Who the hell is supporting Donald Trump?

March 10, 2016

When I first started writing about the Trump candidacy last summer it was because his hateful rhetoric reminded of what I had heard in my many years of studying racist groups like the Nazi skinheads and the Ku Klux Klan. I feared for the brown members of my family but hoped that, like so many Trump products, the marketplace of ideas would send the Orange Aristocrat to the dustbin of history; that this “Ivy League” braggart with his horribly misspelled tweets and his potty mouth would be given a permanent time-out by sane political voices.

Well, we were all wrong. Somehow the Trump shell game has only gained followers. So the question is now, who the hell are these people voting for Trump? It’s easy enough to blanket characterize them of as idiotic racists flocking to the game show host’s cult of personality like good little Germans, but that angle is horribly problematic. It denies the fact that these are real people responding to problems that they believe to be real. Their numbers include some of my own friends and family members whom I’d never describe as knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers.

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So pollsters and pundsters are wringing their hands trying to figure out who this mob is that might be driving the United States towards fascism while the rest of the world watches in horror and humor. “Donald Trump? Really? Sacré bleu!” YouTube is full of videos of Trumpists saying stupid, racist, and completely wrong things giving credence to the popular belief that they’re an army sub-moronic cretins who have fallen for Trump’s fact-free medicine show. But those folks giving the Donald their stiff-armed pledge don’t tell the whole story.

While ranking Republicans are freaking out, trying to unmask the Trump con (even Glenn Beck has compared him to Hitler) there’s something happening in the country.  And that something is same phenomenon that is also driving people to support Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.

It’s no longer a blue collar world

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My master’s research was a thirteen-month study of a group of white supremacist skinheads in Orlando, Florida in 1989 and 1990. I was trying to figure where these little Nazis came from. Were they crazy? Did they have abusive parents? Did black guys steal their girlfriends?  What I found was they were responding to the very real phenomenon of deindustrialization. The economic policies of Ronald Reagan opened the door for manufacturing industries to close up shop and head across the border and overseas in search of cheap labor.

If I work in a factory, I probably belong to a union and that union has used collective bargaining to secure a decent wage, paths to promotion, health care benefits, and maybe even a pension. I can work in an auto plant or a textile mill and still buy a (small) house and send my kid to (state) college. That’s the American Dream right there and it evaporated under Reagan. Of the people to move out of the middle class in the 1980s, two-thirds moved downward, not up. And it got worse when Bill Clinton signed NAFTA in 1993, accelerating manufacturing job loss and replacing them with shitty, low-wage, no benefit service sector jobs. Fifty years ago the number one employer in America was General Motors. Now it’s Wal-Mart.

These skinheads knew lots of people who had been laid off or downsized (including their parents). What was happening to America? they’d ask. The answer came from neo-Nazis like John Metzger (son of White Aryan Resistance leader Tom Metzger) who would tell them exactly why. It was immigration, Affirmative Action and a “Jew-controlled” economy conspiring to take away “their” country. A very real problem (deindustrialization) was given a bogus explanation (Jews) and followed up with a very old-fashioned solution (violence). A recipe that has driven the  racist skinhead movement ever since.

In much of America, this problem persists. Wages are down and benefits are few and far between. The factory is gone and in its place is a Wal-Mart selling American flags made in Vietnam. There must be somebody to blame for this.

Donald Trump as a Strongman

Donald Trump is a hyper-masculine cartoon character. He wants to torture terrorists and kill their children. That is until one of his seemingly slow advisors hands a note saying that’s illegal. He wants to “bomb the crap” out of ISIS, unaware that Obama has been quietly doing just that. He wants to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., “until we know what the hell is going on,” except for the fact that we do know what the hell is going on. And he goes on and on about how “they” are chopping off our heads (in New Jersey?). Most famously he wants to “build a wall” to magically keep illegal aliens out, seemingly oblivious to the fact that illegal immigration has decreased and deportations have increased under Obama. All that might not play well on college campuses where kids actually keep up on the news, but it’s a huge hit with the white boys in South Carolina and Mississippi.

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My Orlando skinheads were little authoritarians who were frightened by the changes in the world and wanted someone to come along and give them a path out of the chaos to order. Unfortunately, it was older Neo-Nazis who gave them that very ordered worldview and action plan. There’s a real parallel with the Trumpists who are scared shitless of Muslims, Mexican immigrants and Black Lives Matters protesters who are upsetting their world. It’s hard enough to keep up with cell phone technology, let alone these non-WASPS who might push terrified whites off the privilege throne. So here comes Trump, railing against “political correctness,” and the “God-given-right” to push back against these darkies. “All lives matter,” he bleats. “I’ve got a big dick!” he promises us. “Believe me.”

