It’s no secret that President Donald Trump ran an underdog campaign on the backs of entrenched working class white Americans — but a new column in the Daily Beast suggests that Trump’s modern-day populism may be a “failed peasant’s revolt.”
According to the Beast‘s Joel Kotkin, “Trump’s victory less resembled a modern social movement than a peasant’s revolt from the Middle Ages.”
Although Trump’s platform focused on “the plight of the “left behind” America,” the president not only lacked actual policy suggestions for how to alleviate their suffering, but also “has taken few concrete steps to address the causes of his supporters’ distress” since he took office.
“In the end Trump’s modern-day peasants will be left stranded like the supporters of European peasant rebellions of the European middle ages,” Kotkin wrote, referencing historical rebellions that were based in anger rather than policy. “These movements grew bright, stormed across the countryside, and conquered cities, until the forces or order imposed themselves and eliminated the most rebellious of their subjects.”
Trump’s infamous “Make America Great Again” slogan appealed to those “who hoped to see middle-class jobs return to the country,” Kotkin wrote. “It energized the suburbs and small cities who now find themselves led by an incompetent leader who appears to have used them, like patrons of a casino. Lured by an image of glamour they will find their wallets lightened rather than their spirits lifted.”
Rather than uplifting the middle class as he promised, Kotkin predicted that “the big winners long-term as Trump fails to deliver will be the country’s emergent tech oligarchy.”
“The triumph of the oligarchs,” Kotkin wrote, “may spell the end of America as we have known it.”
Read the entire column on Trump’s failed peasant rebellion via the Daily Beast