Cohen: If Trump were honest with his supporters…
Donald Trump doesn’t have the capacity to be honest. Besides, he isn’t aware enough of what Richard Cohen is saying to lay it on the table.
If Donald Trump looked at a demographic profile of his supporters, he would sneer. They are disproportionately out of work or not seeking it. If they do have a job, they’re probably working with their hands, maybe something a machine could do better or someone overseas could do cheaper. A large share have only a high school education, which they increasingly find useless. Trump, not one for the niceties of political correctness, might call such people “losers.” I think they’re something else as well: suckers…
Can he really build a great wall between the United States and Mexico and keep out undocumented immigrants who will, if they can, take the jobs of native-born Americans? What about the immigrants who do the jobs Americans no longer are willing to do — such as stooping to haul in the harvest and reaching to pick grapefruit off the trees? In short, can Trump move the clock back 50 years or so to a time when the United States had millions more manufacturing jobs, Detroit was dominant in autos and China was making those tiny paper umbrellas found in cloying cocktails?
If Trump were honest (and if pigs had wings . . .), he would tell his supporters that things are only going to get worse. He’d warn them that the robots are coming — just over yonder hill — and they are going to take so many jobs that serious people are now discussing something called universal basic income, or UBI. This would be a stipend — much like a Social Security payment — that everyone would get, regardless of income, so that the trucker who gets replaced by a robotic truck can still, as it were, make a living. In Silicon Valley, where the silicon scabs of tomorrow are being conceived and manufactured, UBI is a lively topic. I have yet to hear it mentioned by Trump.