State of the GOP/Trump voters. Help me understand them.

I’ve been trying to understand why a significant part of the GOP electorate support Trump. One theme I keep hearing is that these voters are frustrated with or feel ignored by “the establishment.” Ann Coulter bashed Nikki Haley’s response with this sentiment. It does seem that racism on the part of some Trump supporters plays a part, but is that really all there is to it? I link the following articles as some samples of what I’m talking about, and many other similar articles are out there.

http://news.yahoo.com/why-conservatives-mad-nikki-haleys-173413277.html


As I understand it, most of Trump’s support comes from less educated working class white peoples. Some of the things often mentioned as to why they are frustrated or fearful about include things like stagnant wages, terrorism, and Obamacare. What I don’t understand is why this group is so worked up about some of these issues, and why they think supporting Trump is the way to go. In particular, when it comes to healthcare, wages, and the economy, even if you feel these things are not doing well, why support Trump? Democrats are the ones who support things like increasing the minimum wage, improving access to healthcare, and working to help the middle class by taxing the highest income brackets.

Do these voters think that giving millionaires another tax will benefit them? Do they think being against an increase in the minimum wage will help them? Do they think spending billions on a war in the Middle East will help them, when the chances of dying by terrorist activity of the Islamic extremist variety is something like one in several million?

My positions are as follows.

  1. Things really aren’t all that bad, whether it be terrorism, crime, or jobs. Make America great again? Other than perhaps the late 1990s, I don’t know what time period this was that America was so much greater than we are right now.

  2. Even if you disagree with my above statement, the obvious answer should be to support the Democrats rather than Trump.

  3. I think most of the problems with any kind of political solution that the country faces are due almost entirely to Republican obstructionism. I think this should be fairly obvious to anyone who pays close attention to politics.

Where have I gone wrong with my thinking? Is it really all just about racism and xenophobia? I know that there is still racism in America, but I didn’t think it was that bad. Please her me understand this part of the electorate.

The common clay of the New West … yeah, I know it’s a cliche at this point, but, yes, really.

There is an entire multiple-billion dollar entertainment system that revolves around keeping these people worked up - because it makes that system money. Also, it makes it harder for anyone else to do anything that threatens the current money making system.

It’s about money. It’s always about money.

and why they think supporting Trump is the way to go. In particular, when it comes to healthcare, wages, and the economy, even if you feel these things are not doing well, why support Trump? Democrats are the ones who support things like increasing the minimum wage, improving access to healthcare, and working to help the middle class by taxing the highest income brackets.

Do these voters think that giving millionaires another tax will benefit them? Do they think being against an increase in the minimum wage will help them? Do they think spending billions on a war in the Middle East will help them, when the chances of dying by terrorist activity of the Islamic extremist variety is something like one in several million?
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Mostly, these low-education voters aren’t thinking at all. They are reacting to their worked up feelings. They feel scared. They *feel *threatened. They *feel *angry. They feel shortchanged.

It doesnt’ matter about the truth behind those feelings. That billion dollar system I mentioned isn’t trying to get them to think. It just wants them to feel. When they feel - they spend money on stuff that the system is selling. They watch shows that perpetuate their feelings (not shows that challenge them), increasing the money the system makes from advertising. They interfere with attempts to change the system which would interrupt the system’s current revenue generation.

For these fewers, it doesn’t matter that the facts say that Single Payer helathcare would be more cost effective, and provide better care at lower costs. This disruption would interrupt the current money-generating system. Therefore, the system tells the low-info voters to be afraid of improvements (even shitty ones!). Ditto for clean energy (“Be afraid! The treehuggers are anti-coal!”).

Your mistake is in thinking that Trumps supporters have rational reasons for like him. He’s not appealing to them with rational arguments (seriously - he has none.) He’s appealing to their feelings of fear and anger.

That’s why he’s dangerous of course. He’s brought the gasoline and the lighter to the witchhunt.

I don’t consider myself a low-information voter, and I don’t support Trump.

But neither does my worry about stagnant wages translate to support of the Democrats, because I believe that raising the minimum wage will lead to loss of jobs and an injury to the health of small business.

I mention this to rebut the OP’s inference that no rational voter could fail to support a raise of the minimum wage.

We have a thread where Democrats indicate whom they would like to see as the GOP nominee. I’ve wondered how informed GOP Dopers would answer the same question.

