The Puzzle of Trump Support

Americans have spent the past four plus months watching a profoundly unfit and erratic man do significant damage to America’s interests while debasing the highest office in the land, and they are increasingly asking each other how this could have happened. How could anyone have voted for a man who flaunted his ignorance of  government and the world, who demonstrated emotional instability virtually every day, and who repeatedly and publicly violated the most basic norms of civility?

For that matter, given his performance to date, how is it possible that a majority of those who voted for Trump still support him?

A number of columnists and social scientists have attributed Trump’s support to economic distress. I’m not buying it. Economic concerns, Hillary hatred and similar motives may have coexisted with other characteristics of Trump voters, but on closer look, they lack explanatory power.

Two paragraphs from a recent article in Politico come much closer to the mark:

Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement was not really about the climate. And despite his overheated rhetoric about the “tremendous” and “draconian” burdens the deal would impose on the U.S. economy, Trump’s decision wasn’t really about that, either. America’s commitments under the Paris deal, like those of the other 194 cooperating nations, were voluntary. So those burdens were imaginary.

No, Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from this carefully crafted multilateral compromise was a diplomatic and political slap: It was about extending a middle finger to the world, while reminding his base that he shares its resentments of fancy-pants elites and smarty-pants scientists and tree-hugging squishes who look down on real Americans who drill for oil and dig for coal. (Emphasis mine.)

I’m well aware that the plural of anecdote isn’t data, but the few people I know who voted for Donald Trump fit this analysis perfectly. They harbor profound racial and (especially) cultural resentments. Support for a buffoon despised by knowledgable, thoughtful people was their way of sticking it to the “elitists,” those snobs who read books and newspapers, support the arts, drive hybrids and recycle their trash.

Post-election research tells us that Trump voters weren’t poor, but they were disproportionately uneducated, white and rural, and deeply resentful of urban Americans, African-Americans and brown immigrants. (Pale Brits and Canadians are okay.) They share a conviction that the “smarty pants” are looking down on them, and if we are honest, there’s a fair amount of evidence supporting that conviction: today’s America is extremely economically segregated, and just as racial segregation fosters racial distrust and stereotyping, economic segregation reinforces tribalism and disdain for the “Other.” That disdain goes both ways.

This is not to deny the economic contribution to those resentments. If economic policy could help rural communities flourish again, the cultural hostility (although probably not the racial animus) would abate somewhat. Right now, however, the more evidence of Trump’s incompetence and volatility that emerges, the more his core supporters deny administration wrongdoing and buy into improbable apologetics and wild conspiracy theories.

They’re adult versions of the kids on the playground who stuck their fingers in their ears and said nah nah I can’t hear you.

When this bizarre episode in our country’s history has run its course, and government has (hopefully) returned the policy-making apparatus to mature adults who respect data and evidence, who understand cause and effect and the scientific method, we will need to address the concerns of people left behind by social change, people who feel adrift in a brave new world that they find utterly inhospitable.

We need to do something, because “I’ll show you!” is a really bad reason to hand the nuclear codes over to a dangerously incompetent clown.

50 thoughts on “The Puzzle of Trump Support

  1. Doctor Kennedy, your very first word in your first paragraph (Americans) can rationally be replaced with the word “Republicans”, Try it, it’s serious. Watch and listen to them; they’re a cabal, a coven. Their megalomaniacal leader is their undoing. They will be toast in 2018 an 2020. They can only reverse their downward spiral by jump-starting WW-III and make it the bloodiest ever. They’re starting now with “annihilate Isis”, their straw-grasping mantra.

  2. There is also the issue of “Nobody likes to be wrong”. It will take a long time for voters to admit that the were indeed wrong in voting for Trump.

  3. The trump supporters are still convinced that Hillary is crooked and represents the elite. They continue to listen to Brietbart and watch Fox to get their daily dose of confirmation of their false beliefs.

    Without drastic changes to political funding for candidates I can only envision our country spiraling further into an oligarchy that will destroy us all. Yep, not feeling very hopeful today.

