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Another attempt to explain the Trump phenomenon

Monday, Aug 29, 2016

* Sociologist Arlie Hochschild spent five years in Louisiana’s bayou country trying to figure out the folks who eventually turned into Donald Trump supporters. Her new book Strangers in Their Own Land is the result

Strangers in Their Own Land goes beyond the commonplace liberal idea that many on the political right have been duped into voting against their interests. In the right-wing world she explores, Hochschild discovers powerful forces—fear of cultural eclipse, economic decline, perceived government betrayal—which override self-interest, as progressives see it, and help explain the emotional appeal of a candidate like Donald Trump. Hochschild draws on her expert knowledge of the sociology of emotion to help us understand what it feels like to live in “red” America. Along the way she finds answers to one of the crucial questions of contemporary American politics: why do the people who would seem to benefit most from “liberal” government intervention abhor the very idea?

* Hochschild distilled her book down to this essay

What the people I interviewed were drawn to was not necessarily the particulars of these [far right conspiracy] theories. It was the deep story underlying them—an account of life as it feels to them. Some such account underlies all beliefs, right or left, I think. The deep story of the right goes like this:

    You are patiently standing in the middle of a long line stretching toward the horizon, where the American Dream awaits. But as you wait, you see people cutting in line ahead of you. Many of these line-cutters are black—beneficiaries of affirmative action or welfare. Some are career-driven women pushing into jobs they never had before. Then you see immigrants, Mexicans, Somalis, the Syrian refugees yet to come. As you wait in this unmoving line, you’re being asked to feel sorry for them all. You have a good heart. But who is deciding who you should feel compassion for? Then you see President Barack Hussein Obama waving the line-cutters forward. He’s on their side. In fact, isn’t he a line-cutter too? How did this fatherless black guy pay for Harvard? As you wait your turn, Obama is using the money in your pocket to help the line-cutters. He and his liberal backers have removed the shame from taking. The government has become an instrument for redistributing your money to the undeserving. It’s not your government anymore; it’s theirs.

I checked this distillation with those I interviewed to see if this version of the deep story rang true. Some altered it a bit (”the line-waiters form a new line”) or emphasized a particular point (those in back are paying for the line-cutters). But all of them agreed it was their story. One man said, “I live your analogy.” Another said, “You read my mind.”

Lots more stuff in there, so go read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

62 Comments
  1. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:17 am:

    Wow… A link to Mother Jones on the Capfax. Never thought I would see the day.


  2. - OneMan - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:22 am:

    Have to say the essay sounds a lot like what I used to hear from folks in my neck of the woods, perhaps less elegantly from folks in my woods. But all the same.


  3. - Anon - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:25 am:

    The thing that gets me about the essay — though very well worded — is that there are a lot of people that have an effective federal income tax rate of zero or negative that seem to think that “their tax dollars” are going to fund certain things when at the end of the day the only federal taxes they’re paying are for Medicare, Social Security, and use taxes like the federal gas tax.

    To borrow someone else’s terms — there are a lot of takers that think they’re makers that get real upset at other takers.


  4. - Simple Simon - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:25 am:

    The Civil War began before Lincoln even took office, when Southerners felt insulted by the temerity of the country to elect someone who opposed slavery. Pride and emotion can be powerful, but can lead you to take the wrong action. Vote accordingly.


  5. - Simple Simon - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:29 am:

    Now see the story from the perspective of African Americans who tried to join the line 100 years ago but were told they had to wait, and the line lengthened over the horizon while they protested. Trying to get in line in their original position doesn’t seem so unfair.


  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:31 am:

    There certainly is righteous anger at those that enable, abet, cheerlead “line-cutters”. 2 points: the angry should feel doubly cheated that a person like Trimp should be their voice; and that I’m pretty sure none of the line-cutters feel they are….rationalization is a powerful balm to inhibit self analysis.


  7. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:34 am:

    ===Trying to get in line===

    There is no line unless you inherited money. Otherwise, people are elbowing each other all the way to the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow.

    I think the analysis is probably a good one. But their perception of reality is not firm, to say the least. And I think it has to do with believing their white race entitles them a privileged spot in a line that doesn’t exist.


