After all, Trump was a totally unconventional candidate who broke all the rules and did things that would have destroyed anyone else running for president. So why did he break through?
Here’s the answer: America is now divided along four lines, each one reinforcing the others. Call them the four Cs.
The first is capitalism. There was a time when the American economy moved in tandem with its middle class. As the economy grew, so did middle class employment and wages. But over the last few decades that link has been broken. The economy has been humming along, but it now enriches mostly those with education, training, and capital. The other Americans have been left behind.
The third divide in America today is about class. The Trump vote is in large part an act of class rebellion, a working class revolt against know-it-all elites who run the country. These voters will stick with Donald Trump even as he flails, rather than vindicate the elite, urban view of him.
The final C in this story is communication. We have gone from an America where people watched three networks that provided a uniform view of the world to one where everyone can pick their own channel, message, and now even their own facts.
All these forces have been at work for decades, but in recent years, the Republican Party has been better able to exploit them and identify with those Americans who feel frustrated, anxious, angry — even desperate about the direction that the country is headed in. Donald Trump capitalized on these trends even more thoroughly, speaking openly to people’s economic anxieties, cultural fears, and class rebellion. He promised simple solutions, mostly aimed at others — Mexicans, Muslims, Chinese people and, of course, the elites and the media.