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Donald Trump's Cult: Why the Angriest White Voters Will Not Leave His Side

Trump may have finished second in Iowa, but he's far from finished. His base is as fearful as ever.




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Secrets of Donald Trump's Cult: Why the Angriest White Voters Will Not Leave His Side


By Chauncey DeVega

Donald Trump is a political cult leader. In that role, he is also a political necromancer, beating a drum of nativism and fear to control the right-wing political zombies who follow him.

The Republican Party’s base of voters is rapidly shrinking. Contemporary conservatism is a throwback ideology that is unpopular with a large and growing segment of the American public. The result of these two factors is a Republican Party and American conservative establishment that is under threat, obsolescent and in a deep existential crisis.

These are the conditions that have catapulted Donald Trump to the forefront of the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

Trump’s most strident supporters are found among the alienated, disaffected, fearful, white working class. This is a cohort whose members are facing greatly diminished life chances in an age of globalization, extreme wealth inequality, neoliberalism and a reduction in the unearned material advantages that come as a result of white privilege. As recent research by public health experts, sociologists, economists and others has detailed, the white American working-class and poor are literally dying off. They are killing themselves with pills and alcohol, committing suicide with guns and dying of despair.

For many decades, if not centuries, racism (and sexism for white men) artificially buoyed the life prospects of the white working class in American society. With those palliatives and aids removed, the white working class and poor are left exposed and vulnerable to the realities of the American neoliberal nightmare and the culture of cruelty. They are ill-equipped for life in this new world.

Donald Trump knows that a crisis is an opportunity: he is transforming the fear and anxiety of the white American working class into political capital and energy.

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