  8. - Ares - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:36 am:

    Reed “Deep South” by Paul Theroux, and you will understand why so much of the South feels left out of the “recovery”. Republican politics have dominated the South for over a decade, and things have no gotten better, a fact that Trump has adroitly exploited, and Hillary has not.


  9. - The Captain - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    If you can convince one half of the poor/working class to fight the other half then, even in a Democracy, you can control the whole thing. It’s a very old strategy that predates the creation of the United States of America (see the Catholics and the Protestants in Ireland). We didn’t invent it, we imported it and it’s apparently still working.


  10. - Federalist - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    Rich, this was a wonderful article and gives an alternative view of which many of the more ‘educated elites’ have no clue. That fact that it came from Mother Jones is quite interesting.

    But you don’t have to go as far as Louisiana to see this. Beardstown and Monmouth have huge meat processing plants. When they first announced their intention it was going to bring JOBS and good paying jobs. Of course, the corporations that own them seem to think that living on $26K a year is a good job. Huge plants, not enough local workers, low wages so that other people form other areas did not want to come there. Hence, just get them from Mexico and Africa. That keeps wages low and the unions nonexistent or very weak.

    Monmouth, despite having a population decline over the last two decades has 23% of its school children being of Hispanic heritage. The Illinois Report card states that the district has 74.5% low income rate and 16% of limited English. This area was never well off but these figures are staggering. So are the overall social, political and economic implications for the county.

    Galesburg also has a significant Mexican school population that has developed rather rapidly over the last 15 years. Yet Maytag closed its plants a few years back and shipped the jobs to, you guessed it, Mexico

    When I tried to discuss these issues with my university colleagues they had no understanding of what I was talking about. They thought I was from another, maybe racist , planet. But it is they who are living in their own little alternative universe quite separate from the people in the community around them.


  11. - Angry Chicagoan - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:47 am:

    Like it. There’s a strong perception in rural and exurban America that a formerly class-based safety net has been set up so as to exclude many people that are in need on grounds seen as “arbitrary.” The center-left in the US simply has not spoken to the white lower-working and lower-middle class’s economic situation in 40 years, until really this election cycle. So the Republicans have simply slid by the last 35 years speaking to their cultural values.


  12. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:50 am:

    How bout the folks just over the cutoff for any kid of help but when they have to pay the full freight (healthcare costs, college tuition), their life is less than those who get help? That, I think is what most people I know are frustrated about. Too moneyed for help, too poor to handle finances without real anxiety.


  13. - Honeybear - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:50 am:

    Holy crap that was a great article. I did not even notice that Trump had not said a word about foodstamps or medicaid. Wow….mindsplode

    Favorite sentence

    Thus, Trump offers the blue-collar white men relief from a taker’s shame:


  14. - Jocko - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    Envy does no one any good…other than being a good distraction from your personal shortcomings.

    I’m willing to bet these same people consider themselves devoted Christians, while at the same time forgetting Rule #10.


  15. - Amalia - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    well, this and “Hillbilly Elegy” aside, we are still talking about white male privilege that at least makes some people way more visible and valued than others in general. speaking from a family with deep Appalachia roots, I get what is felt. actually have been there and know that. but I also get how exploited many white folks were by very wealthy slave owners….quite low percentage of white folks who actually owned slaves and some black folks did too. but that legacy has consequences, both immediate (which mirror these statements even if made in post civil war south) and now… some of which is a lack of understanding of the place that white folks have ahead of black folks. if you participate in trying to keep people from voting in the year 2016 by supporting selfish legislators, you are still allowing problems to persist. lots of awareness needs to be promoted. poor white folks need lots of help in these areas. white poverty is hardly ever discussed. but the reduction of the problem to an analogy of getting in line shows that they need help in understanding too.


  16. - yo - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    Trump
    1. He is an outsider, in that he has never held elected office. People tired of “insiders” (see Rauner’s election + Hillary’s struggles)
    2. Had a hit “reality” tv show.
    3. The US ideal that because someone is rich, that means they must be good/smart.
    4. See 1 thru 3.
    5. He has run a campaign of fear of the “other” which is appealing to many.
    6. He knows there are more white people who vote than any other. See #s of eligible voters.
    7. See #1 thru #3


  17. - illini - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    @Ducky - Mother Jones does do some very, very good reporting. I’ve been a regular reader for a half dozen years, if not more!