  4. Yesterday’s NY Times had an article about the problems a teacher of environmental science has in a rural school district in the coal-mining area of Ohio. One student in particular is very aggressive when presented with “evidence” for climate change. Even a video highlighting a climate scientist who is also an evangelical Christian did not penetrate her bubble. In fact, it caused her to run out of the room and the school for the day. And this was an “honor student.”
    In those districts, even the next generation will not be reachable.

  5. Look at your old articles on the Tea Party, if you have any. I look at mine from time to time as a reminder of the Murica still out there.

    It’s the Southern Strategy as created by Richard Nixon.

    However, I wouldn’t look so much at the voters because they’re easily manipulated just like the “liberals” who watch Rachel Maddow.

    We need to look closer at those funding the political campaigns which manipulate our uneducated Americans. What are their motives?

    Indiana’s new Senator Todd Young defeated Evan Bayh because of serious outside cash. Who’s funneling this money across state lines? It happened in Montana too.

    Who’s buying up our democracy and why?

    Forget the Russians! Who are the political influencers in America buying up seats in statehouses and Congress?

    Furthermore, why isn’t our so-called “free press” or media holding these thieves accountable?

    America’s Oligarchs and government leaders decided in the 50’s that we could no longer educate Americans as citizens. Because of the work of Sigmund Freud and what happened in Germany, humans weren’t to be trusted. They had a dark side.

    Sigmund’s nephew, Edward Bernays taught these U.S. leaders (Establishment) how to use psychology to manipulate human beings into being consumers. Edward is considered the Father of Public Relations. The CIA used Edward for their intelligence work.

    It’s a waste of time to analyze the manipulated populations in our world. We should be focused on the oppressors or those doing the manipulation. What we visualize on TV is nothing more than theater – a show meant to entertain groups of people based on demographic data. 😉

  6. OMG; I totally agree with your observation to replace the word “Americans” with “Republicans”. We can look around us at people we know who are still fully and vocally supporting him and others who voted for him but seem to be remaining mute at this time who may be having second thoughts. He has not successfully kept his campaign promises but has caused a vast amount of damage and destruction to protective laws for this entire country – including all Republicans. His campaign, based on racist, bigoted promises to rid the country of minorities has turned the United States of America into a minority in the eyes of true Americans and the eyes of the world…sans Putin and Russia.

    His latest, and one of his internally most dangerous acts, is to privatize our air controllers. Think back to Reagan’s firing of all air controllers and the terror it caused; is this his next step. If you doubt the importance of the work air controllers perform 24/7; try to find the documentary “Grounded” (aired on A&E I think) after 9/11 when, for the safety of this entire country, they had to find landing places for 33,000 planes in our air space on that day.

    What disaster will it take to wake up Congress, the GOP and his White Nationalist supporters to the dangers he proposes…which includes all of them with the rest of us who are already aware?

  7. Those profound racial and cultural resentments harbored by Trump supporters continue to be fed by all quarters. Case in point, a TV ad for Senator Donnelly implies that numerous foreign countries “took” jobs away from hard working Hoosiers. No they didn’t! All white, male American boards of directors voted to move those jobs overseas because of… money. When Democrat leaders play into the resentment game they become part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  8. This quote is from an article by Nicholas Kristof; according to “Keith Payne, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill….The data on inequality is, of course, staggering. The top 1 percent in America owns more than the bottom 90 percent…In fact, the average C.E.O. at the largest American public companies earns about 350 times as much as the average worker….

    When the level of inequality becomes too large to ignore, everyone starts acting strange,” Payne notes….”It makes us believe weird things, superstitiously clinging to the world as we want it to be rather than as it is…Inequality divides us, cleaving us into camps not only of income but also of ideology and race, eroding our trust in one another. It generates stress and makes us all less healthy and less happy.”

    Think of those words in the context of politics today: Doesn’t that diagnosis of stress, division and unhappiness strike a familiar chord?”

    “Presented with unlabeled pie charts depicting income distributions of two countries, 92 percent of Americans said they would prefer to live with the modest inequality that exists in Sweden. Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor alike — all chose Sweden by similar margins.”

