Trump Supporters under Analysis

A widespread view among observers is that Pres. Donald J. Trump is all about himself.  His main interest, during his presidency, has been his re-election.  For Trump, that is, re-election “trumps” the national interest!

And what’s so utterly ironic about the Trump presidency is Trump’s lack of interest in the well-beingor even continued survival!—of his supporters, but those supporters don’t seem to “get” that fact!  It should be obvious why I say that:

  1. We are in the “middle”1 of a Covid-19 crisis.
  2. Experts have advised us that in an absence of a vaccine for the virus, wearing a protective mask, maintaining “social distancing,” and washing hands frequently are ways to protect oneself and others from getting the virus.
  3. Attending a political rally, even if wearing a mask, puts oneself in danger of both getting, and spreading, the virus.
  4. If one gets the virus, one may die from it!
  5. One will not, then, be able to vote for Trump in November!
  6. Even if one does survive, how does one benefit from being ill for a time, and then being presented with a big medical bill?

The question in point 6 is obviously a rhetorical one!

Trump’s wanting to have, and having, rallies serve his ego needs, but do not serve the interests of his supporters!

Why are his supporters unable to understand this “obvious” fact?!!

This is a part of the larger question:  Why do people act against their interests?

One answer is provided in this article: Ethicist and leadership scholar, Joanne Ciulla, in a recent address at the International Studying Leadership Conference, suggested that some groups, frustrated by a lack of jobs and financial resources, may feel a sense of resentment against those who are better off.  This creates a “have-nots” versus “haves” mentality  If one candidate appears to represent the “haves” or the “establishment,” or even the status quo, people feeling resentment may automatically gravitate toward the candidate who offers change, or the candidate who claims to represent the “have-nots.”

The author adds that poor working-class whites may:

perceive that social programs don’t help them as much as they help (and are targeted toward), ethnic minorities.  In addition, white males from this group may resent recent advancements by women and therefore turned against candidate Hillary Clinton (her calling Trump supporters “deplorables” didn’t help the situation).

I believe that this explanation has merit, but would hypothesize that the deeper causal factor is the inequality that characterizes our society.

Epidemiologists Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have been focusing on the consequences of inequality (in, e.g., their 2009 The Spirit Level:  Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better and 2019 The Inner Level:  How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Well-Being explore the many consequences of inequality in societies.  As one might expect, the Cato Institute,2 in this long article, focuses on “myths about income inequality,” and avoids a discussion of effects.

However, we will probably have to wait until “hell freezes over” before that hypothesis is tested!  And before that occurs, our species is likely to go extinct!  As Robert J. Burrowes wrote on this site in 2018:

there is a group of courageous and prominent climate scientists who offer compelling climate science evidence that human beings, along with millions of other species, will be extinct by 2026 (and perhaps as early as 2021) in response to a projected 10 degree celsius increase in global temperatures above the pre-industrial level by that date.

And concludes his article this way:

There is a notable group of prominent climate scientists who present compelling evidence that human extinction will occur by 2026 as a result of a projected 10 degree celsius increase in global temperatures above the pre-industrial level by this date.

What I would add to this is that I would hypothesize that the ultimate cause of global warming itself is the inequality that has existed in “civilized” societies since the Neolithic Revolution!

  1. Or, are we closer to the beginning?! []
  2. It is “a public policy research organization — a think tank — dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and peace.”  Ideological?! []
Al Thompson retired almost six years ago from an engineering (avionics) firm in Milwaukee. His e-mail address is: sven3475@gmail.com. Read other articles by Alton.