  18. - Rasselas - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:04 pm:

    Rich nailed it — most of the white people in that line have absolutely no understanding that they got their position in line based upon the exclusion of all others. It’s like Ann Richards joke about George Bush - born on third base, assumed he hit a triple. Although they cringe at the term, it’s called ‘white privilege.’


  19. - Responsa - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    ==commonplace liberal idea that many on the political right have been duped into voting against their interests. ==

    Interesting article. IMO there’s arrogance and hubris in the oft written assurance/statement that certain people or groups are stupidly voting “against their self interest”. You hear it BOTH from the right and the left–about the left AND the right. It’s (at worst) an ignorant, and (at best) an uninformed concept. Until one actually walks in the moccasins of another person how dare they presume to know what that individual’s self interest is?


  20. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    When those with white privilege are working to the exclusion of other groups, why is it assumed that they’re doing well? Why do some people assume that if you’re not a minority the entire world is open to you and there are no limits? We sure haven’t experienced that as a non-minority and neither have our children! And we’re sinking fast! It’s really irritating that people can’t see the middle class as a group of people of all racial entities, all of them paying to prop up the bottom and protect the top from having to pay more! And those at the top are getting real nervous as the number of us in the middle are dropping, dropping down and not able to pay for those already there. As in the Millionaire Tax advisory, they are being looked at to pitch in and they don’t like it.


  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:11 pm:

    Real incomes for the 99% have been stagnant since the first oil shock of the mid-70s threw the economy into chaos.

    That followed the post-WWII generation’s bull-run of increased consumer affluence, largely driven by the boom in homeownership, a result of government initiatives to standardize assessment and credit practices plus opening the housing market to national and international capital through mortgage securities.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/09/for-most-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/

    https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/owner.html


  22. - NoGifts - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:11 pm:

    What this highlights to me is “feelings are not facts.” Education gives us the tools to figure out the difference.


  23. - blue dog dem - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    Old Blue doesn’t understand much about Sociology, but what I do get is the fact that our country is losing its sovereignty over these rotten trade deals. Repubs and Dems alike have sold out our low tech manufacturing To appease a few special interest groups. Take this little tidbit from TPP: say for instance that Lincoln,IL wants to write a procurement spec, and in it they want to buy two pickup trucks. And they want these trucks manufactured in the USA. Well within the boundaries of TPP, korea and China say whoa, this isn’t allowable in the trade agreement. This is then subject to aWTO type arbitration.

    I say that’s bs.

    If this means I am mad at people jumping ahead of me in line. Then fine. All I want out of life is that the people jumping in that line our Americans.


  24. - Federalist - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    I would also like someone to explain to me the Clinton Phenomenon.

    The fact that she just keeps showing up again and again in the Presidential races, and may win the big one, fascinates me.

    I don’t get why anyone would think after all of these years, based upon her record and lack thereof, that she is that great.


  25. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:01 pm:

    I don’t at all feel that minorities are being put in line ahead of me. Whites have had privilege and dominated in this country since day one–white males. Pretending victimhood is disingenuous and may cover up feelings of racism.

    The ultimate irony is that some people who feel the poor and disadvantaged are getting over on them allow themselves taken by the likes of Rauner and Trump, two people who are very much out for themselves and other super-rich people.


  26. - Joe Biden Was Here - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:34 pm:

    It’s a privilege to stand at the front of the line.


  27. - Publius - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:38 pm:

    Interesting that the concept in this essay makes it out that the line in toward the Dream as if only one at a time can achieve the dream.

    I see the line as the starting line of which more people are being allowed to start at. They are not being moved downed in the line just the same point and not starting the race behind others


  28. - Nonsense - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:02 pm:

    Ah, the myth of white privilege. I know many “white” people who have not experienced this “white privilege ” some people speak of. Based on their socio-economic status they are as discriminated against as anyone. Unlike the rich and politically-connected who are advanced by their inherited wealth and connections, the non-black underclass is as screwed as black americans say they are in this rigged system. Even this site and its commentators discriminate against people based on either wealth or connections. The “white privilege” catch phrase is just one more mind trick of liberals who believe that middle and working class wealth should be redistributed. We know that the political elite and their crony pals won’t suffer any ill-effects resulting from the “line-cutters.”


