Whose American Dream Flies?

Trump embodies showy wealth. Rubio talks about his struggle. Voters seem to like one version better than the other.

Comments: 175

  1. Voters seem to like one version better than the other? Um, no...

    Voters have rejected all flavors of the establishment version on both ends of the spectrum. Out of the original 15-strong stable of billionaire-backed establishment candidates, the top favorites were vanquished by voter indifference and scorn. The "most viable" among those remaining consist of one weak candidate in Marco Rubio, and a loose atomic cannon in Ted Cruz. The struggle is for which set of interests will be preserved: the plutocrat and theocracy alliance, or the pure plutocracy vote? In the sharply polarized America we live in, I think the purists on both sides of the aisle are the likeliest to win.

    Now, at the twilight of President Obama's presidency, we are witnessing a struggle on the left between progressive populist forces led by the unlikeliest of all candidate and a neoliberal establishment that had been gearing up for an easy take-over by its dynastic queen. To neoliberals who have refused to acknowledge the growing groundswell, Bernie Sanders came out of left field. To tens of millions of Democratic voters, Sanders is the Gandalf they've been waiting for to rescue them from the evil eye of Sauron.

    Whose American dream? It won't be the establishment's first choice. There is a chance it may be the people's choice if, somehow, sobriety prevails.

    ---

    Finding Sobriety in 2016: Sanders, Clinton & Trump: "We’re going to grab and grab..." Edition http://wp.me/p2KJ3H-23F

  2. It will be the people's choice, with or without sobriety.

  3. "Voters have rejected all flavors of the establishment version on both ends of the spectrum."

    I think you may be mistaken here. Hillary won a Super Tuesday by a landslide.

  4. That is a fair point, Carrie, but the voters haven't been informed very well about Sanders. Here in Minnesota, the last poll before Super Tuesday showed Clinton leading Sanders by 34 points, but 39 days later, Sanders won by 23.4 points. The news media doesn't talk a lot about that kind of thing, but I find it amazing and fascinating. They don't like to talk about Sanders, but they love to talk about Trump. So the media helps the establishment on the left and hurts it on the right. Poll data for Minnesota:

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/mn/minnesota_demo...

  5. Ms. Covert is awfully confident in her perceptions of what motivates Americans, from acceptance of a wealthy class to a conviction that they all can become Trump-rich if only they pick the right Powerball number. I’m not sure it’s so clear-cut … but, then, I’m not a liberal Democrat so certain in her convictions that she’s getting her head handed to her in Congress, in state legislatures and governorships.

    What’s more, she makes a typical mistake of the left: she equates Trump’s and Rubio’s shared unwillingness to project economic values on Americans as a presumed genuflection to the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. The truth is closer to “how Americans live largely is the consequence of choices they make and how hard they’re willing to work, and it’s not the place of our politics to second-guess those dynamics”. But both likely understand that nothing is pure, that artificial barriers exist and always have to even playing fields. Given the backgrounds of both men – and Trump’s past makes it crystal clear that he represents a fusion of the right AND left convictions that have frozen our politics for so long in their excess, and appears significantly more moderate than Rubio – it’s likely that as president each would protect supports that seek to keep those playing fields as even as politics realistically can make them.

    But a balanced analysis of these two men doesn’t serve the interests of a political campaign, or of an op-ed writer whose agenda is quite clear.

  6. The first half of this can be summarized thusly: "Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires." to paraphrase John Steinbeck.

    As far as who would be best for working Americans, I'd probably go with the guy with the lowest net worth of all the candidates, who is not beholden to billionaires nor even a millionaire himself, who has been fighting the good fight for decades and wants to give you public health care and higher wages. Which would, of course, not be a Republican candidate.

  7. The divisive politics that still undermine the working class in this country began two centuries ago, when Protestant craftsmen beat up newly arrived Irish Catholic workers rather than allowing them to join the union. It's been Protestant vs. Catholic, White vs. Black (and Yellow and Brown...), "native" vs. "foreigner" ever since. Socialism never took root here because there's never been solidarity.

  8. Actually, that technique is older than that.

    In colonial Virginia, plantation owners very intentionally stoked racism between the white indentured servants and the black slaves (both working under horrific conditions and not being paid). The goal was to make it so that the indentured servants and poor free white people would identify with and protect their white masters against the black slaves, even though the indentured servants in particular had a lot more in common with the slaves than with the masters. Indeed, their economic situation was so aligned that on several occasions poor white people were found participating in slave rebellions.

    I firmly believe racism has much the same role in American society today: Keep the working people divided so they won't resist the masters running away with all the money.

  9. And certainly not Rubio, whose personal financial status -- despite his fine education -- is a disgrace.

  10. "Mr. Trump’s story is clearly far more compelling to Republican voters."
    And, yet, how many of them inherited $200 million from their fathers? Trump's story is one of inherited wealth; yes, he's a wheeler-dealer, and he has increased his wealth, but it is hardly a rags to riches story or even a middle-class to riches story.

  11. Yes, and let's not forget DT's four bankruptcies that stole from his creditors and left him still wealthy. Such a fine example of humanity.

  12. "We consistently overestimate anyone’s chance of moving into a higher economic stratum" is the problem in a nutshell. All the data shows that the probability of moving upward is small at best (less than 15%). The issues are two fold: All too many who climb the ladder develop a tendency to pull the ladder up behind them and second, the reality is that true equal opportunity to succeed has become a myth. If we really want to make America great again, we need to start with providing everyone with an equal opportunity from the day of their birth.

  13. Seems to me the "American Dream", which originated in our immigrant history, has created an interesting set of paradoxes. While we have one of the highest median disposable incomes in the world, we also have one of the greatest disparities between top and bottom. While we face a growing shortage of workers in many job categories, we have a falling rate of labor participation. We spend more on education, health care and public safety but we have a less healthy and more armed and fearful society than virtually any other developed country.

    The American Dream has always been about materialism, which has fueled the largest aggregate economy in the world. A large movement in the US has even twisted the teachings of Jesus into the Prosperity Doctrine, which says that conspicuous wealth is a sign of God's favor. This appears to explain the Trump phenomenon, especially among evangelicals attracted to his candidacy.

    The American Dream has become an orgy of unhealthy consumerism. Our per capita energy use and carbon footprint is two to three times higher than that of Europe, China or the rest of the world. But economists and politicians continue to insist that we grow our way to success. Some economists even suggest we are saving too much!

    I think we need to move gradually toward a different American Dream, less media driven consumerism, more enjoyment of life.

  14. Rubio's problem is one of temperament. He seems like he's auditioning for a part in Mean Girls 2. Not to mention that xenophobic and racist elements in the Republican Party are more comfortable with the whiter candidate. The problems Rubio has had in the past with telling his parents' story and the big fib about their escape from Castro when they actually left before Castro came to power makes everything he has to say suspect. It doesn't help that he'll say just about anything... Even his wife looks like she doesn't believe him.

  15. It's odd that the writer, like so many of Trump's supporters, accepts him as a symbol of economic mobility & the American dream. As someone who was born with great wealth & spends it largely to give himself the appearance of success & ability, Mr. Trump symbolizes, if anything, economic immobility. I suspect his supporters are identifying more with the American cult of celebrity than with values of individual accomplishment & economic mobility. And what is celebrity but the image of success without the substance?

  16. The American dream is now firmly grounded in reality TV or media, which represents the new shortcut to the American dream.
    Alas not everyone is Justin Bieber (perhaps one day to be President Bieber).

  17. Bill Gates for President.
    All Parties.
    Spread the word
    and write it in.

  18. On Tuesday night, the bells of doom tolled for the GOP. The very first one I ever wrote on my blog almost ten years ago was called, "George W. Bush: The Last Republican President". The outcome of the Super Tuesday primary might, in the end, prove me to have been prescient. From Lincoln to Trump. This unsettling fact proves only that Darwin was wrong.

    This is not a proud day for America in general - and the Republican Party in particular. We'll just leave it at that.

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan

  19. 2016 may be the rise of the "unlikely" candidate but the bigger story is that the GOP has incubated a candidate they are now determined to destroy. I'm by no means a Trump supporter but this outright assault on him now that they deem him "not electable" sets a bad precedent. The failure to vette him earlier and the lack of harder scrutiny has helped him and now he's going to get all the heat for the next several weeks. Is it really good for the GOP to be so upfront about refusing the nomination to him? If he continues to win is that the right thing to do in the face of the huge turnout Republicans have seen this election cycle.
    If he has at least half of the delegates needed by their convention would they dare removed him from the nomination and risk Mr. Trump talking his supporters and running on a 3rd Independent Republican ticket?

  20. I think you're exactly right. Trump appeals to voters because he speaks truth to power (or at least they think he does) and they think that they can be like him someday, rich and carefree. Of course, there's no "there" there; much like Gatsby, he's a showman but without any semblance of Gatsby's purity. Gatsby "turned out alright in the end," but if we elect Trump, we will not.

  21. The prevalent thought that Trump speaks "truth to power" is a total myth. Politico has determined that he lies over 75% of the time. The fact that Trump lies with such boldness does not make what he says true. One would hope that we are not yet living in an "Animal Farm" world where up is down.

  22. I am still amazed at the self delusion Trump supporters practice. Donald Trump is out to help
    one person and one person only: Donald Trump.

    How would he help them? Probably give them a loan ( @ 18% interest) ....and foreclose on those that don't pay....

