Friday, August 12, 2016

Why Trump Depends on the Ignorance of His Core Supporters

Trump famously announced loudly, "I love the poorly educated!" Now we know why.

You used to think the white working class was enough to drive you to victory. Nope.

Trump's comment about the poorly educated was in response to research showing the key demographic supporting him were whites who never went beyond high school. Sad but true.

Nothing is funny about ignorance. Yet we have to recognize that a well-established and sizable cohort of American society is characterized by how fundamentally ignorant they are and how that ignorance is strangely celebrated.

Sarah Palin epitomized it, a feature of her persona that John McCain failed to observe at his eventual peril. The core economic message of Republicans has relied on the lack of education of their base as they promoted, time and again, economic programs that ran counter to their base's own interests.

Who voted for these Republicans in droves? The poorly educated.

That alone, as we're beginning to realize -- Lindsey Graham recognized it quite early -- isn't enough to win a presidency for the GOP, especially when its figurehead is a megalomaniac like Donald Trump.

So here we are. I don't need to link to a hundred articles -- though I could -- that demonstrate how Donald Trump won the nomination by successfully shepherding the alienated white working class to the polls in enough numbers to obliterate what was obviously a pathetic field of opponents. What is truly shocking is that Donald Trump, along with his family and trusted advisers, failed to realize that his shtick wouldn't survive the general election.

As his post-convention campaign has rolled along, he increasingly depends on the gullibility of his supporters. He says what he does because it's worked at his rallies, and he's under the mistaken impression that his followers resemble the rest of America. Uh, they don't.

So he's wrong, but it's not funny anymore. The ever-lengthening list of false and reckless charges Trump flings at his opponents does more than depend on the ignorance of his followers. It will inflame them in the near term, to drive them to the polls in support of him, and then leave them riled up after he falls to ignominious defeat.

Donald Trump will have created an uncivil, frenzied, and, yes, dangerous mob that may believe "Second Amendment remedies" are called for in order to hang on to their guns, religion, and, of course, their dignity, as their white, male world in which they hitherto dominated slips from their grasp.

Once so riled, they may not go quietly, and that's unsettling to say the least. What's saddest about it is that the world they are prepared to reject -- one in which women, minorities, and immigrants can take their rightful place in a healthy and strong American society -- is a world in which all can prosper. What's more, it's the world that actually exists.

It's that world, whatever you think of her, that Hillary Clinton wants to help prosper.

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