    This study of the current levels of inequality in America helps explain the polarization in our country. Inequality and our innate disgust towards its inherent injustice has resulted in widening gaps of mistrust and tribalism.

    It seems clear that we must address this and change course towards a a more equitable society. Government “regulation” is truly protection against rampant greed and selfishness as embodied in Trump the Terrible and the rest of the rapacious, unethical and irresponsible Republicans in power today.

  9. Theresa; to add to your astute observations, I have seen posts from farmers wanting to know where are the workers they need, who will harvest their crops to go to market? White workers were not showing up to replace the migrant workers they have depended on for many years. Do they consider that work beneath their dignity and superior status being white? I am sure the same is true for menial jobs in minimum wage establishments and I notice how few Black workers in businesses I shop in. When I do see one or two, I am reminded of that old “colored” saying of the “fly in the buttermilk”, they stand out…to me because I am aware of their rarity and look for them to count and to racists who don’t believe they belong there? Hispanics are in hiding and we cannot blame them for their fears.

    “We have met the enemy and he is us!” and follow the money.

  10. Theresa @ 7:33 I have seen Senator Donnelly’s face book feeds about jobs leaving America. Then guess what he wants tax credits for bringing jobs back. I guess at some point we proles will be the only ones paying taxes. I guess it slipped Joe’s mind that Bill Clinton signed on to NAFTA.

  11. I live among the “disproportionately uneducated, white and rural, and deeply resentful…”.
    They are kind, caring and largely not racist. But they have seen their wages, opportunities and communities stagnate at best, and more often deteriorate. No one has spoken for them in a long time. When someone who appears to do so is attacked, they feel attacked. It’s generally that simple.

  12. I’m currently reading “Hillbilly Elegy” and finding J.D. Vance’s conclusions very interesting. Republicans have been playing the politics of resentment since the 1970s. While our true differences have their bases in economic factors, blaming the “other” has been much more effective as a campaign tool than discussions of economic conditions.

    Hillary outlined several policy measures to help those who are stagnant in our current economy, but nobody wanted to talk about that. The questions she got were about her e-mails. Just to be clear about that, there was no law prohibiting the use of home e-mail systems or private servers for Federal Government employees. Her use of a “private server” was code for she’s an elitist.

  13. BTW; has anyone seen a reference to the fact that today, June 6, 2017, is the 73rd anniversary of D Day? It is one reason we are still here as the United States of America and in the aftermath of that war was when we began forging diplomatic relations with many of our current allies. Most of whom have been insulted by Trump during the past 4 months. I believe Great Britain may be the first to disallow him to cross their borders…using a “travel ban” maybe?

  14. One of the most important safeguards in our form of government is a free press. But our press, media of all kinds, have fallen into the hands of the very people who want to subvert it to their goals. The Rupert Murdock family and the Roger Ailes of the world have bought up and reconfigured the media so the truth is a lie and a lie is the truth. It is well past “1984”. Perhaps we just needed a few more decades to realize that nightmare of hatred and distrust.

    “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer, “The Big Sort” by Bill Bishop, “White Trash: the Untold History of Class in America” by Nancy Isenberg, are all book published in recent years that give insight into the divisions, created by manipulators of the systems, that allow the oligarchs and kleptocrats to flourish.

    Willful ignorance, lack of imagination and empathy are all drivers of the resentment and racial hatred we are witnessing every day. It happens in small towns and big cities all the time in subtle and overt acts of viciousness and petty grievances that do nothing but further the divides.

    With the rise of Trump/Pence, the control of Congress by McConnell and Ryan cohorts, the likely deconstruction of our government will ultimately lead to authoritarian rule or anarchy, with blood in the streets or worse. It has happened throughout history. We may believe that we are exceptional. Time will tell if we are.

  15. To my dying breath, I will blame Trump on the fractured left. And while I don’t disagree with much in you column, there should have been enough people to turn the tide. It was the left that made up the worst narratives about speeches on Wall Street, about no differences between the candidates, or unrealistic purity tests over issues from two decades ago. There was enough people out there to stop him and they chose not to.

