I’m not a big fan of the Cato Institute (to put it mildly) but this report looks useful. I hope Democrats read it and realize that the way to win back the “anti-elites” sub-group is with economic populism. Who Were Donald Trump's Voters? Now We Know
What’s the tl;dr?
These 3 longer articles are from earlier this year and depict the philosophy & psychology behind the “Trump phenomenon” driven mostly by fear, disdain, resentment, hate, relative or perceived decline in economic/social power, etc.
- “Resentment comes before reason.”
- “[T]hey may mistrust the demagogue, but they actively hate those who demonstrate against him … people are far more determined to see their ancient enemies made miserable than themselves made happier.”
On Trump’s inauguration: populism and demagoguery.
- “All populists are at heart conspiracy theorists, who pretend that easy solutions exist to society’s woes and have only not been tried to date because elites are wicked and deaf to the sturdy common-sense of decent, ordinary folk.”
Super long article about stereotypical Trump fans (think 4chan) and how that “counter-culture”/anarchist mentality helped fuel Trump’s rise.
Broadly, it touches on 3 groups:
- Mischievous young crowd & “social outcasts” who don’t self-identify with having any particular useful skill “in the real world”. They celebrate failure, cope with despair by mocking it, and are very resentful toward authority figures. They hijacked the concepts of “Pepe”, “snowflakes” (ridiculing safe spaces as a weakness), and “SJW” (social justice “warrior” as a negative label). Typically misogynistic, anti-feminist, and enjoy causing havoc simply “for the lulz”. Your loss is their gain. Your confusion, anxiety, and misery are their entertainment.
- Older people who are nostalgic for the past & believe the past was better than it probably was (i.e., “rosy retrospection”). They probably feel out of place and a loss of control, rooted in “traditional” values and against change.
- Elite 1% income earners who are in favor of Trump for the money (cutting taxes, deregulating industries & companies, etc).
On the whole, I personally believe most core Trumpians tend to exhibit less mature psychological defense & coping mechanisms.
Cornelia, that sounds very hard to deal with. Do you by chance live in SF Bay Area? We’re doing a series of workshops on how to use Powerful Non-Defensive Communication to talk to Trump sympathizers. See ericaetelson.com/resist. Also, if you can’t make the workshop. here’s an article I wrote about it before the election: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/how-flip-trump-voter-without-pushing-too-hard. We’re hoping to roll these workshops out across the country so stay tuned. Good luck!
Another important piece of the puzzle (not addressed by this report) is the way in which the Democratic Party has turned its back on working class voters. I couldn’t recommend more highly the book “Listen, Liberal” – it’s an insightful, entertaining and fast read that left me groaning and gnashing my teeth at the ways in which centrist Democrats have, ever since Bill Clinton and arguably Jimmy Carter, opened the door to white nationalist faux-populism.
I could use some input into how one actually deals with the cultish behavior of a dt follower; that happens to be my son, who broke his neck at age 15 (in front of me no less) in 2001. I raised this child to understand history, to study it along with respecting honor and integrity.
Due to excellent care he actually lives independently, with a burst C4 level injury.
So I just can not for the life of me understand his downright worship of this madman.
Managing our relationship a true test of a mother’s love but I fear some of his latest actions reflect having to face the unpleasant reality of just how conned he was.
Anyone else here dealing/ dealt with a similar situation
Staunch Conservatives (31%): Loyal Republicans, fiscal conservatives, traditional values, anti-immigrant, older, wealthier, more likely men & NRA members.
Free Marketeers (25%): Free traders, higher incomes, want smaller government, slightly more liberal on immigration/race, loyal Republicans but have doubts about Trump.
American Preservationists (20%): Core Trump fans, lower incomes, less formal education, anti-immigration, anti-globalism, want to tax rich & back social safety net, vote both Democrat & Republican at times.
Anti-Elites (19%): More progressive on economics, believe system is rigged, moderate views on immigration/race/nationalism, slightly younger, once favored Clinton but flipped.
The Disengaged (5%): Don’t follow politics, distant from institutions, skeptical of immigration, more likely younger & female.
Caution: Lots of overlap between groups & Trump voters aren’t a homogeneous entity.
Interesting commentary and summary of studies published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology by a UC Santa Cruz professor in March 2017 describes 5 major social psychological phenomena that many (not all) core Trump supporters tend to exhibit:
Authoritarian Personality Syndrome
Strict and total obedience to authority, low empathy, aggression toward outgroups, often triggered by fear, and demonstrate absolutist thinking.
Social Dominance Orientation
Many prefer a social hierarchy where a higher class has dominance over a lower-status one.
Follow appeals to bigotry/racism and may show prejudice against ethnic and religious minorities.
Less Intergroup Contact
Contact with members of a group other than one’s own tends to lower prejudice. Strong predictors of Trump support correlate with racial and ethnic isolation.
Often believe they’re being deprived of something they feel entitled to through comparisons with others who are viewed as inferior but who have also had “unfair” success.