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Trump’s Minority

So far, approval ratings for Trump are staying in the 35-40% range no matter what happens. We have an identification of his solid base, and it’s quite large. Larger than many of us would like to see, and large enough that removing him through impeachment is going to be traumatic unless something changes.

The media concentrated on economic issues through the election and beyond, but it’s clear that they have little to nothing to do with the situation. They are excuses, code words, and easy answers for the media who assumed we were in ordinary times, but that’s just plain wrong.

So who are his supporters? What motivates them? I’m going to take a stab at this based on what I have seen in the media which appeals to them (ie, Fox Breitbart, et al) and their general response to events. My purpose in doing so is to help us through the coming impeachment, and I do think it’s coming. The nation is divided enough, and if we don’t at least understand each other things are only going to get worse.

They aren’t all like this.

First of all, it may well be that the 35% or so is not the real hardcore base for Trump. Many people who voted for him are simply not that connected to the news cycles and are generally going to stay with him until something very big changes their mind. Since we don’t have Mueller report yet, we can’t say how large that group is. These will be Republicans who simply trust the leadership and have their own lives to lead, not paying close attention.

This is one group that I will not discuss, as they are not people we need to worry about. I think that when the time comes they will be engaged adequately, and they are generally not part of any strong division in the nation.

But who else is there? I see three groups:

Pictures like this upset some people.  

Racial Purists: If someone unveils a Nazi flag, you know where they stand. But there are many white Americans who see the nation getting darker, don’t like it, and still don’t say much. This is the appeal of the anti-immigration group. There is a mainstream component to this, voiced by Laura Ingraham in racist dog-whistle easily heard by everyone: “Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people. And they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.”

The idea here is that America is more Latino largely because of immigration, which is not only racist but wrong. In truth, white birthrates have dropped, meaning that everyone angrily carrying a tiki torch would be better off spending their time mellowing out and looking for a girlfriend if they really care about the issue. Alas, that would be accepting blame, or at least digging into the need to work really long hours to get ahead.

In short, there are economic issues at the core of this ripping apart families, but the racial purists are scared by a changing America and looking for someone to blame.

Clinton is the ultimate symbol of uppity women.  That scares some people.

Traditionalists: This group is less racist and more … well, racist and sexist. The issue at hand is not about America becoming darker, but about dark people not knowing their place. But it’s more than that. Women don’t know their place, either, nor do gays and pot smokers and socialists. It’s all about leadership and who benefits from this thing called “government.”

We can see how Hillary Clinton, coming after Obama, has thrown this group into a rage. They generally believe that all social programs are a transfer of wealth from “makers” to “takers” and an effort emasculate the “rightful” leaders of the world, be it in politics or business or simply society in general.

An excellent exploration of this group can be found in an article in the Atlantic. The long and short of it is that the “corruption” we should concern ourselves with is not abusing office for personal gain, but the elimination of the rightful rulers. There is obvious overlap with Racial Purists, but it is not necessary.

Chaos for its own sake seems like fun to some people.

Instigators: Libertarian style resistance to government, in any form, is an ancient American belief. It’s also one that has never had a place in conventional politics. Decades, if not centuries of frustration have rendered many Libertarians into something more like anarchists who simply want to burn it all down. Failing that, if they can piss off the “right people” they feel that at least something is happening.

They like Trump simply because he stirs things up. Chaos is the only opening they have. If “those liberals” are kept busy with outrage and marching in the street, they have less time and energy to force their political correctness down everyone’s throat. They take joy in outrage and encourage incendiary talk on all sides – largely because it is fun.

Many in this group are not necessarily voters and really have no interest in the boring details of politics. They are not a force, but they do encourage division and dissent.

There may be more groups that are significant, but these feel like the ones that have crystalized. There is substantial overlap, of course, and it is entirely possible to belong to all three. It’s also entirely possible to loosely hold any of these views and simply await convincing otherwise.

Doe these groups make up a solid 30% or more of the electorate? The short answer is yes, they very well could. Healing after a Trump removal is going to be difficult at best given these attitudes. But the first step is to understand what we are dealing with, and the issues are not economic. There is some overlap with economic issues, but it is small and generally an excuse.

As always, this is only my opinion of what I see and I’d love yours.

8 thoughts on “Trump’s Minority

  1. Thank you once again. I’ve been trying to make sense of Trump’s behavior and there seems to be a pattern to it, whether consciously or by instinct. First, I think the mainstream liberal analysis calling him a Russian traitor and all that is some way off. It’s Cold War thinking – hold that thought. Then on the left, TheRealNews crew and also Varoufakis have the theory that Trump is warming up to Russia to close that front and fight China and the EU more effectively. Maybe, but I think that too is overthinking it.

