July 6, 2016

Downwardly mobile progressives not so fearful of losing liberal elite's respect, consider Trump

Progressives reacted to the announcement that Crooked Hillary will not be indicted with intense exasperation, as though they had been betting on an FBI indictment all along, which would have opened the door to Bernie receiving the nomination instead.

I had no idea how many of them had been holding out hope on this -- they didn't mention it much in public, perhaps so as not to jinx it, and were just crossing their fingers really hard. Even if Hillary had been indicted, did they really think that the Establishment would choose the anti-Establishment candidate to take her place? Sounds highly naive to me, but then it was their only hope, however remote.

With those hopes dashed, it seems unlikely that they will be voting for Hillary in the fall. If they had been so deeply committed that they were still convinced that Bernie had a conceivable path toward the nomination, just a few weeks before the Convention, it shows that they aren't party loyalists, whose mindset would have begun to change toward accepting Hillary a month ago, after the California primary.

In a further twist, I've noticed that most of the ordinary anonymous audience members for the higher-profile progressives are open to voting Trump, many saying outright "Trump before Hillary". There's no support for the Libertarian ticket, and only tepid support for the Green Party.

This response stands in contrast to the higher-profile progressives themselves, such as the Young Turks and David Sirota, who while happy to continue bashing Crooked Hillary, are still nervous to voice even a whisper of support for Trump. They know damn well that Trump is going to torpedo the TPP and other ruinous globalist trade deals, as well as pull us out of NAFTA. And they know damn well that he will end our imperialist foreign policy of nation-building, regime change, and provoking nuclear World War III with Russia.

But, these visible progressives would instantly become the target of the liberal elite and their minions if they were to give Trump an inch. And being higher up on the class pyramid than debt-saddled baristas and NEETs, losing their respectability within elite social circles is a strong enough deterrent to keep quiet about how Trump is superior to Hillary on at least these two central progressive goals.

As for those struggling baristas, though, they don't seem to care about their respectability in the eyes of the liberal elite. They may have tried to join the elite and failed to reach it, or they may have always set their sights more modestly, especially if they're the slacker type. Either way, their class interests do not involve connections with members of the elite. So they are not as easy to shame toward Hillary and away from Trump, compared to those professional-class progressives who want to socialize with writers for The Atlantic, or who want to some day give an over-glorified PowerPoint presentation at a TED Talk.

The struggling ones are not exactly the blue-collar Bernie supporters, since they've probably studied at college for at least a few years. In a period of general downward mobility, they are the ones whose family started off middle class, and they are ending up lower-middle class or below.

As a result, they do not live in the city itself, let alone in the trendy neighborhoods, like the professional-class progs do. They probably live in a middling suburb that they're in a love/hate relationship with, and find the trendy urban neighborhoods a little too pretentious and stuck-up once they visit them for real. They resent the fact that the progs with managerial type jobs in the city look down their nose at anyone who's poor and unfashionable enough to have to live in the suburbs.

When there is such a sharp divide between the voting behavior of urban vs. non-urban residents, perhaps it's no surprise to see the suburban Sanders supporters lending their ears to Trump, while the urban ones go to great lengths to reassure their fellow cosmopolitans that they're not proles like those Trump voters.

As one example of a broader type, there's Cassandra Fairbanks from Twitter (tens of thousands of followers), who recently put a video on YouTube called "Why I, a Bernie supporter, prefer Trump to Hillary Clinton," and whose description simply reads "and I'm not sorry" -- anticipating the attempts at shaming from lib elites and their minions, and flatly defying them.

At first she doesn't seem like a natural Trump voter -- Millennial, female, liberal, living in the deep-blue state of Maryland. But then there are signs of not belonging to, and not really aspiring to, the professional/managerial class: tattoos, swearing, (apparently) single mother, and living in Silver Spring rather than DC itself or an elite suburb like Bethesda or a striver suburb in Northern Virginia.

Blue-collar workers are natural Trump voters, but in this age of stagnation and widening inequality, the theme of "Make America Great Again" will also resonate with the downwardly mobile within the middle class. How can Crooked Hillary tell such people that "America is already great"? She is clearly targeting the yuppies with that message -- meaning the non-urban and downwardly mobile would rather gouge their own eyes out than trek out to the polling station to vote for her in the fall.

Before, it looked like they might just stay home -- and some undoubtedly will -- but I'm noticing more and more who are saying, "Yeah, Trump sometimes says things that your casually racist uncle would say, BUT..." The downwardly mobile liberals who are not joining in all the cosmopolitan reindeer games are becoming more open to putting aside their gripes in the culture war, if it'll improve their material situation.

The only trigger left to pull is some big solution to student loan debt -- like a one-time jubilee -- and these folks will be eager to leave the house on Election Day.


  1. Habakkuk Mucklewrath7/6/16, 11:56 AM

    Do you know whether Trump could actually pull off a jubilee? Seems he'll need plenty of help in congress to get something like that into law. More broadly, what do you think Trump's strategy will be in office for getting reps and senators to work with him? Many obviously hate him and will resent his election.