You consider yourself informed, Bricker. The four candidates leading the Iowa polls right now are Cruz, Trump, Rubio, and Carson. Which one is your darling?

Looking at this from afar, what really strikes me is the Trump campaign’s ability to relentlessly set and define the political agenda - Trump is literally running the show. The others are reduced to responding or ignoring - so either chasing or becoming irrelevant.

The spotlight is constantly on him and that can seem like hes the only candidate with a clear message, this is the thing so many people under-estimate: leadership. People may only like a part of his message but at least he’s clear and going places. And, as he likes to remind people all the time, he’s a winner. People love that as well. In a baseball cap.
Imo, his campaign strategy is brilliant. He’s an absolute arse himself but the people he employs are doing a really great job. And that has kind of been the theme of his whole career .

Well, that’s where your argument collapses, isn’t it? :wink:

My neighborhood used to be the top neighborhood in town. It is now maybe the second best. The old time - white - residents are very, very nervous of the others who have moved in. I doubt many are Republicans, even fewer are Trump supporters, but these people are mostly retired and living in million dollar houses, and so have it good - but they are still nervous about becoming a minority.
I can imagine what people who don’t have it so good think.
Trump actually seems to support more taxes on the rich. He is not fanatically against raising the minimum wage. In any case, he is not very differentiated from the other Republicans in these areas. But it is no accident his first speech was about protecting us from those furriners.

Well, Mr. Nitpicker, the OP made no such inference. The OP did not imply that it is irrational for relatively. high paid workers like you and me to not support the minimum wage. However lower paid workers who could benefit directly are another matter. I understand that it is “obvious” that increases in the minimum wage can be harmful, but it is not so clear that this really happens - and other factors may dominate. We’ve had increases here and unemployment keeps decreasing - but due to other factors.
However since Republicans in general are against raising the minimum wage, I can’t see how this can explain support for Trump in particular. so let’s not hijack the thread, okay?

I didn’t mean to imply that there is no rational reason for opposing an increase in the minimum wage. What I’m trying to get at is that a significant part of the Republican electorate seems to be working class White people. The Republucan party, however, seems to be opposed to things that at least at first glance are harmful to the working class. It isn’t just minimum wage increases. Whether it’s being anti-union, cutting social safety net programs like Medicaid, or being opposed to increases in paid maternity leave, the Republicans always seem to be on the side that appears to benefit the rich at the expense of the poor.

Like Bricker, I don’t support Donald Trump. I wouldn’t vote for the guy even if the only alternative was the bastard offspring of Hillary Clinton and Darth Vader.

But your argument is flawed, for the reason that Bricker explained. You say that you think working-class voters should support Democrats over Republicans because the Republicans support things that at first glance are harmful to the working class. But those working class voters may have taken a second glance and believe that the Republican policies are better for the working class. They may believe that the minimum wage leads to small businesses shutting down, workers getting fired, and hours being reduced. They may believe that unions are not good for the working class at all, indeed they may believe that unions primarily consist of and work for the upper middle class, and often seek to shut out poor and lower middle class workers from various professions by legal obstacles. They may have reasons to not like the Medicaid expansion. They may believe that increases in paid maternity leave are expensive, particularly for small businesses, and that it’s better to leave employers and employees free to negotiate maternity leave policies rather than having them imposed by the government.

There are other issues as well. Working class voters may know that Republicans are the main supporters of school voucher programs that would let working-class kids attend private schools, and without which many of their kids would be trapped in public schools that the government itself classifies as failing. They may believe that the Republicans are the best hope for defense against abusive lawsuits that shut down small businesses. They may blame the Democrats for a whole host of petty regulations that raise prices or cost jobs or both.

So to summarize, it may be that some working-class voters simply don’t share your belief that the Democrats are all that and a bag of chips.

Rofl. As I said earlier, contrary to the Wall Street and Beltway shills, most working-class voters do support higher minimum wages, Medicaid expansion, paid maternity leave, and the like-even when they do vote Republican. That’s why for example ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage passed in conservative states like Arkansas in 2014 and why even conservative Republican governors like Bevin in Kentucky won’t be rolling back Medicaid expansion. This post is the political equivalent of Young Earth Creationism tbh-a world where apparently labour unions are the movement of the upper middle-class (unless you think the AMA and the Bar Association are labour unions lmao) and workers are able to negotiate on an equal basis with their employers (apparently without labour unions).

