Why has the right gone nuts?

17 March 2016 3:10 pm

There has been a clear shift in the US of late. The right has gone absolutely stark raving mad supporting buffoons like Trump. What’s been driving it?

It’s more than the fact that the president is black. There are deep systemic problems there.

Take for example revelations in the Washington Monthly that middle aged white men are now committing more crimes than before and that there has been an enormous increase in gun violence deaths among older whites. “The massive racial and generational shifts in arrest, violence, and drug abuse appear closely linked to the shift in imprisonments,’’ says the Monthly.

The hollowing out of US industry has also resulted in older whites flocking to someone like Trump. As the New York Times points out, there’s a certain geography to Trump’s support base and it shows that Trump counties are places where white identity mixes with long-simmering economic dysfunctions. One element common to a significant share of his supporters is that they have largely missed the generation-long transition of the United States away from manufacturing and into a diverse, information-driven economy deeply intertwined with the rest of the world. In the places where support for Trump runs the strongest, the proportion of the white population that didn’t finish high school is relatively high. So is the proportion of working-age adults who neither have a job nor are looking for one. Trump has performed well thus far in Appalachian coal counties and in rural parts of Alabama and Mississippi, which are coping with economic and social dysfunctions like high unemployment rates and heroin addiction.

Add to that a paper from Princeton written by Anne Case and Angus Deaton showing increasing mortality of middle-aged white non-Hispanic men and women in the United States between 1999 and 2013.

“Although death rates related to drugs, alcohol and suicides have risen for middle-aged whites at all education levels, the largest increases are seen among those with the least education, the researchers found. For those with a high school degree or less, deaths caused by drug and alcohol poisoning rose fourfold; suicides rose by 81 percent; and deaths caused by liver disease and cirrhosis rose by 50 percent. All-cause mortality rose by 22 percent for this least-educated group.”

These are the voters who continue to commit suicide, and drink and drug themselves to death. And they are the ones most likely to swing to politicians like Trump who want to smash the system and stomp on the elites who have abandoned them.