Here’s the thing about campaigning as an outsider, as Donald Trump did in 2016. If you win the election, you are the person in charge. You are expected to accomplish what you said you would do, or make a darn good effort to do so. And come the next election, it’s all but impossible to pose as an outsider. It defies common sense. If the man in the White House is an “outsider,” then the term has lost all meaning.
That’s one takeaway from a recent Ohio focus group of swing voters hosted by Engagious, a political research firm. As Axios reports, the voters who voted for Barack Obama and then pulled a lever for Donald Trump still say they believe the overall economy is improving under Trump. But the longer they talked, the more it seemed they still felt left behind:
They think President Trump has failed at “draining the swamp.” They think the Trump administration is corrupt. They don’t think the GOP tax law has helped them and their families. And they’re not feeling the “booming” economy.
Not all these voters don’t simply blame mysterious forces swirling around Trump, frustrating a well-meaning agenda. As one voter told the group, “He’s backed out of so many of his promises.”
Trump’s bogus promise to clean up the Washington swamp must be high on the list. Trump made this the centerpiece of his campaign. He was, he assured us, the ultimate insider, who would use his savvy to help the common man and woman. He understood how money works, and money corrupts. One example Trump used: how he gave money so Hillary Clinton would attend his wedding to his current wife, Melania. “I’ll tell you what, with Hillary Clinton, I said, ‘Be at my wedding,’ and she came to my wedding,” Trump said in 2015. “You know why? She had no choice, because I gave.”
This is one reason (beyond pure partisanship) that voters who supported Trump in 2016 forgave or ignored a multitude of scandals, most notably the pensioners and other financially desperate people who turned over as much as $35,000 for Trump University, to receive all but nothing in return. They knew he wasn’t an honest businessman. But they thought he would take everything he learned in all his years as a corrupt businessman to clean the joint up. Of course, Trump did exactly the opposite. He used his insider knowledge and connections to appoint a bevy of obscenely wealthy insiders to Washington jobs, where they all did what they know how to do best: Make money for themselves.