Understand the Trump Revolt, Better Call Saul (Alinsky)
Last week I went to see Dinesh D’Souza’s “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of
the Democratic Party.” And after
learning a few things about the infamous Saul Alinsky I hadn’t heard before, I
finally went to the bookstore and bought “Rules
And for those who still can’t understand how Donald
Trump spanked 16 experienced and generally conservative Republican competitors
in the GOP presidential primary, Alinsky’s Prologue to “Rules” will help
In it Saul laments the failure of young “radicals”
to grasp “the fundamental idea that one communicates within the experience of
No such problem with Trump. The reality TV star recognized from the get-go
that his audience was anti-establishment Republicans and conservatives who, for
years, have been shut out and ignored by the “insiders.”
And even though he clearly wasn’t a “movement”
conservative, Trump talked about conservative issues – illegal immigration,
political correctness, refugee resettlements, ObamaCare, bad multi-national
trade deals, Common Core - that were important to this targeted audience.
Alinsky also advised his disciples to accept the
world as it is, not as they wanted it to be.
And that meant “working in the system.”
Trump followed this script, too. He ran within the GOP rather than outside as
an independent, where his odds would have been much longer.
“Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a
passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of
people,” Alinsky wrote. “They must feel
so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system
that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future.”
Hoo, boy! Does
that ever describe many conservative, grassroots GOP activists this election
cycle or what?
“A reformation means that masses of our people have
reached the point of disillusionment with past ways,” Mr. Radical continued. “They
don’t know what will work but they do know that the prevailing system is
self-defeating, frustrating and hopeless.”
Alinsky concluded, “The time is then right for
That kind of frustration was especially felt in
Nevada among many grassroots conservatives and party soldiers.
Indeed, after electing a 100% GOP-controlled
government in 2014, establishment Republicans rewarded their grassroots
activists and small-dollar donors with the largest tax hike in state
history. As such, the feelings of
frustration and defeat at the hands of the current system this cycle have been
The GOP establishment itself – especially Gov. Brian
Sandoval here in Nevada - is responsible for fertilizing the ground from which
the Trump revolt sprang. Trump’s rebels
find the current Republican power elite to be every bit the enemy of
conservatism that Bernie Sanders’ socialists are.
So the rise of the Trump movement is Alinsky-like in
many ways. It’ll be fascinating to see
if the frustration among GOP primary voters extends to the general election
population, as well.