America’s Dark Underbelly is now its Face

By Peter Certo | (Otherwords.org) | – –

Trump’s core supporters were so anxious about the changing face of America, they were willing to vote alongside the Klan.

An election that might have marked the ascension of America’s first woman president has instead proven historic for an altogether different reason. Namely, that Americans voted for the unabashedly anti-democratic alternative offered by her rival.

And they did it despite his almost cartoonish shortcomings.

Trump didn’t just offend pious liberals with his hard line on immigration, disdain for democratic norms, and disinterest in policy. He transgressed standards of decency across all political persuasions.

He bragged about sexually assaulting women. He disparaged injured war veterans. He was endorsed by the KKK. And now he’s America’s voice on the world stage.

How could that happen? Here’s one theory you might’ve heard:

After years of seeing their jobs outsourced, their incomes slashed, and their suffering ignored, the white working class threw in their lot with the candidate who cast aside political niceties and vowed to make their communities great again.

It’s a nice story — I even used to buy a version of it myself. But while Trump surely did clean up with white voters, the evidence simply doesn’t support the idea that they were as hard-up as the story goes.

For instance, Pollster Nate Silver found during the GOP primary that Trump supporters pulled in a median income of $72,000 a year — some $10,000 more than the national median for white households. And while many did come from areas with lower social mobility, they were less likely to live in the stricken manufacturing communities Trump liked to use as backdrops for his rallies.

So if it wasn’t the economy, was it Hillary?

Clinton was clearly unpopular, in many cases for defensible reasons. She was cozy with Wall Street. She backed poorly chosen wars. Apparently people didn’t like the way she emailed.

But when you consider that we chose to give the nuclear codes to a man whose own aides refused to trust with a Twitter account over a former secretary of state, it hardly seems like Trump voters were soberly comparing the two candidates.

Instead, Vox writers Zach Beauchamp and Dylan Matthews poured through scores of studies and found a much more robust explanation — and it isn’t pretty.

It’s what pollsters gently call “racial resentment.”

That is, Trump’s core supporters were far more likely than other Republicans to hold negative views of African Americans, Latinos, and Muslims. They overwhelmingly favored the mass deportation of immigrants. And they were the most likely Republicans to agree that it would be “bad for the country” if whites comprised a smaller share of the population.

What’s more, another study found, racially resentful voters flocked to the GOP candidate regardless of their views about the economy. Their views on race drew them to Trump, not their job prospects.

Scores of other data back this up. Despite years of job growth and the biggest one-year bump in middle-class incomes in modern history, another researcher found, Republicans’ views of both African Americans and Latinos nosedived during the Obama years.

Not even a slowdown in immigration itself staunched the venom. Net migration between the U.S. and Mexico fell to 0 during the Obama years, yet Trump still launched his campaign with an infamous tirade against Mexican “rapists” and “murderers.”

None of that is to accuse all Trump voters of racism. But even if the bulk of them were just Republicans following their nominee, the social science strongly suggests that one of our major parties has been captured by whites so anxious about the changing face of America that they were willing to vote alongside the Klan.

That fringe has turned mainstream. The Trump years to come may herald any number of horrors, but the scariest part may be what we’ve learned about ourselves.

Via Otherwords.org

Via The Young Turks “Racists Emboldened By Trump Victory “

6 Responses

    • Yes, they are going to get what they voted for — which is not what they THINK they voted for — and in my angrier moments, I hope they get it good and hard. But the difference between us and them is, they want things to be better for themselves — a natural human feeling — but only for themselves; we want things to be better for everyone. So I’m trying to rise above my anger at their stupid racism; I haven’t succeeded yet, but I am trying. And thanks to Peter Certo for citing facts and explaining them so clearly.

  1. Is the author telling us that the vaunted US system of checks and balances is so fragile that Trump, in a fit of pique because he ran out of magic hair spray, can just whip out the codes and launch?

    You got Trump, who you all deserve, for many reasons.
    But not discussed so far is the Gerrymander in your electoral process and the absolute lock-out on the relief valve of smaller parties.

    If people are going to keep pointing out that the Democrat candidate won the popular vote but didn’t get the presidency, why is that? This is not a new phenomena. Maybe because both parties have played the game of treating electoral redistribution when it was “their turn” is one of the prizes of the election.

    Rule 1. Don’t blame the voters. Not if you ever want them to vote for you.

    The amount of partisan condescension, contempt and outright hate on display on many discussions emanating from the US right now suggests that maybe what has been revealed/released may be a truer reflection of the US. That it is an ugly facade. Perhaps, like Dorian Gray, you have been dragged to the attic and forced to confront the “truth”.

  2. Donald Trump has not been confirmed. Call your Congresspersons and ask them why Trump is not being investigated for racketeering, tax evasion, and having sex with minors?

  3. There’s another elephant in the room. The familiarization of celebrity. There are many Americans who pay very little attention to the news or to politics. They watch sports and game shows and reality TV. The rest of the time, they are busy with their jobs and families.

    So, when a familiar figure like Trump comes along, they immediately are predisposed to view him favorably. Celebrity has an extraordinary ability to both normalize and exalt a person. Celebrity grants the status of kinship. A neighbor of mine (whose heritage is Hispanic and Native American) voted for Trump. Why? “Oh, I like him,” she said. “From way back, I remember him being on TV. He’s good at business, very successful. It’s time someone ran the country like a business.” Then she listed the usual talking points about why not to like Hillary Clinton (Benghazi, email, Clinton Foundation).

    Once a celebrity is gifted with an anointment of fame, his/her fans will defend that person to the death. He or she has become a member of their family. Trump won in the way that Coca-Cola sells: extreme familiarity from years of marketing—along with the extreme repetition in the right-wing sphere of Clinton’s flaws. Racism plays a role, but I wouldn’t discount the hurricane-like force of sheer celebrity.

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