    I’m closest to the analysis of Anatole Kaletsky at Project Syndicate who points out that Trump is conceding America’s position as a superpower, one challenger at a time. First he escalates threats to North Korea, then meets the leader and “makes a deal” the net effect being that the US withdraws from that conflict and lets a regional power emerge, for better or worse. Kaletsky thinks the end of US hegemony is inevitable and Trump is enough of an outsider to bring that about. I would add he’s exiting the superpower era with less blood spilled than anyone could hope for.

    The question is why? Is he some master geopolitical strategist? I don’t think so, although he may have some instinctive grasp that the previous US policy dogma was BS. I think the answer is simple: Trump is a fascist in the small. He looks after the interests of the white conservative groups you describe, versus other segments of the population. This is a domestic concern. He’s not an imperialist in the large. From 1945 to 2016 the US projected American power around the world, benefiting the white middle class a lot and other groups less. Trump is saying that period has ended, there’s not enough benefit to go round and he’s going to fight a divisive class and race war for the scraps. The mainstream Democrats cling to that gone Cold War era, which makes the base see them as elitist.

    For Americans, having an almost openly fascist regime intent on authoritarian oppression is pretty terrible. You’re becoming like Turkey, and I feel for you. For the rest of the world… pick our poison. Do we want America with a civilized face starting wars and destroying whole regions? Or America run by a dictator with outright oppression internally but otherwise insular? Meh, some choices…

    The biggest obstacle to progress is that, now the genie is out of the bottle, a return to the norm under the Clintons or even an unusually upright and skilled leader like Obama will not satisfy. The US needs true servants of the people like Sanders or Warren, or principled figures of the elite like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to acknowledge that the system has not worked for the majority and lead a national conversation towards a new deal.

  2. Counterpoints to Consider. It has nothing to do with racism

    We know Dick Lamm as Governor of Colorado. In that context his thoughts are particularly poignant. Last week there was an immigration overpopulation conference in Washington , DC , filled to capacity by many of America ‘s finest minds and leaders. A brilliant college professor by the name of Victor Hansen Davis talked about his latest book, ‘Mexifornia,’ explaining how immigration – both legal and illegal was destroying the entire state of California . He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all vestiges of The American Dream.

    Moments later, former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm stood up and gave a stunning speech on how to destroy America .

    The audience sat spellbound as he described eight methods for the destruction of the United States . He said, ‘If you believe that America is too smug, too self-satisfied, too rich, then let’s destroy America . It is not that hard to do. No nation in history has survived the ravages of time. Arnold Toynbee observed that all great civilizations rise and fall and that ‘An autopsy of history would show that all great nations commit suicide.’

    ‘Here is how they do it,’ Lamm said:

    ‘First, to destroy America , turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual and bi-cultural country… History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. The historical scholar, Seymour Lipset, put it this way: ‘The histories of bilingual and bi-cultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension, and tragedy.’ Canada , Belgium , Malaysia , and Lebanon all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons, Corsicans and Muslims.’

    Lamm went on:

    ‘Second, to destroy America , invent ‘multiculturalism’ and encourage immigrants to maintain their culture. Make it an article of belief that all cultures are equal; that there are no cultural differences Make it an article of faith that the Black and Hispanic dropout rates are due solely to prejudice and discrimination by the majority. Every other explanation is out of bounds.

    ‘Third, we could make the United States an ‘Hispanic Quebec ‘ without much effort. The key is to celebrate diversity rather than unity. As Benjamin Schwarz said in the Atlantic Monthly recently: ‘The apparent success of our own multi-ethnic and multicultural experiment might have been achieved not by tolerance but by hegemony. Without the dominance that once dictated ethnocentricy and what it meant to be an American, we are left with only tolerance and pluralism to hold us together.’ Lamm said, ‘I would encourage all immigrants to keep their own language and culture. I would replace the melting pot metaphor with the salad bowl metaphor. It is important to ensure that we have various cultural subgroups living in America enforcing their differences rather than as Americans, emphasizing their similarities.’

    ‘Fourth, I would make our fastest growing demographic group the least educated. I would add a second underclass, un-assimilated, under-educated, and antagonistic to our population. I would have this second underclass have a 50% dropout rate from high school.’

    ‘My fifth point for destroying America would be to get big foundations and business to give these efforts lots of money. I would invest in ethnic identity, and I would establish the cult of ‘Victimology…’ I would get all minorities to think that their lack of success was the fault of the majority. I would start a grievance industry blaming all minority failure on the majority.’

