On Trump’s support base

Posted: December 7, 2016 by Admin in At the coalface, United States, United States - history, United States - politics

imagesThe following is extracted from a longer article about political polarisation globally, written by Ben Hillier, which appears in Red Flag, the paper of Australia’s largest Marxist current (Socialist Alternative), here.

It is beyond reasonable doubt, for anyone who cares to look at the actual county and district results, that the New York billionaire won a section of the white working class across the rust belt of the northern United States. But this was no US-wide worker rebellion; the election was won on the margins. And it is folly to conflate all the people who voted for Trump with his core base of support. Most of his votes did not come from that. They came from a diverse coalition that was, with a few qualifications, bog standard Republican – western plains evangelicals, big money reactionaries, rural and regional middle classes, traditional affluent conservatives from the suburbs who lambasted him as a charlatan, people who voted reluctantly, people who voted despite, not because of, his bigotry, people who voted just to stick the finger to liberal Washington, as well as his die-hard far-right supporters.

In fact, according to one August Quinnipiac poll, 64 percent of Trump “supporters” said that they were voting primarily against Clinton. Only 25 percent said that they were pro-Trump (so around 15-16 million people out of a voting-age population of 235 million). Now the election is over, those die-hard far-right supporters – a majority of whom are middle class, well-resourced and locally-connected – not down-and-out rust-belt workers with mixed consciousness – are the ones attempting to organise and reshape US politics to their advantage. . .

In the US, Trump carried Texas, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania. But he was killed in almost all the major urban centres of those states: El Paso, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. He lost every major city in Ohio. The pattern was the same across most of the country. Even in some of the “reddest” states – Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama – he was flogged, losing Nashville, Memphis, Louisville and Birmingham.

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