  23. Is this some kind of joke? How are "struggles" reflective of ordinary Americans when you are the boy toy of a billionaire sugar daddy and an empty vessal for every vile and hateful idea that you are told to say -- to deny all reproductive freedom to women even in the cases of rape of incest, to scorn diplomacy and advocate bombing countries to oblivion as a way to deal with the world's problems, to deny medical care to those without the good fortune of gold plated experience, and hey, he's not a scientist man. Not to mention to lie about just how it was his parents wound up in our great country and to make up a tale of adversity that never was. Trump is absolutely despicable and when he secures the nomination soon to be (if he already isn't) our national embarrassment and nightmare, but Rubio is as contemptible as it gets and does not hew closer to reality or tell any story, never mind a different one, about the American dream.

  24. All it takes for someone to move up from one income quartile to the next, is for a lot of people to move down. Eliminate a lot of well paid jobs, and presto! the less well paid employees have moved up to the third quartile.

    That isn't mobility or the American Dream.

    People love a Horatio Alger story, but most would settle for having wage growth that matches the growth in rent, insurance, food. Most would settle for a measure of security, and the belief that being laid off or forcibly retired isn't a financial death sentence.

    If it is part of the great American fantasy to feel that anyone can succeed, anyone can grow up to be President, it is also part of the great American fantasy that government works for the people. We have a lot more control over government, than we have over wealth. We should work on fulfilling that fantasy first.

  25. Its time the US gave serious consideration to replacing welfare, Social security, unemployment benefits, medicare, medicaid, etc ... with a guaranteed income. An equal income to all US resident citizens > 18 yrs old. Roughly $23000/yr. No SSI, no disability, etc.. if you want to work great; if not then live on the guarantee.

  26. The American Dream has become the American Nightmare in too many ways to count, but the driving force behind America's nightmarish 18% of GDP corporate healthcare system, college cost usury, cable TV/cell phone usury, Wall St. parasitism, moneyed speech and corporate Frankenstein culture is Greed Over People.

    Since LBJ passed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights act in 1964 and 1965, the Republican Party took LBJ's 1964 quote about the schizophrenic South and made it their unofficial national political platform:

    ''I'll tell you what's at the bottom of it," LBJ said. "If you can convince the lowest white man that he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll even empty his pockets for you."

    That's about all you need to know about the very successful Randian right-wing, race-based Republican riptide that has crashed America into a third-world beach of economic injustice, inequality and political sepsis that produces Republican candidates still promising more welfare for the rich and more propaganda for the poor.

    Bernie Sanders, the only guy in the room trying to fix America's right-wing political hijacking, gets systematic short shrift from the media.... as if fixing America's real problems was just a plain crazy idea.

    America has crash-landed in the 3rd World.

    Don't forget to hug a Republican hijacker....and make a contribution to Bernie Sanders.

  27. The incessant mewling about Sanders getting short shrift is mindboggling. His candidacy is literally everywhere and all that I have heard about for months and months. He has been outmaneuvered politically and that is too bad, but his contributions-- to the party and the platform --will go on whether he is the nominee or not.

  28. Right On, Socrates, except my contribution goes to Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton because SHE IS THE MOST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE WITH THE MOST NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL CAPITAL TO HELP US RESTORE DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA. She has my vote, which is ALL politicians need.

  29. So yet another puff piece on Rubio, the anti-Trump establishment choice and Democrats wish-for candidate against their anointed Queen, Hillary.

    Rubio has no natural base and his messages are mixed and muddled. You all at the NYT can hope, but Donald Trump has spoken of issues of interest to the voters, talk TO the voters directly, and listens to them (not the chattering pundits), and is a skillful user of the media.

    As long as the establishment brings in and supports illegal immigrants for work at the low end and legal temporary workers at the higher end, the wages and jobs will be taken by non-citizens and places pressure on wages and jobs for American citizens. That nice Marco Rubio supports amnesty and so does the rest of the establishment candidates, and Democrats refuse to recognize that their identity politics aren't playing well this season.

    Dream on. Donald Trump rules.

  30. I think it is because American have, more than other cultures, a dream of "hitting the jackpot" - via the stock market, business investment, sports, the lottery .... To me that explains why so many beaten-down segments of our society, contrary to their own self-interest, support the rich white guys that are doin' the beatin'. One day they may, too, hit it big. Trump did, so might I. What's missing are an appreciation of luck and the value of hard work and education. These well-off rich (and getting richer) guys talk about the hard work THEIR PARENTS did (not them - not really), they were delivered into a better place than the people who they now claim to represent - who are being sold a bill of goods that won't live up to the hype. There are going to be a lot of very angry people out there come the middle of November - President Clinton will not have an easy time governing.

  31. 'We still desperately want to believe that the dream is within our grasp.'

    Excellent article - and as most desperately want to believe - but then always all these bills arrive - for the student loans - ot the health insurance - or the rent gets raised - there is no other way than sooner or later to believe in Bernie Sanders policies...

  32. The average person isn't supporting Trump in the hopes of getting wealthy. They are supporting Trump in hopes of surviving. I loathe the man and would never vote for him, but I understand that he projects strength in contrast to the gov't paralysis his party has fostered. Also, he is a protest vote against the wealthy who have gotten their own people in office and then screwed the middle and working classes unmercifully. Also, while he inherited money, he didn't withdraw to an effete penthouse. He's been out there, working, mixing it up, taking his blows, winning and losing: people identify with him as a person who is willing to get his hands dirty. Finally, he's not a puppet on the string of corporate masters. Why would people vote for marionettes who are simply amplied and embarrassing mirrors of what the rest of Americans have becomes: serfs forced to jump when the master calls? I am terrified we will get our own Mussolini, but I understand how it could happen.

  33. It can only happen if WE don't stop it, rareynolds. All it takes is for Good People To Do Nothing - as with Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler. It's a vote away - Vote against them.

  34. People who support Trump don't necessarily aspire to his kind of wealth. They like him. He's the opposite of the types that inhabit think tanks and write for papers. He's in the arena and he's not afraid. They may even be able to feel superior to him for his obvious personality flaws, while more sober types recoil in horror. How many times have I read commenters proudly saying that they are afraid, terrified, horrified, and petrified by Donald Trump! Aside from his broadly appealing call to recover an America that is brash and confident, his supporters see in Trump a man who's all out there, visible, a little absurd, and very, very rich. And they say, Good for him!

  35. I believe one important development in this year's primary results is being overlooked. That development is the confluence of Democrate voter turn out for the primary voting completed, and Democrate voters who are dismayed at the prospect of Hillary Clinton winning the party's nomination. There appears to be a significant number of Denocrates who find Mrs. Clinton repugnant, principally because of her lack of ethical standing. Hence, the surprising numbers of Democrates voting for Bernie Sanders thus far in the primary race. With the race now a presumptive nomination of Republican Trump and Democrated Clintion, the drop out of Democrats may well grow in number in the national election because of Clintons unacceptability, and also with those Democats who would find Trump a viable alternative for their vote. The size of that voting block has not been measured, but nearer to the end of the primary season such measures will come into sharper focus. "The times they are a changing."

  36. Reading articles in today's NYT about when very savvy political reporters first realized that Trump could be the Republican nominee, about which mainstream politicians have declared they would not vote for Trump, about the anyone but Trump movement, this article, and many others of a similar nature, one gets the impression that the political pundits, writers, reporters, and mainstream politicians, just do not get it. People are just plain fed up with politics as usual, and Trump has very easily differentiated himself as not being part of the existing order of politicians. This is what gives Trump his power, and he has realized he can tap into the public's disgust for politicians and politics as usual.

    Today's politicians enjoy very little public respect or esteem, and, when Rubio, Romney, and others start to whine about Trump being a conman, a fraud, and worse, they do not realize that they are helping Trump more than they are hurting him. The public wonders why wouldn't they attack Trump? They are just trying to hold onto their positions of power and maintain the existing order. If the existing order thinks Trump is bad, then that has to be good and what is needed to bring about much needed change.

    The public knows we need a change. Trump knows that too. He is giving people what they want. His wealth has nothing to do with it. It is his eschewing politics as usual that makes the difference.

  37. Change? You want change? Read on social media what some far right groups expect when they are "in charge" under a Trump presidency. Those Republican leaders who fear a Trump presidency are really worried about the the devolution of our country.

  38. I just don't believe the comment that it is a basic myth of our country that if you work hard you can climb to the top. How sad for the writer of this article if he actually believes that he can't do just that. I have personally watched several in my family and friends do exactly what he is saying is a myth. The American dream is alive and well. From a lower middle class to the 1%. Hard work got all of them there.

  39. Hard work? Yikes! Who wants to do that any more?

    Maybe that's why nobody's getting rich....

  40. You must drive a different route to work than the rest of us. The poor sleeping under bridges, and begging for handouts. The rich exploiting the less fortunate in Flint Michigan and other places. For every success story, there are a thousand failures.

  41. Get a sugar daddy like Norman Braman. It beats working in the sugar fields.

    Remember while in congress Rubio has Obama care and a federal pension where the first six percent of his income is matched in the Federal Retirement System. He gets vested in the system after 3 years. He will also get 1 percent of his highest three years of federal salary times the number of years he serves in congress when he retires.

    Who else has this kind of retirement?

    Does he ever tell that story?

    The one about riding the federal gravy train instead of working in the sugar fields...wait...he didn't work the sugar fields...he worked for Norman

    How much does his wife make working for Norman?

    Ahhhh...the American Dream. Working for Norman!

