2019-09-30

Characteristics of Trump Supporters

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by Neil Godfrey

If it fits. . . .

I live in Australia but some things I have seen of ardent Trump supporters seem . . . not entirely desirable. Am I mistaken for thinking that there is a certain clamorousness, a certain closed-mindedness against the views of “the other”? Back in 2007 I posted 10 characteristics of religious fundamentalism and earlier today I ran through the points and wondered. . . .

1. They (fundamentalists) are counter-modernist. It (fundamentalism) manifests itself as an attempt by “besieged believers” to find their refuge in arming themselves with an identity that is rooted in a past golden age. And this identity is acted out in an attempt to restore that “golden past”.

My impression: They (Trump supporters) are opposed to “liberals” and what we might see as progressive liberal values, yes? They like the idea of tossing aside all that PC speak, for example, and just going back to the common-sense world of the old days, — Americans, tell me if I’m right. Also, to get America back where it was when it “was great” — with car manufacturing jobs etc abounding again. And what’s with all the rules trying to stop people driving SUVs and dumping waste into rivers? It even extends to envisioning some sort of biblical Israel restored at their behest.

-o-

2. They (fundamentalists) are “generally assertive, clamorous, and often violent”.

Oh yes. I don’t think there is much doubt there, is there?

-o-

3. They are “the Chosen”, “the Elect”, “the Saved”. And as such, they are “privileged” or “burdened” with a special mission on behalf of their deity and for the benefit of the world. . . . “To be chosen is to be marked for a superior fate; one is marked by virtue of being superior“. 

Those are religious terms. Is it fair to think there is an analogy, though? They certainly seem to me to look down upon those who are still somehow lost in the “extreme left”, “liberal values”, “Democrats…”, so much so that they don’t need to listen to them seriously. And we do have “white supremacists” among the Trump supporters. America should be for Americans, yes, so a wall is needed to keep out those not part of “the elect”.

-o-

4. Public marks of distinction are needed to maintain their sense of superiority and distinctive identity. Not only for the purpose of maintaining that distinctive identity, but also as “part of the narcissistic struggle to be considered unique and special.” (p.30)

Do MAGA caps count?

-o-

5. There is only one true religion and one correct way of life; and these must be defended against inroads from other religions and secularism.

And that true way of life sure as hell doesn’t include “PC nonsense”. And it has to be defended against criminals and other subversives from over the southern border; and from “socialists” and “greenies”, and “the deep state”, and the “fake media”.

-o-

6. There is an inerrant holy book, prophet or charismatic leader to whom literal obedience is mandatory.

No holy book or Mein Kampf can come from a semi-literate. And can the leader do any serious or real wrong? It seems not. Accusations to the contrary are entirely fake, we are told. And the only view worth listening to, it appears, is the leader’s. All others are “fake”. Simply ignore them. Deny them. Mock them.

-o-

7. Law and authority come from God.

Evangelical supporters of Trump think Trump is God’s agent. Other secular supporters appear to think that they subscribe to a “higher law” that has the right to thumb its nose at the way things have always been done, at the Constitution and legal procedures, the latter being redefined according to the will of Trump. There is clearly an authoritarian streak.

-o-

8. Female sexuality must be controlled and clear impassable boundaries must be established between men and women.

Abortion is now deemed to be a crime.

-o-

9. Sexual behaviour is a major concern of all fundamentalists — Christian, Jewish, Islamic — without exception. Especially the fear of and opposition to homosexuality.

I don’t know if there is anything of note here apart from the Fundamentalist church groups who support Trump. Trump has known how to align with this demographic. Is homosexuality an issue beyond the Christian supporters?

-o-

10. Fundamentalism and nationalism converge. The moral life according to the will of God can only be fully lived in a society of fellow-practitioners of the belief. This can only be achieved through God’s rule — through the national executive and legislature itself. Hence the importance of bringing about a government that will prioritize the right morals and right culture for the nation — relegating other (economic) functions to a secondary place.

