However, despite all of these strategy mishaps, the inescapable truth is that millions of Americans voted for Trump. Why? The answer is misogyny and racism, but you would be hard-pressed to find that sort of blunt diagnosis anywhere. The core cause is always dressed up in complicated ascriptions about the economy and changing demographics and cultural anxieties and threatened masculinity, but these are all fancy ways of saying that millions of white people within the U.S. are freaked out that the country is changing and they choose to express that fear in hatred towards women and/or people of color.
Dan Cassino, a political scientist at Fairleigh Dickinson University, tracked the social views of individual men over time and publishing his findings at the Harvard Business Review:
A study of his showed, for example, that men who reported being worried about earning less than their wives or live-in partners reduced their support for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Notably, it didn’t affect their support for Bernie Sanders.
Now why would that be? If you guessed, “Because Bernie is a dude,” you’d likely be right.
Cassino found that when men were primed to consider earning less than women, they felt less excited about a female president, presumably because their masculinity felt threatened. “Being the breadwinner has been a linchpin of U.S. men’s masculinity for decades,” wrote Cassino, “so even the potential of making less than one’s spouse threatens accepted gender roles.”
"Threatened by gender roles" is a passive, sympathetic label for someone who is simply a misogynist. And while it's important to locate and identify the cause of hostility towards minorities, researches and the media have to be cautious about who they direct their sympathy towards. It is not "understandable" that someone becomes a sexist or racist because they endured tough times. Everyone suffers throughout life, especially the targets of sexism and racism, and I doubt the media would be as quick to absolve a woman and/or POC if they targeted their wrath at someone whom they perceived to be the embodiment of their cis, white male oppressors.
Similarly, "cultural anxiety" is a fancy term for racism. New analysis of post-election survey data conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic found that "fears of cultural displacement " pushed the white working class to vote for Trump. But even this is an incomplete picture of Trump's victory, as Jesse Myerson at The Nation revealed. Poor, white rural voters have become the media's favorite scapegoats to explain the rise in white nationalism, but the median household income of a Trump voter in the primaries was about $72,000, or roughly 130 percent of the national median, hardly poverty levels. Middle-class and affluent whites who live in the suburbs are Trump's backbone.
No one doubts that fear is always the driving force behind nationalism, but fear is merely a result of the source: racism, xenophobia, and sexism, and it's important we confront these realities or we'll never be able to accurately deal with America's legacy of white supremacism and toxic masculinity. Ignoring simple facts leads to blanket denial, like how many expressed surprise when white nationalist posters started popping up on college campuses all across the country beginning (roughly) in 2016, the year the Southern Poverty Law Center cautioned that hate group activity was spiking; or how anti-Semitic incidents rose a whopping 86 percent in the first 3 months of 2017; or how Islamophobic attacks surged 57 percent in 2016; or how we've never had a serious discussion as a country about why almost all mass shooters are men (since 9/11, right-wing extremists killed more Americans than Islamic extremists). Sure, whenever there's yet-another mass shooting, we sort of have a half-hearted discussion about the need for gun control, but very rarely do we tackle the root of the problem: unchecked male aggression. Seriously, wtf is up with that?
I'm just saying, if there's going to be all of this hand-wringing over victims of changing demographics, maybe we should aim our sympathy at the actual vulnerable marginalized members of our society and not their oppressors.