We appear to be living through a slow moving political revolution. True, this revolution doesn't feature the pitchforks and flaming torches of old Europe, but it has clearly started and it looks like it will extend well beyond the historically polarized 2016 presidential race.
Donald Trump has intentionally appealed to the worst natures of his most ardent supporters, and he has flourished. In the process he has managed to snatch the GOP presidential nomination away from all the anointed establishment candidates, who stood slack-jawed in shock on those flashy CNN debate stages, looking as if their world and not just Washington had come off it axis.
That's because it actually has. America's political foundation has finally bent to the point of snapping because America's longstanding social contract (the bedrock of the American Dream) has long ago done likewise.
Once upon a time, well within living memory, if you worked hard and played by the rules here you would prosper. That social contract is no longer the case, and the political consequences of that reality are not pretty to behold.
Trump, more than any other candidate including Bernie Saunders, has built his campaign on the back of the hollowed out American Dream. But instead of appealing to the American desire to create dependable economic solutions to their plight he has instead simply stoked the long festering resentment of white, working class voters.
Trump kicked over the hornet’s nest and the results have been dramatic, but as the release of his economic plan this week demonstrates, he has no program to raise the minimum wage (in fact he promises to do the opposite) or pursue policies that will materially improve the lives of his most impassioned supporters.
He wants their votes. His greatest political skill is in knowing how to get them, and that is all.
Trump, like anyone else with their eyes open in 2016, has seen that the nation's political order is increasingly separating, breaking apart, a continental drifting away from its long established political order.
In particular, he has noticed that the GOP is at war with itself, a once in a lifetime opportunity for an enterprising entrepreneur to profit from a political fire sale. So there he is, with his lifetime of experience in the art of the hostile takeover, picking over what's left of a party that has shattered itself.
In November, after he loses to the Democratic nominee, he will simply flip this property, the once mighty GOP, to the highest bidder, and he will spend the rest of his sour old age boasting about how he once bought the GOP for chump change (and made a profit when he finally sold it).
How do I know that he will lose? Follow the money.
Wall Street is for Hillary Clinton. She has received more campaign contributions from Wall Street executives than all the other candidates combined, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal this week.
More than half of her donations in the month of March were from Wall Street. Let me repeat that: more than half! Clinton's campaign has said it raised a total of $213 million through April.
Trump, on the other hand, hasn't received more than one percent of his donations from Wall Street in any month through March. He raised $49 million through March and $36 million of that came from his own personal funds.
Supporters who look at his investment and say “he can't be bought” because of it need to ask themselves why a lifelong businessman invests money in a project? The answer is always because they are expecting a much greater return.
Neither Wall Street nor Trump likes to lose on a bet, but Wall Street's pockets are much deeper. The outcome of this race is hardly in doubt.
Trump will lose, but he will have bought himself invaluable influence and standing. He must figure the trade-off is worth it.
Meanwhile, the metropolitan brahmin class, the GOP party elders, who once depended on the unswerving loyalty of the average Joes in the flyover states are shocked to discover that the financial pain of white, working class voters has become stronger than the ties that used to bind.
All of their social conservative candidates, their God and guns sermonizers, flamed out and lost traction this cycle, which means evangelism as a branding device will be less in evidence going forward.
The financial squeeze is what's really going on. That revolution is only getting started.