“Trump supporters are not the caricatures journalists depict.”


I’ll be perfectly honest with you.

My 40th high school reunion took place earlier this year. I had a previous commitment one of the two nights, and I was busy the other night but might have been able to be there for a little while had I chosen to expend the effort.

I didn’t, because my preference is to remember my high school classmates as they were, not as they’ve become, at least some of the ones with whom I was closest, because I’d rather not listen to higher-income white guys have a few too many drinks and begin prattling on about the wonders of Trump.

That’s bullshit.

In fairness, I know for a fact that many of my old friends from school don’t feel this way, and of course not all of them are higher income. Yes, I know it’s very complicated. But Trump is a symptom, not the disease, and to insist that this disease emanates solely from working class Americans when the national Democratic Party has itself promoted trickle-down economic inequality for decades, while merrily cashing checks from the same donors as Trump’s, is bullshit on top of bullshit.

Sorry about my better-heeled pals from days of yore. At the same time, nothing much occurred prior to the advent of Trump to suggest their outcomes would be any different. I’ve no clue how I managed to escape the contagion. Travel? Core values? Plain dumb luck? I’m just grateful I did.

Now, please read this article in its entirety.

Dangerous idiots: how the liberal media elite failed working-class Americans, by Sarah Smarsh (The Guardian)

Trump supporters are not the caricatures journalists depict – and native Kansan Sarah Smarsh sets out to correct what newsrooms get wrong

 … Hard numbers complicate, if not roundly dismiss, the oft-regurgitated theory that income or education levels predict Trump support, or that working-class whites support him disproportionately. Last month, results of 87,000 interviews conducted by Gallup showed that those who liked Trump were under no more economic distress or immigration-related anxiety than those who opposed him.

According to the study, his supporters didn’t have lower incomes or higher unemployment levels than other Americans. Income data misses a lot; those with healthy earnings might also have negative wealth or downward mobility. But respondents overall weren’t clinging to jobs perceived to be endangered. “Surprisingly”, a Gallup researcher wrote, “there appears to be no link whatsoever between exposure to trade competition and support for nationalist policies in America, as embodied by the Trump campaign.”

Earlier this year, primary exit polls revealed that Trump voters were, in fact, more affluent than most Americans, with a median household income of $72,000 – higher than that of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders supporters. Forty-four percent of them had college degrees, well above the national average of 33% among whites or 29% overall. In January, political scientist Matthew MacWilliams reported findings that a penchant for authoritarianism – not income, education, gender, age or race –predicted Trump support.

These facts haven’t stopped pundits and journalists from pushing story after story about the white working class’s giddy embrace of a bloviating demagogue.

In seeking to explain Trump’s appeal, proportionate media coverage would require more stories about the racism and misogyny among white Trump supporters in tony suburbs. Or, if we’re examining economically driven bitterness among the working class, stories about the Democratic lawmakers who in recent decades ended welfare as we knew it, hopped in the sack with Wall Street and forgot American labor in their global trade agreements.

But, for national media outlets comprised largely of middle- and upper-class liberals, that would mean looking their own class in the face.