The white working class and white underclass are the core of Trump’s support. Their wages peaked in 1968 and have slid down ever since. Many of their manufacturing jobs have gone away and jobs that remain include prison guard, cop, and other jobs involving violence. Many of them are Scots-Irish, with all that implies in terms of culture and world view, even if some are lucky enough to make $120,000 a year as a big city cop.
So, maybe it’s just stupid to insult, demean, and ignore them. Ian Welsh says they are Trump’s core support. He thinks Trump means it when he says he’ll help them. I think Trump is just playing them. However, they have good reason to be pissed. And this needs to be recognized. Else there might be a reckoning.
Demonizing poor white men as “trailer trash” has simply alienated them. Telling them they are all sexist, racist scum has not “raised their consciousness.” Strangely, they don’t think that all the people who tell them they’re bad are right. Instead, they think those people are assholes.
You marginalized them and then used them as your primary violent enforcers? That’s not just immoral, that’s crazy stupid. They hate most rich whites. And by rich, they mean a lot more people than the actual rich. Treat people like trash, and don’t be surprised when they come back to bite you.
Marc MacYoung, who like Welsh is also not a Trump supporter, sees the possibility of serious violence erupting in this country and implores all of us to chill, and that a good start would be for liberals and progressives to stop kicking the white underclass dog.
See those teeth? You might not want to keep on kicking it. Or even if you want to, stop. If you don’t, what’s going to happen is not just pretty predictable, but obvious to everyone else except you.
I am truly and deeply concerned by the growing potential of a backlash. I see Trump’s popularity — including it growing every time the media plays favorites, protesters shut down a Trump rally and hateful articles are posted on social media — as a serious growl. A growl that people — who have long used their anger as justification their kicking that dog — are ignoring.
Speaking as a violence profession, a person who has spent over five decades studying and trying to understand violence, I ask you. Hell, I implore you…
Leftie redneck journalist Joe Bageant on the white underclass, passing for middle class, and why being white helps but not all that much for the underclass.
But even if you gather aluminum cans from dumpsters for a living, with effort, you can “pass” like light skinned black folks used to do in this country. As testimony to this, I, who am a high school dropout with a Southern accent, have successfully managed entire magazine publishing groups for a living. (The secret is balls.) If I’d been black or Hispanic though, I’d have been distributing the urinal cakes in the rest rooms at night. So yes, there is a slight edge to whiteness, though not nearly as much as minorities assume. Still, you gotta make the most of that little edge.
In the end, race, gender or sexual preference are just moving parts of the class machine, with middle class perceptions setting the standard. You can indeed be black or queer, but with the properly buffed patina of white middle class mojo you can make it to the top, or near to the top of the heap (in America, proximity to the top of our cultural garbage heap is everything)
We are entering potentially dangerous times for this country. Demonizing those we disagree with may not be the best of all possible choices.