Oh yes. Definitely.

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Neil Godfrey

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5 Comments

  • Bob Jase
    2019-09-30 13:43:06 GMT+0000 - 13:43 | Permalink

    Well it left out tyhat they are bigoted Nazi pricks but o/w it was correct.

  • E. Harding
    2019-09-30 20:30:51 GMT+0000 - 20:30 | Permalink

    “Is homosexuality an issue beyond the Christian supporters?”

    It used to be:

    https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=23&year=2012&f=0&off=0&elect=0

    https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=23&year=2012&f=0&off=60&elect=0

    https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=23&year=2016&f=0&off=0&elect=0

    Anyway, there’s very little to explain about Trump supporters. They’re 46% of the electorate; most are simple Romney voters (similar to Scott Morrison voters in your own country), the rest are non-college Whites attracted to the idea of restricting immigration and trade, most are not White men (and this has to be the case, given that women are a majority of the electorate), most would have voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976 (and maybe 1980). Personal approval of Trump (around 30%) is much lower than political approval (~42%). He always had a shot to win the Republican primary since ~2011, and won it on the basis that, since he was a businessman, he was the best candidate on the economy, combined with his immigration stances (which he has mostly not followed up on as President). He won the general election due to Hillary Clinton’s unique unpopularity. Most of the media narrative is very disconnected from reality, asking the wrong questions and frequently getting the wrong answers. Trump voters are no poorer or richer than Clinton voters, but have less variation in personal income. They are somewhat less educated and intelligent than Clinton voters, but, again, Clinton voters have by far more variation. Trump did not get a higher percentage of the White vote than George Bush did in 2004 or Mitt Romney did in 2012, but Clinton did get a lower percentage than Kerry 2004 or Obama 2012.

    Due to the two-party system in America, choice is hilariously restricted. If you want to look at the core Trump 2016 base (not the same as the core Trump 2020 base, which is more Cruz supporters and less urban working class Whites), look at the 2016 primary results.

  • Edward Miessner
    2019-10-01 02:34:29 GMT+0000 - 02:34 | Permalink

    “Is homosexuality an issue beyond the Christian supporters?”

    I think it still is. There was much celebration among the fundamentalist right when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the cake shop owner in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado.

    https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/6/4/17425294/supreme-court-masterpiece-cakeshop-gay-wedding-cake-baker-ruling

    And they, the fundamentalist right, are very loyal to Trump. And he is returning the favor by arguing in the courts that employers have a right to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and by removing federal protections for LGBTQ people that were put in place by the three previous administrations, the most famous action being is his executive order invoking a ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military in any capacity.

    https://time.com/5660956/trump-administration-anti-gay-brief-title-vii/

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/08/trump-lgbtq-rules/596116/

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-transgender/us-court-lets-trump-transgender-military-ban-stand-orders-new-review-idUSKCN1TF1ZM

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/12/politics/transgender-troop-ban-starts/index.html

  • Joe Salimando
    2019-10-01 08:31:54 GMT+0000 - 08:31 | Permalink

    IMO, people like the Trump supporters were always out there. They always voted, always had something to say, always were creeped-out by changes in the broader changes in society.

    The difference NOW: Trump won the election.

    A number that remains stuck in my head (40+ years now): At the depths of the revelations about Richard Nixon, President, in 1974, some 22% of the U.S. (according to the last poll before he resigned) thought Watergate was not relevant and the guy should stay in office. That was Nixon’s final in-office approval rating.

    Yes, one out of five adults. 45 years ago!!! If this seems incredible (it did to me at the time) — see this page:
    https://historyinpieces.com/research/nixon-approval-ratings

    I have a clear recollection of a family dinner at that time — in which, during a discussion about how rotten was Nixon, my aunt retorted with: “But he has such a nice family!”

    That person was a college graduate, a religious Roman Catholic, a schoolteacher, and lived her entire life in Brooklyn, NY.

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