Right after the 2016 election, conventional wisdom dictated that the Democratic Party should kick all those pesky minority groups and their “identity politics” to the curb and chase after the (white) “working class” vote that allegedly won the election for Donald Trump. After all, economic anxiety is what motivated his base so that had to be the message going forward.
That, of course, was total bullshit the press was selling so they didn’t have to face the reality that Trump won because of pure unadulterated racism and misogyny that the press itself had enabled. But after 18 months of studies making it excruciatingly clear that Trump’s voters are just assholes, the press has finally started to come around. And in case they need more proof, here’s the latest study showing exactly the same thing:
Mutz examined voters whose incomes declined, or didn’t increase much, or who lost their jobs, or who were concerned about expenses, or who thought they had been personally hurt by trade. None of those things motivated people to switch from voting for Obama in 2012 to supporting Trump in 2016. Indeed, manufacturing employment in the United States has actually increased somewhat since 2010. And as my colleague Adam Serwer has pointed out,“Clinton defeated Trump handily among Americans making less than $50,000 a year.”
Translation? Not economic anxiety.
So what made a person vote for a lying moron with a bad haircut? Pure bigotry:
Meanwhile, a few things did correlate with support for Trump: a voter’s desire for their group to be dominant, as well as how much they disagreed with Clinton’s views on trade and China. Trump supporters were also more likely than Clinton voters to feel that “the American way of life is threatened,” and that high-status groups, like men, Christians, and whites, are discriminated against.
When white Christian men say “the American way of life is threatened”, what they actually mean is that their social and cultural dominance is threatened. America has always been a nation controlled by white men and the election of a black president sent those white men into a frenzied panic. Their solution was to elect the person that told them he would make America white again. There’s a reason the Nazis marching in Charlottesville and other places keep chanting, “You will not replace us!” and nonsense about “white genocide;” they know the system is rigged in their favor and that it’s all coming to an end. This terrifies them.
This is why any effort to appeal to Trump’s voters is ultimately a waste of time for Democrats. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, etc. could offer them free universal healthcare, free college for their kids, and all the manufacturing jobs they could ever want but Democrats could never give them the one thing they actually care about: White supremacy. Donald Trump could hold a rally, tell his base that he’s going to raise their taxes, give it to the rich, and sexually assault their daughters but in return he’s going to deport 10 million Latinos and they would line up to hand their money and daughters over quicker than you could say “Make America Great Again.”
Olga Khazan of The Atlantic finishes her article with a question:
In other words, it’s now pretty clear that many Trump supporters feel threatened, frustrated, and marginalized—not on an economic, but on an existential level. Now what?
This is a question I’ve answered numerous times: Now what? Now we prepare ourselves for a massive wave of domestic terrorism. White men have demonstrated a remarkable inability to handle rejection. White conservative men who already think they’re “persecuted” because not enough of the nation kisses their ass will very easily convince themselves that their loss of status is a conspiracy by Those People to take over America and that they have to “take their country back” by force.
The real question is not “Now what?” but “How many people have to die before we stop pretending we have a right wing terrorism problem in America?”