  29. - Glenn - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:03 pm:

    Thomas Frank explains in his “Listen, Liberal”

    “It is a widespread belief among liberals that if only Democrats can continue to dominate national elections, if only those awful Republicans are beaten into submission, the country will be on the right course.

    “But this is to fundamentally misunderstand the modern Democratic Party. Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming.”

    Doing the same thing over again and again, and expecting a different result is insane.


  30. - H.A. - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:03 pm:

    Great piece.

    It made me think of the Bob Dylan song, “Only a Pawn in Their Game”:

    The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
    And the marshals and cops get the same
    But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
    He’s taught in his school
    From the start by the rule
    That the laws are with him
    To protect his white skin
    To keep up his hate
    So he never thinks straight
    ‘Bout the shape that he’s in
    But it ain’t him to blame
    He’s only a pawn in their game.


  31. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:07 pm:

    “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Lyndon B. Johnson


  32. - VanillaMan - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:10 pm:

    Really?
    There are two nominations.
    Democrats had lost nearly 1000 state and federal officeholders since 2010. Both parties had a revolution, but Clinton and her DNC insiders kept Bernie out.

    The GOP had a revolution. Trump beat them all. He got the other nomination.

    So 2016 is between the Wicked Queen and the Drunk Uncle.

    You want change, you pick the Drunk Uncle. If you don’t, you got the Wicked Queen.

    Neither are worthy of being president.

    How is it that no one is wondering how half the US wants to elect the wife of an impeached ex-president? Why is it that Mother Jones can’t seem to recognize that supporting Mrs.Clinton is just as weird as supporting Trump? Nah. That would be a thought that never crossed their minds.

    I’m tired of reading one sided analysis.


  33. - Slippin' Jimmy - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    Very interesting article-thanks Rich. It appears after reading the essay LA will be in the Trump column. This probably explains why Trump was there during the recent flooding, Obama was a tardy, seemingly reluctant show and most importantly, Clinton was both silent and obviously absent. Looks like all three see the same picture.


  34. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:13 pm:

    === I know many “white” people who have not experienced this “white privilege ” ===

    Which is what the whole story above is about. You obviously didn’t read a word of it, or maybe one word.

    Try again, goofball.


  35. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:14 pm:

    Looks like projection to me.


  36. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:42 pm:

    I’m not sure VanillaMan read the piece either.


  37. - Fred - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:59 pm:

    Excellent article.
    I’m usually baffled by any poll showing Trump in double digits. But that’s just the little bubble I live in. The article gave me a bit of a window.

    More troubling is the way these communities are evolving, and not just in LA. The toxic brew of economic decline, family instability, isolation and addiction is not going to be easily reversed.

    I don’t see either party with a credible approach.


  38. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 3:16 pm:

    This reminds me of people who helped shape my political views. These are family members and sometimes friends. They say stuff like they’re angry that they work while welfare recipients fill shopping carts with expensive food and pay with Link on their dime.

    What makes it worse–far worse to me–is that some of these critics received public assistance themselves. Maybe they think they’re the entitled ones.

    I never hear them complain that wealthy businesses and individuals get tax breaks that they don’t need.


  39. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 3:18 pm:

    Thanks Rich for the link. Great article.

    Trump has been making an emotional sale, where the details of the facts don’t matter as much as the emotional effect of the decision. The deep story is the basis for his emotional sale.

    And the people at the low end of the economic scale are right to feel that great forces are moving against them. And that the people in charge of government have not been helping them.

    Bringing China and India into the market economy had the side effect of creating great competition among the semi-skilled workers of the world. Relative wages among groups of workers shifted in response.

    NAFTA was supposed to allow the free movement of goods so that people did not need to move. When immigration laws were not enforced, even the jobs that could not move became subject to wage competition from foreigners.

    None of this helped the unskilled and semi-skilled American workers. They may not have lost in absolute terms, but they clearly lost in relative terms.


