Here’s Exactly Why Trump Is Thriving — And What the GOP Should Do About It

February 18, 2016

by Gary L. Bauer


Donald Trump speaks in Reno, Nev. (photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Donald Trump speaks in Reno, Nev. (photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

In all the huge headlines of recent days, an event took place in Indianapolis that went largely unnoticed here in Washington, D.C., and in many other places. But it was a big deal to the 2,100 men and women and their families who were directly affected.

Carrier, the air conditioning manufacturer and a division of United Technologies, called its workers into a meeting to announce that two plants were being shuttered and their jobs were being sent to Mexico. Here’s a video that captured the emotion of the moment. [WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE]

It is hard to find a state with a more pro-growth, pro-jobs governor than Indiana. Governor Mike Pence strongly believes in democratic capitalism. He was crestfallen by Carrier’s announcement. Here is part of what he said:

As governor, I was profoundly disappointed to learn that Carrier Corporation and United Technologies would relocate jobs and operations to Mexico, costing hardworking Hoosiers more than 2,100 jobs. My heart goes out to all the families and communities that are affected by this news.

Gov. Pence went on to demand a state investigation of taxpayer incentives given to Carrier, and he blasted America’s corporate tax rate, among the highest in the world, as well as out-of-control regulations from Washington.

I know all the usually libertarian arguments about the free flow of goods, products and people, and how we are all better off from that process. The executives at Carrier attempted to explain how their decision was a purely bottom line business necessity. But is it too much to ask executives at an American company to think about what they are doing to American workers when they move jobs out of the country?

What Carrier did has been done year after year countless times all over the American heartland. The Walt Disney Company made headlines recently for similar reasons.

If you want to know why Donald Trump’s rallies are filled with blue collar workers, all you have to do is imagine what it feels like to be called in by your bosses and told you and your co-workers are no longer important to their company.

Charles Murray had a must read column this weekend about what has happened to the men and women who made America the greatest industrial power in history. They have been decimated culturally and economically. Many appear to be dying from despair.

There is no “Working Class Lives Matter” movement to speak for them. A significant amount of the Republican economic agenda does not appear relevant to the lives they live.

I know Republicans in Congress have a five-point economic plan, one of which is to come up with better ways to help the poor. I’m all for that. But how about a six-point plan with one focused on saving the American heartland? Without a thriving middle class the chances of helping the poor are next to zero.

I do not want Donald Trump to be the nominee of the Republican Party. But I will guarantee you that we will not have a Republican president unless we can corral the ruckus crowds at his rallies, cheering his promise to “Make America Great Again,” into voting booths this November for our nominee.

Here’s an idea for some of our friends who run the GOP: Instead of filling the next Republican debate with donors, create a section for working class men and women who have nothing to donate but their votes. I bet you’ll find they don’t boo Trump and Cruz nor do they applaud the conventional economic nostrums of Jeb Bush.

Gary L. Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor.


Gary L. Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan's administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan's Chief Domestic Policy Advisor.

Archive: Gary L. Bauer