While the U.S. is among the wealthiest countries, it has a higher poverty rate than most others, and provides far less in the way of basic family support, educational opportunity, and health care access. It is true that ordinary people have felt that the federal government has largely ignored their problems and that many people have been drawn to a so-called "populist" message of protest. But the message they heard, and responded to, was a lie.
The struggles Americans face are not caused by immigration, or international trade, or tax money going to a secret welfare program that only Blah people can get. Here's the policy prescription from Woolf and Aron:
In theory, policy makers jolted by the shortening lifespan of Americans would hasten to correct these conditions. They would promote education, boost support for children and families, increase wages and economic opportunity for the working class, invest in distressed communities, and strengthen healthcare and behavioral health systems. But the pro-business policy agenda favored by elected officials rarely prioritizes these needs. On the contrary, recent legislation and regulations may prolong or intensify the economic burden on the middle class and weaken access to healthcare and safety net programs.Exactly. The people who voted for the orange psychopath who now occupies the White House got hosed. But it seems they will never wake up to it.
Update: Here's Yale Historian Timothy Snyder talking with Chauncey DeVega:
Tell it like it is.Trump is not a populist. He does not actually deliver anything of an economic or socially positive nature. But he is delivering something psychological to his base. It's the sense that "maybe we're hurting, but other people are hurting worse, and that's what we like." The design of Trump is to change politics from a positive-sum game where the idea is that everybody's going to do a little bit better because we're going to have better policies, to a negative-sum game where you're not doing anything for people in Virginia or Pennsylvania or Ohio. However, Trump is going to offer them a spectacle in which other people doing worse. The public gets caught up in the spectacle and that is what people then begin to expect from politics.For example, Americans on average are leading shorter lives -- which is completely anomalous in the developed world -- and that's going to keep happening. But meanwhile, some of the people who are suffering the most are immigrants or blacks or Muslims. The psychological pleasure and joy for Trump's public from this horrible situation means they feel like they are on the right side of things. It's about pain. Trump's public may feel like they are hurting, but their leader is hurting other people worse and that feels good.