It now seems all but certain that the November, 2016 national election will pit Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. If Clinton runs a conventional Democratic campaign designed to appeal to Progressive and minority voters with the assumption that working-class white voters will support the Democrats, she will lose.
Trump is not a conventional GOP candidate. He is moderate or even liberal on social and health matters and does not care much about the usual Republican litmus-test issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.
Trump is a nationalist. His positions seem to include increasing America’s military strength, securing America’s borders, and the attenuation of free trade policies that cost Americans’ jobs. This fortress America posture appeals to the blue collar workers who have traditionally been the Democrats’ base as well as to the Republican base in the South. Pundits seem to forget that Evangelical voters are staunch nationalists. They are willing to forgive Trump his moral transgressions because they see in Trump a fellow nationalist.
Trump’s political strategy is one of energizing the Republican base, appealing to working-class Democrats, expanding voter turnout, ignoring political elites and reaching directly to ordinary voters by constantly driving and dominating the news. This is similar to the strategy employed by such nationalists as Andrew Jackson and is very difficult to stop. Conventional politicians, as we have seen in the Republican primaries, are usually bewildered and overwhelmed by Jacksonian tactics and find that conventional tools such as “oppo” research land with a thud.
The race is hardly over, but the Donald could well become President Trump.