  16. T Lentych; a totally valid point and one I must agree with. Those who hated Hillary but didn’t want to vote for Trump, GAVE HIM the election by voting for Stein and Johnson rather than Hillary. She was the most qualified of all, other than Bernie, but had too much baggage. Even the repeated investigations which disproved all charges against her was baggage due to the unending accusations. Comey’s last minute release of an uninvestigated, unsubstantiated letter was the final straw.

  17. Truth be told, resentment is a two way street. There is plenty of resentment on both sides.

    Personally, I resent the underhanded way that my state of Indiana has been gerrymandered to the point that Republicans openly and through legislation continue to shove their Bible based prejudices and intolerances down the throats of everyone else.

  18. I also believe that another reason for Trump’s withdrawing from the Paris Agreement is his jealousy of Obama. Trump hates Obama. Trump is on a mission to eliminate every piece of legislation signed by Obama. Trump is petty and jealous of Obama’s popularity. I agree completely with your “give the middle finger” mentality of Trump supporters. The crude, bully mentality – especially with white males – is prevalent. One only has to look at the comments on links from Breitbart, FOX News, Tucker Carlson, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, The Ben Shapiro Show, RealClearPolitics, The Federalist Papers, Franklin Graham, The Blaze, O’Reilly, Hannity, The Conservative Daily, Mike Huckabee, Steven Crowder and Donald J. Trump’s donation page to find examples of the twisted minds and on-going support of Trump. Have you seen Trump’s videos on his campaign page, and he continues to sell campaign items, such as mugs, hats, shirts? https://www.facebook.com/DonaldTrump/videos/10159218974610725/ The bullying and bizarre comments on FB pages of Jim Lucas, Luke Messer, Todd Rokita, and Todd Young illustrate our divide – Hoosier values at our finest???? I keep hoping to find one comment that I can agree with or find common ground with the Trump Supporters, so I continue to read their sites and search the comments. I try to understand or make sense of their positions. Rather than finding any rational comments, I feel exhausted after visiting these sites. We do have a problem with fake news, but it is NOT coming from the resistance. The blatant propaganda videos and campaign ads are laughable – but in reality – present a very serious dilemma for our country.

  19. T Lentych, JoAnn Green – I could be mistaken, but if I remember the total votes going to Stein/Johnson it was pretty clear that they got the same percentage they (third parties) always get. I think it might be unrealistic to blame people who never vote for the D/R for not voting for the D/R this time either. It would seem foolish to count on those votes.

    Lots of mistakes were made running the campaign and lots of miscalculations brought us where we are today.

  20. JD @ 8:38 am “One of the most important safeguards in our form of government is a free press. But our press, media of all kinds, have fallen into the hands of the very people who want to subvert it to their goals.”

    The McMega-Media for a long time has been all about profits: ratings, ratings. I rarely watch MSNBC, CNN, or Fox. I will watch BBC. They provide their respective spins on the cheap, that is they assemble a small group in the studio or threw a feed and endlessly analyze some spin. There is very little reporting from the “field” unless it is some mass murder event. The War in Iraq – forgotten, War in Afghanistan – forgotten, Flint Michigan’s water – forgotten.

  21. John Neal, thank you for your perspective. I am sad that rural America has been “ignored” and under appreciated and is currently being maligned and vilified by the far left and conned by the far right. I wish our elected officials at all levels would ignore the “fantasies” in the White House and get to work on really creating and implementing policies that address the needs of struggling people, wherever they are, in the cities, in the ‘burbs, and the countryside. “From sea to shining sea.”

  22. It was a close election and the non voted mattered… in my state, there were more blank ballots for president than the margin of victory….

  23. This piece is really quite adequate. I live in central Texas where the joke is: “Jesus himself could run as a Democrat and he’d lose 72%-28%. The thing is, in rural Texas – and most of the South, I suspect – even the educated people are bigoted and prejudiced like it was still the 19th century.

