The Case for Trump | Victor Davis Hanson

Summary of: The Case for Trump
By: Victor Davis Hanson


The book ‘The Case for Trump’ by Victor Davis Hanson dives into the circumstances that led to the rise of Donald Trump and his eventual victory in the 2016 United States Presidential Election. It explores the growing divide between the coastal liberal elites and the American heartland, the failure of traditional Republicans to address these issues, and the boldness of Trump’s messaging. The book examines Trump’s unique media strategy, his opponents’ missteps, and his unwavering focus on two major issues: America’s place on the world stage and the protection of American jobs.

Trump’s Campaign Strategy

In the book, the author highlights how Donald Trump won the 2016 election by appealing to the working-class white Americans in the interior. Trump promised to protect American jobs by focusing on two major issues: the idea that America doesn’t win anymore and protecting American jobs by recalibrating the entire international economic order. Trump’s campaign took place in a divided America, and he was able to motivate a starkly divided and previously apathetic America to get out and vote by throwing a wrench into things and disrupting the establishment.

Trump’s Unconventional Media Strategy

Donald Trump’s unique approach to media strategy played a significant role in his election victory. Despite being a divisive and controversial figure, he appealed to voters who were tired of career politicians and the Washington establishment. Trump’s background in reality TV and his ability to attract media attention helped him spread his message and promises to the American public. His crude and vulgar language, combined with fiery rhetoric and insulting remarks towards America’s allies, made him stand out in a field of traditional politicians who spoke in teleprompted cadences. While some criticized his approach, it garnered him the attention he needed to win the presidency. Ultimately, Trump’s media strategy proved successful in reaching a large audience and generating news coverage, contributing to his victory over Hillary Clinton.

The Rise of Trumpism

The American Presidential race had several other candidates besides Trump, but why was he able to break through and win the election in 2016? The book discusses the reasons behind Trump’s victory, starting with the Democratic party’s shift to the left under Obama, leaving behind the white working class. Bernie Sanders’ entry into the race, pushing Clinton’s platform even further towards the left, also contributed to the erosion of the Democratic party’s base. On the Republican side, the party had failed to effectively block Obama’s policies, and their presidential candidates were not doing much better. The Republican party’s policies favored the rich and poor, leaving middle-class voters behind. Trump’s entry into the race as a political outsider, offering a new form of leadership, garnered support from those tired of the status quo.

Trump’s Winning Strategy

During the 2016 U.S presidential election, Donald Trump simplified his message down to two main talking points: making America great again, and stopping the corrupt insider Clinton from being elected. Trump tapped into the dissatisfaction of many Americans, who felt that since 9/11, the power and prestige of the nation had declined. With his message of reversing the decline and making America great again, he won over many voters. When it came to his economic message, Trump painted a picture of a rigged economy that benefited the few over the many, and unlike his competitor Bernie Sanders, he did not focus on environmental collapse. Trump focused on consumption and domestic resource extraction, promoting his nationalist perspective, emphasizing the importance of being self-sufficient. Trump’s ability to deflect Clinton’s attacks on him was a key element of his campaign. By portraying Clinton as a sinner, he was able to deflect attention from his shortcomings and turn the focus onto his opponent. Trump’s strategy of portraying Clinton as corrupt and negligent proved very effective. Additionally, he was able to deflect her accusations of collusion with Russia by reminding the public of her previous missteps with the country. Overall, Trump’s strategy was simple, aggressive, and effective.

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