Why Poor White Males Are the Core of Trump’s Support
This is not hard to understand. Wages for working class white males peaked in 1968, forty-eight years ago. Coincidentally, I was born 1968.
I am not young.
For their entire working lives, conditions for working class males have been getting worse.
“Free trade” has not worked for them. China joined the WTO in 2000. Here’s what happened.
Now, imagine that chart adjusted for population increases.
So, for damn near 48 years, poor whites have done terribly. For forty-eight years, ordinary politicians have promised to do something about it, and nothing has improved.
Do not tell me, or them, that they are “privileged.” Yes, it is better to be poor and white than poor and black, and better to be a poor white man than a poor white woman, but people who are in pain do not react well to some smug, upper-middle-class jerk telling them they are privileged when their lives are clearly terrible.
It is a FACT that working class whites will not see any improvement worth mentioning under any normal politician, including Clinton. They may see an improvement under Trump, they certainly would under Sanders.
They are voting for what they see as their interests, and they are not necessarily wrong. Certainly, Trump is more likely to help than Clinton, as the chance of Clinton helping them is zero. Zip. Nada.
It is insanity to expect poor white males to accept 48 years of decline and not get angry. It’s perfectly reasonable for them to respond to a man who offers them a better life in a way that is different from all the politicians who have failed them in the past.
Trump does not feel or campaign like an ordinary politician. Poor whites read this as: “He might not betray us like all the normal politicians do.”
At the least, it is worth a try.
Now, when I say “poor whites,” smart people should hear “people who are willing to be violent.”
Who mans America’s actual fighting regiments? That’s right, poor whites.
Who are your police? Who are your prison guards?
Right. Even if they make decent money as a cop or guard, they’re poor whites by culture: Scots-Irish core.
These are bad people to alienate to the point where they are willing to turn, en-masse, to a demagogue.
You may not like this, but the cold reality is that you need to keep the people who enjoy violence under control and, ideally happy–wanting other things more than they want to crack skulls. At the least, you make sure that they spend all their time killing and hurting each other and poor brown people, not their “betters.”
You have to be real stupid to lose control of your society’s fighting class. You have to be real stupid to degrade them over a period of decades, to employ them en-masse in jobs where they beat up other people.
Demonizing poor white men as “trailer trash” has simply alienated them. Telling them they are all sexist, racist scum has not “raised their consciousness.” Strangely, they don’t think that all the people who tell them they’re bad are right. Instead, they think those people are assholes.
In many cases, they’d like to give a good beating to said assholes. For example, Kevin Williamson:
If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy—which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog—you will come to an awful realization. … The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die.
You have treated these people like shit. You know how you get treated at bad jobs? Like disposable trash who can be ordered to do anything?
People become how they are treated. You have to feed the better parts of them if you want those parts to win. If half the “good jobs” available to these people jobs that involve violence, if the remaining non-violent jobs (manufacturing) are disappearing, and if the rest of their jobs are ass, you should not be surprised that they become mean.
You make them this way, then you demonize them for it.
Trump does not talk to these people like he despises them. (Neither does Bernie.)
Clinton does. She’s pandering, she knows it, and it comes through. The disdain drips.
The quality of life for the average “white male” peaked in 1968. Then, you call them trash, they have almost no good jobs, and you’re surprised they’re angry? You think they aren’t human? You think they are Jesus, and can be treated like crap for longer than most of them have been alive and that there won’t be consequences? You think that because other people are treated even worse, they will sublimate their own mistreatment?
Worse, you marginalized them and then used them as your primary violent enforcers?
That’s not just immoral, that’s crazy stupid.
Remember, they don’t just hate people who are brown. They hate most rich whites. And by rich, they mean a lot more people than the actual rich.
Treat people like trash, and don’t be surprised when they come back to bite you.
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