Trump’s SC Victory and anti-Muslim Hatred

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Billionaire bigot Donald Trump won the South Carolina primary Saturday with about 32.5 percent of the vote. He was about ten points ahead of his two closest rivals, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who more or less tied at between 22 and 23 percent each.

Trump did much better than his rivals with men, with over-45 voters and with the less educated. He even outdid Cruz with regard to the evangelical vote (self-described evangelicals were 3/4s of Republican SC voters this year, up from 65% in 2012).

But perhaps one unexpected indication as to why he won is Trump’s strident hatred of Muslims. Some 75% of GOP primary voters in South Carolina support his bizarre and unconstitutional idea of banning Muslims from traveling to the United States. That is nearly twice the national average on this issue (46%) and more than the average among Republicans nationally (66%).

A sounding by Public Policy Polling found that SC GOP voters supporting Trump are outliers among Republicans in that state. Some 80% of them want to ban Muslims from traveling to the US, and about a third of Trump supporters want to ban gays from coming here as well. (That was twice the percentage among SC Repubicans in general). Among Trump supporters, 62 percent want to create a database to track US Muslims, and 40% want to ban mosques. 44% of Trump supporters want to ban the practice of Islam entirely (Not sure why 4% of these stupid jingoists want to allow mosques but not Muslims). About 38% of Trump voters said they wish the South had won the Civil War, as opposed to 30% of SC Republicans overall.

The evidence therefore suggests that xenophobia and hatred of Muslims, as well as a yearning for the white supremacist Confederacy, are more common among Trump supporters than among SC Republicans in general. And, it may well be that the margin of racism accounts for Trump’s win.

Moreover, a third of GOP voters in South Carolina see terrorism as the number one issue facing the US, while 28% think it is the economy and 27% are worried about government spending. That is, the hatred of Muslims seems tied to security concerns rather to immigration, and immigration per se is not a big concern there. Likely the large number of southern men who spend some time in the military is one explanation for this unusual concern with terrorism. After the Paris and San Bernardino attacks by fringe radical Muslims, the percentage of Americans who named terrorism as the number one problem jumped from a few percentage points to 16% last December. So South Carolinian Republicans are twice as worried about that issue as most Americans, and are a third more worried about it than Republicans nationally (24%) as of last December. (When there aren’t attacks for a while, the general US percentages on this issue have been slipping to single digits).

South Carolina is a small state of almost 5 million and is the 23rd or 24th largest in the union. Nearly 30% of the population are African-American (roughly 1.2 mn.) Almost all the African-Americans vote for the Democratic Party. A big majority of the over 3 million whites vote Republican. A recent wrinkle is that there are 260,000 Latinos in the state, and some say they may be as many as 400,000, since they are undercounted in official statistics.

South Carolinians are poorer than the average American, with a median household income of $45,238– only 4/5s of the US median. Its poverty rate is 18% as opposed to 15.5% nationally. However, much of the difference is likely accounted for by the big disadvantaged African-American population, and South Carolinian whites are probably closer to the national average. About 86 percent of the state’s residents have completed high school, which is par for the course in the US. But only about 27% have a BA or higher degrees, whereas the average in the US is about 30%.

While some have suggested that South Carolina looks more like the rest of the US than does New Hampshire, in fact it is distinctive on a number of measurements. It is poorer. It has slightly fewer highly educated people. The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow is hardly gone, and the percentage of African-Americans is 2.5 times that of the national average. It is much more Protestant than the rest of the country, where about a quarter of the population is Catholic. It appears to be much more religious than the rest of the country. While, nationwide, Protestant evangelicals are about a quarter of the population and are down a little over the past decade, some 75% of Republican voters on Saturday were evangelicals.

While South Carolina is a lovely place and its people are warm and friendly, about a fifth of them voted yesterday for a full-on fascist and pro-torture racist, which is surely the most shameful thing so many of them have done since opposing the civil rights movement. That they did so because they are economically insecure and think Trump can whip the economy into shape, and because they seem unusually obsessed with terrorism, and think Trump’s ethnic cleansing policies can protect them, is no excuse for anything. They know better, deep down.

