The rise of Donald Trump has already initiated various autopsies of the Republican Party. Perhaps these are premature, but no doubt there will be a lot of meditation and navel-gazing among the Republican leadership over the next several months.

The latest autopsy, “How the G.O.P. elite lost its voters to Donald Trump,” appeared in the New York Times yesterday — and even considering the source, I think a lot of it is spot on. But the blame for what has happened doesn’t lie with Republicans or Republican policy. If anything, Republicans haven’t done enough to blame President Obama for the sick American economy. Nicholas Confessore writes that the party establishment has “abandoned its most faithful voters, blue-collar white Americans, who faced economic pain and uncertainty over the past decade as the party’s donors, lawmakers and lobbyists prospered.” What is missing from his analysis of what went wrong is what effect the very low and uneven economic growth under Obama has had on the Republican Party and on politics generally. I’m no Marty Feldstein, but I think the Great Recession, combined with the weak growth over the past eight years, has done more to create Trump than anything the Republican leadership has done. Economic stress produces political consequences. And those consequences are only just now beginning to emerge.

If we had experienced real 4 percent growth for the past four or five years, there would be no Trump. Some argue that 2 percent growth isn’t all that bad for an economy of our size. But with 2 percent growth, you’re not really getting uniform growth. For instance, under Obama, I think the first 2 percent of growth has gone to the financial sector, particularly the paper traders who take advantage of low interest rates. The Obama economy has not simply created a smaller economic enchilada. In the Obama economy, workers have gotten only part of the tortilla, with none of the meat or cheese. To get the whole enchilada, you need 4 percent growth. If we had 3 percent growth, it would be felt by parts of the service economy.  But 4 percent growth boosts manufacturing and truly is a tide that lifts all boats. And with 5 percent growth, if inflation is kept in check, then you really have some sauce to spread around.

Unfortunately for Republicans, it’s impossible for the GOP congressional majorities to implement programs and policies that can overcome the persistent anti-business policies of the Obama administration. Republican control of state and local governments can go only so far. The macro policies and certainly the psychological momentum necessary for robust economic growth must come from the White House. But Obama and his Democratic allies choose to ignore the underlying reasons that economic growth has been so anemic.  A smart piece by J.T. Young in RealClearMarkets highlights how Obama touts economic growth and a lower unemployment rate while neglecting to address the number of people who are underemployed and who have dropped out of the labor force. According to the Obama administration’s own data, if the labor force participation rate today were the same as when Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be more like 9 percent, instead of the official 4.9 percent the Obama administration tries to sell. And, oh, by the way, if employment is so good and the economy is so strong, why is it that about 19 million more people are on food stamps today than when Obama took office? Doesn’t that fact speak for itself?

Anyway, my point is that no matter what Obama and the Democrats say about how good the economy is, Main Street and families can’t ignore the realities.  The fact the Democrats are telling them something different from what they are experiencing themselves drives the frustration that gives rise to demagogues like Trump. The longer we experience weak growth, and as more and more American families see the American Dream slipping away for them and their children, Trump may just be the canary in the coal mine. If the American economic pie doesn’t start getting bigger, the worst is yet to come.