Donald Trump’s now ubiquitous slogan, “Make America Great Again!”, is often chanted at rallies, but rarely scrutinized in public discourse. What era in America’s past is Mr. Trump referring to when he says “Again”? [See “Making America Great, Again?”]
Would Mr. Trump prefer America return to the days of slavery, Jim Crow and labor exploitation in unsafe factories, mines, foundries and plantations? How about the late 19th century when “Robber Barons” monopolized one industry after another? Is he longing for the days when women were second-class citizens and couldn’t vote, until securing this right less than 100 years ago, only to still be paid lower wages than their male colleagues for performing the same jobs and faced with consumer and educational discrimination?
Or is Trump referring to a time when the US was less of a giant empire than it is today?
Or, more optimistically, in the nineteen sixties and early seventies when America had its highest real wages and a large trade surplus? Has anyone heard him say he wanted to return America to that prominence that peaked in the nineteen sixties?
He surely doesn’t want to raise wages for workers. On the campaign trail last year he said wages were too high and has not championed raising the frozen federal minimum wage (at $7.25 an hour) since.
He has spoken often about revising trade agreements to reduce our trade deficit, but he’s not going to take on the opposition of the emigrating giant…