The Peculiar Populism of Donald Trump

liberal victory in the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 70s, with its emphasis on so-called postmaterialist values — personal fulfillment, openness to new ideas, and support for previously marginalized populations — had its costs, which political analysts have been reckoning. Those costs have become particularly evident in the eruption over the past year of the Brexit vote in Britain, the increasing power of anti-immigrant parties across Europe and the ascendance of right-wing populism in America.

.. As the Democratic Party in the United States and social democratic parties in Europe shifted their interest away from economic policies, hard-pressed members of the working and middle classes — suffering from stagnant or declining wages and lost jobs — led “a backlash against the cultural changes linked with the rise of Postmaterialist and Self-expression values,” Inglehart and Norris write.

.. “when people grow up taking survival for granted it makes them more open to new ideas and more tolerant of outgroups.”

.. In effect, postwar prosperity in America and in Western Europe allowed many voters to shift their political priorities from bread-and-butter issues to less materialistic concerns, “bringing greater emphasis on freedom of expression, environmental protection, gender equality, and tolerance of gays, handicapped people and foreigners.”

.. Insecurity encourages an authoritarian xenophobic reaction in which people close ranks behind strong leaders, with strong in-group solidarity, rejection of outsiders, and rigid conformity to group norms.

.. The proximate cause of the populist vote is anxiety that pervasive cultural changes and an influx of foreigners are eroding the cultural norms one knew since childhood. The main common theme of populist authoritarian parties on both sides of the Atlantic is a reaction against immigration and cultural change. Economic factors such as income and unemployment rates are surprisingly weak predictors of the populist vote.

.. Less-educated white Americans feel that they have become “strangers in their own land.” They see themselves as victims of affirmative action and betrayed by ‘line-cutters’ — African-Americans, immigrants, refugees and women — who jump ahead of them in the queue for the American dream. They resent liberal intellectuals who tell them to feel sorry for the line-cutters, and dismiss them as bigots when they don’t.

.. It is clear that strong forces have been working to increase support for xenophobic parties. This seems to reflect the fact that in recent decades, a large share of the population of high-income countries has experienced declining real income, declining job security, and rising income inequality, bringing growing insecurity. In addition, rich countries have experienced a large influx of immigrants and refugees.

.. high concentration of income and wealth in a relatively few urban metropolitan areas, where comfortable conditions encourage post-materialist values, and the low growth, low wealth character of the rest of the country where day-to-day economic concerns predominate.

.. the Center for American Progress, a pro-Democratic think tank, found a direct correlation between the percentage of “underwater” homes in a county and the likelihood of that country voting for Trump

.. health-related issues were a key variable: “lower life expectancy, higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heavy drinking and lower levels of regular physical activity.”

.. “Trump performed better than Romney in counties with higher drug, alcohol and suicide mortality rates.”

This was especially true in the industrial Midwest where, Monnat reported,

Trump did better than Romney by an average of 16.7 percent in the highest mortality counties compared to 8.1 percent in the lowest mortality counties.

.. The Left — as it currently exists with its toxic obsession with internationalism, multiculturalism and identity politics for everybody except the majority of people who might form its base — will simply die if it doesn’t understand this.

.. many Trump supporters have come

to believe that the American establishment was no longer reliably patriotic, with “patriotism” defined as an instinctive loyalty to the well-being and values of Jacksonian America.

.. While much of the elite “with cosmopolitan sympathies see their main ethical imperative as working for the betterment of humanity in general,” according to Mead, Trump supporters see “the cosmopolitan elite as near treasonous — people who think it is morally questionable to put their own country, and its citizens, first.”

.. The Trump agenda has developed its own internal logic: the more wreckage, the more publicity; the more publicity, the more success.