    The point here is that the Civil War still lives in the hearts and minds of the white people in the South. The suspicions of outsiders is still profound and rife throughout rural Southern communities. The wounds from reconstruction still ooze hate and suspicion toward anyone not them. Why? Because those hates and prejudices have been passed down, mostly intact from the 19th century, the veneer of modern thinking, inclusion of all peoples into the American stream is very thin and made thinner by Trump’s ravings. Some degree of this kind of thinking among white people obviously also exists in Northern states too.

    He is just barely smart enough to know what hate and prejudice are, because he too was raised that way. So, once again, our most egregious sin, slavery, comes back to bite us again with the accidental and very unfortunate appointment of Donald Trump as our president.

    For all the obvious analyses of Trump, the ultimate summary must be laid at the foot of the 62 million people who voted for him, but also the 90+ million voters who stayed home. THOSE facts supersede all others and, if continued, will lead to the collapse of our democracy and guarantee the rise of fascism in America.

    As Sinclair Lewis once stated, “Facism in America will come draped in the flag and clutching the Bible.”

  24. Two reasons:

    1) I knew a man when I lived in the South who said to me, “I won’t take my family to Disney World any more. When they opened all the workers were white and friendly, and now they allow blacks and others to work there. I don’t wish them any harm, but I don’t want to spend my hard-earned money on that.” This guy was kind, charitable, and I believe he would not have actively engaged in racial discrimination at work or in any illegal way. But deep down, he knew who his tribe was. How many times does it have to be said? It’s tribal.

    2) If you have read my words here, you know I believe in very progressive politics. But when it comes to the ridiculousness of ultra-liberal culture, THEY ARE RIGHT. Of course racists and others use this as an excuse to behave badly, but that is not the point. Micro-aggressions, cultural appropriation, xxxxxophobia/xxxxxphobisms , etc. are ridiculous, self-indulgent exercises in victimhood. Liberal campus cultures are in fact a joke now, and guess what, the joke is on us! Call-out culture, political correctness, ideological conformity or whatever you want to call it is corrosive to the free exchange of ideas and as progressives we should reject this, but it seems that often we do not, and we deserve the mocking we take for that. And of course that solidifies right wing tribalism. Sad!

  25. Vernon, a large percentage of that Civil War mentality population moved north after WWII looking for jobs. They mostly came from Appalachia and brought with them that culture so well defined in the book Hillbilly Elegy.

    I am surrounded by these people in my near east side neighborhood and every day see the manifestations of their ignorance, prejudices and intolerances, from their ill-kept homes to the Confederate flag, to the sidearm carrying, and the open disdain for the law. “Getting away with something” is worn as a badge of honor. Continuing to support and enable a family member who is unemployed and in and out of prison is considered “good parenting”. Drug use is OK as long as it’s not needle connected.

    IMO not until Trump supporters PERSONALLY suffer from his presidency will they turn against him. Meanwhile, it’s the middle finger to the rest of us.

  26. Mike James – I CAN’T “get over it”. Yes, SHE LOST the RED STATE GOP governors and legislators in the Electoral College BUT she WON overwhelmingly THE POPULAR VOTE. The champion megalomaniac is pissed about it! It’s one explanation for his disdain for Americans who use their intellects in ways unheard of to him and who cast their votes FOR HER. Watch out for 2018 and 2020 when Americans will demonstrate what they have learned about crooks and fools IF he has not embroiled us in the tragic distraction of World War III.

  27. Okay, smartypants. As a well-educated, fairly wealthy, old white guy who was once a democrat and hangs out with mostly democrats, I don’t fit your mold. I read books, write a blog, and belong to some fairly exclusive clubs. I have worked hard for civil rights and am more of a libertarian than a republican, but have voted rather consistently as a repub for the last 35 years because the democrat party has gone way off the rails. The clinton/obama trend seemed to me to be unsustainable. I held my nose and voted for trump and probably will vote for him again if he actually accomplishes anything noteworthy. Unlike most trumpets, I am a news junkie. Sometimes you just have to turn the bad music down. Get a grip. Your Trump Derangement Syndrome is showing.

  28. Theresa:
    I agree 100% with your conclusion that “not until Trump supporters PERSONALLY suffer from his presidency will they turn against him.” Unfortunately, I believe that many Trump supporters won’t even get it then.

