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Explaining Trump Supporters

Lee Phillips
October 17th, 2016

It’s a strange media world. I’ve read far too many articles about the election in The New York Times and The Washington Post, yet the one article that has done the most to give me some idea of where the Trump support is coming from is a passionate and thoughtful essay in Cracked. My (obviously obsolete) take on Cracked is to still think of it as a lame knockoff of the beloved Mad Magazine. Clearly, it’s far more.

I’ve read a few descriptions of American rural and small town malaise, and how it shapes political attitudes, but somehow David Wong’s article made me feel it more. However, although the piece is well worth reading just for that, I’m not sure it really supplies an adequate description of the core of Trump’s support. Research reveals that pro-Trump voters are similar, economically, to Clinton supporters. The driving force behind the majority of Trump’s support can not be poverty or unemployment.

I recently drove around some of wealthiest streets in some of the wealthiest zip codes in the country, in suburban Northern Virginia. The houses here lurk behind huge tracts of land and are accessed, after passing through imposing stone gateways, by driveways that have their own rest stops. You can only see these homes, off in the distance, because they are massive enough to create gravitational anomalies that can be detected from space. And stuck into the grass on the side of the road, next to the forbidding, faux-gothic barriers, are the hugest Trump signs you’ve ever seen. Not every house, but about a quarter of them. And this was after the “hot mike” recording that shocked so many of Trump’s faithful GOP supporters.

These are not the people that Mr. Wong describes in his Cracked article. I’m waiting for someone to explain them.

Updated on October 18th to include Wash. Post link.

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