The Trump-a-palooza started little more than six months ago. His announcement was in June of last year so that’s roughly six months. At that time, the mass media was telling us that his appeal was limited to the angry weirdos in flyover country. Once his poll numbers started to climb, they stopped calling his voters weirdos, but stuck with the angry motif. Every discussion of Trump now includes at least a side bar on the “angry voter.”
Mass media still has to sell crap, so they try not to be too obvious when insulting their customers. The whole “angry voter” bit it just a polite version of “bitter white trash losers.” The reason the white trash losers are angry and bitter is they are stupid and did not go to college. Instead of having glorious self-actualizing careers like being wrong on TV, they are at home munching on oxy, watching Jerry Springer and bitching about foreigners. So, the theory goes, least-ways.
This made perfect sense as the mass media has always made its money off the middle-class. American news is 10% reporting and 90% proselytizing. That 90% gets old fast unless you have some bogeymen. For as long as I have been alive, working class whites have been treated as life’s losers. In a nutshell, the mass media is “buy this, say that, wear these, do this” so you are not one of those proletarian losers down at the Walmart.
There are loads of exceptions, because those proletarian losers have money to spend too. Back in the 70’s, All in The Family was a hit despite the fact the makers thought they were making sport of working class guys like Archie Bunker. Jerry Springer is celebrating 25 years on the air, living entirely off the welfare class that is home during the day watching TV.
The truth of the matter is there’s not much of a “working class” culture anymore. That died out in the 70’s when large scale factory work was replaced with service work. The people in my neighborhood are called the “working poor” but there’s not many of them working. In modern America, working class and working poor both mean not working. The life of a welder or car mechanic is nothing like what our betters imagine.
None of that matters as the point of painting the Trump vote as angry, toothless peasants pissed off about losing at life is to try and scare the middle-class into going along with the bipartisan fusion party candidate. It is not an attempt to explain; it is an effort to frighten and stigmatize. “You don’t want to be lumped in with those people, do you?” is what is supposed to be heard by the viewers, even when the presentation is less explicit.
You see this all over conservative media. This piece by Henry Olsen is better than most, but he still clings to the “disillusioned” and “blue-collar” motifs. The image that comes to mind reading this is of a medieval monk looking out at the Vikings sacking Paris, trying to imagine what’s really happening. Again, it is one of the better pieces of late from NR and it is clear Olsen is reading guys like me, but probably not me.
Conservative media has been the most prone to the “angry peasant” narrative because their job is to defend the right flank of the party. Many of them have convinced themselves they are tribunes of the people, the vanguard of the conservative movement. Justin Bieber convinced himself he was the next Frank Sinatra, so self-delusion is potent stuff. In both cases, reality has triggered a mad lashing out at the haters.
It turns out that the bitter clingers are the media people peddling the “angry peasant” narrative. Pollsters point out that the data shows Trump to be quite popular with the mellow elite, as well as the angry losers. In fact, his numbers are amazingly consistent for a primary candidate. Usually, we would see a different favorite for each economic, cultural and demographic group. Trump seems to be winning across the board.
Now, it’s possible that all economic and educational strata are populated with “angry” voters. Victor David Hansen has gone with a different angry motif and that is the “angry conservative” voter. The blame for Trump lies with Obama, for being too liberal. The fact that the Republicans did more to help Obama than his own party is conveniently left out of this argument. “Those Trump people are just really pissed at Obama, not us good thinkers in the chattering classes!”
I have a lot of Trump people commenting here and I see loads of it on other sites. The word “angry” is never what comes to mind. What I see is “bemused” and “subversive” more than anything. It’s become hip to be anti-establishment, with the establishment being the bipartisan fusion party. It’s what self-described intellectuals like to call Middle American Radicalism.
Trump is not tapping into anger. He’s tapping into the sensibility of the great majority. The people look up and see an endless parade of frivolous parasites who defend nothing but their own prerogatives at the expense of everyone else. What’s the point of voting for one party or the other when both sides are colluding against your interests? Why do we have these parties?
You don’t throw way something because it makes you angry. You discard that which you see has no value. That’s where the managerial class finds itself today. The people over whom they rule increasingly see no reason for that class to exist. Supporting a guy like Trump is not an act of anger. It is an act of disrespect. The Trump vote is the peasant who refuses to bow to his king. It’s the slave refusing an order from the master. The act is symbolic, not practical.