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What unites Trump voters?
And there are quite a few of them

Quote:White Americans feel more angry than black Americans, according to a November survey of 3,257 US adults by Esquire and NBC. White people were more likely than black people to say their current financial situation isn’t what they thought it would be when they were younger, and they were also more likely to put that down to difficult circumstances rather than “wrong choices”. When asked whether they ever hear or read anything on the news that makes them angry, white respondents were more likely than black ones to say they felt angry at least twice a day. There were gender differences too – men were more likely than women to say that they felt angry about the treatment of white men.
Trump's angry white men – and why there are more of them than you think | US news | The Guardian
It isn't actually so much trade that is the root cause for the white working class malaise as other countries like Japan and France are even more open to trade and haven't seen anywhere near the same stagnation in real wages for decades:

Quote:This is simply extraordinary. It turns out wages in France and Japan, often considered economic basket cases, have grown 2.5 times as fast as those in the US. A possible retort to this could be that while wages have been growing much faster in sclerotic France, this could have come at the expense of job creation. After all, higher wages could mean labor pricing itself out of the market and France isn't well known for its economic dynamism anyway. But then there is this figure showing that while France has managed to increase employment for it's working age population, the US hasn't... But there is a much more fundamental and important conclusion to be drawn from these developments. Japan and France are very much under the same forces of globalization and technology which are often deemed the culprits of the stagnant wages in the US. This points squarely to domestic causes for the stagnant median wages in the US. That is actually good news, as policies and institutions can be changed, while globalization and technology are much bigger and powerful forces.
A Uniquely American Problem | Seeking Alpha
There is some more convincing stuff about Trump's stance on trade as a vote drawer in that article:

Quote:Trade is an issue that polarizes Americans by socio-economic status. To the professional class, which encompasses the vast majority of our media figures, economists, Washington officials and Democratic power brokers, what they call “free trade” is something so obviously good and noble it doesn’t require explanation or inquiry or even thought. Republican and Democratic leaders alike agree on this, and no amount of facts can move them from their Econ 101 dream. To the remaining 80 or 90% of America, trade means something very different. There’s a video going around on the internet these days that shows a room full of workers at a Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana being told by an officer of the company that the factory is being moved to Monterrey, Mexico and that they’re all going to lose their jobs...

Here is the most salient supporting fact: when people talk to white, working-class Trump supporters, instead of simply imagining what they might say, they find that what most concerns these people is the economy and their place in it. I am referring to a study just published by Working America, a political-action auxiliary of the AFL-CIO, which interviewed some 1,600 white working-class voters in the suburbs of Cleveland and Pittsburgh in December and January. Support for Donald Trump, the group found, ran strong among these people, even among self-identified Democrats, but not because they are all pining for a racist in the White House. Their favorite aspect of Trump was his “attitude,” the blunt and forthright way he talks. As far as issues are concerned, “immigration” placed third among the matters such voters care about, far behind their number one concern: “good jobs / the economy.”

People are much more frightened than they are bigoted,” is how the findings were described to me by Karen Nussbaum, the executive director of Working America. The survey “confirmed what we heard all the time: people are fed up, people are hurting, they are very distressed about the fact that their kids don’t have a future” and that “there still hasn’t been a recovery from the recession, that every family still suffers from it in one way or another.”

What Lewandowski and Nussbaum are saying, then, should be obvious to anyone who’s dipped a toe outside the prosperous enclaves on the two coasts. Ill-considered trade deals and generous bank bailouts and guaranteed profits for insurance companies but no recovery for average people, ever – these policies have taken their toll. As Trump says, “we have rebuilt China and yet our country is falling apart. Our infrastructure is falling apart. . . . Our airports are, like, Third World.”

Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here's why | Thomas Frank | Opinion | The Guardian
And of course the ironic part is that the revolt is basically one against neo-liberalism of leaving everything to the free market, embodied in its most fundamentalist form by.. the Republican Party..

Quote:Trump’s words articulate the populist backlash against liberalism that has been building slowly for decades and may very well occupy the White House itself, whereupon the entire world will be required to take seriously its demented ideas.

