The New York Times asks…and answers…its own question
When you have all the answers, you can do that.
Saturday morning’s New York Times editorial page asked a question that seemed to puzzle their editorial board and many of their readers.
Writer Wil Wilkinson asks “Why did so many Americans vote for Trump?” Farther down the page, David Brooks answers with “The rotting of the Republican mind.” Within the bubble in which the Times and it readers reside, the answer is simple. They voted for Trump because they’re a bunch of illiterate, uneducated, redneck rubes who know no better because they lack the benevolent guidance of their betters on the left and right coasts. These bitter clingers, clutching their rosaries and their AR-15s, are the only thing standing between America and its New Age of Enlightenment.
These same elites were scandalized this week (triggered is more like it) when the Supreme Court actually upheld the Constitution and struck down New York’s overly broad restrictions on religious practices in the name of preventing the spread of Covid. Apparently, in Mayor DeBlasio’s world, it’s okay to mingle with strangers while shopping for aperitifs in the local liquor store, but attending a funeral for a family member makes you a super spreader.
Times writer Paul Krugman opined on Twitter “The first major decision from the Trump-packed court — and, naturally, it will kill people.” Note that Trump “packed” the court, even though he did so through the perfectly normal process of nominating a candidate and having her confirmed by the Senate.
David Brooks, on the other hand, claims Republicans are detached from reality, science deniers, climate change deniers…in other words, rubes.
For those awash in anxiety and alienation, who feel that everything is spinning out of control, conspiracy theories are extremely effective emotional tools. For those in low status groups, they provide a sense of superiority: I possess important information most people do not have. For those who feel powerless, they provide agency: I have the power to reject “experts” and expose hidden cabals. As Cass Sunstein of Harvard Law School points out, they provide liberation: If I imagine my foes are completely malevolent, then I can use any tactic I want.
So, in short, Republicans are low status. No wonder they voted for Trump.
The real answer is Republicans are sick and tired of being preached to by their betters. They’re told not to wear masks, then to wear masks. They’re told to shut down their businesses, many of which will never reopen, all for the better good of mankind. They can buy liquor, but they can’t go to church and pray. They can buy dog food in Michigan, but not a lawn chair. They can sit at home while their loved ones die alone in intensive care units and get arrested for attending the funeral.
Donald Trump is the answer to the Times’ questions. He’s standing right in front of them, a giant orange middle finger directed at the socialist elites at the newspaper of record courtesy of the great unwashed, the rubes, the bitter clingers from the deepest, darkest jungles of flyover America. He’s a giant middle finger from the people who get their hands dirty feeding, clothing, and providing energy for the chosen ones, who would gladly repay them with their omnipotent wisdom and direction, if only the rubes would let them.