Friday, March 4, 2016
Condescension and the Trump Phenomonon
America was founded on the principle that it was a new nation with a classless society, with no distinction between first and second class citizens. This principle implies that there is no group of people who are more intelligent or better than any other group of people.
Violation of this principle lies at the heart of the current political revolution on the left as well as the right. On the left, it is mostly about income inequality , as manifest by the rise of the rich on Wall Street. On the right, it is mostly about behavioral inequality in Washington, as shown by failure of conservative politicians to override liberal elites to provide economic relief for the middle classes who are in a bad way.
On both sides, it is about resentment of the Establishment, that ill-defined term that characterizes those in control of the heights, whether they be the economically rich or the politically powerful, the bicoastals who look down their noses at the middle and working classes while demeaning those who work and slave in “fly over country,” or the entrenched Washington “cartel,” to use the Ted Cruz’s favored term, who work together to keep things as they are to assure their personal enrichment.
Donald Trump understands this resentment, and is playing it like a Stradivarius. For this reason, Mitt Romney’s attack on Trump will fall on deaf ears. Romney epitomizes the condescending right , and his 2012 remark about the non-contributing dependent 47% still resonates to his disfavor.
The American people still believe that everybody puts their pants on in the same way on Wall Street as well as Washington. They know some people have deeper pockets than others and that some people are more equal than others, but they believe in the end that the balance between the two will and must be restored.
On the health care front, people tend to believe that a single-payer system puts too much power in the hands of the condescending government liberal elite, but they are still not confident of the attitude and behavior of marketers on the conservative right.
Trump has just issued a 7-part health care plan to split the difference between left and right, which includes these points.
· Giving the states block Medicaid grants, a bow to more equality between Washington and state capitols.
· Allowing insurers to compete across state lines, thereby assuring marketing equality .
· Expanding tax-free deductions of health expenditures to all people.
· Providing Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), giving all another bite of the tax-free apple.
· Assuring transparency of all provider health care prices.
· Cracking down on prescription price abuses, by allowing government to negotiate for prescriptions in Medicaid and Medicare and by encouraging more access to lower priced drugs from Canada and elsewhere.
· And by ultimately achieving universal coverage so that nobody dies in the streets.
There is something in these points for everybody, most of which are ascending rather than condescending, but the details will be difficult to work out.