  42. Mr. Covert is wrong. Trump's acendency is grounded in fear, not hope.

  43. I think it's disgust more than fear.

  44. Neither fear nor hope, but rage. Failure to identify this as the catalyst across the board has cost and is costing both parties and the pundit class the ability to understand, predict, and shape the electorate's behavior. The fact that the party machers witness the savaging of their religious belief in polls and paternalism (gender immaterial) and continue to believe this angry and now empowered and mobilized mass will somehow meekly fall in and do anyone's bidding in November is the only puzzling thing in this mess.

  45. It's called the American "Dream", and for good reason.

  46. As George Carlin explained: ".... because you have to be asleep to believe it."

  47. @RickF, @Dave, The "American Dream" had once been true, in the post-war days. It was the time when US still had a solid middle class and a thriving manufacturing sector that offers a pathway for those less educated the upward mobility to the middle class.

    As with gentrification in many a city (hello, SF, Seattle), we have gone up market, taking with it fewer and fewer of those who have the brains and education to move up with it, allowing manufacturing to largely leave our shore for China for good. That's not really China's fault, but it's a collective corporate effort. And we let them. As with the rise of Walmart, we as consumers enjoy the afterglow (tail end) of economy feasted on debt, while enjoying low costs, low inflation, and low interest rate. The financial meltdown should have been our wakeup call, of the illusion that so many average joes in this country had neither the money nor jobs to support a dream lifestyle.

    What have the government, and the establishments of both parties done? Apart from the bailout, and then padding themselves on the shoulder for a job well done, there's no systemic change to bring back the good times (as voters want) or overhaul the system (as voters generally wish but they don't know what that really means). Those who can enjoy the gentrification of this country would not feel it, but those who were left out are the angry ones in this election season.

  48. Watching the Donald strut like a peacock across the political stage, more than anything else, I am reminded of a trip taken to Russia about ten years ago.

    The views of St. Petersburg were most reminiscent, particularly the Winter Palace. I can imagine Russians in an earlier time looking in awe at the majesty and splendor within its walls.

    But even with all that, I came away with a sense of a "thirty yard rule": the sites were gorgeous as long as your view was from a distance greater than 30 yards. Closer than that and the peeling paint and cracking cornices and the broken-down Lada in the street were all so obvious.

    So, too, with Mr. Trump. When you get past how YUGE his wealth is and how we will be so tired of WINNING with him to ask HOW these things will be done, the cracks appear. And do those caps, screaming MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN really mean MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN?

    --"The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist" --Charles Baudelaire

  49. Donald Trump: The bitter harvest of the Republican party

    Once upon a time, actually now, there were a large group of farmers who could not understand the odd harvest growing in their fields. How strange! Over many years they had planted the same seeds, standard stock, never GMO seed. They planted their standard stock seed of personal responsibility, family values, traditional marriage, smaller government, strong military, no new taxes, less regulation, creationism, climate change denial, right to bear any arms manufactured, pull yourself up by the bootstraps (even if you don’t have any boots), America right or wrong - type seed, etc.. Great stuff and it worked! Throw in favorable conditions (low-voter turnout) and wow what a bounty! But despite their best efforts, tons of confidence, and very wealthy donors, the crop was not what they had planned for. Yet, some people were buying it. What were they thinking? Why were they so angry? What can be done?

    Enough with the metaphor. The grand old party saw this coming and thought they could tame the tiger (same mistake they made with the Tea Party). But its too late, way too late. The majority of Americans will say “No” in November to the Party of No.

  50. As John Oliver has pointted out,, Trump's statement that he's running on his own money is another falsehood. In fact, his records show $17.5 million in donations.

  51. Bottomline is, you can't run a campaign on $17.5m (if your figure is true). So, it's not necessarily falsehood when Trump says he's running on his own money.

    While Trump is crass to always bring up the issue of how rich he is (and I can't care less), the message he's driving home is, he's not in the pocket of lobbyists and establishment, the latter of whom are the ones voters of all stripes despise.

  52. And unfathomable donations from the profit-loving press with this constant free publicity.

  53. Marco seems to confuse having Norman Braham as a sugar daddy with his parents working in the sugar fields in Cuba. No they didn't work in the sugar fields.

    The story is one of a coddled financially irresponsible white kid who has become the poster child of his own economic struggle (with the help of an $800,000 advance for a book he probably didn't write) to balance his check book on a 1 percenter income while the bottom 60 percent struggle with stagnating wages. Norman Braman won't bail them out.

    Marco is simply a political opportunist whose parents came to America from a totalitarian state.

    Why didn't Marco join the Marines or U.S. Army to pay back his country for all that WE have given him.

    Vietnam Vet.

  54. And the totalitarian regime they escaped was the military-Mafia partnership led by US ally Batista, not the evil commie Fidel Castro. Young Marco tried to run the "we escaped from Castro" scam as well until some enterprising journalist reminded him that his family left Cuba long before Castro took over.

    It's just one more proof that Marco is no less of a coddled opportunist than Trump, if anything he's worse.

  55. I read that Marco's parents came to the USA 2 years before Castro & the revolution .....so how is that different then any other legal immigration story? They left Cuba's old guard, not Castro's Cuba. Embellished fantasy stories of someone else journey.

  56. Trump achieves his wealth through obsessive self interest. What has he ever done to suggest that he is will use the Presidency to help you? The fact that he achieves his dream makes it unlikely that he will help you achieve yours.

  57. You're kidding yourself if you seriously believe that Rubio is not driven by "obsessive self interest" (your words). EVERYONE is driven by self interest. For those angry voters, it's a matter/question of whether those candidates' self interests align more with the (angry) voters or those of the establishment+lobbyists. That's all there is.

  58. finally

    spot on

  59. This sounds like the message Obama has been preaching," we cannot solve all the worlds problems.", We are then to accept, we must be in decline. The Social Democratic Welfare State Model, western Democracies pursue, is a wonderful model, and offers something for everyone. The obvious struggle at this point is, we haven't been able to make it work. Were seriously in debt, and have turned over authority to manage these economies, to Central Bankers. They in turn print debt betting on the come, GDP will increase enough to create taxable income, to pay the debt. That model has yet to play out. With that said I ask, why is none of this debt improving all those left out? That is who listen to Trump, or Sanders, (who believes money grows on tree's).The Beltway has always been far removed from main street but never this far removed. Ride a train, witness the decay. Large swaths of America are boarded up. I am a 1% who are demonized. I have always paid the top% rate of taxation. I paid my mortgages off, I paid for my kids educations, I provided for retirement. If the left thinks taxing me some more will solve the problem, guess what soon I won't be able to afford to pay more. Millions who have been overlooked can't help they don't pay taxes.

  60. We are in debt due to corporate welfare and greed, and unnecessary wars.

  61. I feel for you Dan - pay more taxes and you might have to live on 5 mil a year. How will you ever get by? Please remember all workers pay social security and medicare tax. Depending on your income sources you may not even pay that.

  62. The people who support Trump are the same ones who support wealth preachers and other snake oil salesmen.

    They are easily scammed.

  63. I can't see where they have the Trump picture on the wall. Surely, it's there somewhere, just like in "1984".

  64. The American dream died years ago; now its a socialistic nightmare.

  65. Socialistic? You're kidding me.

  66. Whatever differences in wealth, Mr Trump is perceived by Republican voters as himself, bombast and all, while Sen. Rubio is perceived by voters as a Cuban anchor-baby who, while attempting to remain in Willard Romney's pocket, has become a sad mini-me to Mr. Trump.
    Sen. Rubio's chances of ever being president are growing dim. Bet on Trump.

  67. Social mobility has died.....for lack of interest. How many young people in the lower half of society even attempt to get rich? Go to school, study hard, live frugally, make realistic plans?

    Practically nobody does this anymore. It's much more fun to text on your iPhone and watch football games on TV.

    If a reasonably intelligent young man or woman sets out to make money, it is still very possible. Not everyone will be successful, but the odds are in your favor.

  68. "How many young people in the lower half of society even attempt to get rich? Go to school, study hard, live frugally, make realistic plans? Practically nobody does this anymore. It's much more fun to text on your iPhone and watch football games on TV."

    Kids!
    What's the matter with kids today?
    Why can't they be like we were,
    Perfect in every way?
    What's the matter with kids today?

  69. Define "rich." Doctors these days aren't as rich as they used to be. There is a glut of lawyers (thanks to law schools popping up everywhere) who can't find jobs. Engineers max out around $80k-$100k. That is not "rich" by American standards anymore. The only way to truly get rich is to become a "business person," skirt the law as much as possible, take advantage of and step all over whomever you can on your way to the top, pay your employees poorly, and hoard. It takes a certain...moral flexibility to be able to do these things, and many people shackled by conscience (the poor things, amiright?) are unable to behave in such a way.

    And did it ever occur to you that "practically nobody does this anymore" because it takes money to make money? And when you're born poor, like millions of Americans are, the path out of poverty isn't as easy as borrowing money from mommy and daddy, like the middle-class kids can. Trump, anyone? Mitt Romney? Bill Gates? Name one business mogul under the age of 40 who didn't already come from at least the middle class if not the upper middle class or an even higher socio-economic stratum.

    In the meantime, save your preaching for the morally impaired.

  70. @IZA - The article discusses moving from the bottom 50% to the upper 20%. That is good enough for most people, you don't have to achieve fabulous wealth.

    This is definitely doable for many young people. Hard work and prudent behavior will get you there by the time you're in your mid-30s. But a staggering number of people make no effort at all, and then complain loudly that they're not rich.

