The research zeroed in on white Trump voters without a bachelor’s degree who were either Democrats or independents and had voted for Mr. Obama at least once. Focus groups detected the same underlying theme that had motivated the Reagan Democrats more than 30 years before: a view of America as divided between “us” — white, struggling and aggrieved — and a nonwhite “them.”So yes, Republicans are engaged in identity politics It's just that we are trained not to think of white, non-Hispanic as an "identity." Some years ago I was at a conference where I attended a meeting of people interested in behavioral health services for Latinos. We went around and introduced ourselves and this old white guy said - really - "I always wished I had a culture. When I was growing up I'd see the Hispanic kids and the Asian kids and I'd think, 'Why can't I have a culture like them?'" I told him, "I assure you sir, you do have a culture."
Trump voters, in fact, had median incomes above the population as a whole. A few of them no doubt had lost income since the steel mill or the coal mine closed down, but most of them are doing fine.
In a place that is more than 80 percent white, Mr. Trump’s Democrats share “pretty powerful feelings about race, foreignness and Islam that lead them to see white people as victims in a country feeling increasingly foreign to many of them,” the study noted.The single strongest predictor of support for Vladimir Putin's candidate is racism, broadly construed. This is what causes conservative white voters to oppose policies that will actually benefit them, such as universal health care and expanded educational opportunity: they think that more of it will go to people of other tribes, and they are more interested in retaining their relative privilege than in their absolute well being. Of course they feel other threats to their traditional concepts of community, including growing acceptance of diversity in gender, sexuality and religion.
But here's what I think folks. Open your minds. Don't identify narrowly as a straight white male. Try on a broader self-definition, as, say, a proud citizen of a dynamic, diverse, and inclusive nation. We will all do better when we try to do well together. The divisive politics of the current Resident are not just retrograde and repulsive. They are downright dangerous.