Espreso. Global

How can we persuade Trump's electorate to support Ukraine?

22 February, 2024 Thursday

A popular question? Does it bother you? And I'll tell you - and you have almost no influence

Why? The perception of the war in Ukraine among Trump's electorate can be influenced - suddenly - only by Trump himself.

Why is this so?

"Trumpism utilized old-fashioned conservatism, distorted it, and enveloped it in his far-right leadership. One of the researchers of Trumpism described the collective portrait of his voter as follows: "When you ask a Trump supporter what the ideology of MAGA (Make America Great Again) is, the answer is that whatever Trump calls MAGA, that's what MAGA is.”

MAGA taps into nostalgia, a longstanding motif in American politics. However, it has substituted the foundation. Traditional conservatism utilized the ideal of the 'City upon a Hill,' an appeal to a lost moral imperative, the return to which leads to economic and political success.

Instead of the 'City upon a Hill' and the loss of a moral ideal, Trump appeals to the decline of 'male identity,' subservience to 'lesser interests,' femininity, and globalization. And the return to the 'golden age' in such a paradigm requires reverting to a time when 'a man (a true American) found it easier to secure a worthy place in society.' Unfortunately, many American conservatives have embraced this substitution wholeheartedly.

"The foundation of Trump's ideology lies in nationalism and extreme right-wing populism. In addition to their hostile stance towards immigration, 'old political elites,' and the deep state, Trump and his supporters:"

  • oppose corporations, which they believe contribute to the impoverishment of Americans, and are supportive of authoritarian methods;
  • reject the values of liberal democracy as a form of governance, as well as the system of 'checks and balances.'

At present, Trumpism as a political concept combines elements of nationalist, illiberal, and corporatist responses to both imagined and real issues facing the United States.

"The reasons for such a request can vary greatly. However, at the core of it all are accumulated economic and social problems. There are tens of millions dissatisfied with poverty, bleak prospects, and social norms that these individuals do not understand and are not willing to accept. Leadership is needed. Trump steps up and leads."

Ultimately, this shapes the categories of his electorate.

The first group consists of poor white men without higher education. This group represents the 'victims of globalization' and economic disparities.

The second group comprises white Christian nationalists. Radical white Protestants have found their hero in Trump because he embodies three components:

  • American exceptionalism (MAGA!);
  • fight against the 'new world order' (a conspiracy of the Illuminati and a world government seeking to end US dominance, any 'heresy' such as climate change, equality, and the theory of evolution);
  • prosperity theology. White evangelical Christians make up a quarter of all American voters. Three-quarters of them supported Trump in both 2016 and 2020. Meanwhile, 90% of African American Protestants supported Trump's opponents.

The third group consists of the 'disaffected by the left turn.' This category believes that feminism, the fight for the rights of racial or sexual minorities, and other manifestations of left or liberal policies deprive them of the opportunity to realize themselves in modern America.

The fourth group consists of the 'outraged by the elite conspiracy' and supporters of conspiracy theories. These individuals are united by the belief that the cause of problems (social, economic, racial, etc.) lies in a 'world conspiracy,' 'elite conspiracy,' and so on.

"All these four categories tend towards isolationism. Through radicalizing the electorate in the 2020 elections, Trump garnered 11 million more votes than in 2016. In 2020, 74.2 million Americans voted for him, compared to 63 million in 2016."

The selfishness, resentment, and fear within his electorate make his opportunism entirely relevant and effective for political influence. The question is that narrowing his electorate can only be achieved by addressing the root causes of its expansion. And this is nowhere near being addressed at the moment.

Therefore, both the world and us are left hoping that more or less reasonable American voters will remain in the majority. And if not, then American institutions will withstand it, and there will be a rollback. Yes, it hurts the world when the main adult has a leaky roof. But this is the situation we faced.

About the author. Yuriy Bohdanov is a publicist and a specialist in strategic communications in business, public administration, and politics.

The editorial team does not always share the opinions expressed by blog authors.

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