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Defeating Fascism (American Style) (5a)

August 9, 2017

[8-10  And now this (majority of Rs polled say they would support postponing 2020 election if T said it was necessary because of voter fraud, and yes of course that means “illegals” voting).]

What on earth or below would possess so many Americans to vote for the fascist candidate of a fascist party?

“The Five Types of Trump Voters: Who They Are and What They Believe,” a study by Emily Ekins, published by the Voter Study Group of the Democracy Fund, can help us understand. I think.

I learned of this study from a column by E. J. Dione in WaPo. Its author and publisher are very knowledgeable and professional, plus it was done for the Koch-financed (libertarian) Cato Institute. The Koch Bros and their Ilk (KBI) are part of the other R base, the filthy rich. The KBI are likely to want accurate info about potential voters, because they spend hundreds of millions of their dollars (yes, amazing) on efforts to elect candidates whom they will own, instead of hiding that money off-shore, or investing it where it is more sure to grow. While the loss of that much money, if they are not successful at the polls, does not affect their lifestyle, they care because it does put their money at risk, and money is their spiritual reality, as well as the ground of their belief in their justifying superiority, and the only source of their power and privilege. There’s no point in arguing with mystics.

I want accurate info so that I can guess how many of the T voters might be enticed to vote for democracy and democratic values, so that we might get ourselves out of this mess.

(Then I’ll want to think about the 90 million eligible voters who abstained.)

But always remember! Our fellow citizens who voted R amounted to 2.8 million less votes than HC got, and only 46% of the total vote. That’s a 54-46 trouncing! We’re not looking at a tidal wave of R voters (altho this study helps understand why HC did not win in a tsunami). And as Ekins points out, T was not the early favorite of a mass of primary voters (i.e. many Rs voted against him, among R candidates).

If you only have time to read either the study or this page, read the study. It’s less biased. Somehow I can’t get over the fact that 63,000,000 Americans voted for an ignoramus. And they could have elected the first woman President of the United States.

Plus, Ekins’s profiles are a gas. (Of course, since political views, Right & Left, are filled with ego-enforcing, psychological fantasies, the descriptions read like psychological typing, or criminal profiles.)

Ekins presents her findings and interpretations in very clear prose and graphs. I’m going to steal just a bit of her info and observations.

She points out that no single factor explains T support, and that T supporters varied widely in their jumbled views on issues. Their intensity of support also varied, including holding their noses and voting against HC. She suggests, however, that “four issues distinguish T voters: “attitudes toward Hillary Clinton, evaluations of the economy, views about illegal immigration, and views about Muslim immigration.” (Already I’m thinking: Ds can field candidates with less baggage; T demagogued the R-demagogued fear of Muslim terrorism; illegal immigration isn’t a “problem” when the economy is strong; and so really, it’s the economy—but then I’m thinking that sexism and racism, two constant psychopathologies of our democracy, that are not adequately addressed by Ekins, are hard nuts to crack, even in a good economy).

Looking mainly at those four issues, Ekins suggests that there are 5 “unique clusters” among T voters: American Preservationists (20%, 12,600,000 voters), Staunch Conservatives (31%, 19,530,000), Anti-Elites (19%, 11,970,000 ), Free Marketeers (25%, 15,750,000), and The Disengaged (5% 3,150,000). Her names for them ID their essences.

Ekins suggests that the APs are Trompf’s “core constituency,” although “nearly half had positive views of Clinton in 2012.”

SCs are “the most loyal R voters.”

Her profile of the “American Preservationists” also describes the mask that T wore (and wears) when seeking suckers or voters. He puts them on, and they vote for themselves, believing that by empowering him they are empowering themselves.

