I tried to locate the author of the commentary below. It was shared by a comrade, friend and follower of this blog, Earl Silbar for discussion purposes. It is an important commentary and worth taking seriously. Facts For Working People certainly would welcome contact from the author if they should come upon it on this forum. RM
A woman from a small town wrote this about the differences among Trump supporters :
“ I’m from a small town and I have some thoughts on this from the perspective of a progressive who grew up on a street a mile long with 4 houses on it, and who is the first generation of my family off the farm. I know the different types of people who voted for Trump and they are not all the same.
It is a mistake to group all working class people who voted for Trump together as if they are one homogeneous group we are supposed to feel sorry for and “teach” so we can bring them into the fold as fellow workers. It is condescending to suggest that these people are all interchangeable with one another. They are not. They are VERY different from each other- some are totally lost causes and others are not.
You have working people who voted for Trump only because they always vote a straight ticket down party lines. It’s a tribal vote, not an educated one in which the person understands what policies they are voting for or how it will affect them.
They aren’t politically aware or particularly educated and are just voting the best way they know how within those constraints.
You have other groups of working people who voted for Trump who didn’t like him very much, but who disliked Hillary more. It was really a vote against Hillary and not a vote for Trump. This group can further be broken down between people who are sexist and who bought into all the misogyny and double standards lobbed at HRC that had nothing to do with her policy positions or political record; and another group who feels generally condescended upon by the East Coast elites that HRC is symbolic of for them.
There is another group that voted for Trump as a purely anti-establishment vote. This group is the most interesting one in a way. I know a couple people who voted for Bernie (left-wing anti-establishment) in the primaries, and who voted for Trump (right-wing presenting himself as anti-establishment) in the general. This group doesn’t trust neo-conservatives or neo-liberals and will always vote for the candidate who presents themselves (whether true or not) as challenging the status quo. This crowd consists of both extremely educated (doctoral level) people as well as extremely uneducated (conspiracy theorists) and everything in between. They rarely have good solutions to suggest, but they do all agree that what we have been doing isn’t working for the majority of society and they want change, however painful that change might prove to be.
All of the above people are not lost causes or worthy of contempt in the absence of the qualities I am about to describe below. The anti-establishment crowd is right to not trust neo-conservatives or neo-liberals who both represent the same failed policies for working people, just at slightly different points on a spectrum. Similarly., we shouldn’t have contempt for people who are trying to do the right thing for themselves, their communities, their friends and family, but who are misled by right-wing propaganda.
But there is a significant group of people who are a lost cause, and we can’t “teach” our way into making them better. These are the people who are deeply, deeply entrenched in both white supremacy and patriarchal ideology, and who won’t be satisfied until *their group* (white men at the top, with white women in a supporting passive role) is endowed with complete and total power to oppress women, black people, immigrants, and other minorities gleefully, politically incorrectly, and without consequence. For them, a vote for Trump wasn’t about fear, confusion, propaganda, anti-establishment, or uneducated ignorance.
No. This group knows exactly how it feels, what it wants, and what it’s willing to do to stay at the top of the food chain (or at least be in the same demographic group of white males who are at the top of the food chain). These are your overt racists who support police brutality, who support women being raped for being dressed *wrong*, who are pro-segregation, who hate brown people of any shade for any reason, and who lack all ability for empathy and compassion. They are spiteful and contemptuous. They would prefer to live in abject poverty as long as they were doing 20% better than women and minorities, than they would prefer that everyone had opportunities and safety nets and basic needs met. It’s about relative dominance and nothing more.
I know plenty of people from my hometown who scapegoat black people for society’s problems (citing welfare abuse, for example), who would still stop on the highway to help a black person change their flat tire in the middle of a thunderstorm. This is still racism, but it’s a totally different kind of racism than the kind that supports lynchings.
We can’t talk about collective resistance or unionizing or any other kind of strategy in a meaningful way unless and until we acknowledge and understand these different subgroups of people and what drives them to vote against their own interests. Because these groups are very different from each other. “