Related video:

Secular Talk: “38% Of Trump Supporters Wish The South Won The Civil War”

25 Responses

  1. Your last paragraph is revealing Juan. The Germans and the Italians are wonderful people, I’ve never met one I didn’t like, but in certain socio-economic circumstances they handed their affairs to men who could “make things work.” Men who pointed the finger of blame at defenceless minority scapegoats. Today we are seeing this again in Europe and it’s no surprise to see it among the increasingly desperate middle class of America.

    • Hunter Watson

      Dear Mr. President,

      I respectfully ask you to resolve the most important issues the American people face: the Palestinian Refugee and Independence Problems. I believe it is an especially emergent situation because the Israelis appear to be preparing for a new invasion of Lebanon which may well be used to cover a third massive ethnic cleansing. It has happened twice already in their history: 1947-48 and 1967. These events are clearly the origins of the above-described problems. Decisive measures are called for.

      The deadlock is without question due to Israeli intransigence. The International Court of Justice and the U.N. have spoken to the legal issues. The French and Palestinian initiatives seem to be leading to the only feasible solution: two states with the green line as the border subject to swaps of equal value. The only method available absent an almost inconceivable agreement with the Israelis will be the scheduling for hearing of the Jordanian/Palestinian and French Resolutions filed on behalf of the Palestinians. They are or should be on the docket in the UNSC awaiting scheduling for consideration by the Council. If the Israelis refuse to withdraw and recognise the Palestinian State, the Resolutions establishing it have to be brought on for a vote. The U.S must not veto them. They should be allowed to become international law which if violated will provide a basis for European economic sanctions.

      It is clearly not in the American interest to cast a veto because if we do it conflicts with our own long established two state policy and is inconsistent with the immense grief and cost which have been visited upon us. It’s been tragic for the American People that until now we have not had an Administration with the moral courage to face-down the Lobby and resolve this vexatious quagmire. We are near the time of our own “dancing in the streets” when we will doff the hair shirt which the Likud and the Israel Lobby have forced us to wear for so long.

      Your stewardship has been admirable. Please do not leave these issues to be dealt with in the aftermath of the most chaotic election cycle in our history.

      With the greatest admiration and respect,

      Hunter Watson

  2. “Morning in America” Phase II.

    Obviously Mr Trump gets political correctness (PC) right, in the SC Republican context.

    If there is any money left in the Bush PAC, it should be spent to on John Kasich. I’d still vote for Sanders, but if he loses the country will be better off if it’s not to the fascist or the hate-Cuba-Cubans.

  3. “They know better deep down”: I’m not sure I agree Juan. This is the state where sedition and treason was taken to its ultimate conclusion at the beginning of Lincoln’s presidency. The state has a tradition of being at the forefront of succession, and the success of Trump requires a mere Occam’s Razor explanation.

    And as always, pars Republicana delenda est!

  4. “They know better, deep down.”

    Very well written from your heart Juan. Thanks.

  5. Donald Trump is living proof the current gaggle of Republican primary election candidates are the weakest, least qualified and most deranged in U.S. history.

    An almost unbelievable accomplishment.

    How far the GOP has fallen since Nixon lost his mind? A dullard, a deranged actor, a war-monger, a disastrous son of a war monger who started two wars and presided over the worst economic collapse since the Great 20th Century Depression.

    Infested with the anti-American Tea Party aka Freedom Caucus movement and those who wish to force our country into a pseudo-Christian form of Sharia Law, the Republican Party has now become one notch above an angry mob.

    Can an overt racist, non-substantive spoiled man of wealth who constantly weasel-words his qualifications and intentions be the best the Republican Party has to offer?

    How about a natural-born Canadian false prophet?

    • An extremist can never fail. He can only be exposed as not being extreme enough. Double down and try again.

