The Economic Anxieties That Motivate Donald Trump Loyalists

The president’s backers often cite the trade imbalance, federal debt and the cost of foreign wars—not health insurance or immigrants

Yet there is a solid cadre of Trump supporters who aren’t turned off by the turmoil, but rather see it as a sign that something is happening. They remain loyal; for them, the Trump message is more important than the messenger.

 .. an estimate of the total cumulative cost of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere over the last 15 years, which runs north of $1.5 trillion.

.. In a January Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, for example, addressing trade unfairness and keeping jobs from going abroad far outranked deporting illegal immigrants or building a border wall as top priorities among Trump voters.
.. the fact that Mr. Trump has effectively tapped into these sentiments doesn’t necessarily mean his policies will resolve the underlying problems. In fact, they actually could make them worse.
His desire for a big tax cut, his defense buildup and his reluctance to trim Medicare or roll back Medicaid growth may grow the debt further. His pledge to wipe Islamic State “from the face of the earth” could add to the costs of overseas adventures. His trade policies could set off trade wars that would undermine the economy without ending that trade deficit.
.. They are told, for example, that budget deficits and debt don’t undermine the economy, but don’t buy it.
.. Mr. Trump may not have the answers, but, as the entertainer he once was, he knows his audience.