  40. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 3:43 pm:

    ==I’m tired of reading one sided analysis.==

    Then perhaps you might read the article. If you did you might understand the point of the article.

    As for your whining about “one sided analysis,” get over it. This constant victim mentality gets annoying. You want different analysis? Go read something else. There’s lots of material out there.


  41. - The Fool On The Hill - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 3:56 pm:

    The Unblackening continues.


  42. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 3:58 pm:

    ===How is it that no one is wondering how half the US wants to elect the wife of an impeached ex-president? ===

    His numbers went up after he was impeached.

    But, to answer your question, she’s far more of a traditional candidate than Trump. You admitted it yourself in your comment.


  43. - vole - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    Another excerpt from this book:
    http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/37404-donald-trump-in-the-bayou

    “It mattered little to him that Donald Trump would not reduce the big government he so fervently wanted cut, or that The Donald was soft on the pro-life, pro-marriage positions he valued, or that he hadn’t uttered a peep about the national debt. None of it mattered because Trump, he felt, would switch off that marginalization machine and restore the honor of his kind of people, of himself. Mike knew that liberals favored care for the environment far more than Republicans, Tea Partiers, or Donald Trump. Yet, despite his lost home in a despoiled land, like others of his older white neighbors back at the Bayou and here in the Basin, Mike was foursquare for Trump; that’s how deeply his pride was injured and a measure of just how much that injury galled him.

    What would Trump do to prevent another calamity like Bayou Corne with its methane-drenched mud, its lost forest, its dead fish? He has been vague on many of the policies he might pursue as president, but on one thing he was clear: he would abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.”


  44. - VanillaMan - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    I read it!
    It reads like a Victorian Age missionary’s description of indigenous tribes in Borneo.

    “Here’s what they won’t tell you.” That is about as patronizing a statement as could be written.

    There is no phenomenon gathering in any part of the US that can’t be found elsewhere. Lower class people vote for both parties. Ignorant people vote for both parties. For every attempt to “understand the Trump voter”, there are video interviews of foolish statements made by Obama and Clinton supporters.

    “How Donald Trump took a narrative of unfairness and twisted it to his advantage.” Change the name to Huey Long, or Jesse Jackson, or Jimmy Carter and the exact thing could be written.

    Treating your opponents supporters like this is insulting. You divide the American people. It’s wrong.


  45. - Demoralized - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 4:17 pm:

    ==You divide the American people.==

    Newsflash. They’re already divided. And this story attempts to explain some of the reasons why.

    And if you can’t see how this election is different than other elections then you aren’t very observant.


  46. - blue dog dem - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 4:25 pm:

    Vanilla. Good stuff.


  47. - blue dog dem - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 4:38 pm:

    LastBullMoose@3:18. I agree with some of your thoughts, but must remind you that India, China, Mexico does not have to deal with OSHA,EPA or a horde of trial lawyers. Trade deals are supposed to level playing fields, not tilt them.


  48. - Vole - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 4:42 pm:

    Vman. I did put some faces and names I have known from along the Illinois River towns while reading that story. But that Bayou country is really a horse of a different color. There really is a difference too between “treating” or “insulting” and attempting to understand the cognitive dissonance that many find baffling. I commend the author for trying.


  49. - GraduatedCollegeStudent - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 4:44 pm:

    How is it that no one is wondering how half the US wants to elect the wife of an impeached ex-president?

    Probably because she was also a US Senator from New York for 8 years and a former Secretary of State.

    That seems relevant.


  50. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 4:47 pm:

    BDD. Fair point. We shipped vast quantities of recyclable material to China, mainly because of wage differentials and cheap backhaul rates, but also because they did not have to follow safe procedures for handling some of the material. Computers and batteries are very hazardous to handle.


  51. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 5:13 pm:

    =I never hear them complain that wealthy businesses and individuals get tax breaks that they don’t need==

    Really? The advisory vote spoke loud and clear from many people in this state that we want more financial contributions from the wealthy!!! And what did that accomplish? The wealthy are the Untouchables in the US. Since they make the laws and run the show, how on earth would they ever generously offer to help?


