On the eve of the first presidential nomination contest in Iowa, the main story is Donald Trump, just as it has been for the past six months. Even if the polls don’t hold up and Trump doesn’t win the Republican caucuses in Iowa, he will have done better than anyone expected six months ago, and will not be going away anytime soon.
As the chances of Trump winning the nomination have risen, the media have taken to scrutinising his supporters, who have propelled him to the top of the Republican polls, much in the way of anthropologists who study an exotic tribe. And many have concluded that the typical Trump voter is even scarier than the man himself.
Based on polls that found that perhaps eight out of every 10 Trump supporters lack a college degree, analysts find that Trump’s backers are dumb. As a writer for Gawker explained, ‘The profound stupidity of [Trump’s] discourse is perfectly matched to the profound stupidity of its intended audience’. The Washington Post gathered psychologists to examine the average Trump supporter. Their diagnosis? Trump’s fans ‘like people who tell us that our problems are simple and easy to solve’.
Many of our leading experts find that, on top of being ignorant and simple-minded, the Trump supporter is racist. The Post’s long-distance psychologists also determined that Trump followers are the kind who ‘don’t like people who don’t look like us’. According to CNN, ‘racial and economic fears’ lie behind the Trump phenomenon, with ‘no getting around’ that ‘racial attitudes are fuelling’ support for him. And some conservatives say Trump supporters are bigots. Kevin Williamson of the National Review writes: ‘Thomas Aquinas cautioned against “homo unius libri”, a warning that would not get very far with the typical Trump voter stuck sniggering over “homo”. (They’d snigger over “snigger”, too, for similar reasons.)’
Upon hearing all of these derogatory remarks thrown at them, Trump supporters might reasonably reply: tell me something I haven’t heard before. For many years, sections of the masses like the Trump-proletariat have been blamed by elites for blocking ‘progress’ in society. On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama dismissed them as those who cling to their guns and Bibles. Campaigners for same-sex marriage called them knuckle-draggers and bigots for not ‘evolving’ upon demand and dropping the centuries-old understanding of what marriage means. Indeed, much of Trump’s support comes from people wanting to kick back against the condescending views they experience from those on top – like being told they are dumb and racist. Saying you are for Trump is a way of saying ‘fuck you’ to the snobs.