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What unites Trump voters?
Quote:But there seems to be only a very partial correlation between economic anxiety and Trumpism, and a much stronger one between his supporters and residual racial suspicions. Trump barely makes an effort to gesture toward economic reform, beyond his diffuse tirades about trade. If there’s one thing that economists, right and left, agree on, it is that, as Paul Krugman puts it, globalization “is not a problem we can address by lashing out at foreigners we falsely imagine are winning at our expense.” Trump’s supposed concern for the welfare state rests on things like his occasional remarks about not letting people die in the street, notable or meaningful only for the outrage of Ted Cruz
Roots and Rot: Dodging the Blame for Donald Trump - The New Yorker
Apparently, it's not the economy, stupid..

Quote:I've been periodically making the case that Americans aren't really all that angry about the economy, which naturally implies that the economy isn't the reason for Donald Trump's success. This argument has taken several forms. First, in objective terms, the economy is in decent shape. Second, the number of people affected by globalization (lost jobs, reduced wages) isn't that large in absolute terms. Third, polls indicate that concern about the economy isn't especially high by historical standards. And fourth, polls also indicate that overall personal financial comfort is fairly strong. Over at National Review, Scott Winship makes yet another argument: exit polls don't suggest that Trump is winning an outsize share of voters who say the economy is their #1 issue... 

Trump actually does slightly worse with voters who are concerned with the economy than he does overall. This is yet more evidence that economic anxiety just isn't a big factor driving Trump's success. The bigger factor, by far, is immigration, and Winship argues persuasively that this is not primarily an economic concern. It's a cultural concern
Trump Voters Are Not Angry About the Economy. Really. | Mother Jones
Actually, still one of the best takes.. Dominance as the main appeal chimes with other reports that his electorate tends to score high on the authoritarian personality scale

Why I still believe Donald Trump will never be president
Updated by David Roberts on January 30, 2016, 8:30 a.m. ET 

As Donald Trump continues his pundit-defying dominance of the national polls, with early primaries just days away, the once-unthinkable has become all too thinkable: Could Trump actually pull this off? Could he become president?

I'm going to stake out a firm answer: no. Absent extreme and unlikely circumstances*, Trump will never be president.

Jack Shafer argues that Trump's success so far is a "black swan" event, an unpredictable and unrepeatable concatenation of improbable circumstances. That sounds about right.

But just because some political rules and conventions have been violated doesn't mean they've all vanished. Just because Trump makes no sense doesn't mean common sense has become worthless. One black swan does not foretell a flock of black swans.

Trump might win the GOP nomination, but as we set off down the long and difficult road of a general election, what has been his strength in this election cycle so far will inexorably become his weakness. And there's no reason to think he'll be able to pivot to a different approach.

Trump is like Wile E. Coyote, sprinted off the cliff, hanging in the air. He's hung there longer than anyone expected ... but that doesn't mean he can fly.

Trump has one mode: dominance

One of the best things I've read this year about Trump's appeal is by Josh Marshall. It hearkens back to his (legendary in some circles) 2004 post about "bitch-slap politics."

Marshall has wisely abandoned that term, but the concept behind it has never been more relevant. It's about dominance displays, about showing, rather than arguing, that one's opponent is weak.

It's done not through critique but through attack — personal attack — demonstrating that the target will not or can not defend him or herself. The attack doesn't make the point, it is the point.

Marshall's original application was to the Swift Boat attacks in 2004. What made those effective was not their substance, he says, but the optics of John Kerry getting beat up and sitting passively by while it happened. How could he defend America if he wouldn't defend himself?

Now Trump has taken that kind of politics to a new level.

As I've said, this kind of dominance symbolism is pervasive in GOP politics. It's not new with Trump at all. Most successful Republican politicians speak this language. And yet somehow for most it is nonetheless a second language. But it's Trump's native language. ... Wherever it comes from, he seems to intuitively get that for this constituency and at this moment just demonstrating that he gets his way, always, is all that really matters. Policy details, protecting the candidate through careful press releases and structured media opportunities ... none of that matters.

