Must-Read: Matthew Yglesias: We Should Have Taken Trump Literally as Well as Seriously: "The national press’s Trump coverage did to an extent err by not taking him seriously enough...

...But it also failed in exactly the same way many Trump supporters failed. The celebrity candidate seemed so much more emotionally invested in his rallies than his policy proposals that not nearly enough attention was paid to the literal commitments he was making and what they literally said.... The best guide to how politicians will govern is to pay attention to their policy promises. And Trump’s transition so far suggests that this is an area where he will be typical.... We should... have taken Trump both seriously and literally.

Jeff Sessions shows Trump is really serious about immigration: I’m from New York, so the Trump supporters who I know are disproportionately New Yorkers. They’re the kind of politically moderate whites who voted for Rudy Giuliani and George Pataki in the 1990s, but also for Bill Clinton and Chuck Schumer. Some of them work in real estate. And like real estate guys everywhere, they think a broad crackdown on Latin American immigration would be a terrible idea--simultaneously crunching their workforce and reducing demand for their product. Since Trump himself was a New York real estate guy, they simply assume that he agrees with them about this as just bubba bait--exactly the same as how Trump obviously isn’t a sincere social conservative on questions of sexual morality. And yet Trump’s very first Cabinet appointment was Jeff Sessions as attorney general.... Trump’s immigration policy, in other words, is shaping up to be exactly the immigration policy he ran on....

On economics and conflicts of interest Trump is doing what he said: On the level of symbolism and atmospherics, Trump campaigned as a Rust Belt populist who was sharply critical of the global banking elite. He went so over the top in his painting of lurid conspiracy theories about bankers that the main question we discussed in the media was about Trump’s trafficking in anti-Semitic stereotypes.... Trump’s... point man on financial regulation [is] going to be Alex Pollack... neither an anti-Semite nor a dedicated foe of the global banking elite. His view is that the Obama Treasury Department has been regulating gigantic “systemically significant” financial institutions too harshly.... This will probably disappoint many of Trump’s supporters who took his antics seriously. But anyone who read his policy statements and took them literally would know that Trump has always been proposing a bonanza of tax cuts and deregulation for bankers.

Taking Trump literally would also have helped prepare voters for the unprecedented pile of corruption and conflicts of interest that are currently surrounding Trump’s business interests...

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