The Reason Liberal Whites (Women Too!) Voted Trump

November 11th, 2016 | Categories: Uncategorized

Many people voted for Donald Trump because they think he represents a mindset that challenges the status quo in American politics. I get this on one level only. Clinton represents a political system in which father and son, brothers, cousins, husbands and wives, can be nominated as if there are no other qualified candidates in the country. The inbreeding of our presidential candidate is a little too monarchy for my taste. So, I can ‘get’ the ‘shaking up’ the political system idea at that level (and only at that level).  And Trump may or may not be successful at shaking up the political system (any more than he already has). But, for minorities, that isn’t a priority. You see, there is a clear divide by race in the country.

63% of  white males voted for Donald Trump.  53% of white women.

74% of non-whites voted, regardless of gender, for Hillary Clinton.

Q. Why such a divide?

A. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

maslow-pyramid

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pyramid consists of the most basic needs that people have to the most advanced needs. The pyramid demonstrates that the lowest level needs, the most basic, must be met first before any other level needs are met. Once one level is met, then people strive to meet the next level and so forth.

This pyramid explains why your dearest friends and family members voted for Trump even though you thought for sure they weren’t racist, homophobic, sexist, or transphobic.  Let me explain.

As of 2015, poverty rates for whites, are more than half of what they are for minority groups across the country. Take a look at the swing states and in some cases whites are a third or less of the poverty rates of minorities. So this means that statistically minorities are more likely to be at a lower level of Maslow’s Hierarchy than someone who is white. Minorities in the country are more likely to have physiological needs and stay at this level. These folks, 24% of Blacks and 21% of Hispanics in the US, are not easily getting onto the next level of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

Now let’s look at the ones who do. There are plenty of minorities who are not in poverty, easily 75-80% of them. As such they should, according to the “racism is over” myth, be at much higher levels of the pyramid. Yet, these folks are stuck at the safety needs level because of the words Donald Trump has actually said about minorities throughout his campaign. These words  condone discrimination and violence against these groups. Now that he is president, providing him with lots of structural power, minorities are not likely to get out of this safety needs level of the pyramid any time soon.

So most minorities are not voting for Trump because they are worried about their physiological needs and safety needs which have been threatened by a Trump presidency.

Whites on the other hand, have lower poverty rates, which means most of them are able to move passed the physiological needs level of the pyramid. Whites, also, are not being threatened with discrimination and violence by a presidential candidate (or, now, president), which means many are able to move passed the safety needs level. Like any good candidate, Donald Trump united his constituency helping them to fulfill their belongingness and love needs (the need to feel included in something bigger than ourselves). So, with that, whites are able to move to the esteem needs. It is here that whites can justify voting for Trump despite his racist, homophobic, sexist, and transphobic comments.

You see, people prioritize the groups they belong to over other groups. People value their groups more and view them more positively than other groups. In order to facilitate this people need to view the other group negatively. As a result of this process, we think of ourselves more positively because our groups are more positive. In this way, we gain self esteem. It’s the same process that makes bullies exist, but we all have the potential to gain self-esteem in this way, and we all will try to do this if we can get to this level of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

At the esteem needs level, whites compare Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump and Donald Trump comes out ahead.

Q. Why?

A. Because the speech community in which whites exist is one where racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic talk happen fairly regularly. This coming Thanksgiving there will be plenty of whites at dinner tables across America with plenty of their family members saying something offensive. Spoiler alert: The liberal whites at that table won’t kick racist talking grandma out of the house. Instead, the most liberal among them will ignore it in the conversation and in their heads think, “oh, that’s just grandma; she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.” They will dismiss the comment as unimportant, as vacuous, as blowing hot air, as not sincere, and as not able to have any practical results. They won’t hear it as a threat to themselves or to anyone else.

Because liberal whites have their lower level needs met, because Donald Trump’s offensive comments aren’t threatening to whites, and because they dismiss Donald Trump’s comments as impotent, even your liberal, open minded, smart, dear family member or friend might have voted for him.

In their mind the choice made perfect sense because they do agree with some of the policies related to changing the status quo of American politics. As a result, they view Donald Trump and the Republican Party positively and Hillary Clinton negatively; they get their esteem needs met by voting to shake up the political system. Nothing more, nothing less from their standpoint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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