Recent research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found support for this idea. A doctoral student named Matthew MacWilliams found that Trump supporters, unlike the general population, demonstrated authoritarian personalities (just like my skinheads). Trumpists felt threatened by outsiders and were more likely to flock to a strongman who, they believed, would stop the changes that they feared the most. So Donald Trump says he’s going to build a wall on our southern border and suddenly he’s their savior. It might be too obvious to draw the parallels with Hitler here but the xenophobia of Trump and his core following is not exactly new. We can talk about how fear-mongering moves us toward another F word, fascism.

Fear is the Path to the Darkside

We’ve got plenty of evidence about the frightening views Trump supporters hold. A recent YouGov poll found that a third of Trumpists thought placing Japanese-Americans in concentration camps during World War II was a good idea and one in five Trumpists thought freeing the slaves was a bad idea. No wonder Trump has been slow to disavow support from white supremacists. (He’ll disavow it with a hrumpf that says stop making me do this.) And disavowing someone like Klansman David Duke is much different than making a heartfelt statement about the evils of white supremacy. The bottom line is these are Trump’s people!

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Trump’s support has been less in whiter states, like Oklahoma, where Ted Cruz has been winning. Researchers have shown that you find higher rates of racism among people who believe they are directly competing with minorities for the same jobs. Data has shows that Trump supporters overwhelming believe (wrongly) that Affirmative Action takes jobs away from whites and hands them to blacks. They also have the incorrect idea that their taxes go to welfare for lazy (minority) adults who refuse to work. This was a lie Ronald Reagan pioneered in 1980 to move working class whites away from the Democratic Party. Driving this trend are southern evangelicals who have little to do with Jesus and lot to do with racial resentment, according to recent research done at Vanderbilt University.

Trump protester sucker-punched at North Carolina rally, videos show

Trump has tempered is huge support from white supremacists by pushing a more politically correct version of racism that makes brown the new black. He’ll find a small number of African-Americans who are ginned up on the competition with Latinos for crappy jobs and place them in front of the camera at his rallies. They are victims of the same economic policies that he’s profited from but he tells us that he has a “great relationship with the blacks.” “No on has done more for equality than I have,” he recently proclaimed. So fuck you, MLK.

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Earlier this week I was on The Gavin McInnes Show, the right-wing internet show that’s popular with anti-feminists and “angry white men,” having a surprisingly good discussion about racism and Trump with guest host Jim Goad, author of The Redneck Manifesto. I think we both clearly stated our points and I was glad to participate. Afterwards I got a tweet from a fan of the show that said, “ if u dont believe blacks have a problem with violence why do u live in a white city? Move to black Chicago and test your bullshit.” I’m trying not to engage these folks on Twitter but I wanted to explain to him all the years I joyfully lived in downtown Atlanta and that I purposely moved to historically black part of Portland. But he lives in fear and the fear drives his political choices.

The year of the “I’m not a racist, but…” voter

Of course Trump’s coded racism is clearly understood by his followers. The endless data is telling us who his supporters are. They are older, whiter and angrier. They’re angry at the how the country has changed in the last fifty years with all the feminists, homosexuals, non-English speakers, and most symbolically of all, Barack Hussein Obama, their black president. Like the white supremacists I studied, they want somebody to “make America great again,” when a white man could beat up a black protestor and not get labeled as a “hate criminal.”

The anger is also targeted at the “disastrous trade policies” of the “stupid leaders” in Washington (who are mostly Republican) who have been unable to stop the the “Obama agenda” from driving the country off a cliff (or to renewed prosperity, if you look at the actual economic measures). With merely the power of his awesome personality, they believe that Trump will transform the complex workings of all three branches of the federal government. (“Meat Loaf for the Supreme Court!”) Just like Mussolini, who Trump is fond of quoting.

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The great irony is that the Trumpists are motivated by a very real problem, the erosion of the middle class rooted in the very policies that Trump has benefited from to make his money. Trump’s lovely ties are made in China where the cheap labor is. And it’s a problem that impacts EVERYBODY in the working class, not just whites. These policies, including the Clinton-signed NAFTA, are also motivating many Sanders supporters, but instead of blaming the people at the bottom (who are often not white), Sanders and his voters are more likely to understand the problem is systemic magnified by the influence of corporate lobbyists in politics. But that’s a more complex issue. Scapegoating Mexicans is easier for Trumpists.