  71. Trump is not winning because he is rich and people are not choosing between him and Marco Rubio based on each' financial status. Trump is feeding into people's anger at their own financial struggles over the last couple decades, which is conflated with illegal immigration, persistent foreign policy failures and mis-steps, and political correctness changing culture. Couple that with an outsized personality and TV notoriety and that accounts for Trump's success to date. It has absolutely nothing to do with comparisons between his and Rubio's wealth.

  72. TRUMPF-HARRUMPH!

    Trump is still with us.
    He's much in the fray.
    From party so witless,
    He won't go away.

    Trump's having a blast.
    Mitt Romney's aghast,
    The donors by-passed,
    Their money surpassed.

    With voters so curious
    And candidates spurious,
    The donors are furious.
    They now need a pump
    To suck up the sump
    Spewed forth by the Trump.

    They sent in the clowns.
    All now must wear frowns.

  73. Liberals have had their way in America for the past 25 years. All of their most important goals have now been largely achieved and enacted into law, and the country is considerably better for it. But liberals have not been content to rest on their laurels. They have pressed on relentlessly with politically-correct agendas that are often extreme and sometimes absurd leaving millions of Americans feeling despised and disrespected in their own country; and made to friendless in a world where rapid economic changes are calling into question many of values and certainties they once counted on. That is why Trump is winning.

  74. What is truly unfortunate is that these candidates' positions are the choices offered. Trumps' ascendancy is more a reflection of the public's growing disdain for establishment politicians bought by selected wealthy special interests. Most citizens understand that the Clintons arrived in the White House as paupers and now bask in their millions, most of which avoids taxation via their foundation. And their daughter has purchased a $10 million condo in Manhattan. Who says one cannot rise from essentially no wealth to extreme comfort? The public is fed up with this scene repeated by the political class. Trump's appeal is that he cannot be bought, despite all his obvious less-attractive qualities.

    Rubio's arch-conservatism is far from central to most Americans' dreams. Trump's social positions are closer to those of mainstream Americans. Covert's suggestion that Rubio's inability to manage his financial affairs is reflective of many Americans misses the mark. Most Americans of limited means live within their means. Rubio regrettably has never managed anything and is another single-term senator whose sole employment has been based on the taxpayer.

    As Mr. Luettgen suggests, where most Americans end up is a reflection of the series of choices they make at various life stages. To suggest that the Trump and Rubio "dreams" are the sole options for most folks totally misses the mark.

  75. The "American Dream" has never really existed. George Carlin said it best when he claimed "you have to be asleep to have this dream" and, boy, this country has been dozing off since it's inception.
    First, we are sold a bill of goods about "everyone being equal", mythical when written by a hypocritical slave owner and even more mythical as the thin veneer of civility is ripped off and replaced by bigotry and hatred of anyone of color or not Christian.
    The election of a black president merely brought all this ugliness to the surface with Donald Trump being the end result of that downward spiral.
    The biggest fear is that his message may just win him the presidency turning any "dream" into a full blown "nightmare".

  76. The very idea that people are going out to vote for the Politician that will somehow, someway, mysteriously make them wealthy is frankly the most pathetic reason, ever. This is a fiction driven by pseudo community sociologists and armchair shrinks. Rather, the two major political parties have always come down to the Haves versus the Have-Nots. Though in Marco Rubio's mind there are "no 'Have-Nots' in America, instead there are the 'Soon to Haves' simply working their way up". Donald Trump exemplifies the inherited wealth barrier that has drawn a line between the Haves and Have-Nots. This concept has been explored, with a profound (negative) impact on the upwards mobility of those born below that rung of the ladder.

    Then there are the Messiah illusions to singlehandedly conquer the evils of, your very own demons. For Republicans it's abolishing the government to its smallest component fraction. For Liberals or Progressives there are the 'Jackbooted' capitalist bankers, carried interest Hedgefunders, Industrialists, and the Bigots to slay.

    All of the time no one actually fulls the complete dream perfectly, and the bickering, backstabbing, and backroom deals start issuing forth: Sometimes right away, most times eventually. For the moment we have Trump on the Right and Bernie on the left. Neither will become President. That's right, neither. So who are we left with? Hillary & Cruz, or Rubio. Just get ready to vote. Staying home is not an option.

  77. America is built on so many myths, from the fairness of the Constitution to the Horatio Algiers legend. The truth is, America became a major player by stealing from those who were already here, and exploiting an abundance of natural resources unmatched in history or time. The hatred of the republican party is a precise reflection of this.

  78. The American Dream? They don't call it a dream for nothing.

  79. Very aptly put and succient too.

  80. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." One need only read The Great Gatsby to understand the current political phenomenon of the Trump appeal. Gatsby made a deal with the devil, and chose a quick shortcut to wealth, only to get taken by those who, using their wealth, escape responsibility for the many tragedies they cause. He believed in the green light, the orgastic future that the Donald promises us all.

  81. Re: "On actual policy, Mr. Trump and Mr. Rubio genuflect equally to the wealthy at the expense of everyone else"

    Wrong.

    Trump came out in defense of Social Security, in favor of higher taxes on the wealthy, in favor of balanced trade to bring back more jobs and higher wages, and is likely to favor more stimulus spending.

    Since then, Trump has walked back taxing the wealthy, but only under pressure to win the *Republican* primary.

    Those policies - not his controversial remarks on non-economic issues - are the reasons wealthy donors are desperate to stop Trump.

    Meanwhile, wealthy backers are lining up behind Rubio, as the guy they can count on to be an ideologue, and fight for the economic policies *they* (not working class voters) want. Oh, with some safety net trinkets.

    It doesn't matter where you come from. Neither Teddy Roosevelt, nor FDR, nor JFK came from humble beginnings, but all were willing to fight powerful and wealthy interests for the greater good.

    Will Trump be another FDR? Maybe not.

    But Trump is a pragmatist, with a big ego, and likely cares more about a legacy, than going out to impress and serve the wealthy - unlike every other candidate besides Sanders.

    We know where Rubio and his backers want to go - further down the same failed bipartisan path of trickle down and neoliberal economic ideology that is destroying the middle class built by the New Deal policies of FDR.

  82. We are entering the end of the Roman empire. Ceasar Trump will not turn around the empire.

  83. It is amusing to see the NYT’s Op Ed’ and all their liberal columnists running around screaming with their hair on fire over the Trump phenomenon.

    Trump is not so much a candidate as he is an expression of attitude that registers in the area between the Hudson River and the Sierra Nevada’s.

    It emanates from just regular people whom the Times and their columnists generally despise and not from the host of favored and fashionable special interests promoting their endless lists of grievances whether it is racial, ethnic, gender, etc.

    Trump won’t likely make it to the White House but the contempt for the political establishment that the Time’s is a member of will remain and continue to grow.

  84. You are right that Trump represents the attitude of people that live between the Hudson River and the Sierra Nevadas. These are the same people who followed Father Coughlan with his hateful radio addresses,who folowed politicians like Huey Long, and even before that founded and bleonged to the Know-Nothing party. The violence coming out of the Trump rallies is no surprise,given the people who are drawn to his "attitude."

  85. The only thing Trump and Rubio are great at is projecting a false self-image. Trump is not a successful businessman. Building a few casinos is not a durable business, eventually they go bankrupt as The Donald has demonstrated. Otherwise he is just a snake oil salesman and self-promoter who has managed to license his name to some golf clubs. Big deal. His other failures were Trump Air (FAILED), Trump University (FAILED), Trump Vodka (FAILED) and more. Marco isn't right about much, but he is correct that Trump is just a con man. Marco, on the other hand, proffers his "inspirational story." It's not all that inspirational, but it's his PARENTS' story, not his. What's his inspirational story, that he managed to get Norman Braman to finance his political career? Phonies, both of them.

  86. Supply Side economics, Trickle Down economics, does not work.
    If one would like the economic conditions of 50 years ago, start with paying the American worker the same share of business revenue that the workers 50 years ago got.
    And how did the workers of 50 years ago get that share? Unions.

  87. Both Rubio and Trump have conveniently invented their own stories of success and hardship. The difference? Trump, for all his nonsense and bombast and divisiveness, is completely honest about who he is (but not exactly all that he says, for sure). Rubio is a shape-shifting, unaccomplished ventriloquist's dummy who is being and has been bankrolled by one rich Floridian for most of his adult life. Now, which appeals most to voters? It's not brain surgery (sorry Ben).

  88. Nonsense. The American Dream is moribund, and economic mobility is not "stagnate," it has reversed itself. Many more people are DOWNWARDLY MOBILE than upwardly mobile.
    Trump is right that we need to make America great again, but, of course, he offers no way to do this, and his tax plan would cause even more downward mobility.
    One of the worse things about Hillary Clinton is that she is in denial about increasing poverty. Rubio, like Cruz and Trump, may pick at the teeth of poverty, but their plans would be catastrophic for the poor and the dwindling middle class.
    The only candidate who really has a plan to help the poor is Sanders. NYT reporters and editors are all part of the 1% and can afford to support Clinton.

  89. Excuse me.

    I am educated - through the efforts of my parents, my scholarly efforts, my working nights - 3 to 11 - at a factory during 5 years of college and my paying back, over a decade, the loans I still had to take out to achieve my goak.

    I am reasonably intelligent.

    Give me a "small" loan of $1,000,000 from my daddy, his expertise and connections, and another $40,000,000 when he died.

    You would have to be a moron to be less than successful.

    President Trump? Oxy-moronic.

  90. And remember those $ were far more valuable back then. Trump has lost money compared to simply putting the money he inherited in safe market investments.

