Sunday, March 13, 2016

Short:Characteristics of Trump supporters

There are questions flying around about whether the US is on the edge of its own Nazi era, with Trump playing the part of Hitler. I see the similarities. It bears close scrutiny, and action as needed. However, luckily, it doesn't yet look too much like Nazism, so I'd say 'no' for now.

Nonetheless, the sociologists (not socialists, or national socialists) are also out there watching and collecting data. One group, based on 1000 phone interviews, found Trump supporters were more common among those with these traits:

  • Being economically discontent
  • Preferring a populist/outsider
  • Having a preference for authority
  • Wanting pushback against other groups
That last characteristic sounds like it could be code for 'racist.' It certainly sounds like group-based resentment against not just a single group but multiple groups. This sounds pretty ugly to me. I certainly hope that the ugliness is a turn-off to a clear majority of Americans.


Extras. Another analysis of Trump supporters (with nice graphs). Key characteristics: strong identity as traditional GOPer, conservative Christian, and white. A demonstrator who charged at Trump on stage was smeared in a false-flag video as supporting ISIS. Naturally, Trump retweeted the link to the video. Trump is definitely not in the truth or fact-checking business. How Trump saved himself from bankruptcy by conning others--not surprising considering his moral level.


Dangerous said...

Trump cannot win -- unless the unrest were real and more widespread. Fortunately, this is not Germany in the 30s, humiliated and in economic collapse after WWI.

But you have to note that this exactly what Trump (and his supporters) CLAIM is the case. That's the core of their argument. America is disgraced in the world and the economy is a disaster, Trump says and his supporters echo. This is the excuse they give themselves for his (and their vicarious) jingoistic rants.

But America is not in disgrace. We are well-respected as our military might give our enemies pause and keeps them at bay. Our economy is the strongest in the world right now and their is not the general fear of loss that Trump and his supporters contend is overtaking the country. They may feel that way for themselves, and may want to think it's that way for everyone, but it's an opinion not a fact. And the facts are that unemployment is at a decade low, gas prices are down, cost of living and standard of living continue to rise for most people, and Obama has a 50% or better approval rating, despite being a black man trying to destroy the country, as they claim.

Trump would pose a real threat if they somehow mounted a majority, but it would take a REAL economic collapse (not likely) or real terrible incident (like 9/11) to change peoples' minds. And even then, people would have to accept Trump over steady and experienced Hillary in a crisis, and Trump has not shown himself to be "presidential" in temperament.

Instead, Trump proclaims his strength and his supporters accept it as fact, but he is weak and insecure. In a crisis situation, he will not be able to hide that from the voters. Most people know his instability and insecurity could lead him to launch a nuclear attack if, say, Putin offended him or made him look weak.

Should that situation arrive, and Trump appears close to assuming the presidency, at least we will know what kind of country we live in and can get out. I would not want to live in a country that would elect Donald Trump under any circumstances. He's a vile, evil, dishonest and soulless human being, even if he might be a total sweetheart to the people around him he knows and likes. Most people do not recognize the Devil.

Kylopod said...

I can report that among my Republican friends and acquaintances, Trump is deeply polarizing. The majority hate him, but the ones who like him practically worship him. I've actually developed a private game where I try to guess which people I know will like Trump and which ones won't. It does seem like there is such a thing as a "Trump conservative," and it isn't all conservatives.

I'm a bit surprised that in none of the commentary I've been seeing has anyone brought up the "Archie Bunker vote," a phrase I used to see quite regularly in election coverage. I realize a good chunk of Americans by now (including yours truly) are too young to have seen the show when it first aired, but a lot of it still seems relevant today.

I think Archie Bunker was definitely a "Trump conservative," and if he'd been around now, he'd be a big supporter. Archie was always the sort of guy who held ostensibly conservative beliefs (such as the idea of pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps), but in practice he was inconsistent and hypocritical about these beliefs, and in the end his conservatism was driven more than anything else by his fear of a changing world and intolerance toward people who were different from himself. He is also the exact demographic of Trump supporters--white working class male--and he's the sort of person who falls easily for scam artists.

I once saw an interview with Carroll O'Connor in which he stated that he modeled Archie on the dumbest type of conservative in America, the poor conservative. Conservatives have done nothing for the poor, O'Connor said, and he went on to suggest that Archie doesn't even understand why he's a conservative. This is a type of conservative I've been seeing up to the present day, and it seems to make up the bulk of Trump's support.

ModeratePoli said...

@kylopod, There are certainly a lot of stupid Trump supporters, but then a large number of voters, even those deciding at this stage, are pretty stupid ... or 'low-information.'

I've read comments from those who hope so much for any kind of change that they'll take the risk that Trump represents. That's a coherent argument, at least.

Yet, looking at videos of his rallies, I see audiences that have diverse ages, but almost all white. Many of them seem to be scraping for a fight. I wonder if Trump hooliganism will happen and then take a long time to die down, just like WTO or soccer hooliganism. His crowd seems definitely less upright than Tea Party crowds, so I'm concerned. Not there's anything I can do.

Kylopod said...

I didn't mean to imply that Trump supporters are dumb. In fact, I personally know three supporters who I can attest are highly intelligent people. I was just mentioning the O'Connor quote in passing, and I'm not even sure he meant to suggest that working-class conservatives are dumb in the sense of having a low IQ or being ignorant (though both qualities apparently describe Archie Bunker). I think his main point was that this demographic has been blind-sided by racist and reactionary beliefs into being screwed by plutocratic politicians. I see a lot of that in Trump fans; they're often the exact types of conservatives where "conservative values" is little more than a front for white racial resentment.