Paul Krugman explores why Trump's attacks were so effective during the GOP primary, but seem to be failing against Hillary Clinton in Monday's column. For starters, he says: "The Republican establishment was easily overthrown because it was already hollow at the core." The Democratic establishment, while flawed certainly, is rather different, Krugman argues.
As some political scientists are now acknowledging, America’s two major parties are not at all symmetric. The G.O.P. is, or was until Mr. Trump arrived, a top-down hierarchical structure enforcing a strict, ideologically pure party line. The Democrats, by contrast, are a “coalition of social groups,” from teachers’ unions to Planned Parenthood, seeking specific benefits from government action.
This diversity of interests sometimes reduces Democrats’ effectiveness: the old Will Rogers joke, “I am not a member of any organized political party — I’m a Democrat” still rings true. But it also means that the Democratic establishment, such as it is, is resilient against Trump-style coups.
And while some have said the Bernie Sanders insurgency was similar to what Trump did to the Republican establishment, Krugman defers. She won handily, he says, despite extremely negative media coverage.
Last week Harvard’s Shorenstein Center released a report on media treatment of the candidates during 2015, showing that Mrs. Clinton received by far the most unfavorable coverage. Even when reports focused on issues rather than alleged scandals, 84 percent of her coverage was negative — twice as high as for Mr. Trump. As the report notes, “Clinton’s negative coverage can be equated to millions of dollars in attack ads, with her on the receiving end.”
And yet she won, fairly easily, because she had the solid support of key elements of the Democratic coalition, especially nonwhite voters.