  91. Rubio has never been an "at risk" decision maker.

    Everyone understands that who has been at risk - which means not only contending with ones own mistakes but the lack of control of the macro economic storms thrown at you - are not within a persons control

    Trump has weathered those turbulent seas - impossible for a guy like Rubio - who is still trying to figure out how to pay off a credit card on time.

    The Clintons "created" the war on the middle class - Clinton signed: WTO / NAFTA/ Glass Steagall / Derivatives Act - and now Hillary will finish the job with the TPP.

    the scam is out in the open and ......over!

  92. I will not vote for someone who can't even manage his own money. If he can't could not afford a second home, then he should not have bought it.

  93. Words to ponder. None of them, Rubio and Trump do speak for the people, just to the people they hope will catapult them to the top, so they can continue to serve their masters, the rich and powerful...and hope that a 'trickle-down' economy may raise all boats (an empty promise, as we know by now). There is a strong smell of hypocrisy here, double-talk to attract a gullible public into acquiescing with their theory of unequal wealth. Charlatans abound, offering chafe for grain, confusing nonsense for virtue. What an awful choice in front of us, the dumb and dumber, we the dumbest?

  94. "In general, Americans, even those with few means, end up aligning themselves with the wealthy in the hope that they, too, will eventually get rich."

    That Americans align themselves with the wealthy is an accurate empirical observation. The conclusion that they do so in the hope of becoming rich themselves is a conclusion of questionable accuracy. I think that denial causes Americans align themselves with the wealthy. And denial is a universal human trait.

    Too often we choose to deny the truth about our lives. We deny the truth about our own economic reality by focusing our attention on the life styles of the wealthy. We deny the truth about our need for government services by accepting their argument that everyone is better off if we spend our own money. We are loathe to admit that the we do not enough money to spend to replace the government services we lose while the wealthy actually do.

  95. Social mobility has been dead for years ever since the Reagan idea of economics called "trickle down" has been swallowed hook line and sinker, while the real truth is that we have a clear "trickle up" economy. The middle class has been stagnated at a downward pace since the 80's, while the rate of pay for corporate owners has risen disproportionately.
    Capital has become king, and labor is merely a commodity of the wealthy, a far cry from our Founding Fathers, or first Republican President. We are less educated, less optimistic and more at the disposal of the wealthy than since the 1920's. We cannot compete with the rest of the industrialized world in areas of health care, education, retirement income or opportunity, except in the area of military power.
    There is every sign that a revolution is coming or we will be reading the history of the United States as we have read the the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

  96. Curiously, I couldn't find the details on the Trump plan, all points, in the Times.

    Had to go to the Guardian for it.

    See link, and scroll to bottom to see all plan tabs describing his agenda.

    Much of what he proposes will definitely improve conditions for the poor and middle class.

    This comment is from a Sanders supporter.

    And, I never though I would say this, but if Hillary becomes the nominee, with her maintain the status quo plan, I will support Trump; his agenda is all about making America great, for all Americans - Read his agenda, as I just did; for months I deliberately avoided anything Trump, but now I'm glad I looked.

    https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/healthcare-reform

  97. If you want to become rich, don't vote for the party whose POTUS says "the rich need to pay more". If you want to stay rich, don't vote for the party whose POTUS says "the rich aren't paying their fair share." And don't vote for the sycophants who are running for that party in the 2016 election - because they promise more of the same.

  98. Working class folks who admired a guy like Donald Drumpf do so because they think that someday they may become as rich as he. Yes, we know, that's stinking thinking. Like all those who play the Lotto with their dollar and a dream, they all like to, if but for a moment, fantasize about what it would be like to be so wealthy.

    All those fantasies by all these working class slobs, especially White working class who are the angriest, are greatly upset over their lot in life. They feel somebody somewhere is getting ahead while they stagnate. Instead of focusing on the real problem of Reagan's supply side and the past three decades redistribution of wealth rising like cream in a bottle to the top, they have decide their neighbor is the cause of their problems. The person on food stamps, on welfare, those on the public dole, like many Walmart workers who cannot live on the wages the very wealthy Walton family pay them. They are the problem. Raising the minimum wage will "be bad for the economy", say economists. Not for the minimum wage worker mind you but for the Donald Drumpf's of the world.

    Workers of the world have been bamboozled by Republicans, who have pitted neighbor against neighbor. Now the Lumpen Proles have The Donald, who will bully himself into Congress, kicking butt and taking names, until he gets to make America great again.

    Americans who vote for Drumpf will, should he win, rue the day they made such a disastrous choice.

    DD
    Manhattan

  99. Curiously, I couldn't find the details on the Trump plan, all points, in the Times.

    Had to go to the Guardian for it.

    See link, and scroll to bottom to see all plan tabs describing his agenda.

    Much of what he proposes will definitely improve conditions for the poor and middle class.

    This comment is from a Sanders supporter.

    I avoided all things Trump for months, but decided to take a look after a friend suggested I should; frankly I'm amazed, as it clearly is all about making America great for all Americans.

    If Bernie is not the nominee, I can see why many Democrats and Independents will vote for Trump, since Hillary is all about the status quo, and making Big Business ever bigger, eventually beggaring us more than they already have.

    https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/healthcare-reform

  100. The last paragraph was the most telling. There really is no difference between most of the policy statements of the current republican candidates. They all want to spend more money on defense, cut taxes on the wealthy, etc. To criticize Trump because his tax bill is low and then offer plans that would actually further reduce his tax bill is the height of hypocrisy. They all want the wall and they all want to send immigrants away. Donald says he doesn't want to allow Muslims in without vetting, Republicans don't want Syrian refugees fleeing war. Criticize all of them, not just the individual who is the most bombastic but really no different.

  101. As to Trump having wealth his supporters aspire to, it just might be futile to wish for wealthy parents.

  102. The American Dream is within reach , but only if you work hard . It is achievable and I know many immigrants who have achieved it . I had one uncle , recently deceased , who was an accountant in Cuba and became the vice president of a multinational company after he came to the USA . He certainly achieved probably a lot more than he could have in his native Cuba .Also I know many "natural born citizens" who feel entitled to many things but are not ready to work really hard for it . The problems that working class whites are encountering in their lives are not due to immigrants taking their jobs but to the forces of globalization and technological innovation . The ones that could help the struggling families left behind are not the providers of hate and super easy solutions . I do not see Trump talking about a more fair tax system or how to easy the burden of student debt . I know there are grievances but in Germany in the 20`s and 30`s the population also had real grievances . Please don't fall for a cheap demagogue like they did .

  103. Re: "On actual policy, Mr. Trump and Mr. Rubio genuflect equally to the wealthy at the expense of everyone else"

    Wrong.

    Trump came out in defense of Social Security, in favor of higher taxes on the wealthy, in favor of balanced trade to bring back more jobs and higher wages, and is likely to favor more stimulus spending.

    Since then, Trump has walked back taxing the wealthy, but only under pressure to win the *Republican* primary.

    Those policies - not his controversial remarks on non-economic issues - are the reasons wealthy donors are desperate to stop Trump.

    Meanwhile, wealthy backers are lining up behind Rubio, as the guy they can count on to be an ideologue, and fight for the economic policies *they* (not working class voters) want. Oh, with some safety net trinkets.

    It doesn't matter where you come from. Neither Teddy Roosevelt, nor FDR, nor JFK came from humble beginnings, but all were willing to fight powerful and wealthy interests for the greater good.

    Will Trump be another FDR? Maybe not.

    But Trump is a pragmatist, with a big ego, and likely cares more about a legacy, than going out to impress and serve the wealthy - unlike every other candidate besides Sanders.

    We know where Rubio and his backers want to go - further down the same failed bipartisan path of trickle down and neoliberal economic ideology that is destroying the middle class built by the New Deal policies of FDR.

  104. The article misses the point. It's not that no one acknowledges the struggling working class in this supposed economic recovery that both Trump and Rubio, amongst others, have done, and while it might be true that some poor working class are likened to align themselves with the rich folks to hoping they would make that leap of upward mobility one day, but it's the fact that Trump reminds people that they want someone who can "make America great again" (even though Trump doesn't have any plan of action). It's not enough for Rubio to acknowledge people's pain and struggle, he doesn't have a plan either.

    For desperate voters who look at two guys with just talk and no details, their only reference points are their past actions and their current situations. Rubio has consistently shown that he couldn't manage even his own finances, and he's hardly any "success story" (unlike Bill Clinton and Obama who grew up in single parent household, and both have shown more brains). If he can't even keep his own household in order, how can he manage the biggest economy in the world? And while Trump has bankruptcy many times before, he's shown (ahem, bragged about himself on) that he knows EXACTLY what he's doing, by using the system (and bankruptcy protection) to reborn and rise again. THAT is what is appealing to the little folks, not only that someone understands the system, but beats the system and comes out ahead. THAT is what Trump can brag on, that Rubio knows nothing about.

  105. "In general, Americans, even those with few means, end up aligning themselves with the wealthy in the hope that they, too, will eventually get rich....

    This is part of why a majority of Americans feel the country benefits from having a wealthy class.''
    ________________________

    I am always astounded when I read (or hear) statements like the above. (Which I frequently do.) America is still *so* incredibly fascinated by wealth, rather than "service."

    My (considerable) experience with wealthy people is that, in general, they are not going to assist you in becoming wealthy, if they can help it. So...don't expect that, America. Don't idolize that wealthy class.

    In fact, after they "climb the ladder," they are going to try and pull it up so you can't climb it too. They are not your "friends."