Bernie Sanders might be able to reach out to these economically dislocated Trump supporters in a way that Hillary Clinton can’t. But they have to be willing to abandon their authoritarian need to bash outsiders and insiders who don’t look (or pray) like them. They will have to let go of their fear. That’s a big “If” and points to the sad reality that after Trump goes back to his golden palace, another strongman will likely arise with the promise of making America great (white) again.

Post-script (Aug. 3, 2016): Warning: This Trump rally video includes vulgarities and racial and ethnic slurs.

 

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21 thoughts on “Who the hell is supporting Donald Trump?

  1. Your article is spot-on. Even I have family members who would vote for Trump “over any democrat – especially Hillary”. Fear trumps reason (no pun intended), inspires anger and casts rantionale aside. America is in bad shape but has been getting better – no thanks to those like Trump, who as you’ve corerctly pointed out stands to gain immensely from the status quo of pro-corporation. However, in the end, none of this matters. The damage has been done. Even if Trump fails to get the GOP nomination or even if (God forbid) he does and somehow claim the presidency the end result is the same: the face of politics in the US has changed and none for the better. Others will see the sudden popularity Trump has gained through hatred and fear and will use that to their own advantage.

    Republican politics have just become the darkest since Reagan – and will continue to be so for genrations to come.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “… sudden popularity Trump has gained through hatred and fear”

      All I read there is your hatred, fear and ignorance.
      You don’t seem to have a clue what’s driving GIGANTIC support for Trump, so you label it “fear”. What? Well, it’s a mixture. Fear of further 1-party system stooges and extremely positive reaction to someone who isn’t a pol and who get’s it done. His rallies are a love fest. Only the UberTards are the violent ones, trying to instigate – and block highways as in AZ. Then the masses of Sheep and Presstitutes claim Trump encourages violence. You CANNOT make this sh*t up.

      “Get’s it done” — I know, that hits yer belly button, and right when you were comfortable fondling the lint there. My apologies. Back to sleep now. We won’t wake you up when it’s over.

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  2. I hardly know where to begin. OMG. You, like the rednecks you speak of, have just enough information to do damage, and not enough to get to any understanding of what’s really going on.

    Who is going after Trump? Forgetting about the average citizenry for a moment, why would the elite from both the left AND right be going after Trump? Because they are very fearful he is going to upset the status quo, fearful that the people will finally realize that there really is no democracy, just an elite (both Democrat and Republicans) who pass laws that benefit themselves. But the elite love it when we’re fighting. Divide and conquer is their motto and it’s worked very well at keeping the populace in the dark about the real issues.

    If the American people were so racist, how the heck did Obama get elected then? A whole lot of white people voted for his “hope and change”, and it was a very good acting job, wasn’t it? He read a good teleprompter, basically came out of nowhere, and everybody bought it. I too was cheering for him. But it didn’t take long to realize he was not going to change a thing, and he didn’t. How many Wall Street bankers went to jail? Do I hear “none”? I could go on and on and on.

    And you say of Trump: “He wants to ‘bomb the crap’ out of ISIS, unaware that Obama has been quietly doing just that.” Really? Where did you get that information from? The U.S. has been secretly, along with their NATO puppet Erdogan of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, supplying ISIS with money and weaponry. When the U.S. fighter jets go out, they’re coming back with three-quarters of their payload. They’re not trying to bomb ISIS because ISIS is a proxy for the U.S. The U.S. has been trying, unsuccessfully, for years to take out Assad of Syria, just like they did with Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein (a U.S. friend one day, and then weapons of mass destruction that were never found the next). They want a gas pipeline from Qatar to run through Syria and up into Europe, but Syria rejected that idea. You don’t know enough about the subjects you’re talking about.

    Gaddafi, when he came to power in Libya, was faced with a country filled with many tribes, all of whom hated each other. In order to gain some control, he had to be tough. Once he did get control, though, he supplied his people with free medical, free dental, free education, including university. If you couldn’t get the university education you wanted, he sent you overseas to get it. He built a 1,500 mile pipeline in order to pump fresh water from southern Libya to northern Libya. He gave every married couple $50,000.00, no interest, which they had to pay back, but there was no time limit for this. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but he tried to give his people a good life. But he made the mistake of not being a good enough puppet to the U.S. government, and they took him out. They assassinated a sovereign leader – again! How many times does this have to occur?

