The Boss got political in a new interview with the U.K.’s Sunday Times Magazine, saying he understands why people become Trump supporters, pointing to the decline of blue-collar jobs and boom in technology.
“I think that there are a lot of reasons people became Trump voters,” said the singer-songwriter, a Democrat whose hits have long touched on the plight of working-class Americans. “You had severe blows to working people in the 1970s and 1980s as all the steel mills shut down. Then you had an explosion of information technology. These are life-changing, upsetting occurrences.” He said that leads some people to find themselves “in a country that you may not feel part of, or you feel that your [concerns are] being dismissed.”
Springsteen, who bashed Trump in his 2017 song “That’s What Makes Us Great,” said when you have that “insecurity and instability” and then “someone comes in and plays on your racial anxieties, and blames an enormous amount of this on the ‘other’ from the southern side of the border, and you’re going to have an audience for those views. I basically think that [the problem] is the incredibly rapid pace of change that’s occurred in the United States that’s gone unaddressed by both administrations, Democrat and Republican.”
He predicted that Trump will likely be reelected for a second term because there isn’t a strong-enough Democratic challenger at this point. “I don’t see anyone out there at the moment. The man who can beat Trump, or the woman who can beat Trump,” he said. “You need someone who can speak some of the same language [as Trump], and the Democrats don’t have an obvious, effective presidential candidate.”
Springsteen added that the midterm elections were a good sign, but not a great one. “It was nice to get the House back, but I’d like to have seen a much more full-throated [rejection] of the past two years,” said Springsteen, who is wrapping up his award-winning one-man Broadway show this month.
Springsteen also talked about Trump and politics in a wide-ranging interview with Esquire that came out last week. He said Trump has “no interest in uniting the country.” He also called that the commander in chief “deeply damaged at his core.”
“I think that a lot of what’s going on has been a large group of people frightened by the changing face of the nation,” he told the magazine. “There seems to be an awful lot of fear. The founding fathers were pretty good at confronting their fears and the fears of the country. And it’s the old cliché where geniuses built the system so an idiot could run it. We are completely testing that theory at this very moment. I do believe we’ll survive Trump. But I don’t know if I see a unifying figure on the horizon. That worries me. Because the partisanship and the country being split down the middle is something that’s gravely dangerous.”
Springsteen’s Broadway show is based on his autobiography, Born to Run, and is about his life, his childhood and the state of the world today — all with music mixed in. Netflix will stream it as a special, Springsteen on Broadway, starting Sunday, Dec. 16 — one day after his final performance.
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