Krugman on ‘The Donald’ and his supporters


Back in July, in an interview on Bloomberg TV, Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman blasted Donald Trump as a “racist” who appeals to voters’ ugliest instincts. He further suggested that was exactly what fueled Trump’s rise in the polls.


Tell us how you really feel, Professor.

In a blog post today responding to the lament of his fellow Times columnist Frank Bruni, Trump-ward, Christian Soldiers?, Krugman writes in The Reactionary Soul:

Frank Bruni marvels at polls indicating that Donald Trump, with his multiple marriages and casinos, is the preferred candidate among Republican evangelicals. Others are shocked to see a crude mercantilist make so much headway in the alleged party of free markets. What happened to conservative principles?

Actually, nothing — because those alleged principles were never real. Conservative religiosity, conservative faith in markets, were never about living a godly life or letting the invisible hand promote entrepreneurship. Instead, it was all as Corey Robin describes it: Conservatism is

a reactionary movement, a defense of power and privilege against democratic challenges from below, particularly in the private spheres of the family and the workplace.

It’s really about who’s boss, and making sure that the man in charge stays boss. Trump is admired for putting women and workers in their place, and it doesn’t matter if he covets his neighbor’s wife or demands trade wars.

The point is that Trump isn’t a diversion, he’s a revelation, bringing the real motivations of the movement out into the open.