CNN Ponders Trump 2020: 'What Is the Magic That He Doles Out?'

By Susan Jones | August 20, 2019 | 9:47am EDT
People cheer as President Donald Trump speaks at an Aug. 15 rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Rolling Stone magazine recently published an article titled "Trump 2020: Be Very Afraid," which carries the following subtitle: "America is the first country to ever elect a Mad King, and the way things are going, we may be dumb enough to do it twice."

The author, Matt Taibbi, sat down with CNN's "New Day" on Tuesday morning. Among other things, Taibbi said the enthusiasm at Trump's campaign events this year is even greater than it was in 2016, and reporters who cover Trump are not explaining that.

"What is the magic that he doles out?" CNN's Alisyn Camerota, not a Trump fan, asked Taibbi:

"Well, it's a lot of things," Taibbi replied.

Trump is appealing on a lot of levels that we don't write about. I mean, race is obviously part of it, but class is another thing that's a huge thing. I mean, Trump  doesn't get credit in a lot of ways for being a very canny politician.

He runs against -- he runs against people very well. Last time he ran against the Republican establishment, first with Jeb Bush, and that was kind of an easy contest. Then he took on Hillary Clinton and Wall Street and the military ... but now the media is a big part of it.

He appeals to a certain kind of people in middle America. And to them, he's their champion. And you know, the people on the coast, in New York and in Washington and L.A., they're the enemy, and they're cheering for him.

Taibbi has covered Trump since the beginning of his first campaign, and he admitted he made the same mistake other reporters did -- "we all looked at the polls," which showed Trump with high unfavorability ratings.

But as it turned out, Trump did well with voters who disapproved of both candidates, Taibbi said.

"And so the first thing is recognizing the extent of his popularity in small-town rural America. You know, if you go outside cities in this country, you will not find Democratic signs during an election. It's wall-to-wall Trump in most places. You know, not paying attention to that I think is a big problem," Taibbi said.


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