    Trump is at least saying that he thinks he could solve a lot of problems WITHOUT going to war. Gee, imagine the nerve of him saying that! But also imagine what the military-industrial complex thinks of that idea. Do you think they would like having peace? Why, that would mean their profits would greatly decline. The horror of it all! They must be seriously twisting in their chairs right about now.

    As far as those rednecks wanting a job to support their family – well, that’s terrible, isn’t it? Trump is wondering why Disney, for example, is bringing in foreign workers to replace domestic workers. And to boot, the domestic workers have had to train the foreign workers right up until they get their pink slip and the foreign workers take over their jobs. He’s asking questions, wondering why this is allowed.

    He’s wondering about the upcoming trade agreements, you know, the ones that were agreed to in secret (with no environmental or labor representation) by corporate lawyers, the very agreements we’re promised will provide tons of jobs, but magically they never materialize? How dare he ask those questions, say the elite. They’re a bad deal for the American public, but rarely will you hear a politician speak about this. At least Trump is.

    He’s wondering why China is allowed to have tariffs and our goods are kept out of their markets, yet they’re allowed to export to us whatever they want. Again, the nerve of him!

    Trump doesn’t need to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. Laws are already on the books whereby employers are to be fined heavily for hiring illegals when they should be hiring American citizens. If these laws were enforced, employers would have to hire Americans. If all benefits were cut off from illegals (free medical, education, etc.), they wouldn’t bother coming. There is no need for a wall; only the need to treat your own citizens with dignity and respect. If you then need more workers, well then, fine, invite them in. Does that make Trump a terrible leader? Why, because he actually cares whether American workers have jobs? Yeah, right!

    Trump is also interested in stopping the medical monopolies that keep your health insurance up in the stratosphere. Again, what elite is going to like this? Can you just imagine the insurance and pharmaceutical companies supporting this line of thought? But it would, if done correctly, allow the average citizen to be able to afford health care again, and could go a long way to balancing the budget.

    Everybody is so worried about Trump, but what about Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill? They have sold the American people out, but they have benefited handsomely, along with Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama. Dangerous, all of them. Just look at how the Clinton’s have benefited, and they’re by no means alone.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/26/the-clintons-and-wall-street-24-years-of-enriching-each-other/

    Sanders might be a good man, but he did go along with bombing Iraq and Libya, and he rarely criticizes Clinton. Trump is the only one who is really asking questions about how the country is run, and he’s not bought and paid for by the elite. This is really what bothers them – he can’t be bought.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/11/american-exceptionalism-and-the-election-made-in-hell-or-why-id-vote-for-trump-over-hillary/

    Liked by 2 people

    1. backwardsevolution …. Wow. See, your rebuttal is most admirable. If I cared enough about the UberLibTard race I would’ve done something similar. However it may have helped you to write it, it will do nothing of the kind for the Tards. They are separate and unique. They have PhD’s in Belly Button Lint Fondling.

      The more they ignore, and are protected from, the realities of the world the better it is for their mental state – a permanent “normalcy” equilibrium – which, once disturbed, elicits only transparent bile and blather.

      For they are the most highly educated and the narcissists. Note how often they use the latter noun to lash out and so demonstrate their ignorance, while projecting their own guilt in what they claim against others. It’s quite psychiatric, you know.

      Now, off with you, to spend your efforts more wisely.

      Like

      1. As an Anglo Australian , let me comment on the anglosphere, as an outsider let me state the true nature of the retards, of the left,So as above moron he states, that 2×2=4 dosnt equal 4, this applieds to all THINGS= matter mind ect ect genetics, dominance of dark skinned beings, over whites. in an objective sense,he fails to be balanced, This is the reason why the PROGESSIVES only speak of equality,(concept of political , law good intensions .We whites need to be GREATER , than the herd, we need to make beings that have 50 to 100 eye colours,, 50 to 100 hair colours,, in the races,of MEN,not man, So that I reigns supreme over all doctrines of us our them.For as a RIGHT WING BEING, I dont hold to the concept of MANKIND as this moron thinks. for MAN=MIND is not subject to the herd, =KIND, This is the true veiw, of Robert K, the true veiw of Clintons, Dixocratic mind set, the Mexiocrates, LA RAZE, the Negro crates, Femocrates , ect ect …………onward into infinity. As G Orwell, pointed out, only chattering interllectals, are stupid enough to believe in ideas, THAT THE COMMON MAN-MIND REJECTS IN ITS COMMON ,SENSE. Theirs to the common sense of plain Americans, not the veiw of 5 main Corps, that control 90%,of the lie based media, Bill Clinton allowed cross media ownership, now the same media attack TRUMP, and grovel before Clinton,as/ Rorbert K/ states.AS PLATO points out truth in based not what is not stated, as that which is stated, what is not seen, as what is.COMMON MAN MIND IS DISPISED BY SUCH BEINGS, AS ROBERT K