Yet still we cannot bring ourselves to look the thing in the eyes. We cannot admit that we liberals bear some of the blame for its emergence, for the frustration of the working-class millions, for their blighted cities and their downward spiraling lives. So much easier to scold them for their twisted racist souls, to close our eyes to the obvious reality of which Trumpism is just a crude and ugly expression: that neoliberalism has well and truly failed.
Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here's why | Thomas Frank | Opinion | The Guardian
Krugman is also latching onto the anti-trade stance, in this case of both Sanders (because of his surprise Michigan win) and Trump:

Quote:The Sanders win defied all the polls, and nobody really knows why. But a widespread guess is that his attacks on trade agreements resonated with a broader audience than his attacks on Wall Street; and this message was especially powerful in Michigan, the former auto superpower. And while I hate attempts to claim symmetry between the parties — Trump is trying to become America’s Mussolini, Sanders at worst America’s Michael Foot — Trump has been tilling some of the same ground. So here’s the question: is the backlash against globalization finally getting real political traction?... 
A Protectionist Moment? - The New York Times
It's also interesting to see what Krugman (who gained his Nobel in economics for his work on international trade) actually has to say about trade:

Quote:But it’s also true that much of the elite defense of globalization is basically dishonest: false claims of inevitability, scare tactics (protectionism causes depressions!), vastly exaggerated claims for the benefits of trade liberalization and the costs of protection, hand-waving away the large distributional effects that are what standard models actually predict. I hope, by the way, that I haven’t done any of that; I think I’ve always been clear that the gains from globalization aren’t all that (here’s a back-of-the-envelope on the gains from hyperglobalization — only part of which can be attributed to policy — that is less than 5 percent of world GDP over a generation); and I think I’ve never assumed away the income distribution effects.

Furthermore, as Mark Kleiman sagely observes, the conventional case for trade liberalization relies on the assertion that the government could redistribute income to ensure that everyone wins — but we now have an ideology utterly opposed to such redistribution in full control of one party, and with blocking power against anything but a minor move in that direction by the other. So the elite case for ever-freer trade is largely a scam, which voters probably sense even if they don’t know exactly what form it’s taking.
A Protectionist Moment? - The New York Times
Not everybody fully agrees though. This is just one study, but interesting nevertheless:

Quote:Economists are now discovering, however, that the broader benefits of free trade with some countries—China, in particular—are taking far longer to develop than they should. And they may never arrive. A new study by economists David Autor of MIT, Gordon Hanson of the University of California, San Diego, and David Dorn of the University of Zurich finds that China’s rise as a manufacturing powerhouse during the last 25 years has caused a “trade shock” in many parts of the U.S. economy that still hasn’t subsided. “Employment has fallen in U.S. industries more exposed to import competition, as expected,” they write. “But offsetting employment gains in other industries have yet to materialize.” Instead of finding other rewarding opportunities in “non-trade exposed” industries, many displaced workers suffer repeated bouts of unemployment and depressed lifetime earnings. That’s when they start paying attention to Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders.
Corporate America is doing itself in—while Trump and Sanders capitalize - Yahoo Finance
One of the better explanations:

Quote:For some on the right, Trump is the grassroots response to Republican elites who have abandoned their working-class voters to the whims of laissez-faire capitalism. “[T]he Republican Party, and the conservative movement, offer next to nothing to working-class Trump supporters,”writes Michael Brendan Dougherty in the Week. “There are no obvious conservative policies that will generate the sort of growth needed to raise the standard of living for these working-class voters.”... 

All of which is to say that we’ve been missing the most important catalyst in Trump’s rise. What caused this fire to burn out of control? The answer, I think, is Barack Obama. There have been some conservative writers who have tried to hang Trump’s success on the current president, pointing to his putatively extreme positions. But in most respects, Obama is a conventional politician—well within the center-left of the Democratic Party. Or at least, he’s governed in that mode, with an agenda that sits safely in the mainstream. Getty Images Laws like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Affordable Care Act weren’t impositions from the far left; they were built out of proposals from the right and left, passed by a majority of Congress that was elected to pursue solutions on health care and the economy. Barack Obama is many things, but conservative rhetoric aside, he’s no radical.

We can’t say the same for Obama as a political symbol, however. In a nation shaped and defined by a rigid racial hierarchy, his election was very much a radical event, in which a man from one of the nation’s lowest castes ascended to the summit of its political landscape. And he did so with heavy support from minorities: Asian Americans and Latinos were an important part of Obama’s coalition, and black Americans turned out at their highest numbers ever in 2008.

For liberal observers, this heralded a new, rising electorate, and—in theory—a durable majority. “The future in American politics belongs to the party that can win a more racially diverse, better educated, more metropolitan electorate,” wrote Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post after the 2008 election. “It belongs to Barack Obama’s Democrats.” For millions of white Americans who weren’t attuned to growing diversity and cosmopolitanism, however, Obama was a shock, a figure who appeared out of nowhere to dominate the country’s political life. And with talk of an “emerging Democratic majority,” he presaged a time when their votes—which had elected George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan—would no longer matter.
Trump and racial resentment - Business Insider
Useful point, this, if it is true Trump supporters are mainly drawn by his anti-trade talk..

