The Revenge Candidacy

(Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Donald Trump is not ashamed about his love of revenge.

In a 2012 speech he said, “One of the things you should do in terms of success: If somebody hits you, you’ve got to hit ’em back five times harder than they ever thought possible. You’ve got to get even.”

The reason this is so important to Trump was, “you have to do it, because if they do that to you, you have to leave a telltale sign that they just can’t take advantage of you.”

Trump won the presidential election with the support of 67 percent of white working class voters. They had gotten hit and by electing Trump they hit the establishment “five times harder than they ever thought possible.”

Chris Arnade explained quite well in a piece how when viewing voting in the same lens as investing a lot of Trump voters are quite rational.

“As any trader will tell you, if you are stuck lower, you want volatility, uncertainty. No matter how it comes. Put another way. Your downside is flat, your upside isn’t. Break the system,” Arnade, a former bond-trader wrote. He added, “The elites loathe volatility. Because, the upside is limited, but the downside isn’t. In option language, they are in the money.”

Fifty-four percent of white Americans polled earlier this year believe life has gotten worse for them over the past 50 years and an equal amount believe the next generation will be worse off.  At the same time, suicide rates for middle-aged whites have skyrocketed. Why wouldn’t a candidate who promises to make their country great again succeed?

Economists can wag their finger at Trump and tell him that free trade is a net benefit for poor Americans, but that doesn’t matter. When your factory job has left to China and you are without a job, you don’t want to hear a Vox writer tell you that your life is in fact better. Arnade, who has been spot on this election, has described the Trump phenomenon as the back-row kids getting revenge on the front-row kids. He used the Iraq War as an example.

“The Iraq war was a massive breach of trust between those who implement policy (front row!), and those who execute it (Back row!),” Arnade wrote. The front row — embodied perfectly in Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton — had lost the trust of the back row.

Trump’s justification for getting even is to teach his enemies not to mess with him. The New York real estate developer made working-class whites vote as a bloc and the political establishment certainly heard their voice. Like Trump said, “you have to leave a telltale sign that they just can’t take advantage of you.”