i don’t think it’s “cultural” per se, and i don’t think there’s any mystery to unwind about why the white working class is willing to band together with the white “merchant” class – because it’s not about class either.
it seems the biggest indicator of republican vs democrat leaning voter is whether you’re an old white man.
older white men still have a huge amount of political and economic capital – just look at the demographic makeup of the political institutions in america. ( or god, just look at joe the plumber. )
it’s basically impossible to talk about left vs right in america without that lens –
This is OK by the merchant right, who have historically (since the French Revolution!) justified their wealth and privilege with a belief in their innate superiority and styled themselves as destined to govern over their social lessers
maybe the analysis in europe just doesn’t up here across the pond, because it doesn’t seem that classism is the main issue here in america. it’s racism.
in both regions, sure – the same sort of economic tools are being used ( buying access to politicians, leveraging nest-eggs into self sustaining flows of capital, using computers to create financial instruments that would have been impossible to track or trade in years past ), but the underlying motivations seem different.
cory’s summary does have this:
The merchant right has reactivated these voters by making nativist/racist appeals, blaming foreigners for their collapsing fortunes…
but even that doesn’t hold up here – 1) whites arent the natives, and 2) there is no history of whites in america that is separate from the history of blacks in america.
america is, unfortunately, exceptional – more than two hundred years of slavery, a civil war followed by segregation, institutional and economic racism that continues today. there is no meaningful analysis of class here that does not include race as its most fundamental aspect
that line ends with:
… This has been a devastatingly effective tactic for getting turkeys to vote for Christmas, leading to more alienation, more embrace of authoritarianism
the problem with the analysis as a whole is to think that people are somehow being tricked or conned.
as i see it, it’s a mistake to write off people’s intelligence, and i think it’s a mistake to think that older white people in america dislike alienation or authoritarianism.
you can believe them. they know what they are doing and why.
it’s a fundamental ( a religious pun perhaps ) fear of diversity, that trumps ( ouch ) all of the other class, economic, and even environmental concerns.