Though it makes pundits somewhat uncomfortable to admit it, most voters — especially the politically disengaged working-class whites Trump is attracting — don't know much about "issues" and don't have well-defined political philosophies.

When they witness political debate, they aren't really analyzing and assessing arguments. They are reading the subtext, attuned to who's aggressive and who's defensive, who's strong and who's weak, who seems like a leader and who doesn't.

Trump instinctively gets this. His innovation, if you can call it that, is to abandon the text altogether, bringing the subtext to the surface. "Toughness" is no longer a side dish, it's the main dish, the only dish. Trump will win because Trump wins. It's a post-truth, post-substance campaign, affect from top to bottom.

That's why the National Review-style "he's a secret liberal" attacks are simply bouncing off him. His appeal has nothing to do with consistency on policy or fealty to conservative ideology. It is 100 percent about dominance.

And that's why his gambit on Thursday night was so brilliant. It replaced a debate, which is at least formally about positions and plans, with a raw contest of power — his weakness with his strength. (Sure enough, his absence devastated ratings for the debate.)

He's done this again and again throughout the primary, shifting media and public attention to personal power struggles in which policy differences play no role. He jampacks the news cycle, belittling foes' appearance and personalities, thumbing his nose at the political establishment, and making his lead in the polls the core of his message.

There's no air for anything else.

Marshall sums it up:

Trump doesn't kiss babies. Babies kiss him. He doesn't have a billionaire backer; he is a billionaire. Trump doesn't ask for support. He just tells you that you need to stop being a loser and get on board.

Trump's shtick is a wild success ... among a certain subset of voters

That approach has proven immensely potent in the GOP primary. The angry white people flocking to Trump feel like they're getting snubbed, looked down on, and passed over, that a new America culture is rising up around them and it has no place for them.

And now, here is one of their own — okay, maybe not struggling like them, but definitely pissed off and politically incorrect like them — expressing their fears and resentments, without apology.

Trump is their avatar. And he is making all the fancypants politicos and journalists bend a knee and kiss his ring. They can't hurt him, and he makes sure they know it. He is a florid middle finger to every one of the cultural elites his followers feel disdained by.

They've been getting crapped on years. Now someone is taking their side and doing some of the crapping.

They love it. They don't necessarily love him, but they love watching him stick it to the elites. And why wouldn't they? They are, through Trump, winning again, like they used to back in the good old days.

But the road to an election is too long to have only one gear

Since 2004, with the debut of his reality show The Apprentice, the US public has only seen Trump in one mode: in charge, winning, dominating. He was on top in his show, by design. He's been on top of the field for the whole primary. He's come out on top in every dispute with Fox News or the Republican Party.

To people unfamiliar with his pre-Apprentice career in New York, Trump has always and only been a winner.

That was not an obvious outcome when he entered the race. But he has an instinct for what pleases and excites his audience (or what enrages those his audience hates, very often the same thing), and he quickly discovered that belligerent xenophobia worked. As Dara Lind argues, there's good reason to believe that he pursued immigration mainly because that's what hit with his initial crowds.

So he entered with maximal bluster and has just kept it up, posturing, bullshitting furiously, expressing the most extreme version of everything that pumps up his audience, extolling his own dominance.

And it's working. It just keeps working!

He's Wile E. Coyote, suspended in the air, floating. He seems, to my eye, as baffled by it as anyone else. That's the significance of the "I could shoot people" comment:

"It's incredible!" That's not what people say when events are unfolding according to their carefully laid plans. He's just as amazed as everyone else by the resilience of his appeal. He can't believe it's working either.

But what happens when he's not on top, not dominating?

