As a student of American civilization, I continue to work to understand what drives supporters of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. The many media narratives to choose from are universally simplistic and self-reinforcing. The more I read, the more muddled my thoughts become.
The people I know who support Trump do not fit the narratives being peddled, and the people I know who should fit those narratives are not Trump supporters. One thing I know for sure is that the simplistic characterization of Trump followers as rural working-class white “trash” is an easy crutch for urban elites, but a false one.
I have been thinking about this and reading about it for months, for years, if you go back to the rise of the Tea Party movement, but even still I cannot form my thoughts into prose. I will delete the many paragraphs I have spent so long writing and instead simply link to a few of the stories I have found most compelling and enlightening. They don’t all agree with each other, but they are all good food for thought.
As I write this the odds are somewhere in the 90% range that Hillary Clinton will be the next president. But even if she wins, and even if the Democrats take back control of one or both houses of Congress, the Trump supporters are not going to disappear, and the problems of rural whites are not going to magically get better.
Two perspectives of the urban vs rural divide and the plight of the white working class, the first more irreverent than the second:
- How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind
- Dangerous idiots: how the liberal media elite failed working-class Americans
A long read that discusses the social science around white nationalism and traces its roots and effects around the world, going back to World War II:
And finally, two articles discussing recent books on the subject, Strangers In Their Own Land, about the Tea Party movement, and Hillbilly Elegy, a memoir of growing up in an Ohio steel town: