Donald Trump’s Winning Game of Affinity Politics


In our more thoughtful moments, even us wonkish types admit that few people really care about policy. Nor do most people care about whether presidential candidates can actually do any of the things they promise. The whole campaign process is basically a way of identifying a person who shares your values and nothing more. Tedious details are unnecessary. All that matters is: When a big decision presents itself, what will the candidate’s gut tell him to do? It’s pure affinity politics.

With that in mind, here’s an (undoubtedly incomplete) list of the things that Donald Trump likes and dislikes:

Things Donald Trump Likes Things Donald Trump Hates
  • Israel
  • Social Security
  • Low taxes
  • Guns
  • Social media
  • Veterans
  • Great infrastructure
  • Women
  • A kick-ass military
  • The Bible
  • Affirmative action
  • Police officers
  • Lower corporate taxes
  • Fair trade
  • Great schools
  • Fossil fuels
  • Carl Icahn
  • Speaking his mind
  • Tough negotiators
  • Jobs
  • Donald Trump
  • Iran
  • Obamacare
  • Hedge fund guys who evade taxes
  • Street gangs
  • The mainstream media
  • Illegal immigrants
  • Budget deficits
  • Abortion
  • ISIS
  • Gay marriage…though he’s “evolving”
  • Political correctness
  • Crime
  • Tax inversions
  • China, Japan, and Mexico
  • Common Core
  • The big climate change hoax
  • John Kerry
  • Apologizing
  • Weak, stupid politicians
  • Phony government jobs statistics
  • People who attack Donald Trump

Suppose that Donald Trump were an ordinary candidate with a mainstream persona—maybe a more charismatic version of Marco Rubio. This seems like a fairly winning set of values, doesn’t it?