Presidential campaigns are long and intense, with many ups and downs along the way. Once he is no longer a phenomenon, a spectacle, but an honest-to-god candidate in a one-on-one race, Trump will not be able to avoid answering questions about policy or substance. He will not be able to belittle and marginalize everyone who challenges him, or skip every debate that doesn't agree to his terms.

He will not be able to dictate the terms of the contest, as he has so far.

Sooner or later he'll have to navigate situations where he's on the defensive, where he's being asked to defend himself or apologize or treat an opponent with respect. What then? What will arrogant bluster look like in that context?

Also, Trump's shtick excites a portion of the electorate — resentful, xenophobic, white — that is more robust than most political elites realized, but the shtick also polarizes. Trump has higher unfavorables than any of his opponents. Taken to a national race, his current act will even more sharply divide an already polarized country.

And here's the bedrock obstacle to Trump's success: there are simplynot enough struggling, resentful, xenophobic white people in the US to constitute a national majority sufficient to win a presidential election.

So to win, Trump will have to reach out to moderates or independents or white-collar professionals or Latinos or college-educated women or ...some other demographic.

Endless dominance displays will not do that. He'll have to soften his approach, to show some respect and gravitas, to display some empathy, to demonstrate that he has a grasp of policy. Bush-style "compassionate conservatism" is the only kind capable of building a national majority any more.

Can Trump do that? Can he modulate his act? Can he appeal to different demographics?

Well, he never has. And nothing in his history or behavior indicates that he's capable of it.

Trump's approach is not an act that he can turn on and off at will

A few commentators — most eloquently Philip Bump — have interpreted Trump as "wanting to be liked," which indicates to them (and to some in the Republican establishment) that Trump will be malleable in a way that a more ideological candidate like Cruz will not. But I don't think that's quite right.

Bill Clinton wants to be liked. That's why he makes everyone he meets feel like the center of the universe, the sole focus of his attention. People like that!

Trump doesn't make people feel that way. Indeed, he has constructed his entire professional life around him being the center of universe, the focus of any room he's in. He doesn't want to be liked, he wants to be respected and feared. He wants to be the top dog; he is obsessed with it.

I think people often misread that as a species of strength, but its true origin is fear — deep, pre-verbal fear, down in the brainstem.

Some scientists have looked into what makes conservatives conservative. One thing they've found is that conservatives are more sensitive to negative features of the environment — to threat, contamination, disorder. At the far right end of the spectrum is the authoritarian, who dreams of total control, freedom from all threat, "peace through strength."

And that's Trump (who, not coincidentally, refuses to shake hands for fear of germs). He must be in control, have all the leverage, in every situation. (If he doesn't, he just declares bankruptcy and moves on.) He is hyper-attuned to disrespect or disloyalty, as the feud with Fox News this week showed. And a hair-trigger fight-or-flight reflex makes him prone to outbursts and personal attacks whenever he feels threatened, which is often.

It's pathological. And the thing about pathologies is that they cannot be taken on and off like masks. They are pre-conscious; they order incoming experience.

Trump may "pledge a personality change" as president, but personalities do not change overnight. Narcissistic personality disorder is not a strategy, it's a condition.

And it is not going to wear well over the long course of a presidential election. In a general campaign, Trump will not be surrounded by supplicants like he's accustomed to. He won't be able skip debates and bully journalists for an entire election. He will be put under intense stress and scrutiny, forced to improvise answers to difficult questions that he doesn't get to choose.

And when he's pushed, he'll lash out, again and again, and eventually people will notice that lashing out is all he's capable of. He'll face setbacks, and people will notice that arrogant bluster sounds a little tinny and desperate coming from someone who's down.

People will see his personality on display in circumstances not of his choosing, for the first time. And they'll recoil at the idea of him holding the nuclear codes. Maybe core Republican voters will stay with him no matter what, but he'll repel more than enough non-core voters to foreclose a winning coalition.

