Hillbilly Elegy – How Trump appeals to low income Whites

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    I recently ran across a link to an interview with the author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis. The interview tries to address the question of how Trump has not yet imploded, given his numerous gaffes. Here is a link to the interview:


    One explanation suggested is that each time that Trump makes a PR blunder, poor White working class people actually find him more likable. To them, Trump’s remarks sound earnest, “from the hip.” The name-calling and scapegoating are a characteristic of how these people discuss politics. These supporters wish that they had an outlet like Trump does.

    The irony that this damning interview would appear on a conservative Web site did not pass by me.


    Losers like losers.


    From now on, I think that I will call the Trump fascination the telenovela effect. Telenovelas (Mexican soap operas) are well known for featuring stylishly dressed, highly attractive casts in drama-filled plots that often verge on outright camp.

    When I was in my early 20s, I was with some co-workers at a Mexican restaurant, and a telenovela was playing on the TV. I asked something like, how do these soap operas with all these attractive women appeal to an audience that is made up of women who are older and who don’t look as good? Wouldn’t the audience members become jealous, instead? One co-worker replied that the reason for the telenovelas’ popularity is that the women in the audience wish that they could be as beautiful as those they see on TV.

    I think that part of Trump’s cultural appeal is that he has a lot of money, and he spends it in flamboyant ways. It is no different than when rappers engage in conspicuous consumption. Low income people vicariously eat this up because in their culture, money is meant for instant gratification; it is not supposed to be put into investment plans or squirreled away in a savings account. They wish that they could be Donald Trump and buy a private jet with gold-plated faucets.


    I agree. Telenovelas. This one however, is utterly must-see TV! 🙂


    I watch telenovelas sometimes to help with learning Spanish. They can be hard to stomach because they are even more decadent than US soap operas–those that have survived, though their production values are much greater than US soaps.

    The attraction to Trump has nothing to do with his wealth. It’s that he’s promising to resist terrorism and that he is an alternative to crooked Hillary Clinton, among other things. We see his flaws, but see that Hillary is totally unacceptable as a leader or as a person. She would have been indicted had not the FBI succumbed to political pressure.

    There are also low-income and no-income voters who are attracted to Clinton and the Democrats so they can get free stuff. In fact, the Democrats keep segments of the population dependent upon the government for the sake of their own power and a their own (much greater) share of the fruits of the labor of the taxpayers. The dependent class might be called “losers” as well, but I would rather call them “victims”–exploited by the phony compassion of a party which despicably uses them and keeps them poor and in need.

    The heart of the fascination with Trump is that he is counter-establishment, just as was Bernie Sanders. The Democrats managed to suppress their “revolt” (artificially) while the Republicans let theirs happen.

    There is an anti-establishment mood in the country and in spite of embracing some errors, I hope it wins. We don’t need a queen and we don’t need more of the same. We need change.


    Quite the bullshit parade there. Good of you to get out in front like that.

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