Why Trump’s Antiwar Message Resonates with White America

To Mamaw, the president was the living embodiment of privilege, and he had cashed in when it mattered most: by joining the Texas Air National Guard while his less fortunate peers lost their lives in the jungles of Vietnam.

.. Sixty years ago, Americans looked to Europe and Asia and saw continents liberated and despots defeated. With the Islamic State on the rampage, Americans today look to a Middle East that is humiliatingly worse off than the way we found it.

The burden of this humiliation fell hardest on Republican strongholds. Demographically, the military draws heavily from the South, rural areas and the working and middle class. And while no racial group has a monopoly on military service, white enlistees make up a disproportionate share of those wounded and killed in action. This is the very same demographic that forms the core of the contemporary Republican base. Whether they were working-class Reagan Democrats like Mamaw or committed middle-class Republicans, the people who made Mr. Bush president are the same people who sent their children to fight in his wars.