    I think running with Jeff Sessions could be a big help in some ways.

  2. This is an interesting theory but where is the evidence besides an anecdote or two?

  3. Reading responses such as those here:



  4. "Do you know whether Trump could actually pull off a jubilee?"

    I think with the right amount of bully pulpit-ing, he could. We've bailed out all kinds of elite institutions like big banks, and we've bailed out non-American places like Puerto Rico. So why not ordinary Americans?

    Any Congress member who really digs in their heels will have to explain themselves, and Trump will be attacking them from neither the left nor right -- but on populist vs. elitist grounds. Given the current climate, I'm thinking that publicly going to war for elitist goals is not going to be a winner.

    It'll be easy to destroy the Dems who would block such legislation -- attack them from the left, cite Bernie Sanders, progressive think tanks, etc.

    Republicans who try to block it -- attack them from the populist right, with Trump, Sessions, and others. Make the case to conservatives why the higher ed bubble is a liberal elite scam, has hijacked the government to line the pockets of the universities, and whose crushing loan burdens prevent young people from maturing through life's milestones and therefore remain sympathetic to liberal nanny-ism throughout their lives -- not being able to afford to get married, start a family, buy a home, and so on.

  5. I'm picturing a "Million Millennial March" descending on the Capitol Building, demanding student loan forgiveness.

    The compromise angle from Trump would be to make it a one-time-only action to unclog the arteries of social mobility. If the higher ed bubble were allowed to operate as it has been, things would soon go back to being as bad as they have been.

    The better society is one where young people do not waste five years in college with only a worthless degree and tens of thousands in debt to show for it. Bring back the good jobs, and most people won't need to go to college to get a good-paying job.

    There will even be plentiful jobs for creative and artistic types, unlike now. Not too long ago, they could have gotten jobs in crafts that were still made in America, like hand-painted dinner plates, glasses, and other housewares.

    Re-orient high school toward preparation for adult life -- shop class / industrial arts, home economics, etc.

    With that re-orientation under way, the student loan jubilee would be a natural cutting of dead weight that was only needed one time.

  6. Graduated last year with a degree in Biology and very little prospects of getting a job/career.

    Volunteering does not pay the bills, even if its for a government agency. How long could I go volunteering without money?

    To make matters worse, the universities and corporations are bringing in H1B visas people etc..

    They are replacing us and erasing us.

  7. Fun fact that they don't tell you before applying to grad school -- higher ed is one sector of the economy that allows unlimited H1B visa workers.

    The only real faux pas that Trump ever made (meaning, not inane two minute hate from the propaganda machine) was when he said during a debate that he was fine with immigrants coming in to take high-tech jobs, contradicting his Jeff Sessions-written position on his website about how Silicon Valley uses the visa program to lower IT workers' incomes.

    He quickly recovered from that, but it's the one area of the "immigration lowers incomes" that he hasn't hammered on yet. If he does, he'll get more support from suburban middle / upper-middle class educated men.

    The bulk of his support coming from the working class who've had their good-paying jobs sent overseas is the best way to build a large demographic base. But to really put the campaign over the top, he should appeal to downwardly mobile middle-class people, and aspiring upper-middle-class people who've been held down by competition from cheap shoddy foreign workers.

    Both would resonate with his relating immigration to lower incomes and job prospects, as well as the general sense that the American dream is dead -- but we can make it bigger, better, stronger than ever before if we kick ass on immigration and trade deals.

  8. Random Dude on the Internet7/7/16, 9:56 PM

    I have a few Bernie supporting friends and they're still keeping the faith that Hillary will drop out, Bernie will emerge victorious, and will win. When I ask them if that doesn't happen and who will they vote for, they said they will either not vote at all or write in Bernie's name. Expect a #writeinforbernie campaign in October and November. None of them want to vote for Clinton or Trump.

    These people are millennials in their 20s with low paying jobs who have affluent parents. The despair is starting to set in that they will have to keep living with roommates into well into their 30s, their future husbands (for the ladies) won't make enough to pay off her student loans, and will have to keep asking mom and dad for money to pay off some bills here and there. Interestingly enough, the millennial girls I'm talking about are openly pining for being stay at home mothers who would be happy raising children instead of being a barista or a waitress. Some women are starting to see the dead end that is persona striving.

  9. I live in a credentialed society, but I wasn't able to afford those credentials. The result is difficulty, bordering on impossibility, gaining or creating a job that would pay enough to support a family. On top of that, I hear from my spoiled generation that THEY want forgiveness for the stupid loans they took out to get their credentials, which was an obvious Ponzi Scheme like scam by the mid-90's at the latest.

    NO. Absolutely not. Not on board with yet again being told that I must pay for the mistakes of others. Mistakes, btw, that helped to lock people like me out of the market.

    Let them suffer for their folly.

  10. I'm sure ordinary Americans will be persuaded by that reasoning / phrasing.

  11. I don't see the PC college Millennials supporting Trump. But look at the older Sanders voters, many of them working class with conventional private lives. I see about 15% of the Sanders vote supporting Trump.


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