What made Trump unacceptable to the Republican establishment and their corporate backers [...] Trump champions an economic nationalism that rejects central tenets of the bipartisan neoliberal agenda that has impoverished segments of the middle and working classes. Capital was uneasy with Trump’s stance on immigration and the federal debt — he floated the idea of trying to persuade creditors to accept less than full payment on loans to the US government.
The corporate elite is even more disturbed by his ideas about foreign policy and global “free trade.” Trump claims to reject the established US alliance system, in particular nato, that has maintained US dominance since World War II. An advocate of “America First” politics that have been rejected by the US corporate elite since the 1940s, Trump is perceived as an unreliable agent of US capital.
Trump’s populist nationalism appeals to elements of the older, white middle class who fear sliding downward into the working class. Arlie Russell Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land, a study of Southern Tea Party and Trump supporters, reveals people who believe they are “hard workers” who “play by the rules” and never ask for “handouts” but are constantly falling behind socially and economically. They are threatened both by powerful economic and social elites and “line jumpers” — blacks, Latinos, and women who benefit from affirmative action, as well as undocumented immigrants and refugees.
lots to be said on that (flag)
Faced with an impotent labor movement that tails after an ever-rightward-moving Democratic Party, it is not surprising that a minority of older, white workers are attracted to politics that place responsibility for their deteriorating social situation on both the corporate “globalists” and more vulnerable workers [...]
Trump and his nationalist populist ideologues from Breitbart and the “alt-right” added a fourth element to the Right’s narrative — the role of globalizing corporations and free trade. Given a choice between an elitist neoliberal who refused to speak to the realities of their lives (and rejected Bernie Sanders’s social-democratic program as “unrealistic”); and a populist demagogue who offered an illusory solution to their problems, it is not surprising that some white workers embraced Trump.