A hankering for a past in which white supremacy and overt sexism were accepted features of daily life has made Donald Trump the most toxic presidential candidate since George Wallace. But the politics of nostalgia, which he embodies and advances, isn’t a new package; Trump has simply wrapped it in barbed wire. And even if his campaign ends up short of the White House, nostalgia could still have a long political run.
The most profound demographic change in America is surely the rapid progression, fueled by immigration, to a nonwhite majority sometime near the middle of this century. That single fact explains much of U.S. politics right now, as Republicans seek to restrict (nonwhite) immigration and make it more difficult (for nonwhites) to vote while their nominee for president makes blatantly racial appeals for votes.
There is, however, a second demographic wave not so much sweeping the nation as lapping at the shores of its retirement communities. Like Europeans and Japanese, Americans are getting older. And old people often like things the way they used to be. On a Chicago street corner, citizens hand out fliers demanding the return of their beloved, defunct Marshall Field’s department store. The famed Wall Drugs in South Dakota entices travelers with the promise of a 5-cent cup of coffee — just like the old days.
Read more at Bloomberg.