Because they make T’s core of voters, I’ll steal more from this profile than from the others: APs “lean economically progressive, believe the economic and political systems are rigged, have nativist immigration views, and a nativist and ethnocultural conception of American identity.” They have a low level of formal ed, and the lowest incomes of T (or non-T) voters. Religion is “very important” to them, but they skip church. They are the most likely group for Medicaid, permanent disability, smokers. They watch the most TV but are the least politically informed of T groups. They like to be around people who are like themselves, in “backgrounds and cultural experiences;” and they have a strong sense of racial identity and Christian identity. “They feel the greatest amount of angst over race relations,” believing that “anti-white discrimination is as pervasive” as any (safe guess that they are a bunch of white folks?); and they feel “cool” toward minorities. They firmly oppose all immigration. They agree that real Americans were born here or have lived most of their lives here, and are Christian.

“American Preservationists are trade skeptics and look more like Democrats on domestic economic issues, particularly on the nation’s wealth distribution, concern over old-age entitlement programs, and animus toward Wall Street. They feel powerless against moneyed interested (sic) and the politically connected and tend to distrust other people. They also share liberals’ views on the environment, believing that global warming is a serious threat and human activity is primarily to blame.”

I’m still thinking, with trepidation, that maybe in a good economy they can be brought to lean Dem (and we can work on soothing their racial angst), and that an FDR Dem, or a Dem Socialist like Bernie, candidly himself (and not moneyed interested), entering into conversation with these Americans (as T did—but HC did not—but honestly), could rally them to vote for the common good, as their own good.

Or, after Trompf, will such voters be unable to distinguish the genuine from the grifter?

I think the composite of the “Staunch Conservatives” reads like a stereotype, it’s so true. They live the stereotype of their moderate, if befuddled, type. That’s the secret of their being. It’s what gives them their sense of romance. They are what is right with the world, or at least with The Right. They are the living definition of their own righteous political correctness. I’m guessing that they are the reason the conservative view, on any issue, polls 30-35% (see chart info below for their views on issues). Unmoving and unmoved, they are not likely to help save us from fascism. They see us as too unpredictable, disruptive, and unrealistic (in truth we’re too realistic). Yet I do think that they would make a sane basis for a conservative opposition party, if only they were not satisfied to allow that party to be owned by oligarchs, including fascists, in order to empower themselves.

Ekins describes the “Free Marketeers” (1 in 4 T voters) as loyal Rs who are highly skeptical of T. They voted primarily against HC, not for T. “More likely to come from the West, Free Marketeers skew male, are middle aged, and are the most educated and highly paid of the Trump groups (and non-Trump voters).” I’m smelling orthodox Libertarian. Rebels whose cause is themselves. Financially successful white males, cosmopolitans all. They fall psychologically for the KBI free market con, and “see little place for government in problem-solving” (at least, their kind of problems). Each is the comfortable king of his hill.

The profile of the “Anti-Elites”—almost 1 in 5 T voters! could describes liberal, even progressive, Democrats! except that they are more skeptical about immigration and maybe about Muslims. However: while “nearly half had favorable opinions of Clinton in 2012,” they “shifted most dramatically…against Clinton by November 2016.”

The Disengaged” feel “unable to influence political and economic institutions and believe the system is biased against them.” They “feel detached from institutions and elites and are skeptical of immigration.” “They skew younger, female, and. . . religiously unaffiliated.” They are not well-informed, and do not reveal many strong preferences on surveys. They are “less loyal Rs,” who “largely came to vote for T in the general election.”

With a chart, Ekins presents the percentages of each group who want the Republican Party to do more about 12 domestic issues.

APs want, far more than anything, to “restrict immigration,” 81% of them. They want to “combat terrorism” 66, “reduce national debt” 61, “reform the health care system” 61, “reduce taxes” 56, “reduce government” 53 and “stand up to PC” [I’ll take that to be code for “be proudly racist and sexist”] 51.

SCs also want to see a lot of action: they are rabid about “restr immigr” 84, and are very serious about “refm hcs” 78, “comb terr” 77, “reduce gov” 77, “create jobs” 71, “PC” 69, “red nat debt” 67, “renegotiate trade deals” 58, and “red tax” 58.

FMs are big on “red nat debt” 65, “refm hcs” 64, “red gov” 65, and “cr jobs” 60.

A-Es appear to be very worked up about only one issue, “red nat debt” 58, then they drop to “cr jobs” 45.