    ‘My sixth plan for America ‘s downfall would include dual citizenship, and promote divided loyalties. I would celebrate diversity over unity. I would stress differences rather than similarities. Diverse people worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other – that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precept. People undervalue the unity it takes to keep a nation together. Look at the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that they belonged to the same race; they possessed a common language and literature; and they worshipped the same gods. All Greece took part in the Olympic games. A common enemy, Persia , threatened their liberty. Yet all these bonds were not strong enough to overcome two factors: local patriotism and geographical conditions that nurtured political divisions. Greece fell. ‘E. Pluribus Unum’ — From many, one. In that historical reality, if we put the emphasis on the ‘pluribus’ instead of the ‘Unum,’ we will ‘Balkanize’ America as surely as Kosovo.’

    ‘Next to last, I would place all subjects off limits. Make it taboo to talk about anything against the cult of ‘diversity.’ I would find a word similar to ‘heretic’ in the 16th century – that stopped discussion and paralyzed thinking. Words like ‘racist’ or ‘xenophobe’ halt discussion and debate. Having made America a bilingual/bi-cultural country, having established multi-culturalism, having the large foundations fund the doctrine of ‘Victimology,’ I would next make it impossible to enforce our immigration laws. I would develop a mantra: That because immigration has been good for America , it must always be good. I would make every individual immigrant symmetric and ignore the cumulative impact of millions of them.’

    In the last minute of his speech, Governor Lamm wiped his brow. Profound silence followed. Finally he said, ‘Lastly, I would censor Victor Hanson Davis’s book ‘Mexifornia.’ His book is dangerous. It exposes the plan to destroy America . If you feel America deserves to be destroyed, don’t read that book.

    There was no applause. A chilling fear quietly rose like an ominous cloud above every attendee at the conference. Every American in that room knew that everything Lamm enumerated was proceeding methodically, quietly, darkly, yet pervasively across the United States today. Discussion is being suppressed. Over 100 languages are ripping the foundation of our educational system and national cohesiveness. Even barbaric cultures that practice female genital mutilation are growing as we celebrate ‘diversity.’ American jobs are vanishing into the Third World as corporations create a Third World in America Take note of California and other states. To date, ten million illegal aliens and growing fast. It is reminiscent of George Orwell’s book ‘1984.’ In that story, three slogans are engraved in the Ministry of Truth building: ‘War is peace,’ ‘Freedom is slavery,’ and ‘Ignorance is strength’

    Governor Lamm walked back to his seat. It dawned on everyone at the conference that our nation and the future of this great democracy is deeply in trouble and worsening fast. If we don’t get this immigration monster stopped within three years, it will rage like a California wildfire and destroy everything in its path, especially The American Dream.

  3. @aladec you may not like it, but what you describe is empire. The Roman, Byzanine, Ottoman, Spanish, and British empires were all like that. Multi-lingual, muti-colred, multi-cultural. Some of them were stable and prosperous, others a temporary conquest. Canada is like that in Toronto and Vancouver, less so in Quebec. Only the Chinese empire was mono-ethnic and mono-cultural and for most of its history it has been poor, stagnant, and filled with barely contained strife.

    It seems that you’d like the US to be a white Christian Anglo-Saxon nation state instead of an empire. That’s fine, it’s up to Americans to decide. The rest of the world would also like America to decide if it’s a white Anglo-Saxon nation state that keeps its issues to its own borders, or if it’s a global multi-cultural empire, an open society leading by example and soft power.

  4. This has nothing to do with race.It has everything to do with the definition of what comprises a country. And a country without defined borders or an official language is doomed to fail. i.e The decline and fall of all those empires you list. As for race: we are all mixed race. I am a Caucasian, American Indian, Sephardic Jew and whatever hodge podge goes into making up the bloodlines of Italians. In addition, there is no country on this planet that would allow anyone to enter or cross its borders without defined and regulated provisions. Try to go to Mexico for example and see what happens to you when your visa expires. The concept of a world government and open borders invites control of the planet by an egalitarian dictatorship. Or as Nikita Khrushchev once said: “WE WILL BURY YOU WITHOUT FIRING A SHOT.”
    China, the country that you so easily dismiss, will one day eat the rest of us for lunch.The reason being that China will lead by remaining a closed society that believes in hard power.
    As for America: it has been the world’s dominant empire for at least two centuries, And one an empire that will crumble like all the rest.

  5. Dear Eric,

    This was as good an analysis of who it is that is sticking with President Trump like glue, no matter how reprehensibly he behaves.

    There is one segment of his base which troubles me the most, the White Evangelicals which I estimate comprise about 35% of his base. That people would claim the mantel of Christianity while backing the likes of President Trump, the face of evil, who didn’t give it a second thought to order the removal of children from refugee parents who were legally applying for asylum. I can’t see how the two can go together.

    Hugs, Gronda

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