Bottom line: the strongman approach is inherently self-limiting. It flourishes in the bizarro environs of a modern Republican primary, but there is no evidence at all, and much to the contrary, that it could be used to assemble a national majority.

Yet it is the only approach in Trump's toolbox. That is why he will never be president.

* I can think of two scenarios that would fit the bill. One, Trump faces Clinton and, late in the race, something happens to render Clinton unelectable. Two, Trump faces Sanders and Bloomberg jumps in, splitting the left vote and throwing the election to Trump.

Both seem highly unlikely to me, the first because Clinton is already the most intensely vetted figure in US politics, the second because Sanders is unlikely to win the primary.
From The New York Times:

College Men for Trump

Thomas B. Edsall JULY 14, 2016

Chet Strange for The New York Times
It’s relatively easy to understand how the bitter grievances of the white working class drive support for Donald Trump. What’s less understandable is why a plurality of college-educated white men backs the Republican Party’s combative soon-to-be nominee.

According to a recent Pew study, white non-Hispanic male college graduates support Trump over Hillary Clinton by 49 to 42 percent, even as she holds on to her overall lead.

Pew is not alone in its findings about college men. An ABC News/Washington Post survey in June gave Trump a 49-44 lead among white men who have completed four years of college.

We often overlook the pro-Trump leanings of white men with college degrees, in part because white women with four-year degrees back Clinton 57-35 percent, and most reports combine the total. When both sexes are counted, Clinton leads by six points. The gender gap this year is historic.

While white male college-educated voters are not commonly seen as part of the Trump-led nationalist movement that rejects globalism and multiculturalism, poll data shows that a substantial percentage of them do belong in this camp.

White Republican college graduates and white Republicans who do not have a degree generally agree on many political and policy issues,” the Pew Research Center found in a March 2016 report.

Nearly half of college-educated Republicans, men and women, believe immigrants “burden the country by taking jobs, housing and health care,” a view shared by 62 percent of non-college Republicans. A plurality of those with college educations, 38 percent, say that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate “who wants to deport all immigrants in the U.S. illegally.” Half of those without degrees agree. A striking 64 percent of college-educated white Republicans support building a “fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border,” as do 75 percent of non-college Republicans.

I asked pollsters and political scientists why Trump appeals to educated white men.

Howard Rosenthal, a political scientist at N.Y.U., sent a thoughtful reply to my inquiry:

Quote:The past 50 years have witnessed a very substantial redistribution from white males to minorities and women. I supported and now believe in the public policies that accomplished this redistribution. But redistribution it is.

The adoption of redistributive policies favoring women and minorities has, in Rosenthal’s unvarnished view, fundamentally changed the character of the political parties.

“The Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton are engaged in identity politics. And the redistribution is not win-win,” Rosenthal wrote, adding that

identity politics is a matter of social justice that has had limited economic benefits for white males throughout the income distribution.

So even if college-educated whites are doing relatively well economically, the redistributive policies espoused by Clinton and the Democratic Party —Obamacare, affirmative action, more progressive taxation and expanded social insurance policies — have led Rosenthal to conclude that “in terms of pocketbook voting, I am not surprised that Trump draws support from many college educated white males.”

The meaning of a college degree, Rosenthal points out, has changed over the years:

Quote:There has been a large expansion of the bottom tier, with relatively more students graduating from Cal State Hayward or Cal State Dominguez Hills than from Berkeley or UCLA. And those graduating from lower tier schools may not be doing all that well in the economy.

Male college graduates who are struggling are more likely to join white working class men in the larger insurgency against globalization and free trade that is taking place here and all over Europe.

A parallel reaction, often overlooked or disregarded by the media, academia and the left, can be found on other issues, especially immigration.

As the number of immigrants to the United States has grown, from 9.6 million to 42.4 million between 1970 and 2014, 49 percent of whites and 58 percent of Republicans perceive these newcomers as “a threat to American values,” according to a 2013 Pew survey. A March PRRI survey report found that 47 percent of older whites — among whom Trump runs better than he does among younger whites — agreed that immigrants “represent a threat to American customs and values.”

