In his Friday editorial, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued that the ascension of Donald Trump is a sign that many of the Republican elite have accepted a narrative of social decline that is patently incorrect.
According the to GOP elite, Krugman wrote, the "social unraveling" of the white middle class isn't a result of the lack of economic opportunity for those who belong to it, but a deterioration of their values. Hence, the regular calls by Republicans to end social programs that promote "mooching," even though the countries that aren't seeing a decline in the quality of life for working class whites have far more robust social safety nets.
These "moochers," however, are far more interested in hearing about the economic origins of their current plight -- and that's exactly what Donald Trump is explaining to them. The problem is that the Republican elite are, as Krugman argued,
too committed to an Ayn Rand story line about heroic job creators versus moochers to admit either that trickle-down economics can fail to deliver good jobs, or that sometimes government aid is a crucial lifeline. So it ends up lashing out at its own voters when they refuse to buy into that story line...