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  3. once again you have posted words that put things in perspective for me. the only place we part company is on Hillary Clinton. i think she is smart enough to be a great President. she understands how the game is played. and it is a game with good players and bad ones. the other demo. running are not so wise. they think they can fix it all overnight. Hillary understands it take time to affect changes. or when to give and when to push for that change.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think there is a fear here that is being missed, and that is the fear that Trump generates not in the public mind but the government mind: how do we handle someone who isn’t one of us? The currently entrenched political regime, most of whom are owned by large corporations and give benefit to only those who give, pay, or contribute the most to their own political careers and personal lifestyles, have no idea what to think or do when it comes to having someone from the outside suddenly step in. Hilary and Bernie, even the other Republican candidates, represent yet more of the same political diatribe and trite sound bites we have been subjected to for the last 40 years, thus the reason congresspersons, governors, and many other members of this entrenched government are so quick to support anyone but Trump: he isn’t one of them, and they don’t want him because it is much easier to have a Democrat or Republican to deal with. Thus their desire, along with the media’s, to highlight his racist and sexism comments (like they are perfect, which is why we still have sex and finance scandals in government…eek), to then call us supporters of racism and sexism if we elect him…which, ironically, is the same thing we heard if we didn’t elect, or vote, for Obama). Just my two cents worth of opinion/idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David … quiet now. Careful. You’re using common sense, logic and observation, not your PhD if you have one. Mustn’t do that.

      The overarching reason for the circus of opposition to Il Duce Trumpolini must necessarily escape all the smarties. That’s the way of things. Didn’t you know that? The shmatas are the last to find out, if ever.

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  5. “… his hateful rhetoric reminded of what I had heard in my many years of studying racist groups like the Nazi skinheads and the Ku Klux Klan”

    If all you have is a hammer ……
    And if all you’ve ingested is PC smoothie-blather all your life while becoming expert in hammers ………

    Then it’s no surprise if you have some inflated sense of your importance (and even blog it), have no cognition of the meaning of sudden (who the hell?) events with huge support running counter to the hammer expert, that is – no empathy, and have zero-documentary, strident, unsupported reactions to anything critical.

    That is textbook narcissism.

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  6. Blazak ……… It’s quite hopeless. I re-scanned yer blather. EVERY single paragraph is a compilation of ignorance and twisted, false extrapolation. Thereby, it’s an exposition in the heights of sophistry … zero documentation, no actual inquiry, echo chamber amplification.

    I initially subscribed looking for a challenge. Your blog isn’t one. It’s just so pathetic; it’s just depressing. I don’t need that.

    How could anyone be such a simpleton? Easy… look in the LibTard Graduate Depts all over the country and the alumni rolls. The most stunted live in the most elevated towers.

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    1. You seem to have a real problem with educated people, typical of a right wing robot, perhaps if you spent less time listening to right wing radio and TV and posting your parroted world view online you might have time to obtain an education and not be so jealous of those that have them.

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  7. I do not agree with all of the mud-slinging and character bashing that is going on here. I have always been for a spirited debate, but not when it boils down to personal attacks on someone. What I have always respected about Mr. Blazack is that we cannot have that spirited debate, then agree to disagree while maintaining respect for each other, our opinions and beliefs. I know Mr. Blazack is quite capable of defending himself, but I needed to pipe in here that while I do not agree with his position about Trump, I still hold quite a bit of respect for him as a person. I do not like seeing this kind of personal bashing about anyone, especially someone I have such respect for. Disagree to your hearts content, and give reasonable and objective reasons for it, but leave out the character jabs. Mr. Blazack is a person of high character, and quite honestly, this is his blog, where he is allowed to state his feelings and opinions. We can debate them, but we don’t need the bashing. There is enough of that going on already.

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  8. White supremacist skinheads is an oxymoron. True skinheads are not racists plus that picture that you have is a postcard from Manchester from the late 1990s of gay skinheads.

    Like

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