On a separate front, between 1999 and 2015, the inflation-adjusted value of imported goods has grown from $1.3 trillion to $2.2 trillion. According to recent polls, majorities of Americans see the increase in imported goods as “taking away U.S. jobs.” A May 16-19 ABC News/Washington Post surveyfound, for example, that 53 percent of respondents believe that “trade with other countries” eliminates more jobs than it creates in the United States. Among whites, the percentage grows to 59 percent.

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at N.Y.U., sent me an essay from The American Interest in which he argues that in order to understand the rise of nativist populists like Trump, especially among white men, both here and abroad, one must first look at the globalists, and at how their changing values may drive many of their fellow citizens to support right-wing political leaders.

Globalists, including elites in the Democratic Party, support high levels of immigration and reductions in national sovereignty; they tend to see transnational entities such as the European Union as being morally superior to nation-states; and they vilify the nationalists and their patriotism as “racism pure and simple.”

The global agenda presses a “normative threat” button in the minds of those who are predisposed to authoritarianism, and these actions can drive status quo conservatives to join authoritarians in fighting back against the globalists and their universalistic projects.

Haidt’s use of the concept of “normative threat” is helpful in exploring other challenges to traditional cultural norms, including male reaction to the nomination of a woman for president.

There is a substantial body of research that suggests gender-based reasons why men — college-educated men included — lean toward Trump.

Alice Eagly, a social psychologist at Northwestern, contends that gender-based group stereotypes remain a powerful force, particularly in terms of how people gauge the ability of women to handle different tasks.

In a 2014 paper written with Anne Koenig, a social psychologist at the University of San Diego, Eagly reported that the jobs most commonly associated with men include business professional, politicians, C.E.O. and lawyer while the jobs most commonly associated with women included teacher, secretary, nurse and homemaker.

These widely held group stereotypes incline voters “to disqualify” women seeking positions stereotypically held by men.

Without referring to Clinton, Eagly and Koenig argue that the stereotype of women as belonging in the helping or communal professions has remained constant “despite massive change in women’s roles in the 20th century.” This is because most of the movement of women from homemaking to employment has put them in occupational roles that are perceived as not especially agentically demanding but highly communally demanding.

According to Catalyst, women currently make up 15.4 percent of C.E.O.s.

The consequences, Eagly and Koenig write, are apparent in their employment in the expanding service, educational, and health care sectors of the economy. Specifically, the six most common occupations for women in the United States are secretary and administrative assistant; registered nurse; elementary and middle school teacher; cashier; nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides; and retail salespersons.

Along related lines, Ann C. McGinley, a law professor at the University of Nevada, argued in a 2009 paper — “Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Obama: Performing Gender, Race, and Class on the Campaign Trail” — that women’s identities as aspiring political leaders continue to be problematic, and require women to negotiate a double bind: if they are too feminine, they are deemed incompetent. If they are too masculine, they are considered not likeable.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll last month found that 75 percent of white men had a negative view of Clinton and 23 percent had a favorable view. In the case of college-educated white men, the combined May and June NBC News/Wall Street Journal surveys show a decisively unfavorable iew of Clinton (62-26).

A number of pollsters pointed out to me that hostility to Clinton is more important than the appeal of Trump in the continuing support for Trump among white college men. “Her negatives are awful,” the Republican pollster Bill McInturff noted in an email.

The paradox of Trump’s support among educated white men is that even though a plurality told Pew that they will vote for Trump, NBC/WSJ poll data shows that a clear majority — 58 percent — view Trump unfavorably. That is, they plan to vote for Trump without liking him.

Bias against women in leadership roles often accompanies bias against racial and ethnic minorities and may contribute to the willingness of white men — both college and non-college — to accept flawed leadership from Trump rather than grant authority to women — or to African-Americans or Hispanics.