    Instead, they will buy the inevitable Trump/Repub propaganda blaming the “s**t hitting the fan and splattering all over them on the Democrats, or Hillary’s emails, or Obama’s being a born in Kenya, Black Muslim Isis supporter, or Nancy Pelosi not only being a loud mouth woman, but an elitist liberal from California, or the Mexicans, or refugees. ANYTHING but the fact that the Repub’s, and now Trump’s, policies and agenda have repeatedly failed to do anything but to increase the wealth of the already wealthy.

  29. No one and no group wants to be regarded as inferior. I grew up in a farm family of well-educated parents who were very progressive politically. But city folks often regarded farmers as ‘dullards’ and uneducated. They would comment to my parents and to me that we were surprisingly smart and culturally aware. They probably meant it as a compliment, but most of our neighboring farm famlies were no different from us, though many were more politically conservative than we were.

    Financial distress contributes to an appetite for someone to blame. Often blame is focused on the wrong people and reasons. It’s easier to blame (and fear) those different from our selves or those we’ve never met or have no relationship with. The demagogues like Donald Trump exploit those fears and that lack of familiarity rather than bringing together folks to build bonds. As the Pope said, it’s better to build bridges than walls.

  30. Holding your nose as you voted for Trump does not mitigate the fact that you did vote for the man, a man who knows nothing of governing, a man who has cheated and lied and bullied his way through life. A man who has publicly demonstrated time and again that he is a racist, a misogynist, a homophobic, a xenophobic. A man who encouraged violence at his rallies and ridiculed a gold star family, ridiculed a handicapped man, and disparaged the free press. A man who bragged about “grabbing pussies”. A man who accepted the support of hate groups and brought one into his camp. And that was OK with you? All you had to do was hold your nose? Really? You may think yourselves “educated”, but you sure have learned nothing along the way.

  31. Well, Hillary was clearly NOT the most qualified Presidential candidate, by any measure. Gary Johnson (Libertarian) was. Hillary was the one that knocked out Bernie and made sure that Gary would not be permitted to talk to the voters in the 3 debates . After all, the 88 million potential voters … err simpletons that would have listened to Gov. Gary Johnson in the FIRST presidential debate might have voted for him, and clearly it was Hillary’s “turn” to win. After all, it was bad enough that Obama was selected ahead of Hillary, instead of going to the back of the line, but to lose TWICE…….. Kindly note that the eager Trump supporters that I meet were rarely Republicans at all, but voted Republican “this time only”. So whoever you think the Trumpista’s are, it is rarely Republican.

  32. And, Theresa, our juvenile delinquent president has given Comey permission to testify before the special counsel regarding the information in those infamous E-mails and any connection between Trump and Russia. Comey is now a private American citizen; can the president arbitrarily – and legally – refuse to allow anyone to testify in what amounts to an international, possibly treasonous, investigation?

    Just saw two announcements on MSNBC that the “WH will brief press prior to Comey’s testimony” and Trump has planned a speech during Comey’s testimony…no subject listed

  33. OMG, Hillary Clinton did not “overwhelming” win the popular vote. It was the 10th closest popular vote in US history (and the 9th closest electoral college vote.) If you look at all elections since the 12th Amendment (which established the currently used electoral college), most presidential elections have not been nearly as close as those in the past few decades.

  34. I think there is something nefarious and troubling going on. No longer does the truth and reality matter to so many of my conservative friends. Whenever an issue comes up that should challenge their viewpoint, they run to media sources that reaffirm that viewpoint. But if anyone thinks this is a conservative phenomenon, I hate to disillusion that person but it’s not. Conservatives just got their first. You see the same phenomenon beginning among liberals, in particular those who reject free speech when that speech is by conservatives.