Ds are not included. Of course.

Nobody is much interested in “reducing poverty,” “increasing racial equality,” or “combating effects of climate change.” Gender equality isn’t on the list. Nor is Oligarchy (take a look at this).

Trompf went big on the winners: immigration, terrorism (Muslims), health care system, jobs, and gov (drain the swamp); and he stood up tall against PC [for racism and sexism], in connection with which, he began to undermine reliable journalism, so that he can control information, ideas, and what we cannot allowably express [which I take to be code for “truth, reality”] * ). Plus some jobs and protectionist trade, maybe. That is what will make America great again.

And those winners are what his voters want him—and congressional Rs—to do something about.

[Sept update:  From Harvard poll/study of “The Public’s Views of Tax Reform and Other Domestic Issues:” % of Republicans who said this issue is a top priority for Congress:  Repeal Ocare (53), Reduce fed budget deficit and spending (36), Reduce taxes on individuals and businesses (34), Increase defense spending (33), Lower prescription drug prices (30), Build that wall (28), Limit immigration (27), Improve infrastructure (18), Raise min wage (14), Investigate Russian involvement in our elections (10).

At first place among All Respondents: drug prices (40), Dems: drug prices (51), Indies: drug prices (36). Last place among All: wall (11), Dems: wall (6), Indies: wall (6).]

On a quadrants graph of “Identity Open or Closed” & “Economics Progressive or Libertarian”:

AmPreserves are all Closed Id-Progressive.

SCons are mainly Closed Id-Liber,

Free Ms are all Open Id-Liber,

Anti-Es are mainly Open Id-Progressives,

the Ds are mainly Closed Id-split Prog and Liber.

(I take the KBI to be C-L.)

It seems an Open identity campaign (focused on that vision of America, not coalition) might be attractive to [A-Es + FMs] but lose Closed identities [APs + SCs + Ds]. Progressive economics might attract [A-Es + APs] but lose Libertarians [SCs + FMs].

I take it that Trompf (C-L) attracted a bunch of opposites, by passing himself off as a Closed-Progressive-Libertarian, wrestling a crooked Elitist. And as Ekins says, many T voters were bundles of opposites.

I wonder, to what extent “Open identity” means non-sexist? Does A-E mean anti-male domination? Do FMs envision a naturally virtuous market place that buys women’s liberation? Je ne pense pas, monsieur! Je ne pense pas! And T plays alpha-male to the hilt. What groups did women T voters fall into, and psychologically, economically, religiously, why?

I’m thinking that another “block” of HT/R voters (but probably subsumed in the SCs) are the white authoritarian, fundamentalist Protestants, who are the natural core of the Pence constituency, and who surely were a major factor in T’s important primary victory in Indiana. I’ve read that they comprised as many as 25% of the total 2016 national electorate (for 34mil+ votes). That’s a lot, and altho not all white fPs vote R, I doubt many vote liberal. And add their equivalent among Catholics, e.g. in PA.

Ekins provides much more info that is worth stealing (for instance, whether it’s best for children to be obedient or self-reliant—some of both was not an option), but I’ll restrain myself.

On the next page of this episode I’ll think out loud, perhaps futilely, more about this nonsense.

* Greg Sargent (WaPo, 8-8): Trump’s gut-level calculation seems to be that his long-term political survival depends on forging an enduring bond with his supporters — a bond that appears dependent on delegitimizing (in their minds) all outside sources of information.

But as Jennifer Rubin (WaPo 8-9) puts it:   . . .”die-hard T fans. . .liked him because he hated the “right” people (e.g. elites), fought for them, channeled their fears and prejudices and spoke his mind [and theirs; my bold}. He still does all those things and yet the magic isn’t there. It may be that the aura of “loser” has tainted his image, or it may be that his “act” has gotten stale. . . .The more he tries to please this crowd, the more he alienates everyone else. He cannot stop his base from defecting, and he cannot win over new voters to take their place.”

[Pages (1) and (4) of this episode.]

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