And as I’ve pointed out the appeal of Trumpism is that its both nativist but also defensive of the core of the New Deal/Great Society universal welfare programs such as Social Security and Medicare while denouncing means-tested provisions such as food stamps that go only to small groups of the poor. This is why the “Middle American Radicals” are voting for TRUMP and not some sort of a Wall Street cuckservative who actually believes in what ITR Champion says. More and more, I’m starting to delight and salivate at the prospect of TRUMP annihilating all these normie Koch Brother shills in the coming primaries. The amount of spaghetti spilled on this forum by our neoliberal friends will be a marvel to behold.

There has always been disagreement over the issues, and I conflated two things in my OP. What I’m struggling to understand, however, is not so much the disagreement about the actual issues, but the underlying anger that seems to have taken hold.

I acknowledge that the current USA is not a paradise, but it’s also not one step away from becoming a third world hellhole. Maybe I’m just not paying close enough attention, but it seems like all the Republican candidates except Kasich seem to be claiming that Obama is the worst president ever, that he is ruining the country, and that if we don’t elect them that the country will be permanently ruined. I don’t have a link, but I heard Rubio give a speech yesterday expressing that belief. Maybe I’m just not remembering correctly, but have Republicans, whether they won or lost, run in this manner before 2008? I don’t think that Reagan, either Bush, or Dole ran that type of campaign. It seems to have started with Obama. The part that I just don’t get is that the anger seems to be expressed as being about things being worse than they have ever been. That’s what I don’t see.

How can someone really feel that things were better back in 2008/2009 when Obama took office and we were in the middle of the Great Recession? Do people actually believe that the country is worse off now than it ever was, and on the verge of being ruinned? Do people genuinely believe Obama is the worst president ever, even worse than such luminaries as van Buren, Filmore, and Andrew Johnson?

And do you think that delighting in hate-speech is responsible?

Hate speech of whom? I don’t hate Republicans even-I just want to beat them.

OP, the voters you describe are not Trump supporters, they are Republican supporters. Trump supporters are also angry at the Republican establishment because … well, I’m not certain. Perhaps they feel that the Party has betrayed their own ideals. Ted Cruz supports seem to have a similar vibe.

I suspect that Trumps supporters prefer him over Cruz is that Trump’s blunt demeanor and language just seem inherently more honest, aside from any issues of rationality. He is who he is, and who he is seems clearer to them than any other candidate. I largely agree with them about this, though I can’t put aside all the crazy shit, and they (Trump’s supporters) seem to be completely ok with it.

I think you got your answer already. They are reacting out of irrational fear. That fear has been stoked for 8+ years now by right-wing talk radio, Fox News, and GOP politicians. My in-laws are perfect examples - both retired from union jobs (teacher, mason/carpenter). Both saw their retirement funds take a big hit under the last GOP President. Both have seen their retirement funds and investments rebound and gain under Obama. Together they lived “The American Dream” and have very comfortable middle-class retirements, regularly buying new vehicles, recently purchasing a “snow-bird” home in Florida, etc. But to hear them speak, EVERYTHING IS AWFUL HORRIBLE OBAMA HAS RUINED AMERICA!!! There is absolutely no basis for any of it but they cannot be swayed with data/fact based arguments or by even asking them to just look around them and see their life. AMERICA IS FALLING APART DAMMIT AND OBUMMER IS A SOCIALIST DESTROYING OUR FUTURE!!!

Otherwise they are lovely, intelligent, dotting grandparents, civic minded, and loving people and the best in-laws a guy like me could ever hope for. I just ignore their Facebook posts. :wink:

It does not appear to have worked out that way where tried. Not so far, at least.

I’d really prefer not to see pejoratives like ‘cuckservative’ used in Great Debates.

Or any pejorative, really.

It’s not even used right! That’s the term extreme conservatives use to deride moderate conservatives! It’s very confusing out of context.

Wage inequality, dealing with terrorism, relations in the middle east, healthcare… these are not simple problems with simple solutions. But a typical Trump speech implies that they are. To some voters, this comes across as disingenuous, to others (his supporters I assume) this comes across as blunt and more truthful, while they see his opponents as trying to talk past them as they address all the subtle nuances of these issues.

Also, to some people, the democrats will always be the party that is trying to raise taxes so they can give your hard earned money to the freeloading welfare queen, no matter how false that sentiment is.