Originally Posted: September 27, 2016
Trump has taken anti-wonkiness to new levels, and his high level of support echoes populist sentiment of yesteryear and follows a decades-long slide in trust in traditional institutions.
In reply, Mr. Trump said he’d been endorsed by the border patrol union and “over 200” retired admirals and generals. Then he went after the experts and their claim to policy superiority.
“I’ll take the generals any day over the political hacks that I see that have led our country so brilliantly over the last 10 years with their knowledge. OK?” said Trump, his voice sharpening. “Because look at the mess that we’re in. Look at the mess that we’re in.”
The moment was perhaps symbolic of Trump’s whole approach to the policy substance of a presidential campaign. It’s not just that he seems uninterested in details and unclear about such issues as “no first use” of nuclear weapons. It’s that he actively denigrates wonkiness as unimportant.
In that Trump may be following the lead of GOP candidates before him. The party has long positioned itself as “aw shucks” regular folks against the effete egghead Democrats.
But Trump has taken the approach to new levels. His support indicates there are many voters who approve. That’s perhaps reflective of a decades-long slide in trust in traditional US institutions, which hit new lows in the Great Recession and its aftermath. It also echoes populist strains from the 19th century.
“He’s going full-bore anti-intellectual, and it might work,” says Matthew Wilson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, in an email on the subject. “It clearly resonates with his base and may reach beyond that. People are pretty fed up with ‘experts’ these days.” READ MORE