Candidates for a new political age

by | Sep 22, 2023 | Editor's Blog | 6 comments

One of the most fascinating aspects of politics right now is the political realignment happening in the country. The non-college, white working class that was a staple of the Democratic Party for most of the 20th century has shifted toward the GOP. The college educated white upper middle class that had made up a significant part of the Republican base since the end of World War II is now part of the Democratic coalition. Non-white voters that have traditionally supported Democrats may follow suit, although more slowly, along educational lines. 

Trump seems to get it more than most people in either party and he’s like a bellwether to the consternation of Republicans and to the detriment of Democrats. His loyal supporters lack any real ideology and are mostly reactionary. He understands them inherently.

In the past week, Trump has broken with conservative orthodoxy in ways that might sink other candidates, but have little impact on his chances to be the GOP nominee for president again. He told Kristen Welker in his Meet the Press interview that he would look for a middle ground on abortion and opposes fetal heartbeat bills. He claimed he would bring the country together and put the abortion debate behind us, something most Americans probably want, regardless of their stance on the issue. 

Republicans and Democrats both pounced. Republicans challenging him for the nomination and pro-life groups blasted Trump for not meeting their litmus tests on the issue. Democrats reminded voters that Trump’s Supreme Court picks overturned Roe v. Wade. Trump responded by agreeing with the Democrats, pushing back against his Republican opponents and reinforcing the Democrats’ criticism. Pundits say he got hit by both sides. In a general election, that’s probably good.

Trump also broke with Republicans by appearing to side with the United Auto Workers in their dispute with management. While South Carolinians Tim Scott and Nikki Haley condemned the United Auto Workers for striking, Trump announced he’s meeting with them. Instead of attending the debate next week, he’s going to Detroit to give a primetime speech that competes with it. Trump understands that the realignment taking place includes union workers who have traditionally voted Democratic but whose politics are more populist than progressive. While the union leadership might be supporting Biden, a lot of workers supported Trump and probably still do. 

Autoworkers have always been more populist than progressive. In 1972, they supported George Wallace in the Democratic primary for president and Nixon won Michigan by double digits. Trump knows that he won’t get into the White House again without Michigan so aligning himself with the striking workers is good politics. 

The workers are receptive to Trump, even if they’ve been giving Democrats their votes in recent elections. One union official told Politico, “We haven’t had a president in there for years, with the exception of Trump, that was really for the people, all the way back to the Reagan days.”

Pundits and the political class should recognize that Trump is not running a primary campaign. He believes, with good reason and a lot of evidence, that he is already the GOP nominee. He’s attempting to neutralize abortion, the wedge issue Democrats believe could give them victories up and down the ballot next year. Trump does not believe evangelical voters will abandon him. He still believes that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and [he] wouldn’t lose any voters.” That applies to fifteen week old fetuses, too. There’s really no reason to believe otherwise. 

Trump’s outreach to the UAW shows he understands that the white working class includes union workers. Scott, Haley, and other Republicans will find themselves on the wrong side of the political realignment happening right now. Trump knows that he won’t likely get union money, but he believes that he can get a significant portion of union votes. Again, he’s not worrying about primary voters. He’s trying to cut into a block of voters that Democrats believe should be theirs. 

Donald Trump understands the American electorate better than most pundits and politicians. He’s recognized the political realignment taking place in the country and he knows that most voters have more nuanced positions than the interest groups that drive and fund the two parties. He also knows that his cult-like following is not going to abandon him, giving him the leeway to take positions other politicians eschew. He can get away with taking contradictory political positions that would cost other candidates support.

Joe Biden is Trump’s foil because he holds similarly contradictory characteristics that make him more attractive to a broader audience than a lot of other Democratic candidates. He’s a devout Catholic who is personally pro-life in a party that is decidedly pro-choice. He sees himself as a blue-collar politician even as the college-educated whites replace working class whites as part of the Democratic coalition. He likes American made muscle cars, not European sports cars and he’s has been the most pro-union president in decades. He’s a stronger candidate because he doesn’t necessarily check all of the boxes.

Neither man is articulate. Trump often speaks in incomplete sentences. Biden is a gaffe machine. While pundits and analysts ridicule their miscues, voters ignore them, maybe because their clumsy oratory makes them more human. They certainly never held it against George W. Bush. 

Trump and Biden face off against each other in an evolving political landscape. Biden’s greatest liability is his age. Trump is under indictment on numerous charges in numerous jurisdictions. Pundits, politicians, and maybe voters see these candidates as deeply flawed choices, but both men bridge the gap of the new political alignment that appeals to voters in the middle, not just the base of their respective parties.  