  106. Wasn't it Mr. Reagan who said, "if you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all." Well Mr. Trump, that's how I feel about your "towers".
    As for Mr. Rubio, he's now the poster boy of the "struggling American". Go back to Florida & ask for a payday loan, dude.

  107. The article misses an important point: Where did Trump's fabulous wealth come from, at who's expense? Trump University is just one example. At least Rubio doesn't treat hard working Americans as a kind of peasant class. We need to return to the progressive taxes of the Reagan era to put money back in the pockets of people who need it and will spend it, thereby revving up the economy and creating more jobs. Our current regressive system just rewards the super wealthy, who are richer than average Americans can even imagine. Their money gets put into hedge funds, properties (plural) not homes, and offshore bank accounts. It doesn't grow the economy. They just try to make you believe it does.

  108. Actually everyday someone proves you can make more money and increase your standard of living. The failure of more to move up has more to do with thought processes than where you start. If you live in a culture that promotes a victim mentality then you will always be a victim where someone else is keeping you down. If you instead determine that you are in control of your destiny and through determination and hard work you press on you can achieve goals. Maybe teaching school is more important to you than being a millionaire. That is great but whatever the goal is YOU must make it work. You can clean houses and decide you like that and are content with that provision. Or you can clean houses and have a vision of company of people who clean houses, who do an excellent job and are well compensated according to the tasks involved. Class warfare does not bring value to anyone. You raise your minimum wage by increasing your value in the work place, by being more productive, by adding skills, by bringing a great attitude into the work environment. Success is more about attitude than anything else.

  109. The irony is delicious.

    People went nuts, excoriated nominee Obama, and declared him to be arrogantly imperial because of the Greek columns used as a stage setting for the Democratic Convention in 2008. And, now in 2016, here we see Trump, the likely runaway Republican nominee, literally standing in his own gilded home-away-from-home, Mar-a-Lago, surrounded by faux Palace of Versailles opulence? Who appears to be more imperial or more authoritarian; more derisive or more narcissistic, Candidate (or President) Obama or Candidate Trump?

    Here we have a new Emperor With No Clothes, Emperor Drumpf. He's the one dressing himself, of course, and passing out the invisible garments to his supporters. (The red hats remain visible) What a sad realization that republican primary voters are admiring and adoring this grand illusion.

  110. The Greek column moment was an embarrassment to any Obama supporter who had the moxie to admit the truth. It was a moment we all should have noted more thoughtfully, though, given what it said about Obama.

    Mar-a-Lago may be obscenely opulent, but he's had that place for many years. It's real, not some stage set to be hastily disassembled when the event is over. I don't support Trump, but I understand a lot of why he resonates with people.

    And as to imperial and authoritarian, it doesn't get much more extreme than summary execution of your own citizens.

  111. "And as to imperial and authoritarian, it doesn't get much more extreme than summary execution of your own citizens."

    Is killing a small number of American citizens who hang out with known terrorists more imperial than setting the whole Middle East on fire by invading Iraq because Saddam Hussein tried to kill your father, a former president? Sounds like anger over attempted regicide is more extreme than being willing to take some "collateral damage" in the fight against the terrorists Bush the Lesser created.

  112. While Americans do fantasize about striking it rich, in their more sober moments they have always pursued a more modest dream. Until the second half of the 19th century, only Southern planters could aspire to great wealth. Everyone else sought economic independence, a goal that lay beyond the reach of the vast majority of their European ancestors.

    The explosive growth of the economy after the Civil War did create a class of fabulously wealthy industrialists, at the same time that it fatally undermined the old dream of independence for most Americans. Both immigrants and native-born Americans gradually shifted their aspirations to the achievement of a constantly improving standard of living. By the post WWII period, each generation expected to live better than the previous one, and parents dreamed that their children would rise even further on the economic scale.

    The wealthy still represented the ultimate symbol of success, but most Americans focused more realistically on a higher standard of living than they currently enjoyed. This version of the dream has now disappeared for millions of people, and an entire generation faces the prospect that they will not surpass the living standards of their parents.

    A lack of consensus on the causes has fueled frustration with the status quo. Capitalism promises continual growth in exchange for hard work and sacrifice. If Americans lose faith in that promise, Trump will not be the last demagogue to attract a popular following.

  113. we want protection from ISIS and the borders closed. Obama will do neither and neither will Hillary

  114. How can Trump protect us from ISIS? Radical ideas don't need visas to get to this country.

  115. I can't help but compare the "American Dream" with the social and economic policies of Scandinavia, Germany, basically all of Northern Europe. The "American Dream" has to do with security: work hard, and you can have your house, your car, your TV, education for your children, health insurance for your family, and a secure retirement. Which is exactly what those "socialized economies" of Northern Europe seem to provide. If I remember correctly, in a recent ranking of "happiness," Scandinavia came in first. Perhaps "American Exceptionalism" has gotten in the way of the "American Dream."

  116. "If I remember correctly, in a recent ranking of "happiness," Scandinavia came in first."

    That was before the migrants flooded in.

  117. Those countries aren't drained by paying so many non-workers.

  118. If Americans are feeling financially insecure there is a reason. The current president in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the great depression decided that was the time to essentially nationalize health care. At the same time he placed his radical notion of "climate change" above the well being of Americans destroying an industry. Increasing regulations, refusing to allow private sector infrastructure jobs such as the keystone pipeline - ALL at a time when Americans were desperate for jobs. So yes Americans are a bit insecure, we know Hillary would continue the trend targeting other industries for destruction and/or nationalization.

    We need a president that puts Americans ahead of their personal ideologies and if that means Trump then so be it.

  119. Your idea that climate change is a "radical notion" makes it clear than you need to learn something from somewhere else than Rush and the Free Beacon.

    As to the Keystone pipeline --- Obama did not actually rule on the merits, they withdrew their application. (Which Obama affirmed does kill that submission, but in theory they would be free to submit another in the future.) With world price oil at $35/bbl the North American oil industry is in near collapse at the moment. Athabascan bitumen is now $8/bbl in Calgary. The tar sands are DOA unless/until the price of oil goes above $60/bbl (when might that be?), and with them the Keystone pipeline.

    We need voters who have some kind of clue as to what they are talking about. Bobby Jindal warned that the Republican party should not become "the party of stupid."

  120. What industry did he destroy?

  121. Healthcare is not nationalized - if it were, we would have a single payer system. Climate change is not a radical notion - it is an observable phenomenon. Regulations haven't increased, and the if the pipeline were built, it wouldn't provide anywhere near the number of jobs promised.

    Trump is in this for Trump. He hasn't told anyone where he stands on Keystone, or how he would make sure all Americans have access to healthcare. He's a bully and a fraud who has no idea of how the Constitution has organized our government.

  122. Trump is winning, not because of his gold plated image, but because he is a political iconoclast with good timing, and with a natural instinct for playing to cameras, and to his audience. He is having a total blast and has done more to engrave the 'Trump Brand' on the American psyche than any other reality show ever could have. (He will make millions off this) But he will l be lost when (if ?) the political discourse ever concerns actual details on policies, strategies, and geo-political experience. Rubio on the other hand presents as someone not comfortable in his own skin, and not even comfortable in the game itself. He has only gained traction (if you count one state as traction) by trying to use Trump's bully antics. It is really painful to watch. Like those who have fallen before him, Rubio too will be voted off the island of Survivor Primary. For that he should be thankful, as he would ultimately be completely lost, and forever branded as a total loser, if he had to venture into the dense jungle of real questions on personal experience and global politics.

  123. Not one is worth a vote except Sanders. If this society 'studied' the difference in the candidates instead of watching TV commercials Sanders would be the only thing in the news. Fluff news pays the most for the ignorant voters to be controlled by the likes of Trump the billionaire. The ignorant voter will take us all down, like they did with Bush.

  124. I find this spectacle very distressing. The democrats have a great opportunity to capitalize on the republican dysfunction. Yet all they can offer up is Sanders (too far left) and clinton (too much baggage). The Dems are playing right into the right wing media's hands. I can imagine they will dig up all sorts of dirt on clinton (whether true or not) and pound it out through Fox news and talk radio. Americans already think Hillary is dishonest although I think it is pretty obvious much of what is said is not true.

    Now is the time for the democrats to claim the center and not overreact by going to far left. Too bad Hillary is our only choice for this role. Not because she is unqualified and incompetent but because she is the person who has been a lightning rod for criticism for years.

  125. Too far left is what wealthy people say to keep the poor and their children down. There's lots of money and the wealthy take it away and the people let them and half this society is an idiot with a vote and a fantasy.

  126. The author writes of Rubio, "He’s stood out a bit from the Republican field for stumping on tax breaks for working parents: an expanded child tax credit, and a new credit for businesses that offer their employees paid family leave. The first credit, he has said, is meant to “benefit millions of middle-class, hardworking Americans.”

    The author neglects to mention that Rubio's tax plan also calls for eliminating all taxes on capital gains and dividends as well as eliminating all inheritance taxes (which currently affect only those who leave more than $5 million).

    Rubio's plan would mean that most billionaires would pay NO income taxes and could also pass on their billions without ever paying a cent in tax. The few tax credits for "hard working Americans" seem like just a few scraps for ordinary folks to win their votes. His real concern is with his billionaire donors.

  127. Right. But Trump doesn't need any billionaire donors to run, since he is one. That's a major factor in this race that many seem to overlook.

