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Hullabaloo


Thursday, February 25, 2016

 
What are Trump voters really so angry about?

by digby




















Greg Sargent makes a good point in a discussion this morning about E.J. Dionne's column about how Trump has scrambled the ideological deck for the GOP on a number of issues. Greg writes:

Trump is a threat to conservativism because he has shown that a lot of Republican voters don’t believe free markets and limited government offer the keys to their economic salvation.
This is undoubtedly true. You can feel the firmament shifting underneath the Club for Growth types as we speak. But I hope that Democrats see the other side of that coin. These Trump voters are not progressives just because they like what Trump says about kicking Chinese ass and bringing the jobs back home. Their support for his anti-NAFTA position doesn't mean they have a coherent view of what that entails (or that Trump does either, for that matter.) And they like Big Government just fine when it comes to authoritarian policies designed to put down the minorities --- if anyone believes that this is not the central promise of Trump's campaign and what people like most about him they don't understand this phenomenon at all.

As Tom Sullivan pointed out in his piece below, a good number of the Trump voters in Nevada say they admire him because he's a "good businessman." They love the fact that he's a billionaire and say they think the government should be run more like a business. That's not any kind of populism I've ever heard of.

Look, it's a rare person who's going to respond to a questionnaire by saying they like Trump because they can't stand the Mexicans, Muslims, blacks and uppity women taking over everything. They won't say they believe the country is going to hell in a handbasket and they are on the losing end of everything because all those minorities are taking what's rightfully theirs. But that is what they think and that's what Trump is giving voice to with his "anti-PC" candidacy. All the rest are just excuses.

These people are not going to vote for the party where all the people of color and "different" religions are so I hope Democrats don't pin their hopes on peeling them off with  appeals to populist economics. Unless they are willing to start deporting Latinos at the same time it won't be persuasive.

I'll repeat the words of our old friend the Democratic strategist Mudcat Saunders who explained it all a long time ago:

"Bubba doesn’t call them illegal immigrants. He calls them illegal aliens. If the Democrats put illegal aliens in their bait can, we’re going to come home with a bunch of white males in the boat."
That's what it's going to take to get that vote. And that would be the dumbest thing they could possibly do. I wrote about this a while back:

Brownstein explains that the notion of making America great again literally refers to a lost paradise where conservative values and culture were dominant:

Today, the two parties rep­res­ent not only dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the coun­try, but also, in ef­fect, dif­fer­ent edi­tions of the coun­try. Along many key meas­ures, the Re­pub­lic­an co­ali­tion mir­rors what all of Amer­ic­an so­ci­ety looked like dec­ades ago. Across those same meas­ures, the Demo­crat­ic co­ali­tion rep­res­ents what Amer­ica might be­come in dec­ades ahead. The parties’ ever-es­cal­at­ing con­flict rep­res­ents not only an ideo­lo­gic­al and par­tis­an stale­mate. It also en­cap­su­lates our col­lect­ive fail­ure to find com­mon cause between what Amer­ica has been, and what it is be­com­ing. 
The two dif­fer­ent Amer­icas em­bod­ied by the parties are out­lined by race.

Of course they are. He points out that in 2012 whites accounted for 90 percent of the GOP primary and general election vote and the last time whites were 90 percent of the country was in 1960. Those were good times for white men, for sure. For everyone else not so much. Today people of color equal just over 37 per­cent of Amer­ic­ans and are on track to be a majority in the next 15 years.

White Christians (whether sincere or not) make up 69 percent of Republicans. There haven’t been that many white Christians in America since 1984, the year they ran the table with 49 states and which Karl Rove pointed out they have to repeat if they fail to attract anything but white voters. They represent just 46 percent of the population these days.

They’d also like to go back to the 90s. Brownstein writes:

Sim­il­arly, data from Pew’s re­li­gious-land­scape study shows that nearly three-fifths of Re­pub­lic­ans are mar­ried—a level last reached in the over­all adult pop­u­la­tion in 1994. Today just un­der half of Amer­ic­an adults are mar­ried. Among Demo­crats, the num­ber is lower still: barely over two-in-five. Like­wise, the share of Re­pub­lic­ans who live in a house­hold with a gun (54 per­cent) equals the share in so­ci­ety over­all in 1993. Since then, gun own­er­ship among the gen­er­al pop­u­la­tion has dropped to about 40 per­cent, while fall­ing even lower (around one-fourth) among Demo­crats.

That gun statistic is surprising. But it explains why it has become such a totem of right wing conservatism. In fact, all these issues are symbols of a white America that no longer exists — at least to the white people who feel threatened by the fact that their culture is changing.

Brownstein’s statistics boil down to this:

As I’ve writ­ten, Re­pub­lic­ans rep­res­ent a co­ali­tion of res­tor­a­tion centered on the groups most un­settled by the changes (primar­ily older, non­col­lege, rur­al, and re­li­giously de­vout whites). Demo­crats mo­bil­ize a co­ali­tion of trans­form­a­tion that re­volves around the heav­ily urb­an­ized groups (mil­len­ni­als, people of col­or, and col­lege-edu­cated, single, and sec­u­lar whites, es­pe­cially wo­men) most com­fort­able with these trends.

That's what the Trump phenomenon represents --- a primal scream of loss. Yes, it's economic. The whole middle class in America feels the squeeze and the poor are as screwed as they ever were. But for these people, the Trump people, it's cultural more than anything else. They feel they have lost their social status And even if they become more economically secure, the way think they were back in the 1950s, they will never get that back. On some level they know this. And that's what they're angry about.

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