Trump’s Win, Like Religion, Was About Social Class

There are many dissections of the Trump election. To me, the most convincing case is that it was a class distinction election. The college educated class lost and non college won. It was not about tax reform, abortion, gay marriage or immigration. They disguised the real issue, class.

Another way of explaining this phenomenon was proivided by economic columnist, Robert Samuelson. He explained the election was not about the “one percent”. It was about the “twenty percent”. This twenty percent is the upper middle income class who mostly have moved up faster in income than the non college middle and lower middle classes.

The resentment set in when so many watched women and racial minorities move past middle and lower middle white men. Things got much better for the upper middle and very little for those white males.

It is ironic that participation in religion is falling faster among middle and lower middle white males than across the higher income classes. Could it be they feel both God and politics promised them something and did not deliver?

It is almost certain nothing will happen in the near future to appease their resentment. The status of lower middle is likely to continue its relative decline. The only thing Trump and followers could do to appease the lower middle would be to prevent the upper middle from getting what it wants.  Even that seems unlikely.

Nevertheless, Trump signals white lower middle white males he is helping them get revenge. It is great political theater.

18 Responses

  1. Juan Ruiz

    I always get a kick out of election post-mortems. Everyone has an opinion. Mine is that many didn’t vote for Trump, they voted against Clinton. Or perhaps the Clintons. She wasn’t carrying baggage, but steamer trunks. She shot her mouth off during the campaign, which disaffected people in strategic states. Telling West VA coal miners she was going to put them out of work affected her results in much of the old industrial states. Slamming Trump supporters with ad hominems simply reassured those that their judgement of her snide side was correct. As did her subsequent Heinz 57 excuses for losing, none of which included her or her campaign.

    1. entech

      Classless society?
      That is a popular myth. Probably propagated by the top wealthy few to keep the lower many quiet by suggesting that they can aspire to the same heights, while doing everything possible to make sure they don’t. Almost as popular as the myth that Trump has the workers interests at heart.

      A few years ago, in Australia, when union activity and industrial turmoil was rife I read an interesting analysis of the situation.
      The idea put forward was that much of the tension came about when, the lowest got themselves a much needed increase in income – never understood why industrialists fight so hard against this sort of thing, no point in having a free market if customers can’t afford to go – the traditionally higher paid workers electricians and so on would fight for increases for themselves. This was not always because they needed the money but so that they could maintain the relative margin they considered their due.

      Trump is a prime example, greedy bastard though he may be, his main thing is to make sure he appears better off than most. Could be why he is reluctant to show his tax details, it “might” show that he is not as rich and successful as he wants to present himself.
      For so many of the hyper rich the continuing battle for more and more is not the need for wealth but the need to see that others have less. A good example of how it should work, in my opinion, is Bill Gates who spent his whole career building a highly successful corporation and amassing great personal wealth. Having proved he was one of the best he now spends his time and money seeing what good he can do.
      Trump and family on the other hand seem to be using the presidency for personal advantage.

    2. Kevin 6:56 Isn’t the USA a classless society?

      Funny post. There is one way all classes are exactly alike and have been since the beginning of time. Each class has the same complaint, “We want more.”

    3. Lower, middle, upper middle, upper; all distinctions of wealth, not character.

      Black, White, Latino, Asian; all distinctions of race, not character.

      Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim; all distinctions of religion, not character.

      Nancy Pelosi and the Pope are both Catholic.

      Clarence Thomas and Maxine Waters are both Black.

      Warren Buffet and a common laborer are both human beings.

      Character matters.

      1. entech

        Interesting that someone can speak almost eloquently about something he does not himself posses.

    1. Katherine 9:03 Welcome to the discussion. Readers would appreciate knowing what you are referring to. We often have two or three discussions going back here at once.

  2. Kevin Benko

    With respect, I disagree with you.

    You must realize that there are one “flavor” of Atheism. While a majority are, what I like to call, Humanist-Atheist, there are, what I like to call, Objectivist-Atheist. {{Objectivism as in the philosophy of Ayn Rand}}.

    I, as an Objectivist-Atheist, think that you assessment was a bit wrong.

    It was about “blue-collar-Joe-bag-of-donuts” that won the election. Trump campaigned everywhere whereas “the dreaded Clinton” only campaigned in a few states. “the dreaded Clinton” is {not a nice person}. She is corrupt since at least since the 1980s, and we are in better shape now that Trump has won.

    Trump is not perfect, be he is a damn sight better than “the dreaded Clinton”.

    1. Kevin B. 8:38 Thanks for the comment.

      I agree there are many flavors of atheism. At our local Sunday morning gathering recently, a student from a nearby college showed up to interview an atheist for a paper she was writing. One person volunteered to answer her questions. Right away people around the table began arguing with his answers. It’s always fun.

  3. entech

    Interesting that there has been a renewed interest in George Orwell and Ayn Rand since Trump became influential.
    Orwell with his warnings of the detrimental effects of the lust for power in Animal Farm and 1984. Lesser known works are well worth reading “Down and Out in Paris and London” and the “Road to Wigan Peer”.
    An then there is Ayn Rand! I read a fascinating article a few years ago. It told how the St. Petersburg gave us three refugees from communism – Vladimir Nabokov the novelist, Isiah Berlin The (great) philosopher and Ayn Rand who thought she was both but was neither.

Comments are closed.