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Political analyst says Trump could blunder into re-election unless Democrats target working class disaffection

Donald Trump is the worst politician ever but hes on a path to re-election because the Democratic party refuses to counter his courtship of working class disaffection, says the American political analyst and historian Thomas Frank.

Frank, who is in Australia for events organised by the Chifley Research Centre, told the Guardian: Trump is his own worst enemy of course that news conference with Vladimir Putin its just insane what this guy does … but he could blunder into re-election, hell yeah.

He said the US economy was rebounding and unemployment was as low as it had been since the 1960s, and if this continues, then wages will go up, and when wages go up, whoever is president becomes very, very popular.

If Trump were to stop tweeting, keep his mouth shut and stop picking trade wars, then, yes, he could be re-elected, Frank said on Monday.

The American has written a number of bestselling books charting the decline of the middle class and expressing frustration with left political parties abandoning the interests of working people in an effort to court the professional class.

Frank said Trump was uniquely dangerous as a political figure, and that required the left to reconnect with working people to counter the long turn of the American right towards populism.

I am absolutely certain the way for a left party to beat that stuff is not to join it and bid for the bigot vote, but to counter fake populism with the real deal, Frank said.

There is a labourist, workerist populism that has been around for more than 100 years, is deep in the American grain, and is very popular, but the Democratic party simply doesnt believe in it any more.

That strain of populism was exemplified by the political philosophy of the presidential candidate the Democratic party rejected Bernie Sanders but Sanders was regarded in Washington as a crank.

Frank said Trump and his former adviser Steve Bannon had a clear objective to harvest the disaffection of working Americans as the core of their political strategy. He warned that Democrats would continue to lose ground to Trumpism unless the party connected with working Americans not on culture war issues, but with a comprehensive economic program that spoke to their interests.

He said this was what parties of the left around the world should be doing to contend with the political backlash in the wake of the global financial crisis.

All over the world left parties forgot why they existed and became parties of the professional class and the innovation economy, Frank said. They lost their reason for being, and they got whooped, and all around the world you have these quasi-fascist movements springing up, which is quite alarming.

Frank said inequality the root cause of the political backlash against liberal elites was nowhere near as bad in Australia as in the US. He said Australia lacked the billionaire class of America.

Making inequality worse has been our national project since Ronald Reagan, he said. Its happened under Republicans and under Democrats, it just goes on and on.

Australia is way behind us, this is just my opinion, you are not anywhere close.

But give it 10 or 20 years and you could catch up.

Now why would you want to?

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/30/donald-trump-worst-politician-ever-on-path-to-re-election-thomas-frank-says