politics of the left wants to say its all racism." Bannon added, "Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can't get enough of it." Bannon and his ilk want a cultural war which they believe plays right into the wheelhouse of Trump supporters who gravitated to his candidacy because of social issues.

In a Time Magazine article entitled "What White America Must Do Next," Eddie Glaude Jr., the head of the Department of African-American studies at Princeton University wrote "Trump voters worried that a particular cultural vision of America was eroding. Political affirmation on both sides of the aisle of the white working class revolt is less about the economic devastation of workers and more about white identity - with black and brown folk and immigrants the scapegoat."

From the beginning Trump recognized that economically anxious working-class whites are very pessimistic about their current finances and increasing concerned that what will happen to their children. His advisers, have, no doubt, read J.D. Vance's best seller, Hillbilly Elegy, which chronologies Vance's escape from Appalachia's working-class white culture. Vance's makes the case that "the average white person now feels that anti-white bias is a bigger problem than other forms of racial discrimination."

From the get-go he has been cynically using the immigrant issues. He realized that more than half (54%) of white working-class American believe discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. Trump will, no doubt, at some point use opposition to affirmative action to appeal to a portion of his base.

Trump has said that his base would stick with him even if he shot someone on 5th Avenue. I think he's right. The only question is how big is that ardent core constituency? His base seems to be hovering at around 35%-40%, which is not a good number, if you are looking to win a conventional two-way race against a Democrat in 2020. However, starting off with 35%-40% of the electorate solidly in your corner doesn't look so bad if you are in a three-way race against a left-leaning Democrat candidate and a mainstream Republican candidate.

Based on the way Donald Trump has operated to date, running as a third-party authoritarian economic nationalist would be far more comfortable for him than running as the Republican nominee. He could make the case that he now knows that system is rotten to the core and that the only way to "Make America Great Again" is too completely and totally drain the swamp of the elected officials from both political parties.

I could see the Donald take a page out of Elizabeth Warren's book and make destroying the rigged two-party system the linchpin of his grass-roots campaign for the presidency in 2020 that virulently attacks both the media and the political establishment of both political parties.