It is a mystery that has stumped many a great mind … why do some people vote against their own economic interests? Why do so many white, low and middle income voters keep electing Republicans whose agenda is diametrically opposed to their wants and needs?
In today’s New York Times, Nicholas Kristof tries to tackle that conundrum. In a piece titled, “In Trump Country, Shock at Trump Budget Cuts, but Still Loyalty,” Kristof interviews a number of Trump voters in the deep red state of Oklahoma.
Almost all of the Trump voters questioned will be adversely affected by White House proposals to ax programs they have depended on … in order to pay for Trump’s border wall and increase in military spending.
But while these Trump supporters are upset, Kristof warns Democrats not to be too gleeful. The prospect of winning over these “penitent voters” is still a long shot.
They do not regret their vote.
Even if Trump’s harmful budget cuts go through, Kristof found none regretted their votes and all said they might vote for Trump in 2020.
Kristof notes “some of the loyalty seemed to be grounded in resentment at Democrats for mocking Trump voters as dumb bigots, some from a belief that budgets are complicated, and some from a sense that it’s too early to abandon their man.”
My belief is that the loyalty Trump voters show towards their man is partly grounded in a deep, visceral hatred of liberal ideology, in general. The very concept of multiculturalism scares them to death. They fear for a future when whites will be in the minority. They long for the good old days when “others” knew their places. They see the Republican Party as their vehicle for getting them to their dreamed of promised land.
In a recent article for The Nation, Sean McElwee and Jason Mc Daniel write, “In short, our analysis indicates that Donald Trump successfully leveraged existing resentment towards African Americans in combination with emerging fears of increased racial diversity in America to reshape the presidential electorate, strongly attracting nativists towards Trump and pushing some more affluent and highly educated people with more cosmopolitan views to support Hillary Clinton. Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics.”
While it sounded sophomoric at the time, Trump’s campaign slogan of “Making America Great Again” was pure marketing genius.
Photo | Andrea Morales/New York Times