Explaining Trump’s Appeal, Part 1

by Mike Kimel

Explaining Trump’s Appeal, Part 1

The reason Donald Trump has been unstoppable so far is that Republicans, and now Democrats as well, don’t seem to understand what motivates Trump voters.  The single most important driver is, as (almost) always, the economy.  The table below illustrates the problem:

Figure 1 - Real Economic Growth - From NIPA Table 7.1Figure 1

As the graphs shows, American real economic growth rates have been awful since the year 2000.  The economy has performed worse than in any other comparable period since 1930, which includes the Great Depression.  This is largely the fault of the two men who were Presidents at this time, but they had a lot of help.

When the people who got us here – Republicans and Democrats alike – tell us that the economy isn’t so bad, it doesn’t sound credible to people whose gut matches the numbers.  Only the gullible, or those have done well but have no empathy believe it.  So when both parties are peddling similar economic policies – in fact, the very policies that were in place when we got where we are now – upsetting the apple cart becomes more than appealing.  It becomes rational.

That leaves an opening for a guy like Trump who promises he will truly deliver on Obama’s campaign promise to bring Hope and Change.  Trump is erratic enough to prove that if he wins, change of some sort will come, and for many, without change there is no longer room for hope.