  128. In ancient Rome the voters tended to favor the wealthiest candidates. The more things change....

  129. Why doesn't the media stop giving so much space to politicians who know nothing about the lives of average Americans? Or, if they must give them so much space, how about devoting as much to the way the facts are twisted? I'm tired of hearing how America's economy has recovered? For whom? Not us. I'm furious when I read that some GOP politician claims that unemployment is a vacation. When, and for which out of work Americans? And to hear about how abortion causes depression? Give me a break. Depressions can be due to the inability to find a job no matter how hard one tries, to get needed medical care, to find affordable decent housing near one's job, to plan for the future, to be able to be an independent adult. These are problems, not the idiocies about emails, about getting into an iPhone, about the deficit. People need jobs that pay, access to medical care they need, a better education that what they are getting, less favoring of corporations over people, a better social safety net. Isn't it the business of government to work for the people who elected them? It's supposed to be government serving us, not corporations or their campaign donors. They are supposed to work in our interests. But then again, people who believe that cutting taxes helps don't understand the purpose of taxes.

  130. The "dream" that Donald John Trump and Marco Antonio Rubio represent is and was not " the Dream" that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of in his legendary speech at the 1963 March on Washington D.C. for Jobs and Freedom.

    On the eve of his murder, Dr. King was planning a new Washington D.C. campaign where he hoped to unite Americans on the basis of economic class instead of racial colored caste. That dream died beneath Nixon, Wallace and Reagan.

    There are currently more blacks unemployed, in prison and on welfare than ever before. Living in a recurring lesser nightmare, even in the Age of Obama, blacks are still waiting for their dream of freedom to be fully felt and realized.

    "I wish I knew how it would feel to be free" Nina Simone

  131. Why do Donald Trump supporters believe they are entitled to a better life than the one they have? I keep reading about how angry they are and how they blame Mexicans and Muslims and whoever else. But, where did the idea ever come from that they deserve something better than what they have? I made my life, which is middle-class just like Trump supporters made theirs. I lost my job last year at 62 years old, and couldn't find another one. I now get by on social security and a part-time job. Should I blame some Mexican person I've never met for that? Should I whine and say life is unfair and I deserve better? Sorry, it's life and stuff happens in life that sometimes we don't like. I'm going to vote for a billionaire nutcase and he'll make it all better? Not in a million years. I don't get it, and I don't see how anyone could believe that Trump will help them get whatever it is they want. Strange times we live in.

  132. Sure vote for Hillary and more of the same. Do you think that she and her buddies on Wall Street are going to change their game plan and allow you to prosper?

  133. One has to understand that those that are voting for Trump have ALWAYS voted Republican and that is what is distressing the backroom boys of the party. The xenophobic, anti-immigrant, build a wall, racism that predominates in his supporters just reflects what the Republican Party has ALWAYS been, it is just now out in the open and they now, once and for all, have been exposed.

  134. You were let go so your old company could pay a lower cost worker. If you think that's OK you're fooling yourself.

  135. Trump stands out among the bought and paid for professional politicians. His support comes from the considerable portion of the population that realize that it's a rigged system. Trump really scares the buyers.

  136. Let's not forget that luck and opportunity play into the success equation...just look at Christie. Didn't he say he was leaving the race to go and "...make money with Trump..." or something like that?

  137. Not a big surprise, when they interview working class people, struggling middle class people, and ask why they often support economic agendas that center around cutting taxes, that mostly benefit the very well to do, the answer you often get is "I'm going to be rich someday, and I won't want to pay taxes, either".

    Studs Terkel, in one of his interviews, once interviewed a former head of the KKK who became a labor and civil rights activist, and the person told him that they were brought up to believe that the system if they worked hard, would reward them and anything was possible, and that that faith in that system was all they had. Rather than admit the system was broken, they embraced the idea that it was possible to do anything, but 'they' (in their case, blacks) were preventing that. That truck driver really believes they can be rich, and in Donald Trump they see someone who shows them what they could be, if only they allowed him (Trump) to apply what made him well off to the rest of the country, it is all they have left of faith in the system they desperately don't want to give up on, that idea of upward mobility, for themselves and their kids.
    What the moneyed class in this country refused to see, and still do, is that once that faith is shattered, we are in for a rough ride. We saw glimpses of this during the Depression, it was a time when both fascism and communism seemed attractive alternates. All polls show most people think their kids will be less well off...

  138. While it's true that average voter isn't going to have Mr. Trump's wealth, I have trouble believing the average voter will be more like Mr. Rubio who, thanks to his time in office, will enjoy the fruits of a significant taxpayer safety net for the remainder of his life. Mr. Rubio can bank on a federal pension based on his term in office and may even have one based on his service in the Florida legislature. Who has that anymore? Legislators for one; they take it away from public workers but keep it for themselves.

    And on that point, Mr. Rubio doesn't need anyone else's money--he has ours and he and his colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, have been playing with it like its their own for decades.

    I can't stand Drumpkf. However, the idea that Rubio and Cruz are better flabbergasts me. Why? What are their accomplishments? Are their proposals any more fleshed out? Are they what they majority of Americans need or even agree with? A vote for Trump is more likely cast by people who feel that their elected officials in DC and their own state capitals don't care about serving the interests of society but rather only serving themselves. And on that matter, how else has Rubio closed his own financial difficulties?

  139. The vote in November will be all about whether we, as a nation, are going to perpetually 'replay' the recent past in the hopes of a different outcome, or attempt to revert back to our legacy of striking boldly forward into the future.

    The past is gone and only represents the status quo. The future is waiting, and we should go there. We should be cautious and deliberate in planning and executing our quest, but we should go there.

  140. Frankly, since the Reagan years when gradual increases in inequality and middle class destruction have occurred, powerful monetary forces, like the Koch brothers and others of their ilk want to do everything in their power to maintain the status quo and in fact, make it worse. The future of America is really hanging in the balance and this upcoming election will determine that.

    I am glad I do not have to make that choice, succumb to the establishment or really change the direction of America to the benefit of all citizens.

  141. The reality is that the best most of us can hope for is to do a little better than our parents. This argues very strongly in favor of actions to raise the floor and promote opportunity, such as having the minimum wage be a living wage, universal health care, quality education for all, supports for child care and elder care, infrastructure improvements, food security, basically a country that recognizes that we are all in this together. We are only as good as our weakest links. Something is deeply wrong when we are arguing, still, about whether working hard and remaining impoverished is acceptable.

  142. Why is the author not correctly identified as being associated with "Left-wing"
    organizations? The NYT seems to label only people they call "Right Wing".

    Remember that the "average" wing is determined by the majority in Congress, which is Republican.

  143. Which was gerrymandered into Republican.

  144. Yet another columnist bites the dust in terms of trying to figure out what's driving Trump's success. Hint: it has nothing to do with money.

  145. The article says, "Donald J. Trump and Marco Rubio have said that the American dream is either dead or dying." Let's hope THEIR dream of stealing all they can from OUR precious taxpayer treasure for personal gain for themselves and their money masters is dying. The republican party money masters are sharks who are finally eating each other up. Let's hope they wind up extinct so the rest of us can realize OUR dreams of a well-managed, socially conscious government that helps ALL American citizens. Let's make it happen! Ms. HIllary Rodham Clinton has my vote.
    http://news.discovery.com/animals/sharks/why-shark-exmbryos-eat-each-oth...

  146. In the case of Mr. Rubio, his idea that the American Dream is dying should be actually directed at his benefactors the Koch Brothers, whom through their money and intense lobbying efforts, want to destroy that dream even faster.

  147. One is a white Anglo Saxon Protestant. One is a Cuban Catholic-Mormon-Catholic-Baptist/Catholic. One of them wants to 'make America great again' and has no qualms about hinting that making America great again means returning white privilege to those to whom it rightly beliongs. "The other' on represents the dilution of white privilege. It's not about the American Dream. It's about the dream of the return of white privilege, when no matter how bad off someone might be, as long as they're white they'll get to go to sit in the front of the bus.

  148. This article is well-written and expertly-argued. It's also wrong. GOP voters forming the core of Trump's support aren't choosing him because they think they can be like him. They like his wealth because it means he can't be bought. Reading about Rubio's troubles made me wonder who is paying his bills and what they expect in return, a concern I don't have with The Donald.

  149. I'm sorry, but the biggest thing that I see killing the American Dream is that Trump, Cruz, and Rubio are the potential right-wing nominees, and there's a serious chance that Trump could be president.

    I fear for fundamental democracy in this country more than i ever have.

  150. The invention of an origin story. The tendency to create a narrative to inform a persona and convince an audience. I don't think either candidate really passes par in this category. The propensity extends far beyond politicians though. Look around you and I think you'll see.

    Anthropologists sometimes refer to the phenomenon as "optional" or "selective" identity. Everyone seems to be Irish on Saint Patrick's day for instance. However, you rarely hear anyone refer to themselves passionately as "European-American".

    The unique point about optional identity is the lines are generally fluid. You can choose whether or not to be associated with a narrative. Musician? Artist? Socialist? Whatever? However, the lines are not boundless and indefinite. Racial definitions are pernicious for exactly this reason. You can't escape an external definition. You need to operate within cultural boundaries while utilizing identity to maximum advantage.

    That's the real trick though. There needs to be a compelling element of truth in the narrative in order for the fiction to be believed. While there might be truth in these stories, there's not enough to give body to the myth. The candidates are over-extending the truth of their identities.

    By contrast, President Obama knocked his personal history out of the park in 2008 for exactly this reason. The narrative fit the truth rather than the other way around.

    You don't see much of that in 2016.