  6. 1)”SC GOP voters supporting Trump are outliers” 32 percent is an outlier? 2) 4 percent are not stupid jingoists maybe they like Arabic architecture Your histrionics are detracting from your excellent facts

    • Re-reading that paragraph, I wonder of Prof. Cole meant to say “not outliers”? “Not outliers” is the argument supported by the poll percentages given in the rest of the paragraph.

      • No, I meant Trump supporters are outliers. They are more bigotted, more Islamophobic and more authoritarian than Republicans in general. Some ordinary Republicans did vote for him but I am arguing that the 10% that gave him his victory are peculiar.

        • Respectfully submit that the professor is exhibiting the same attitude as the republican establishment towards Trump.Trump vs Kochs should be fun

  7. jdscee

    If, instead of Muslims and Mexicans, he had used black people as the target for his hate would #trump still be ahead in the polls?

    • Interestingly, the Muslim-bashing politics of GOP presidential candidates does not obtain in Michigan to a large extent by the Republican leadership.

      Republican governor Rick Snyder recently appointed a Lebanese Shia former immigrant to a circuit court judgeship a few months ago – he became the fourth Shi’ite currently on the bench in Wayne County; Charlene Elder, another circuit judge who adheres to Shi’ism from the same county, wears a hijab on the bench – she had been the first female Muslim in the U.S. to become a judge.

      Gov. Rick Snyder made a highly-publicized visit to a Bangladeshi-American eatery in Hamtramck shortly after that city elected the first Islamic majority city council in the U.S.

      • The capitalists only respect the human rights of those minorities who have made themselves useful to them. In other words, Michigan Moslems got money. Everywhere else in the country, they’re just a distant alien scapegoat for the failures of America. Which is also useful.

    • Muslims and Mexicans are the remaining ‘legitimate’ scapegoats for white victimhood – a condition which is not the least surprising in our neoliberal nightmare.

  8. In 1991, incumbent governor Buddy Roemer lost in a early runoff election to Republican David Duke, a former Klan leader. This galvanized the black community into aggressively supporting Duke’s opponent in the general election

    Duke’s populist campaign began to falter and he was soundly defeated by Edwin Edwards, a Democrat who later would be convicted of corruption.

    Duke proclaimed that he won his constituency of the white electorate by garnering 55% of their vote. Duke espoused some of the same type of bias that Trump has been propounding currently. Duke has expressed his support toward Trump for his focus on immigration issues.

    Trump’s extremist views are likely to harm his chances to get elected president should he receive the GOP nomination as he is expected to alienate minorities and those who find his anti-immigrant policies to be repugnant.

  9. It has abundantly clear and now confirmed …today’s GOP/Republican Party is still fighting the US Civil War aka The Northern Aggression!

    The GOP/Republican governance in 21st Century America:

    1) Has and promotes a collective amnesia about their disastrous governance during Bush/Cheney GOP/Republican governance 2000-2008.

    2) Want to completely ERASE America’s election not once BUT twice of an AFRICAN-American to the POTUS …and his successful governance of the US 2009 to the present.

    Everywhere 21st Century GOP/Republican governance is attempting to repeal 20th Century America in its entirety:

    New Deal, Social Security, Medicare, Medical, Unions, Civil Rights, Voters Rights, access to legal and safe abortion, Public Education, EPA, FDA, etc.

    Feel free to add to this list ….

  10. I have lived in the lowcountry of SC, which includes Georgetown, Charleston, Beaufort counties, most of my 69 years and have seen it change from a segregated agricultural economy to Boeing and BMW manufacturing plants. Several aspects of SC have remained constant among the indigenous white population… a fierce sense of independence and a resistance to change. I was taught in my segregated SC history class you owed your allegiance to SC first and the US government second. In the segment of population Prof. Cole addressed I think the allegiance is still to the south first and country second.

    A member of one of the first Plantation families of SC, the Petigrus, said of SC back in the early eighteen hundreds and it still may be accurate in some pockets of SC…. “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.”

