My discovery is late by a month, but this 5.30 piece by photographer & Guardian contributor Chris Arnade offers the most concise and illuminating explanation of the moronic mentality of your average downscale Trump voter that I’ve read thus far.
The hinterlanders have basically become Pvt. Gomer Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, living in what they feel is a world of shit. They’ve stopped being reasonable, they don’t believe in positivism or constructive solutions, they drink a lot and they’re holding a loaded gun in their hands and telling themselves that things are so bad — stuck, no hope, no future — that pulling the trigger couldn’t make things any worse, and it might just make them better.
Arnade: “As any trader will tell you, if you are stuck lower, you want volatility, uncertainty. No matter how it comes. Put another way, your downside is flat but your upside isn’t. Break the system.”
Seven Arnade paragraphs + Wells comments:
(1) “Large parts of the U.S. have become completely isolated, socially and economically. Kids are growing up in towns where by six, seven, or eleven, they are doomed to be viewed as second class. They feel unvalued. They feel stuck. They are mocked. And there is nothing they feel they can do about it.”
Wells comment: There’s at least a possibility of a way out for under-30s through self-education. Higher learning and all kinds of unforeseen creativity via the internet is free. They don’t need college. And the more they listen to their out-of-work dad or mom or uncle, the more fucked they’ll be. Leave them behind. Their future is mapped out for them, but it isn’t for people who believe in tomorrow. They can do anything or at least die trying.
(2) “When they turn to religion for worth, they are seen by the elites as uneducated, irrational, clowns. When they turn to identity through race they are racists, regardless of their color.”
Wells comment: For the 678th time, religion has always been founded upon ignorance and superstition, and 35 or so years ago Christianity was hijacked by the right. I hate to break it to you, Gomer, but Jesus doesn’t believe in AR-15s. And the more you repeat slogans like “diversity is a code word for white genocide,’ the more behind the eight ball you’ll be. Do you wanna stay in that hole you’re in, or do you want to climb out?
(3) “The only thing they feel they can do is break the fucking system. And they are going to try. Either by Trump or by some other way.”
Wells comment: Brilliant!
(4) “Voters in the lower tier want to move to the higher tier. For African-Americans that means supporting the Clintons, who have spent 40 years working to convince African-Americans they will work for them, socially and economically. They may not like where they start, but Hillary is clearly working for them.”
Wells comment: Check.
(5) “Many working class whites presently don’t feel they have that. In the past they voted the same as elite Republicans, who they saw as sharing their values and would move them higher.”
Wells comment: Dubya and Dick Cheney share my dogpatch values! God, what a bunch of dumb-asses!
(6) “That hasn’t happened. Economically or socially. The bailout of Wall Street (and in their view, acquiescence on social issues like gay marriage) was the final blow.”
Wells comment: You’re shattered by the Wall Street bailout, and so you’re voting for the biggest, richest, most obnoxiously me-me-me guy who ever ran for President — a selfish, swaggering buffoon who’s putting on an act so you’ll vote for him, and you’re dumb enough to do that? You know what? You deserve to live in pain. Your lethargy is warranted. Pop another Oxycontin.
(6) “Frustrated with broken promises, they gave up on the knowable and went with the unknowable. They chose Trump because he comes with a very high distribution. A high volatility. He also signals, in ugly ways, that he might just move them, and only them and their friends, higher with his stated policies.”
Wells comment: If there’s a God, things will only get worse for you guys. Here’s hoping.
Read the whole piece. It says some horrible things, but it’s very perceptive