The 2016 U.S. Presidential election is like none other before it. Donald Trump –the most politically inexperienced candidate to run for president in my lifetime — somehow manages to win the Republican nomination despite the fact that the party establishment and most party activists were dead set against him.
On the other side, the heir apparent, Hillary Clinton, only managed to win the nomination by rigging the rules in her favor while stabbing her Socialist rival in the back (figuratively speaking). It should have been a cakewalk, but it wasn’t.
So here we are at the Trump versus Clinton stage with Trump doing surprisingly well in the polls.
That begs the question: Who are his supporters, and how do we differentiate them from Clinton’s supporters?
Many would say the election is about right versus left, but that’s not exactly accurate since both candidates are fairly centrist while the traditional political wings are left unhappy with their preferred party’s choice. Trump is especially unpopular among traditional right leaning academics. For instance, one of the most high profile conservative magazines, The National Review, dedicating an entire issue to disavowing Trump for President. Unlike previous elections, this one is not as much about right versus left — for Trump still leads in the polls even without the support of the conservative base.
Others have said the election is between the racists and non-racists. This theory falls apart when we consider the empirical data showing a massive decline in racism over the past 50 years — to the point that a candidate wouldn’t get more than 5% today if racists make up their core support. Plus, Trump needs millions of votes from people who voted for a black president.
Others have argued that the election is between white males and everyone else. Again, if this were true Trump wouldn’t be getting more than 35% since women outnumber men, especially at the ballot box, and minorities are closing in on white men quantitatively speaking.
Trump supporter, Gavin McInnes, says this election is about Mommy versus Daddy. While this might make some sense on the surface, I think the division runs deeper than that. The roles of Mommy and Daddy in today’s society are not what they were a generation ago, which renders such a comparison confusing to say the least.
What this election breaks down to is a war between white collar America and blue collar America. Most of Trump’s supporters are blue collar, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, or totally apolitical — and many of them are not the traditional Republican voter. By blue collar I mean a little more rough around the edges, a little more no nonsense with crime, beer drinkers, smokers, and hillbillies. What they see in Donald Trump is someone who speaks to the miner and factory worker. They are worried about environmentalists, bureaucratic regulators, and white collar workers shutting down their jobs and moving them overseas.
Most of those who prefer Hillary Clinton are white collar in comparison. Whether they work white collar jobs or not, Clinton supporters hold a white collar mindset that looks for someone who will work with the system to improve what already exists. No one is enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton, but she’s not Trump of whom they view with disdain and fear. Donald Trump’s crude, rude, and unpredictable antics turn white collar America off. Blue collar America loves this about him. Most members of the media are white collar — including conservative members, so they all share this disdain for Trump. White collar people want someone more refined who will just keep things going forward without creating chaos and controversy, and for them Clinton is the best choice.
At the end of the day, Trump will always be in the running no matter what he says or does and no matter how many #NeverTrump Republicans there are because a large swath of America is blue collar to the core.
Michael Moore identifies the demographic as well as anyone.