APPEALING TO THE COMMON MAN. Glenn Reynolds compares Trump to FDR:
And even if it did work, a lot of laid-off workers would still be unhappy. Losing a job, especially one you’ve held for a long time, is traumatic for a lot of reasons beyond money. For many people, especially men, a job is a major part of their identity. When technocratic politicians such as President Obama or Hillary Clinton dismiss their feelings, that’s irritating at the very least, especially when the Democratic Party as a whole, as operative Van Jones admitted recently, has a “problem with elitism.” If anything, Democrats have seemed almost smug about the travails of blue-collar America.
Trump, by contrast, promised to save Carrier jobs during the campaign and then, even though Obama mocked him for it at the PBS town hall (“What are you going to do? ... What magic wand do you have?”) Trump then went ahead and delivered. A conspicuously kept campaign promise that benefits the little guy sends a signal of caring that talk of macroeconomics does not.
FDR knew this. His New Deal economic policies were mostly snake oil — according to a study by UCLA economists, they actually prolonged the Great Depression by seven years. But FDR made people feel like he cared, even though he was a rich man from New York who had never been poor himself.
Now another rich man from New York seems to be repeating the formula. FDR gave the Democrats two decades of political dominance. Today’s Democrats should be worrying that Trump could do the same for the Republican Party.