  1. cocodog

    “The whales are being driven crazy by windmills” off the East Coast according to Fat Donnie. And he alone can solve that problem. In addition, Trump believes he ran against George Bush in 2016 and Obama in 2020. He won because folks understood one of his opponents would take us into WWII. George Bush did not run in 2016 and nor did Obama in 2020. They were barred from running by term limits set by the constitution. Moreover, Government studies and several prominent environmentalists could not tie offshore windmills into the death of over two hundred whales. Theories have been tossed around that sonar used by naval and private watercraft played a significant role in causing the whale’s death. I am not a whale expert but thinking back to my college days, a professor talked about whales being able to hear and interpret sounds. Sonar is a sound-based device; therefore, it would make sense, sonar could affect whales. Then there is this matter of Fats tweeting he bought a firearm. Federal law prohibits folks under felony indictment from purchasing a firearm. Fats is currently indicted on ninety-one felony counts ranging from felony tax evasion to espionage. Trump says Biden is too old, (three years older than himself) to be the leader of the free world. Folks need a businessperson like himself to run this country. Trump has a spectacular record of business failures. Trump airlines bankrupt, Trump vodka, nobody wanted it, Trump mortgage, was a disaster, Trump university was a fraud. He could not even run a charity. This bozo the clown look alike who dyes his hair orange and wears tinted pancake make-up wants to be president! What is far more humorous, a substantial percentage of his party concur in this delusion.

  2. wayne

    What Democrats SHOULD fear is that–if Trump gets anywhere NEAR the White House again–he will eviscerate the pathetic political carcass of Joe Biden. Worse–now that Trump has had experience dealing with the corrupt machinations of the Democrat Party, if he assumes the Presidency again he will summarily remove every single Obama-era appointee in the court system that he can find! Federal Civil Service is riddled with Obama-era sycophants–you know, all those drooling liberal Lefties who fawned, and OOoo’d and Aaaaaa’d, over every single oily word that dripped from the lips of the biggest political fraud in American history?? Yeahh–that guy!! He’s a Marxist, folks–do some research and look up this guy’s background! Obama is a fraud, and he very evidently is STILL running the White House. Biden, and all the incompetents in his cabinet, are nothing but props and useful idiots for the cabal that is actually running this country. There really IS a political re-alignment in the U.S., and Mills is largely correct in his perspective. However, I don’t foresee either one of these characters as viable candidates for 2024. In many respects, Trump is his own worst enemy, and Biden—?? He’s too old, too corrupt, and too cognitively decrepit. Nobody wants him, either. ….C’mon, man…!

    • cocodog

      That is right Wayne, Obama wants to run the white house after serving eight years doing what has been called the most stressful job in government. I am sure he wants to become involved in that stress again. You really ought to work on your ability to distinguish reality from fantasy.
      Oh, and Trump cannot “get rid” of federal judges just because Obama appointed them. No, he cannot do that! Check out the Federal Judiciary Act and you may want to look at a few supreme court decisions starting with Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803).
      You did raise an interesting point. Why is Fat Donnie running for president, other than to stay out of prison. According to your analysis, Trump wants to seek revenge. Get even with all those rational folks who prevented this country from going to war with China. Trump says he wants to execute Mark Milley because he called his counter part in China to advise him that Trump is nuts and if he tries to engage in an unprovoked strike, he will warn him and do everything in his power to stop him. Of course, this is before Trump showed off by reading highly classified document to uncleared folks. Then there is Trumps practice of writhing to do lists on the back of classified documents to his staff. Like pick me up a diet Coke and Big Mac. There is the trivial matter of four indictments for ninety-one felonies involving espionage, in sighting insurrection against the government of the United States. Trump believes he has a complete defense in the “Presidential Records Act.” There also his civil actions for sexually molesting a young lady in a dept store. The case where the judge called Trump a rapist. And the case where he had a sexual affair with a porn star (shortly after his wife gave birth to his son) and tried to deduct the payoff money from his taxes. This makes Trump a real man! I suppose in Trump’s case this would be a normal operating expense. How about hiring members of his family to work in the White House? In days gone past we called that nepotism. You are saying Biden is mentally unqualified. Trump is only three years younger than Biden. Moreover, Trump confused Joe Biden — his opponent in next year’s election — with his oval Office predecessor Barack Obama before mistakenly warning of the outbreak of World War II in a speech in Washington DC. Speaks highly of Trump’s mental acuity. Of course, if you have unambiguous evidence of Biden’s corruption, let us in on it. The tin foil hat folks in the house, say they do, but their star witness has disappeared.

  3. Rick Gunter

    I am sorry. But give Trump no credit for anything. Nothing. He is poison. So are his supporters.

  4. Dallas Woodhouse

    This is a very interesting article,
    And does a good job of moving past the same tired commentarty we are seeing

  5. JCfromNC

    “Biden’s greatest liability is his age.”
    TFG is only a few years younger, in much worse physical condition, and is showing increasing signs of mental decline. But yeah, let’s focus on Joe’s age. SMH.

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