Postmodern Conservative

Trump’s Tough Guy Appeal

Trump’s style is within a tradition of white working-class populism. Here is a description of 1970s Boston antibusing activist, Elvira “Pixie” Palladino:

Her tough, street-talking, macho manner could be balanced with humor and even flirtatious charm. Pixie however, could say just about anything to anybody at any time or place, damn the consequences…

Feared and disdained by her enemies, Palladino was admired by antibusers for “having guts” and for being “not scared of anybody.” Pride in guts, ” said Rieder, “marked the exuberance of the plebeian who had launched a strike against powerful interests.”  

Does that sound familiar? Trump comes from more money than any of his opponents other than Jeb Bush, but he is also the only candidate who carries himself like an up-from-the-streets, never back down guy, who despises the elites as much as they hate him. He isn’t a street guy but, for the moment, he has made himself the tribune of people who feel like our political elites alternately ignore, patronize, and demonize them. 

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