  52. - Emily Booth - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 5:15 pm:

    I’m from a blue collar family. I worked for the welfare department. When I read that 66% of the residents thought Obama was Muslim, I lost interest.


  53. - Federalist - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 7:35 pm:

    Have no idea why 66% thought Obama is Moslem. But then again I am not one who goes around shouting about how everyone should vote.

    The Moslem community did give Obama overwhelming support in the last election according to his site and the site seems reputable. The data is most enlightening.

    American Muslims. (AP)

    (CNSNews.com)

    – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released the results of an informal exit poll on Friday that shows more than 85 percent of American Muslim voters picked President Barack Obama in Tuesday’s election.

    That number is lower than a similar poll conducted in 2008 that showed 89 percent of American Muslims cast a ballot for Obama.

    CAIR conducted the informal survey of 650 American Muslim voters, with just 4 percent of respondents stating that they voted for Mitt Romney.

    Poll findings:
    •95.5 percent of the Muslim voters said they went to the polls on Nov. 6.
    •85.7 percent cast their ballots to re-elect President Obama.
    •4.4 percent of respondents said they voted for Mitt Romney.
    •States with the highest number of survey respondents (in descending order) were California, New York, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Florida, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio.
    •41.5 percent said they consider themselves Democrats. A similar number, 40.6 percent, consider themselves politically independent. Only 7.4 percent said they are Republican.


  54. - Jorge - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 8:13 pm:

    Decent article overall. The reasons for Drumpf are numerous but the main component is race. Times are a changing and a lot of the electorate is afraid and resorting to tribalism.


  55. - Rasselas - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 8:25 pm:

    Nonsense - you just don’t get it. White privilege is not about being white AND privileged. It’s about the privilege you automatically get in this society by being born white. If you can’t see that, you’re choosing not to see it.


  56. - Daniel Plainview - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 8:32 pm:

    Haven’t had time to read the whole thing, but growing up in rural western Illinois I’ve seen this mentality. I would point out that the viewpoint has largely been created and promoted by politicians, it isn’t necessarily organic.


  57. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 8:49 pm:

    There are different cultures among us. Different value sets. How we behave and what we strive for determines a lot about how things turn out. Whatever race or culture you may be, sure thing is that if you perceive yourself as victimized, you probably will fulfill that prophecy.


  58. - Lynn S. - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 11:42 pm:

    I read the Mother Jones article, and I’ve got at least one quibble with it.

    The author fails to make clear if her subject, the insurance agent, owned the trailer park, or was a manager collecting rents for an absentee owner. If, as I suspect, Ms. Galicia was an owner, she’s upper-middle class to upper class. 80 rents X $100 or $200/month X 12 months/year works out to a decent chunk of change, even after you pay tenant’s water, garbage, 2 employees, and various taxes (employment, property, etc.) and unpaid rents.

    Ms. Galicia (a Thomas Picketty-style rentier) may seem exotic to someone from the author’s social/economic caste, but she’s not as poor as she whines about being. Would be fascinating to see her W-2s/1099s, and final tax returns, but that would ruin the premise of the story…


  59. - the old man - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 8:13 am:

    Thanks Rich for this analysis. Never in my 60 years in politics have I seen so many disaffected people involved. Look at the numbers in the GOP primaries this year including the record numbers right here in Illinois to understand Hochchild’s premise. These line standers cannot complain out loud in fear of being called racist and worse but they can and they will vote to right the wrongs they feel. Many colonists were scared of the Red Coats but they carried off the Revolution.


  60. - LibertyvilleNick - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 8:35 am:

    This isn’t hyperbole but reality. I was in line at Walmart in Waukegan. I watched a woman pay cash for her electronics and used her Link card for food. ‘Poor’ is a relative term and the system doesn’t work for those who really need it. Liberals are running out of tools to get votes.


  61. - LibertyvilleNick - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 8:38 am:

    ‘Daniel Plainview’-100% agree.


  62. - @MisterJayEm - Tuesday, Aug 30, 16 @ 2:01 pm:

    I popped in to say something very similar to this, but Rich already did: “I think it has to do with believing their white race entitles them a privileged spot in a line that doesn’t exist.”

    – MrJM


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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