Susan T. Fiske, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton,put it clearly:

Quote:People are often biased against others outside of their own social group, showing prejudice (emotional bias), stereotypes (cognitive bias), and discrimination (behavioral bias). In the past, people used to be more explicit with their biases, but during the 20th century, when it became less socially acceptable to exhibit bias, such things like prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination became more subtle (automatic, ambiguous, and ambivalent).

While politically speaking college men are keeping a relatively low profile this year and not broadcasting their views, there are hard-right conservative activists more than willing to grab center stage.

In March, Kimberly Ross, a regular contributor to the conservative web site, wrote:

Quote:With Hillary, a kinder, gentler, let’s-bring-everyone-to-the-fold schtick is dead on arrival, because it’s so disingenuous, at least to us who don’t subscribe to the gooey social justice warrior mentality.

To Kimberly Ross and those who support her views, “gooey social justice” refers to the conjoined issues of race and gender. On these issues, Hillary Clinton and her progressive and liberal supporters have starkly different views from those of Donald Trump and his loyalists — to put it mildly.

The rage that this progressive perspective incites on the far right appears to animate, in varying degrees, the white men who support Trump. This anti-liberal rage was put on display in the extreme reaction to Hillary Clinton’s public comments in the aftermath of the slaughter of five policemen in Dallas last week.

Clinton told CNN on July 8, “I will call for white people like myself to put ourselves in the shoes of those African-American families who fear every time their children go somewhere,” adding,

I’m going to be talking to white people — I think we’re the ones who have to have to start listening to the legitimate cries that are coming from our African-American fellow citizens.

The same day, on NBC, Clinton told Lester Holt that Americans “have to be honest, all of us, in facing implicit bias that all of us, unfortunately, may still have.”

Clinton continued along these lines Wednesday in a speech on race in Springfield, Ill.:

Quote:We do need to listen to those who say “Black Lives Matter.” Too many black Americans, especially young men, feel like their lives are disposable. And they worry every single day about what might happen. They have reason to feel that way. And it’s absolutely unacceptable.

To a Democrat, Clinton’s words sound reassuring and healing. Conservatives hear her words very differently: “Hillary Clinton Blames Whites, Cops for Deaths of Young Black Men” declared the July 8 headline on

Jim Hoft, writing on July 10 at,was even more explicit: “Hillary Clinton Calls for White People to Change after 5 White Cops Gunned Down in Dallas.”

The critique of Clinton’s problems with white men is not limited to the right. In October 2015, Josh Kraushaar wrote in The Atlantic:

Quote:At some point, her campaign will have to grapple with why her support has cratered so badly among men. Did the campaign’s initial plan to play up Clinton’s soft, grandmotherly persona backfire at a time of mounting global turmoil? Is it a consequence of the campaign’s unabashedly liberal turn on social issues, particularly on abortion rights, immigration, and gun control? Or is it simply a product of her overall low approval numbers, dampened by the ongoing developments about her handling of classified email at the State Department?

In fact, Clinton may not have to grapple with the cratering of white male support just as long as Trump craters even more deeply among women and minorities. Women, after all, make up 53 percent of voters. But the depth of his support among college men signals the continuing volatility and disquiet of the electorate.
Thanks for that article, very interesting. Perhaps her VP choice is going to remedy some of the deficit with white male voters for Clinton, he just gave a pretty good speech.
Here are some thoughts from Prospects Paul Waldman:

Quote:But there are other things that the campaign itself has revealed, including his absolute inability to let any slight go. As Trump wrote in one of his books, "When someone crosses you, my advice is 'Get Even!' That is not typical advice, but it is real life advice. If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck! When people wrong you, go after those people because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I love getting even."

