The Corner

Trumpism’s Missing Middle

Jim Geraghty writes:

There’s an element missing from the Trump phenomenon as a broad political movement, as opposed to a presidential campaign. The Trump movement has its base — the 37 percent of GOP primary voters who cast a ballot for him — and it has Trump at its top. What it lacks so far is much of a middle, a group of like-minded political leaders eager to enact the Trump agenda in legislatures and state capitols.

There’s a related point worth making: The absence of down-ballot upheaval in the Republican primaries reduces the power of some of the explanations people have offered for Trump’s success. If Republican voters want to overthrow the party establishment, why are incumbents winning primaries more than they have in previous cycles? Where are the anti-trade, anti-entitlement reform primary winners? I’m not denying that these explanations might have something to them. But we should keep in mind the extent to which Trump’s success owes to his personal appeal to many voters rather than to broader currents of opinion.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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