  35. I love the flack laid on the trumper,i’m sure hes proud hes keeping the working class in deeper poverty for the next 10 years,be proud you voted for the garbage that seethes in todays news. To be so far removed over a progressive society,shows even the so called ive made it,why not yous? is the effect from being superior in your mind,and not in citizenship. Im out talking to the southern boys,the ones who are next to poverty,and dont even know it because its all they have known. They believe were all crying about welfare for all,and why should we? when it is the ideology they support,pass down to the next generation,and keep a sustained flow of a representation of their misguided life. Im listening to bobby rebel disdain for anyone who supports better wages,because hes affraid mcdonalds will raise the price of a big mac. im in the cellar here,i actully deal with these people. They havent a clue,because they will not be told the diffrence between whats good,and bad. its all based on their need to dominate a way of life,bigotry is,and always will be the forefront of their southern asshole ways. Its not a joke,and its ideals have seethed through to the working class as a whole. When i find people still believeing 12 bucks an hour is a great wage, its sad, i was offered a apprentice welding job in a union shop in 1978 for 15 bucks a hour, now go figure,whos the fool. They dont want others to have their so called big money job because,they have it and be damn if some minority can have one. this is simple have and have nots here, real simple……and its targeted by pacs,news media,the talk shows on the bigoted,right wing agenda. tell trumper to go pack his butt in tobacco, its easier to shoot off his mouth this way. Im living in working class world, and see the dark side of the mountian we americans have made. obvioulsly,cheap wages in a cheap part of the country draws in the coprperations on cheap labor,and along with it cheap minds. the south wins here,and their ideals are a mouth full of tobacco.

  36. Of course there exists racism across the board, but I think the primary cause for where we are with a clueless president who never should have been elected is wage inequality. Ordinary Americans are being denied their piece of the economic pie by, among Wall Street banks and corporate executives, Trump himself. He has bullied and lied his way through the Republican primary and through the general election, opposes a minimum wage and is in all respects an enemy of the people he pretends to care for in his continuing campaign mode. He is at best a Lakoffian biconceptual and at worst so addicted to lying that he doesn’t even know he is lying or, alternatively, knows but doesn’t care because only the results count in his world of terminal narcissism. The art of the deal is to win; how you win is immaterial.

  37. Of course there exists racism across the board, but I think the primary cause for where we are with a clueless president who never should have been elected is wage inequality. Ordinary Americans are being denied their piece of the economic pie by, among Wall Street banks and corporate executives, Trump himself. He has bullied and lied his way through the Republican primary and through the general election, opposes a minimum wage and is in all respects an enemy of the people he pretends to care for in his continuing campaign mode. He is at best a Lakoffian biconceptual and at worst so addicted to lying that he doesn’t even know he is lying or, alternatively, knows but doesn’t care because only the results count in his world of terminal narcissism. The art of the deal is to win; how you win is immaterial.

  38. It’s not economic. It’s tribal.

    I have watched the Democratic Convention in a room full of Republicans. The comments range from veiled racism, laughing at gays, and snickering at liberal idealism all the way to truly vile statements.

    The camera pans that convention hall, and they either think, or intuitively know, those are not their people. Then when they hear liberals actually being ridiculous, employing political correctness, never shutting up about privilege, etc., they KNOW the Democrats are not their tribe.

    I remember having a conversation with a die hard Republican family member, and he agreed that almost everything Bush had done was wrong and almost everything Obama had done was at least tolerable, and then he told me he would never, ever vote for a Democrat. Not his tribe.

    Those people will be starving to death and they will still support their tribe.

  39. I remember when people strived to be more educated, better dressed, take interest in the arts, be good members of the community … all of which was considered a path to middle and upper middle classes – a status that was longed for and admired, not just because of the monetary rewards, but because it represented personal progress.

    That path has been leading nowhere for decades now. Its promises have been broken. People can’t get ahead, and the middle class has been falling further behind. Why strive for something that is unachievable?

    Resentment sets in, and anger towards the ever widening economic gap and inability to breach it grows. Are people supposed feel bad about themselves because the society broke its promise? Are they supposed to see themselves as “deplorable”? Of course not. People have pride.

    So don’t tell people who, what and how they are supposed to act, and then pull the rug out from under them. Provide an actual path and opportunity to real personal and economic improvement. Until that happens, nothing will change.

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