You or I might find Trump's need to lash out at anybody who isn't nice to him to be pathological, but to many of his voters it's one of the things they like about him. Going after a Gold Star Mother, or saying a judge can't be impartial if he has Mexican heritage, is just one more way to not be "politically correct." Just as Trump has spent decades enacting a comically garish version of what wealth is supposed to look like, he now enacts a version of existence in which he gets back at anyone and everyone, without the faintest regard for social and political norms or even common decency.

You can see how there would be something almost intoxicating about that for a certain kind of white man. He keeps hearing about "privilege" but he doesn't feel privileged. His hometown is becoming diverse in a way he's not too pleased with—but he's not supposed to say it's a bad thing. His job isn't great and his boss is kind of a jerk—but the last thing he's allowed to do is act like Donald Trump and tell the boss where to shove it. So to him, Trump looks like the one liberated man, who can say anything, insult anyone, and get away with it. Trump is the only one who "tells it like it is." The more offensive Trump is, the more it reinforces that voter's belief that he's the only one willing to speak the truth.
Donald Trump's Fight With the Parents of a Fallen Soldier Is Just What His Supporters Want

There are lots of people who are slighted and can't get even, and/or feel constrained in what they can say. So Trump becomes their hero.
Quote:A few themes emerge among intellectuals on the right about what attracts them to the candidate: his campaign’s energy, his impassioned following, and his eagerness to call out the establishment.
The Conservative Intellectuals Who Support Trump - The Atlantic
The following is an original take. One doesn't have to invoke Habermas and the expansion of economic logic to other sphere's of life, but the author of the following piece suggests Trump is the invasion of unscrupulous business logic and morale into politics:

Quote:The world that Mr. Trump inhabits is today’s Other America, the seamy, blustering, hustling and huckstering underside of our fabled brightness and optimism. For those who can afford to idealize politics, it may seem alien. But for many people, it is everyday life. The political and business worlds have always overlapped. But we used to — and the establishment still does — expect politicians to adhere to a minimal level of honesty and consistency. We judge business tycoons differently; within the confines of the law, more or less, we expect them to lie and cheat their way to the top, and we assess them solely on how quickly and efficiently they get there.

The reputation of Ulysses S. Grant was tarnished by the mere association with the unseemly practices that earned his Gilded Age counterparts in the business world everlasting glory. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before someone with the plutocrat’s professional ethics made that leap into presidential politics. But the rest of the country had to catch up.

Yet Mr. Trump seems to suffer from a manufacturing defect. Republican leaders seem to want to recall him as though he were a faulty airbag. And it’s unlikely that enough Americans will buy his marketing pitch for him to win in November. Imagine, though, a different figure, someone with Mr. Trump’s callousness but without the thin skin, lack of self-control and fragile, oversize ego. Imagine, in other words, a demagogue who embodies the dynamics of America’s pervasive commercial atmosphere, but who is smart, cunning, self-aware and self-disciplined — so cunning that he would, say, embrace the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan with the slightest trace of a wink to his or her followers, and then, once elected, close the door to any Muslim who wished to immigrate to America.

Imagine this same figure prefacing an insinuation that Mrs. Clinton be assassinated with a heartfelt declaration of her decency and good faith. We had better prepare for such a person. In business, Mr. Trump might be called a beta test, or a “proof of concept.” To that end, he has already succeeded. Trumpism — not the political ideology rooted in xenophobia and nationalism, but the cynical worldview that sees politics, like everything, as a market to be conquered — is not going anywhere.
The Selling of Donald J. Trump - The New York Times
The whole article is compelling reading, one of the best introductions of what is going on on the right. The essence of the right used to be about small government and free markets, with family values and national security thrown in for good measure.

But the rise of Trump has exploded that myth, and this is the best explanation of what's beneath it:

Quote:The core of the ethnonationalist perspective is that a country’s constituent groups and demographics are locked in a zero-sum struggle for resources. Any government intervention that favors one group disfavors the others. Government and other institutions are either with you or against you.

