Last Tuesday I shared the shock of many Americans when Donald Trump won the presidency by virtue of having the most electoral college votes. A day or so later, a pundit on the tube claimed that the election results were the result of "whitelash," a white backlash against progressive policies.
My take is, yes and no.
Yes, there's not much question that exit polls indicated a large white vote for Trump, particularly among whites with less than a full college education. This causes me to wonder where those "stealth voters" were when Barack Obama ran against both John McCain and Mitt Romney. The reigning interpretation seems to be that these Caucasians did not vote Republican or Democrat in the previous two elections, but did so for Trump because he was "an outsider." Here's one current essay that takes this view, and finds the reason for Trump-support in the desire of white voters to hearken back to a simpler time.
But a lot of white voters in rural communities aren’t convinced. They see images on their television screens that are frightening. The face of the new America looks strange. The music is different, the accents are wrong, the sexual and racial politics confusing.
This is certainly a possible motivation, but it may not be the only one. The author goes on:
Another reason for this breakdown is money. Our national shift toward true equality occurred at a time when the economic status of rural whites was eroding fast. It’s not black America’s fault that many of our small towns are basket cases, with soaring unemployment, a deadly drug epidemic, and generational poverty. But to a lot of rural folks it feels that way. They feel like they’ve been cheated, duped, and disrespected.
This is the point where the "no" comes in. I agree that money is probably an issue, and probably much more of one than race itself is. It's certainly no coincidence that in his victory speech Trump claimed that he would remember "the forgotten man and woman." However, it may not be a given, as per the ultraliberal narrative, that these uneducated whites are simply reacting with fear of the unknown. Rather, it may be fear of the known.
The Left's dominant "racial myth" is that People of Color simply want parity, and nothing more. I would like to see parity, but I think a lot of "Colored Americans" use racial stigmatization to their advantage. without any sense of perspective-- and that's not even mentioning celebrities like Larry Wilmore, whose entire deck of 52 is filled with nothing but "race cards."
Most Black Activist pundits, like the one I cited in the first paragraph, agree spontaneously that no one could oppose their policies for any reason but fear and ignorance. However, I don't think a lot of whites look at the Ferguson riots and see humble protesters. I think they see people out for their own interests. Certainly I personally believe that was the case with Dorian Johnson. And when those whites see a lot of riots over police shootings, even after those shootings are ruled as justified, whites are more likely to want to be sure the next president supports the Second Amendment, in case of an out-and-out race war.
None of these observations should be taken as conferring approval on Trump or his noxious campaign. But I think our Clown-in-Chief put his finger on a lot of ways that poor whites feel marginalized-- and it's not all about either money or the fear of liberal policies.