On Tuesday’s Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews said Donald Trump is resonating with “the little guy” who thinks the bipartisan permanent political establishment that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush personify has sold him out on issues like immigration, trade, and terrorism and is completely out of touch with their hopes, fears, and concerns.
Matthews said that though he agreed with the political establishment “about Trump’s un-American call to stop Muslims at the airport,” there is a “reason Trump’s out there and people are buying him.”
“There’s a huge vacuum in this country,” Matthews continued. “And this guy is filling it.”
Matthews said that Trump, “who has made billions developing properties, has discovered the vast open space in the American political spectrum. This space made possible by the Democrats’s failure to connect with the angry working guy and the Republican establishment`s embrace of the rich and ties to the Koch brothers.”
“Do you think the problem of illegal immigration is being dealt with right now? Do you think the problem of losing industrial jobs to countries overseas is being dealt with? Do you believe two major parties are protecting us against terrorism or from the dumb wars we keep finding that may well only add to the problem?” Matthews said. “There’s a tremendous population out there, all the tens of millions who hold no allegiance to either the Democrats or establishment Republicans, and Trump is out there filling it.”
Matthews added that though he is “not a campaign manager for Hillary or Jeb Bush,” he has “a sense that Trump’s success—if you flip it over—is really the failure of these two. Neither of them is reaching those most alarmed by the problems hitting the country, the stuff that’s worrying the little guy.”
“And Donald Trump is talking directly to those worries, to the fear and the loathing that accompanies them,” Matthews said, noting that he understands the “lack of faith so many feel about a political establishment that took us into Iraq, but can’t agree what to do now.”
Before Matthews, a Tip O’Neill Democrat, embraced MSNBC’s lurch to the left after he had visions of becoming Pennsylvania’s Senator, he understood the concerns of working-class voters, what drives them to the polls, and the candidates that resonate with them. Every now and then, Matthews reveals he may still understand the so-called blue-collar Reagan Democrats that determine the outcome of presidential elections either by going to the polls or, as they did in 2012 when they disliked President Barack Obama but could not vote for Mitt Romney, sitting at home on election night.