During a recent interview, Dawn J. Bennett discussed with Dr. Herb London how the so-called “forgotten citizens” of this country came to elect Donald Trump. Essentially, a perfect storm of economic woes, misplaced societal priorities and an “uncouth” candidate came to ensure that the Trump mystique would inherit the presidency.
In their discussion, Bennett and London — a veteran national journalist and published author who currently leads a conservative think tank, London Center For Policy Research — touched on topics ranging from the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and taxes to jobs and international relations.
“Well, I think that Trump has the right idea. I mean, look, the Trump campaign was based on the proposition that these forgotten Americans need a voice. He became the embodiment of that voice. I don’t know if he’s the right person to play that sort of role, but there is no question that history has imposed this on him. That is his role. So this billionaire is now the spokesman for the forgotten American. Very odd, very strange,” London said.
In the wake of the November election, London penned, “Why the Forgotten Citizen Elected Donald Trump.” In his article, he says such “forgotten citizens” are facing fewer employment opportunities and sensing the collapse of traditional American culture while facing a Washington that’s more concerned with “Black Lives Matter” and the LGBT community than their own.
A few such factors that likely led to Trump’s current and continued appeal according to London are as follows:
Factor No. 1: Mass appeal. Trump made no attempt to hide his true colors or personality. As London puts it, the man’s “boorish” and “uncouth” populist persona during the campaign season was unapologetic, but it resonated among voters – especially the “average guy.” Further, he has thus far lived up to promises made during his run for leader of the free world.
Factor No. 2: Unflinching abroad. Trump’s first meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May was, in London’s eyes, a symbolic gesture toward creating a cross-Atlantic Ocean trade agreement. It comes at a good time for the United Kingdom as the Brexit process for the country to leave the European Union is to start in earnest soon. While questions linger over Russia’s involvement with Trump’s campaign, London said he expects this country’s relations with Mexico to “survive” as talks of a southern border wall continue.
Factor No. 3: Time will tell if history repeats. In March, Trump laid a wreath at the tomb of late President Andrew Jackson. Trump is reportedly a fan of the outspoken and maneuvering man who now graces our $20 bill.
“Well, the one thing you can predict, which was true of both Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump is that they’re both populists. They both reach out to the average guy. Neither of them was actually an ‘average guy,’ though. Jackson was an elitist. Trump is a billionaire. It’s very interesting and unusual, for anyone in American history, for someone with the kind of background that Donald Trump has to be the voice, as I said before, of the forgotten American. He has capitalized on that very effectively,” London surmised.
Factor No. 4: The high court calling. Trump’s pick of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch is, on its face, a choice that Democrats can’t contest. Already confirmed to the federal bench in 2005, the “originalist” is a Harvard Law School graduate who will likely replace Antonin Scalia.
“So now, what has happened in the last couple of years to make Gorsuch unacceptable to the Democratic Party? Nothing, except that he’s a Trump nominee. He’s the same guy,” London said, adding that Gorsuch has “wrote very Scalia-like opinions, the same guy who was an originalist then and is an originalist now. It’s absurd for the Democrats to say he’s unacceptable.”