  151. Many well-to-do Wall Streeters whom I know come from humble backgrounds. Anyone willing to do five or even six things has a chance at becoming rich: lie, cheat, steal, backstab, cause the death of, and sometimes murder. It's OK to throw hundreds of thousands of US children out of their homes or cause the "collateral" deaths of hundreds of thousands in the Mid East if it is in pursuit of the American Dream. So they all; all honorable men.

  152. Drumpf didn't earn it, he inherited it from father Fred, and parlayed it through numerous leveraged bankruptcies. His intolerant, bigoted, misogynistic message relies on the inner hate that's resided within the GOP base for decades — carefully stoked by the inclusion of the Tea Party and other extremist groups. Lacking in clear policy ideas, he'd rather foment violence against innocent protestors or reporters at his rallies — a real stand-up, Mussolini kind of fascist. It's depressing to realize so many will vote for a bombastic, hateful, narcissistic dictator instead of a president. What has Trump ever done for others? Nothing.

  153. My American dream is to live a life of freedom with economic security for myself and my family. Ostentatious wealth is the American nightmare, not the dream.

  154. It appears to me that the people who are supporting Trump have lost patience with campaign promises that never lead to improvements in wages and like matters. I am not one of those people. Life has been good to me. Someone needs to find out if the people supporting Trump (1) want better pay or are happy with low pay and (2) believe that the politicians in Congress have been shaping circumstances to help the people supporting Trump. Answers to these questions would suggest whether the issue is results or the type of inspirational message. I suspect the "Republican establishment's" problem is too much talk and no apparent action.

  155. Perhaps this is due to the glaring fact that as absurd as Trump and his shtick are, Rubio's robotic one is patently even more absurd to most potential voters? Not to mention Cruz's venomous, Bible-thumping Elmer Gantry routine.

  156. The American Dream is extinct, on life support, or incapable of being regenerated if the prevailing "Republican" ticket is punched.

    Shining city on a hill? Invoking selected verses from the Bible or Ronald Reagan may do nothing to change reality.

    While whistling past the graveyard, don't let the music put you to sleep. Pleasant dreams can quickly turn into fearful sweat-soaked nightmares.

  157. There is probably a better chance that the average American will be struck by lightning than they "will end up more like Mr. Rubio's situation." How many people can quit going to their job three-quarters of the way through and not get fired? Or could have frequent absenteeism before that and not have already gotten fired?

    And how many average Americans will ever find a billionaire sugar daddy to pay their way? I would imagine that more Americans will inherit wealth the good, ole Donald Trump way than will get a gold-plated pass to do nothing.

  158. Well paying jobs of yore provided the average american family with more inflation adjusted buying power, but more importantly those solid blue collar manufacturing jobs also functioned as crucial nodes in our civic lives.

    We socialized, fraternized, prayed and often married within those knit circles. Respectable, solid middle class values were fostered within our communities.

    With the offshoring of those solid blue collar manufacturing jobs, we've lost much of the connective tissue that held us together as community. We care about our own garden to the exclusion of "the other". It's no surprise that a large swath of voters are responding to proposals involving fences, walls and barriers.

  159. The Pope....he's a loser.
    John McCain.....no war hero, he's a loser.
    Megan Kelley....loser.
    David Duke and the KKK.....don't want to jump to conclusions.
    Hitler and Mussolini.....strong men. Not losers.
    We have the chance to defeat fascism with a ballot this year.
    History has shown that when that didn't happen it took bullets. Lots and lots of bullets.
    Bad people get elected when good people don't vote.

  160. I've always been astonished by the number of Americans who vote against their own interests because they believe that someday they will be rich. Barbara Ehrenreich's classic "Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America" recounts her working with people with exactly that mindset, maids who dreamed that someday they would have houses like the ones they were cleaning. That is not an American Dream, it's an American Fantasy. Wake up folks, the only way most people will get into the top 1% or even the top 10% is by winning the lottery -- and we know what the chances of that are. It's far more likely these days that a sudden reverse -- a layoff, a health emergency, a divorce -- will result in slipping further down the economic ladder. Vote for people who will help you with what you need now, not what you hope you will need someday. True rags to riches stories do happen but they are rare, and depend as much on luck (not getting sick, having a family member get sick, going through a bad divorce, having a natural disaster wreck your home, etc.) as on hard work.

  161. I'm pretty sure that Trump's appeal is to people who've been left behind by an increasingly globalized, automated, and intellectually demanding American economy characterized by a huge oversupply of labor - particularly unskilled and semi-skilled labor - with the resulting shortage of jobs, lack of upward mobility, and flat-lining of pay rates.

    These people feel betrayed, lied to, and humiliated. What Trump offers them is a fantasy they love: being rich and powerful enough to tell the people who've kicked them around (or who they believe have kicked them around) to go to hell - and to make it stick.

    Remember the old saying, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? Well, the same idea applies to voters. Many are furious. They see Trump doing what they'd love to do. He is their true action hero. He is the man they wish they were...and, of course, almost certainly never will be. But for people who feel helpless and spat-upon and cheated, I have a feeling that the fantasy Trump embodies is enough to satisfy their burning desire for revenge.

  162. It's the economy, stupid. Regular people realize that illegal immigration depresses wages and takes jobs away from American citizens. In addition, bad trade policies (those that give away American jobs overseas), and legal temporary visas that take jobs away from Americans at a different wage level also diminish opportunities for Americans.

    If Mr. Covert can't recognize that Mr. Rubio represents the Republican establishment (and to a certain extent, the Democratic establishment), and that voters are rejecting the establishment candidates in both parties, he's doomed to write tone-deaf and meaningless articles like this.

  163. As soon as Trump declared his run and bad mouthed Mexicans and the border I knew his fate was sealed. He was going to possibly win on his immigration stance alone. There's a reality among most working class Americans and that is they are job and wage hungry. We have the same if not more than record amounts of recent immigrants living in America, add to that illegals and there in itself lays the problem. We can't just up and go to Canada or where ever. This is our home nation and we can't even find employment that can pay a living wage. I'll say it once again, Trump can win on his anti-immigrant platform alone. Call it politically incorrect or what you will NYT but truth is most people are suffering. And when backed into a corner they will fight and vote for someone who they think sees their truth.

  164. What I don't understand is why no one has really challenged Trump on his promise to bring jobs back from overseas. The American worker cannot compete with cheap labor and substandard working conditions that thrive in places like China, India and Bangladesh. The American's desire for cheap goods continues to drive the demand for cheap labor. How does Trump plan to undo all the global trade agreements that have helped fuel the global economy? He can't. His supporters should realize this.

  165. From a young age, we are encouraged to pursue the "American Dream" -- to aspire to happiness and fulfillment. Not as often said -- but thoroughly implied -- is that this pursuit should be handled with Integrity.

    Hmm...4 GOP candidates pursuing the American Dream:
    * None cares to separate church from state.
    * None cares to help Obamacare work well for all.
    * 3 snub sensible gun-control legislation to help reduce rampant violence.
    * 2, in dismissing a woman's choice, repudiate women's rights.
    * Etc....

    For the 4 GOP candidates, Integrity seems an afterthought.

  166. A few serious words again:
    Bill Gates for President.
    All parties.
    Spread the word
    and write him in.

  167. People want to be inspired, and you don't inspired people with the same miserable financial situation that you know all too well. Rubio has made a lot more money than the average American ($1 million for a book, $100k cushy jobs, etc...) but has ended up in the same place as many people. Rubio can't manage a credit card and yet wants us to trust him with managing a trillion+ budget?

    Granted, Trump was "born on third base and thought he hit a home run" but clearly has had more success as a businessman and executive. Given those choices, isn't it obvious why people are choosing Trump over Rubio? Rubio is nothing more than a pretty face.

  168. Extreme consumption is destroying the planet. It is yesterday's ideal. It is not part of the future.

    Folks need to come to grips with that.

  169. NYT presents two dreams and in headline maintains that "voters seem to like one version better than the other". That is a false narrative.

    The answer is both dreams are fine with the American voters. They admire those who advance from poorest levels and those who reached billionaire status. Those kind of choices do not matter; they aren't relevant for the Republicans and conservatives.

    They care most about winning, about removing the liberals from the White House. A candidate with either dream will do as long as he can convince the voters he can beat Hillary. Because if GOP wins, they will be able to pursue their own dreams with much less intrusion and directives from the big government.

    At least, when they sucdeed, they won't be told that they didn't build it.

  170. Rubio's parents had to struggle to give him a safe home and a start on a good education. Why does he want to give the rich big tax cuts? Trump I can understand--he has a lot of money and wants to keep it all, so the rest of the US should pay for the infrastructure.

  171. Are voters really this stupid? I thought Romney lost because he had money, at least in part. Voters think that if they vote for a rich (apparently) man, they will be rich?

    OMG

  172. The American Dream, like sex after 60, is a myth. Rubio and Trump got where they are by fate.

  173. Get to the top? No. Unless one has a large inherited pile. Koch, Rockefeller, Trump. To the top of what? Now, contemplating the reality of America and its dysfunctional democracy, the top is a scary place. Of course, we can all create our own image of what the top is for us. For too many Americans, the dream is a consumerist one, for others a militarist one, for some of us, a humanist one.

  174. Trump is not winning because he is strong.
    He is winning because the Republican Party (establishment) is weak.

    They spent 8 years(+) destroying themselves from within. Focused on their donors and the extremist fringe of America they lost 'Joe the plumber'. That 'Joe the plumber' works hard for his money and saw the GOP with generous salaries not doing their job, even denying 'Joe' the nice benefits they take for granted.
    There is a lot of anger - and Trump is fanning the flames. Watch out America!