Help me understand the anger of Trump voters / working class white people.

In the thread about being surprised by Trump’s success, Doughnut King posted in post 28 about what he feels is driving the core Trump constituency. This was responded to in post 50 of that thread by RTFirefly. I don’t want to hijack that thread so I started this one. The claim seems to be that working class white people and blue collar workers feel angry about the current situation the country is in. Well paying manufacturing jobs have moved to other countries. The other part of the claim, which I don’t understand, seems to be that the Democrats are the party of minorities. Objectively this is true, as the Democtatic candidate for president usually does quite well with African-American and Hispanic voters. The part that I don’t get is how this gets twisted around so that working class white people believe that this means that Democrats don’t have their interests at heart.

Let’s start with the traditional Republican and Democratic positions. Republicans favor tax cuts for the wealthy, a health care system run by private for profit insurance companies, fewer regulations on big business such as the oil companies, and unlimited corporate influence on elections that culminated in Citizens United. Democrats are in favor of an expanded social safety net such as the Medicaid expansion that came with Obamacare, better consumer protections, a progressive tax system where the wealthy pay more, and increased consumer protections.

The way I see it, the working class white blue collar people have been lied to by FOX news, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc. At the same time, the typical Republican politician is better at politics than the typical Democratic politician, leading to the losses in congress. I see two ways that my argument could be flawed. The first is that maybe, through my own ignorance, I am misrepresenting the typical Republican and Democratic positions. The second is that even if I have represented these positions accurately, that the Republican positions do in fact benefit working class white people while the Democratic positions don’t benefit them. I don’t believe that I’m mistaken on either count, but please enlighten me if you have a different viewpoint.

Note that while I believe the typical Democratic politician is worse at politics, I do not believe that they are worse at governing, in fact I believe the opposite.

Because people tend to see things as us vs. them. Black and Hispanic voters would be suspicious of a pro-white party for the same reason.

In the thread about underestimating Trump supporters, it was brought up that rather than class or intelligence being an indicator of whether a person will support Trump, it is their way of thinking. Trump supporters tend to be rule following, black and white thinkers. They feel they have to been following the rules and their position in life is worsening. They are realizing that the American dream/exceptionalism is going away if it ever existed and they are mad. They are mad at the elites so they pick an outsider. It doesn’t have to be logical. Along with the anger, there is also a lot of fear for the future.

I would argue that the Sanders supporters are just the other side of the same coin without the anti-immigrant stance.

I think it’s possible that, at least in part, this Trumpism is the last gasp of the bigots. Not the hardcore bigots who long for the return of the antebellum South, but the everyday “blacks just need to work harder and stop being criminals!” racists, and “too many illegal Mexicans are hurting the economy and causing crime!” racists, and “I’m scared of the Muslims” bigots, and the “gay and trans people are going too far for rights” bigots, and similar. I think there are tens of millions of these folks, and these feelings have always been around, but are simmering up to the top of their list of grievances as the country seems to be changing too rapidly for them to understand.

I think this will be mostly over in the next decade or two as the vast majority of these people die. And I don’t think there are enough of them at present to elect Trump, though I’m not certain about this.

I kind of understand this. I get the sentiment. What I don’t get is the grouping. It is an us vs. them, but in reality the “them” are the rich plutocrats of the world like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson. I think the average working class white person has a lot more in common with a working class African-American or Hispanic person than they do with Charles Koch. Why they would think the opposite is what I don’t get.

Yes, true… but most people just don’t think that way.

The difference is that Sanders picks the correct them. It’s the plutocrats on Wall Street that he correctly blames rather than pitting the poor and working class one race against the other.

How does taxing and spending in order to create a dependency class advance the position of the working class?

But assume I’m not a bigot.

Assume I don’t mind gay and trans people; were I gay or trans, the Democrats would be fighting for me – but I’m not gay or trans. Were I black, hey, the Democrats are out there championing affirmative action and agreeing with Black Lives Matter – but I’m not black. Were I female, they’re pro-choice and want women to earn more money on the job – but I’m not female. They’re more tolerant of Muslims? I’m not Muslim. They want to expand benefits for people who aren’t working? I’m working.

Even if I have no problem with any of that, what would they do for me? Raise my taxes? Take away my guns? Give me a lecture on checking my privilege?

What’s in it for me?

(Don’t get me wrong, I still vote for Democrats – but it’s not because I think they’re out to better my situation; it’s because I think the alternative is worse.)

Undoubtedly why Sanders has such broad appeal to older blue collar types. Too bad he doesn’t appeal more to young college ideological types who are fresh faced and eager for all that socialist change he is touting, right?


The trouble is, though you might think Sanders hits it on the head with his simplistic ‘plutocrats on Wall Street’ being to blame for everything and all we have to do is universal health care and free education, not everyone else sees it that way…especially the blue collar white working class folks who are getting behind Trump. And racism isn’t the only answer to why they are, either. You guys are like one trick ponies on the racism is the root of everything Trump meme. As big as the racism angle I think is just the fact that a lot of folks are fed up with the Dems verse Republicans game playing in Washington. Trump (and Sanders for that matter) is seen as an outsider, one who will shake things up. The fact that this isn’t what will happen, and really what we will get is Jimmy Carter all over again is beyond most peoples ability to understand, because they don’t understand how our system actually works. Hell, they aren’t alone…looking at a lot of posts on this board, which is supposed to be comprised of the smartest people on the interwebs, a lot of folks here don’t seem to get it either. Nor do our elected officials in Washington, Democrat OR Republican. This dysfunction in our political system is, IMHO, what people are angry at and they are turning to Trump to fix. Yeah, that’s stupid and ignorant, and I think he’s a disaster, and he’s playing that segment of the voting public like this is a game of Survivor and just trying to stay on the island for one more day…but perception trumps (so to speak) reality, and they THINK he will, which is all that counts wrt his voting block.

