Does Trump understand America?
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The Rev. Al Sharpton sees a connection between big-time fight promoter Don King, who brought us the "Thrilla in Manila" and the "Rumble in the Jungle," and Republican presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans hold on to Arizona House seat Dems win majority in New York Senate, but won't control it Mulvaney to bankers: Campaign donations will help limit consumer bureau's power MORE. We think of King today as we do Trump, by the big hair. It is their marketing trademark: First you have to get their attention. And Trump has gotten ours.

But then you have to come across with the goods. Does Trump understand America in the rising century? The South Carolina debate and Trump's post-debate interview with John Dickerson, CBS political correspondent, suggests he does not, red America particular.

There are two insurgencies going on in America today. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersWebb: Bernie Sanders announces his ‘new’ communism jobs, health-care plan A new progressive standard on campaign cash: It can't come from corporations Senate Health panel approves opioid bill MORE's (Vt.) in blue America, and Trump's in red America. But then Trump occasionally switches over to the Sanders insurgency as he did in the Dickerson interview in discussing his opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

It won't work in South Carolina, where the invasion was fiercely supported. The invasion of Iraq was seen as righteous vengeance; the price of 9/11. Texans get that, too. We in New York and New England tend to take a more diffident approach.

Trump, the quintessential old-school New Yorker, is an unlikely leader for a red-state insurgency. But maybe even the South, Texas and the heartland states are too fully formed by our long tradition of Northeastern leadership, psychologically predisposed for so long to the Eastern Establishment and its old families, prep schools, inherited money and connections, that we can't see true and natural leadership coming from anywhere else besides New York or Massachusetts.

"Hamiltonianism has accomplished slavish loyalty to the system," writes Brion McClanahan, author of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers."

"Hamiltonianism" is a good word for it, as it explains that there are two classic approaches to American liberty: Alexander Hamilton's and Thomas Jefferson's. Hamilton called for centralized government and economy. Jefferson called for decentralization. Both Democrats and Republicans today are Hamiltonian, although Sanders is likely neither and found the socialist path from Karl Marx, which is still centralization. There is no Jeffersonian party in America. But the red states today are quickly rising to a Jeffersonian approach. Trump does not seem to be particularly Jeffersonian.

With Trump, it is hard to tell. He doesn't explain; he blusters. I think he just wants to be the boss and hasn't yet thought it through.

Which is too bad, because there is opportunity here and some of the others in the running do understand it. America rises today and will go where it will following demographics, and all indicators head West.

The red-state insurgency is diffuse and anti-Hamiltonian by nature. It can even be said to be anti-New York. "The Facebook Primary" from FiveThirtyEight site gives a remarkable snapshot of the America rising today in this race. In Facebook likes, Sanders has the edges, East and West and a little at the top in blue; Trump is diffuse across the heartland in orange; Texas, dead center, is red for home-state Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCambridge Analytica whistleblower briefs House Dems After Dems stood against Pompeo, Senate’s confirmation process needs a revamp Cruz's Dem challenger slams Time piece praising Trump MORE (R).

The future might begin to be seen in an essay in RealClearPolicy by Dean Stansel and Vance Ginn, "Economic Liberty: Down in America, Up in Texas," who participated in an event on this issue last week at The Texas Public Policy Foundation:

Economic freedom in America has steadily declined for the past 15 years as the role of the federal government has expanded rapidly. However, the situation is worse in some states than in others. ...

New York and California are ranked last and next to last in economic freedom, respectively, while Texas and Florida are tied for third (behind only sparsely populated New Hampshire and South Dakota). Their economic performances also stand in sharp contrast. In recent years, population has grown twice as fast in Texas and Florida as it has in New York and California. Employment and income have grown faster in Texas and Florida as well.

Welcome to the Texas Century. If the time ever comes when Trump gets beyond barnstorming and needs a lesson on Jefferson, he might look to a past candidate for the presidency, former Texas Gov. Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Cybersecurity: Senators want info on 'stingray' surveillance in DC | Bills to secure energy infrastructure advance | GOP lawmaker offers cyber deterrence bill House panel advances bills to guard energy grid from cyberattacks The ‘victim card’ always obscures the truth MORE (R), who has gone a long way to bring form to red state rumblings. His 2010 book "Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington" is a primer.

Three key items from Perry's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2014:

Jeffersonian rebellion. Rebellion, not revolution. Perry brings forth an actual Jeffersonian approach. It is a transformational approach to America's future.

Red and blue America. Perry takes the blue vs. red division out of political abstraction to regional competition. "Among the states, we see two visions for America. There's the vision common in blue states, where the state plays an increasing role in the lives of its citizens. ... And then there's the vision common to ... the red-state America vision, where the freedom of the individual comes first; the reach of government is limited."

Devolution. "We must elect the right kind of leaders to represent us in Washington, leaders who devolve power to the states and not rob them of it."

This last is the truly rebellious idea, and Perry and current Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) are its natural leaders and leading advocates. Actually reformulating America by restoring power to the states is a holistic crossing of the river to a new America.

Does Donald Trump get that? Is Trump really this kind of leader?

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at