Donald Trump and the "Angry White Male"
The other day, I was trying to think of the last time I heard the words “white men” uttered in a positive way. I came up blank.
The context for those two words is just about always negative. Sometimes people who think white guys are the problem – no matter what the problem might be -- throw in the word “angry.” And “angry white men” then becomes an easy way to dismiss even legitimate concerns and grievances by white men.
A female Rutgers professor once wrote that mass murder was the result of “white male privilege.”
The website Gawker once composed a list of the “worst 100 white men.”
Barack Obama said of Judge Merrick Garland, his nominee to the Supreme Court, “Yeah, he’s a white guy, but he’s a really outstanding jurist. Sorry.”
Ok, he was kidding. But imagine if some chucklehead came up with a list of the “worst 100 black men.” Or if some white male conservative politician nominated a like-minded African-American to the bench and said: “Yeah, he’s a black guy, but he’s a really outstanding jurist.”
This is not a woe-is-me sob story. I understand that the history of white men in America is vastly different from the history of black men or women of any color. And taking shots at rich white guys is like throwing spitballs at a battleship.
But here’s a bulletin: Not all white men are privileged. And a lot of the ones who aren’t have found a hero in a white male who is the very essence of privilege: Donald J. Trump.
Either despite, or maybe because of, his nasty, crude, outlandish, childish, un-presidential behavior, a lot of white men who are not doctors or lawyers or hedge fund managers see Trump as the kind of no nonsense guy who would stick up for them.
Education is a bright red line defining the kind of white men who support or oppose Trump. According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll Trump has 65 percent support among white registered voters without a four-year college degree – but only 46 percent among white college graduates.
White male Trump supporters who didn’t go to college are not only fed up with politicians and business as usual in Washington. They’re fed up with elites in general.
This is from Victor Davis Hanson in National Review on line: “Outsourcing jobs affects predominantly the lower middle classes; no pundit, D.C. staffer, or New York lawyer is replaced by some cheaper English-speaker from the Punjab. Obamacare follows the same pattern. Elites who praise it to the skies either have the money or the Cadillac plans to navigate around it. I doubt that Rahm Emanuel and his brothers queue up at a surgery center, hoping to win five minutes with an ophthalmologist who now treats 70 patients a day to survive under Obamacare.”
Donald Trump has figured out that there are a lot of angry white men out there. And he knows that just about none of them will be voting for Hillary Clinton. But I suspect he has also figured out that there aren’t enough white men, angry or otherwise, to actually elect him president. That’s why he needs to bring in a sizable portion of Mrs. Clinton’s traditional Democratic base, which won’t be easy.
That’s why he has to somehow convince enough blacks and Latinos and women that anyone who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars for a short speech to a friendly group that almost certainly is looking for down-the-road favors from Mrs. Clinton is proof that America is working just fine – for people like her, but not for people like them.
That’s why he has to somehow convince Democrats that Hillary is one of the elite hypocrites who, to use one easy example, decries the gun culture, even as she’s protected by armed guards day and night.
And that’s also why he has to somehow convince Democrats that Hillary cares more about the votes of coal miners … than the coal miners themselves.
If he can somehow pull that off while living the high life in a penthouse on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and flying around on a big private jet with his name plastered on the side, he might actually have a shot at accomplishing what many have long thought was impossible. It would still be a long shot. But who in his right mind ever thought he’d get this far?