October 16, 2016
Sarah Smarsh in The Guardian:
Based on Trump’s campaign rhetoric and available data, it appears that most of his voters this November will be people who are getting by well enough but who think of themselves as victims.I mention in passing this article cites a Gallup poll which, among other points, notes that "[p]eople living in zip codes with greater exposure to capital income sources rather than wage and salary income are less likely to support Trump", which counts, a bit, against my theory that Trump supporters are more likely to be petit bourgeois than working class.
One thing the media misses is that a great portion of the white working class would align with any sense before victimhood. Right now they are clocking in and out of work, sorting their grocery coupons, raising their children to respect others, and avoiding political news coverage.
To be sure, one discouraging distillation – the caricature of the hate-spewing white male Trump voter with grease on his jeans – is a real person of sorts. There were one or two in my town: the good ol’ boy who menaces those with less power than himself – running people of color out of town with the threat of violence, denigrating women, shooting BB guns at stray cats for fun. They are who Trump would be if he’d been born where I was.
Media fascination with the hateful white Trump voter fuels the theory, now in fashion, that bigotry is the only explanation for supporting him. Certainly, financial struggle does not predict a soft spot for Trump, as cash-strapped people of color – who face the threat of his racism and xenophobia, and who resoundingly reject him, by all available measures – can attest. However, one imagines that elite white liberals who maintain an air of ethical grandness this election season would have a harder time thinking globally about trade and immigration if it were their factory job that was lost and their community that was decimated.
Affluent analysts who oppose Trump, though, have a way of taking a systemic view when examining social woes but viewing their place on the political continuum as a triumph of individual character. Most of them presumably inherited their political bent, just like most of those in “red” America did. If you were handed liberalism, give yourself no pats on the back for your vote against Trump.
Spare, too, the condescending argument that disaffected Democrats who joined Republican ranks in recent decades are “voting against their own best interests,” undemocratic in its implication that a large swath of America isn’t mentally fit to cast a ballot.
Whoever remains on Trump’s side as stories concerning his treatment of women, racism and other dangers continue to unfurl gets no pass from me for any reason. They are capable of voting, and they own their decisions. Let’s be aware of our class biases, though, as we discern who “they” are.