I’m speaking of Republicans’ appeal to the less-educated, money-challenged folk. I previously suggested that people turn rightward if they believe that their personal socioeconomic situation is trending south. I had cited analyses of voter trends during the Weimar Republic leading to Hitler’s legitimatization at the polls. As unemployment levels soared, so did the political fortunes of the Nazis. Such conjecturing may be wrong.
Matthew Yglesias, writing for Vox, judged Obama wrong for essentially the same suggestion, that dour economic conditions push people toward conservatism, even if the policies clearly and loudly proclaimed by GOP candidates and operatives would actually render their lives worse off, should they be enacted.
A more plausible theory is to apply Occam’s razor: A substantial minority of white Americans are rallying behind Trump’s white ethnocentric agenda because they are — reasonably — concerned that ongoing demographic changes are threatening white people’s political power in the United States.
In short, racism is alive and now overtly practiced.
Next to weigh in is Digby. She writes:
I wrote about the fallacy that drives too many liberals to assume that Trump’s appeal is a matter of Marxist false consciousness: they may think they hate Mexicans and Muslims and Blacks but really they’re just frustrated that they aren’t doing better economically. (I have to assume these people have never met a rich bigot…) This is the Sanders pitch to Trump voters and I don’t think it will work any better than it ever has because it just isn’t true. Unless Sanders says that he’s ready to deport immigrants and support abusive cops and surveil Muslims and worse, they’re just not going to respond. Their world is not organized around economics, it’s organized around bigotry toward other races and ethnicities (also, feminists and liberals…) Trump gets this and he’s articulating this perfectly — American will be “great again” once we put all these people in their places.
Ugly stuff, especially that last sentence.
I suspect that she is right on the mark, which bodes ill for the idealists among us, those who champion progressive causes and subscribe to the notion that the species is, or is capable of, evolving socially as well as physically. All those struggles should not have been in vain, the idealist avers.