  11. I’ve been around this nonsense for most of my life. Sadly, these people don’t know better. They are proud of their bigotry and ignorance.

  12. Yet again Trump manages to expose the hypocrisy of the Republican coalition!
    Confederate apologists and libertarians like the Pauls insist that the Civil War was about sacred States’ Rights and not racism, and that the right to secede must take precedence over human rights.
    So their leaders talk the codewords and tell the historical lies; that they’re all about small government, that they’re thus the opposite of the Nazis, who were in fact liberals, that they hate not Blacks, but Yankee tycoons and the use of big government to help the undeserving, that communities have the right to protect their sacred culture, religion and traditions by defying the Federal government.

    Yet in SC, cradle of secession, the rank & file voted for fascists. And mostly they voted for Trump.

    It’s simple, folks. What would President Trump do to a state, city or region that defied him on the most trivial matter?

    What serious contender for the Presidency has ever been more likely to demand personal fealty and use violence against his personal enemies?

    He’s an interventionist, who will interfere with capitalism wherever it fails to reward his constituents with sufficient pride and status over those they consider subhuman. That’s the heart of his appeal versus the existing ultra-capitalist movement that runs the GOP.

    He’s a Yankee, with zero comprehension of the faith & culture of the South. He shares with it only one thing: he wants Whites on top. None of the religious crap and the victims-of-Yankees crap and the yeoman-farm crap that Southerners use to enshrine their awful history as something that reflects the only proper and unchanging interpretation of the Constitution.

    The same people who voted for Rand Paul in KY will flock to Trump, who’s his furthest GOP opposite on Federal domestic intervention. Paul and his daddy think Lincoln was a tyrant, as do many of the South Carolinians who polled for Trump. Yet you will never hear Trump say a bad word about Lincoln, because he loves himself a strong president who will crush local defiance.

    It’s just that Trump is willing to be a Lincoln for the poor White supremacist. He will interfere with local government, the Constitution, and capitalism, not in the name of equality, but in the name of the correct, Patriarchal ordering of inequality. He will encourage his supporters to form violent fan clubs to do the dirty work of terror – clubs loyal to him, not to a secessionist state or a theology. He will strengthen Federal power where he pleases, and where that won’t work he will build a parallel autocracy around his personality cult. And it’s turning out that lots of Southerners are fine with all this.

    At least one good thing would come out of a nightmarish Trump dictatorship. After the old monster finally died, those of us who survived would be free of the previous tyrant: the ideology of the South that took over the GOP and used it as a weapon to roll back all the progress of the 20th Century. Its adherents will no longer be able to pose as victims, libertarians, free-marketeers, or any kind of good Christian.

  13. They do not know better deep down. SC has been at the epicenter of rebellion throughout much of our history. It’s in the DNA.

  14. On the eve of the Civil War a prominent South Carolina Jurist observed: ” South Carolina is too small to be a Republic , and too large to be an Insane Asylum “

  15. Interesting post. But the “analysis” is silly. It’s hard to tell whether you’re trying to talk the GOP off the ledge, reassure your progressive readers that the Republican party hasn’t utterly lost its mind, or just kid yourself that things aren’t really as bad as they seem. Just look at your numbers:

    Third paragraph: 75% of SC primary voters want to ban Muslims from traveling to the US.

    4th paragraph: 80% of Trump SC primary voters want to do the same — this makes Trump voters “outliers.”

    5th paragraph: Nationally 66% of GOP voters want to ban Mulims from traveling to the U.S.

    A five point difference makes Trump voters outliers? Who are you kidding? The margin for error in the poll is 3.3%, so there’s barely a significant difference between Trump voters and general GOP voters in SC.

    And yes, SC Republicans are a bit more racist than their national brethren, but two thirds of the party nationally buys this crap.

    I’m not really sure who you’re trying to convince, but the numbers aren’t the least bit persuasive.

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