Where in the world is cured of xenophobia?

You are missing another racial demographic there. Asians.

Asians vote Democratic more consistently than Hispanics.

On paper, Asians should be majority Republican. Back in the 1990s Asians were in fact voting Republican. But the Republican party isn’t what it used to be.

Low taxes just aren’t enough to get us to vote for the party that panders to racists.

What I meant by other sides of the coin was that they are both tapping into the fear & anger of whites and offering simplistic solutions to complex problems that won’t do much to help their supporters.

If there was some magic wand that allowed both agendas to be passed AND paid for, the underlying problems would still not be fixed. You could take the 1%s money and deport them AND the illegals and build a wall to keep them both out. You can cancel all the trade deals, enact tariffs, give out free education and health care and what the hell does that do to fix the underlying realities of today’s world. The poor/working/middle classes will still be competing globally in a cruel hard world that doesn’t give a shit about how the world is supposed to be but just is what it is.

Indiscriminate bombing of terrorists & their families vs. pacifism in face of those terrorists. One will create more terrorists bent on revenge. The other will allow the existing terrorists to proliferate.

Eliminate nuclear energy and fracking will just drive up energy prices and lead the use of more dirty coal since fracking produces cleaner natural gas. A unregulated drill baby drill energy policy is bull shit as well. Some regulation is good.
I want a President who is realistic and pragmatic and realizes in the real world sometimes one has to make hard choices and compromise. Being economic and scientifically literate as well would be nice too.

Who says racism is everything?

But it seems like even you think that racism is part of it.

Even me? :stuck_out_tongue: Yeah, I think racism is definitely a big part of this…I agree with much of what iiandyiiii said in the first post in this thread. But there is another large element to all this. However, in most of these threads it’s only the racism angle that’s talked about.

You would be living in a better world - more just, more kind, more generous. Your children would grow up seeing that social justice works to make life better for all of us. Better educational opportunities for the majority of our citizens will lead to increased earning potential and new discoveries. Better economic choices will mean better economic prosperity for everyone - including white men. Your daughters will have bigger futures. Science will be bring advances to everyone - inlcuding white men. Diverse points of view will lead to richer cultural and artistic growth. Will be the land of opportunity for all our children.

This sounds like a fairytale - but it’s already true. We live in a better world today than our parents did, and they grew up in a better than their parents. The things that make our world special all come from the efforts of previous generations to grow and change beyond the constraints of oppressive generations. Life is better today than it was forty or even twenty years ago. Our future is brighter and closer - because we jettisoned centuries of ideas about religion, race, and gender.

We’re on a golden path but we couldn’t be here today without the efforts and participation of white men who looked at the oppression faced by different races and genders and thought, “that’s not right.” Making the world a better place for all our fellow travelers is an act that improves the lot of everyone who witnesses it.

White men are not the enemy. The enemy is the people who seek to divide us by appealing to fear and jealousy.

That’s the answer to your question, “What’s in it for me?” That question is actually about your soul.

Will you be one who lifts your fellows up into the future, or will you be the crab, pulling your compatriots down into captivity? That’s what this election is about. What kind of soul do you have? What kind of world do you want? When you die, how will be remembered? Will you be a generous person? A kind person? Will you leave the world a better place?

If the answer is yes, well - you’ll see your reward all around you.

The dependency class will always be there, it’s not created by government spending. The purpose of spending on a social safety net is to prevent the “dependency” class from sliding into total squalor. And all that spending on the social safety net doesn’t discriminate. It benefits the poor regardless of their race. If we had the revenue for it, we could move up the ladder and implement programs to provide more services to the working class as well as the poor. Things like universal healthcare and improved access to, though probably not totally free, higher education.

I’m singling this statement out, because I think it speaks to the core of what a lot of Trump supporters believe. Now most of this is based of anecdotal, so take it as you will.

The average blue collar/working class white person is a proud, simple folk. They don’t have aspirations of working in some fancy Wall Street hedge fund or launching some app in Silicon Valley. Although he heard that nerdy kid from freshman year who “didn’t quite fit” might be up to something like that.

All working class people really want is to go to their job, earn enough to pay their bills, have a beer with their pals and do some barbequing with the family on the weekends. Possibly send Junior to State U so he can do a bit better.

Now in the past, they have always been able to find a job and so long as they put in the work, they could keep it. The only people who had trouble keeping jobs were people who slacked off or showed up drunk and got fired. Maybe people from the minority sections of town who always seemed to be in some sort of legal trouble.

So for these people, as more and more jobs get shipped overseas and work gets harder to come by, they lose their sense of pride and become very resentful. They don’t understand concepts like globalization or industry disruption, but they understand not being able to pay their bills and they see the government working very hard to give more entitlements to the very people who in their minds weren’t willing to put in the work in the first place. So as they become “those people” they despise, they don’t think “yes, we could really use those social safety nets”. They think “I can find a job because ‘those people’ are lazy and shiftless dragging everyone else down and those fancy double-talking politicians are letting it happen.”
Basically, in a nutshell, these are people who tend to live in a relatively simple and insular world that they understand. As technology and globalization intrude on that world, making it more diverse, more complex, more dependent on vast integrated networks and more confusing, it makes those people angry and frightened.

**Merneith **- No one says “I want to create a shittier world”. Supporters for every single candidate think their path is the right one to that better world.

Mecca. They welcome Muslims of all nations and colors equally.

And if Salman Rushdie shows up?