What FOX and talk radio have been teaching the right for decades is that native-born, working- and middle-class whites are locked in a zero-sum struggle with rising Others — minorities, immigrants, gays, coastal elitists, hippie environmentalists, etc. — and that the major institutions of the country have been coopted and are working on behalf of the Others.

Here’s my favorite Rush Limbaugh quote, from back in 2009:

Quote:We really live, folks, in two worlds. There are two worlds. We live in two universes. One universe is a lie. One universe is an entire lie. Everything run, dominated, and controlled by the left here and around the world is a lie. The other universe is where we are, and that’s where reality reigns supreme and we deal with it. And seldom do these two universes ever overlap. … The Four Corners of Deceit: government, academia, science, and media. Those institutions are now corrupt and exist by virtue of deceit.

That’s how they promulgate themselves; it is how they prosper. That is the right-wing media’s message, delivered with relentless consistency: Government has become an agent of the Others. That’s what ethnonationalists mean when they talk about big government — not that government is exceeding some libertarian theorist’s notion of constitutional limits, but that government is on the wrong side, backing the wrong team.

From an ethnonationalist perspective, government overreach is when government tells people like me what to do. The proper role of government is to defend my rights and privileges against people like them.
This one quote shows what angry white guys mean when they talk about government overreach - Vox

The article contains a hilarious (and tragic at the same time) quote from a guy who riles against government imposing fines on what's called 'rolling coal' the practice of some to tinker with their diesel trucks in order to produce an enormous belch of black smoke. 

Quote:But to diesel owners like Corey Blue of Roanoke, Ill., the very efforts to ban coal rolling represent the worst of government overreach and environmental activism. "Your bill will not stop us!" Mr. Blue wrote to Will Guzzardi, a state representative who has proposed a $5,000 fine on anyone who removes or alters emissions equipment. "Why don’t you go live in Sweden and get the heck out of our country," Mr. Blue wrote. "I will continue to roll coal anytime I feel like and fog your stupid eco-cars."

It's tragic in the sense that air pollution, especially fine particles from diesel, kills orders of magnitude more people compared to, say, terrorism.
Quote:Her Tea Party friends (as she sometimes describes them) live in a region deeply polluted by petrochemical industries, and some of their most obvious losses and grievances are environmental. One devout Pentecostal Cajun family lives on a poisoned bayou, surrounded by dead forests. They carry memories of their grandparents’ time, when the family lived on the bountiful water and woods, and of their parents’ time, when cows and horses drank from or waded into polluted waterways and died within days. One elderly informant lost his engineering job after he was doused at work with harmful chemicals that disabled and could have killed him. Born into a Democratic family in the Pacific Northwest, he became an environmentalist after going public with stories of being instructed to dump his factory’s most dangerous by-products into local wetlands, week after week, always in secret. Now in his eighties, he puts up signs for Tea Party candidates. Another Tea Partier lost his home and neighborhood to a sinkhole the size of a subdivision after a risky fracking operation shattered a subterranean mineral formation (which other companies were already using to store toxic waste).

Hochschild asks a question familiar to anyone who has ever wondered what’s the matter with Kansas: How does a Republican Party of big business, whose candidates split over whether to shrink the Environmental Protection Agency or abolish it outright, appeal to these victims of what one can only call environmental injustice?

Here is what she hears: The line for advancement toward the American dream of secure prosperity has grown very long. Sometimes it seems to have stopped moving. And, in front of these hard-working people, newcomers are cutting in line, playing by their own rules to get ahead. Affirmative action, jobs for illegal immigrants, and (in some men’s view) women in the workforce are all moving the goalposts, undercutting what these traditionalist Louisianans feel are lives of working hard, waiting patiently, and playing by the rules. Many of these people don’t trust the companies that have poisoned their home place; but they feel that the federal government, especially under Barack Obama, is on the side of the line-skippers who are changing the rules.
Red-State Blues | New Republic

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