Quote:What has been missing from 25 years of mostly unfettered globalization is an adequate safety net for American workers harmed by free trade. Washington offers a benefit known as trade adjustment assistance to workers who lose their jobs because of foreign competition, but it’s so small that the paper's author calls it “effectively inconsequential.” Employers, for their part, mostly rely on the free market to absorb displaced workers. But the market hasn’t been up to the job.
Corporate America is doing itself in—while Trump and Sanders capitalize - Yahoo Finance

Quote:Technology and globalization haunted dreams of American middle-class prosperity. Machines displaced low-skilled (and increasingly middle-skilled) workers whose routine jobs could be automated, and globalization meant the flight of manufacturing and service jobs to factories and call centers in emerging countries. The result was ever-widening inequality.
Q&A: Robert Reich on the ‘Vicious Cycle of Wealth and Power’ He Says Threatens Capitalism - Real Time Economics - WSJ

And then there is this:

Quote:For decades, people in rich countries have lived longer. But in a well-known paper, economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case found that over the past 15 years, one group — middle-age whites in the United States — constitutes an alarming trend. They are dying in increasing numbers. And things look much worse for those with just a high school diploma or less. There are concerns about the calculations, but even a leading critic of the paper has acknowledged that, however measured, “the change compared to other countries and groups is huge.”

The main causes of death are as striking as the fact itself: suicide, alcoholism, and overdoses of prescription and illegal drugs. “People seem to be killing themselves, slowly or quickly,” Deaton told me. These circumstances are usually caused by stress, depression and despair. The only comparable spike in deaths in an industrialized country took place among Russian males after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when rates of alcoholism skyrocketed.
America’s self-destructive whites - The Washington Post


Quote:conventional explanation for this middle-class stress and anxiety is that globalization and technological change have placed increasing pressures on the average worker in industrialized nations. But the trend is absent in any other Western country — it’s an exclusively American phenomenon. And the United States is actually relatively insulated from the pressures of globalization, having a vast, self-contained internal market. Trade makes up only 23 percent of the U.S. economy, compared with 71 percent in Germany and 45 percent in France.
America’s self-destructive whites - The Washington Post
On the anti-trade stance (that actually unites Trump and Sanders voters), this is interesting:

Quote:With trade and prosperity prominent in the campaign, Yahoo Finance analyzed economic data for each state during the last 10 years to determine which states seem to be feeling the most pain from globalization and the movement of jobs overseas. For each state, we calculated the change in manufacturing employment, total employment and income during the last 10 years. Then we ranked the states on their overall economic performance. (Full methodology is at the end of this story.) These 10 states are hurting the most:

View gallery
Sources: Dept. of Labor, Yahoo Finance

Not all of those are key early primary states where candidates are likely to hold rallies, which is why New Mexico, Rhode Island and Delaware haven’t been in the angry-voter headlines. But of the three angry states that have held Republican primaries—Alabama, Nevada and Mississippi—Trump has won all three. Hillary Clinton won the three Democratic primaries, although Bernie Sanders was a close second in Nevada. And Sanders spent little time in Alabama or Mississippi, which are Clinton strongholds.

Sanders did notch a surprise win in Michigan, which is the 11thangriest state. Total employment in Michigan has fallen by 1.7% during the last 10 years, while manufacturing employment has fallen by 9.8%. Incomes are up by 7.8%, but inflation over the same period of time has been 13.8%. So the typical Michigander is falling behind. Not surprisingly, Trump won there as well.

Two states holding March 15 primaries—Florida and Illinois—are among the top 10 angry states. Trump is favored in both on the Republican side, while Clinton is leading in the polls of the Democratic side—though Sanders has been surging in Illinois. Ohio, the other big state holding its primary on March 15, is the 19th angriest state, with employment up a scant 0.3% during the last decade, incomes up 14.3% (barely ahead of inflation) and manufacturing employment down 14.2%. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has a slight lead in the polls, but Trump, the anger magnet, is right behind him and could easily win.

There are also some placid states, where the economy is strong and voters are presumably more comfortable with the status quo. Here are the 10 least angry states:

View gallery
Sources: Dept. of Labor, Yahoo Finance

Three of those states—North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma—have been big beneficiaries of the fracking boom, which has obviously turned south lately. If the downturn lasts, voters in those states could be considerably more agitated by Election Day in November. Yet states such as Idaho, Utah, Washington and, to a lesser extent, Colorado are riding high on technology and attracting many businesses from costlier locations, mainly California. A healthy farm economy benefits Iowa and Nebraska. In Texas, the 12th most placid state, employment has grown 20.5% during the last 10 years, the most of any state.

This is where the angriest voters are - Yahoo Finance

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