What Trumplandia Confirms about Republican Party, Christian Right, and White America

I just want to ask a question:
Who really cares, to save a world in despair?
Who really cares?

“Save the Children,” Marvin Gaye

I was born and have lived my entire life in the cesspool of hypocrisy that is the Bible Belt—where conservative Republicanism and Christian values are thin veneer for hatred, bigotry, sexism, gun-lust, and enduring racism.

That hypocrisy failed me and then as a young adult and throughout my life I have been taught critical love and kindness by great writers and thinkers: Kurt Vonnegut, Eugene V. Debs, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Langston Hughes, and the greatest witness of all, James Baldwin.

With the election of Donald Trump as the U.S. president, the entire nation has before it this reality: Trumplandia confirms that the Republican Party, Christian Right, and white America have abdicated all rights to any moral authority.

First, despite efforts by mainstream media and pundits to argue otherwise, Trump and his rhetoric are continuations of central efforts by the Republican Party reaching back at least to Reagan: “tough on crime” as code for racist beliefs about blacks and Latinx, “build a wall” as just more xenophobia, and anti-government ranting as code for denying “free” offerings to the “lazy” people of color and “illegal immigrants.”

Trump’s Republicanism is directly in line with Reagan Republicanism. The only real difference is Trump’s outlandish and brash admissions aloud of the very worst of the Republican Party, such as calling Mexicans rapists and murderers. Traditional Republicans only hint at such.

Even more important is that the overwhelming support for Trump by the Christian Right is stunningly damning:

Election 2016: Exit Polls (NYT)

For eight years, Barack Obama and his family—despite a history of being practicing Christians, despite Obama himself offering several eloquent and Christian speeches and hymns in times of tragedy, and despite Obama and his family living essentially good (read: Christian) lives—the Christian Right, and Trump, have refuted Obama’s Christianity and used accusations of his being a Muslim as a slur.

Yet, Trump’s hedonism, adultery, sexual assault, profane discourse, hate speech, sexism, and rapacious behavior as a business man and pseudo-billionaire [1], for the Christian Right, prove to be just fine.

Trumplandia has exposed there is nothing “Christian” or “right” about the Christian Right.

Finally, however, the most damning and least addressed consequence of Trumplandia is what it has exposed about white America, who overwhelmingly supported Trump:

As expected, Trump did best among white voters without a college degree, beating Clinton by the enormous margin of 72 percent to 23 percent. Trump also won among white, non-college women 62 to 34 percent and white college-educated men, 54 to 39 percent. Among white voters, Clinton only won among women with a college degree by a 51 to 45 percent margin. Interestingly, among white voters, there is no evidence in the exit poll that income affected the likelihood that they supported Trump.

The conventional wisdom being promoted by whitewashed mainstream media is that the working and middle class have been abandoned by Democrats and the U.S. government; yet, exit polls show that the two lowest income categories chose Clinton by a slim majority (certainly skewed, however, by people of color over-represented in these groups, revealing how the media is mostly worried about “working class” and “middle class” only as that relates to whites):

Election 2016: Exit Polls (NYT)

Both sets of exit data from CBS and NYT, then, suggest that Trump’s support has more to do with race than disgruntled working class whites being ignored and disenfranchised.

Actually, mainstream media has its argument backward because Trumplandia confirms that white America has abandoned commitments to equity for all—not that any political party or the U.S. government has abandoned white America.

The problem with the hurting working/middle class white argument is that this is racially inequitable America:

Bruenig, 24 October 2014

And this is racially inequitable America:

Matt Bruenig from 24 September 2014

The America where race and gender create exponential inequity:

Policy Link

As a powerful contrast to the white male and female support to Trump, note that black women were by far least likely to vote for Trump—and they have the greatest reason to be disenfranchised (the lowest wages at every level of education, above):

Quartz 9 November 2016
Quartz 9 November 2016

The ultimate problem with the suffering working and middle class white argument for Trump’s rise is twofold: (1) white suffering may exist, but by comparison to black/brown suffering and gender suffering, white suffering remains relatively less significant, and (2) if whites are hurting, that fact should have spurred solidarity with historically marginalized groups, not the antagonism being heard from white America.

If white America ever really believed in the melting pot, believed in a country of immigrants, believed in equity for all, that may have existed in some distant and idealized past when white America saw that pot melting disparate whites into one homogenous white: equity for all who look like us (white).

Trumplandia is a white response (whitelash), not from working and middle class suffering, but against rising demands by oppressed groups (#BlackLivesMatter, Colin Kaepernick, gender neutral restrooms, marriage equity, immigration reform, etc.) for equity for all.

The only thing whites are poised to lose is their unearned privilege, but the rise of white support of Trump confirms that whites see their privilege as more important to preserve than equity for all is to attain.

“Make America Great Again” is slogan-as-code for maintaining white (and male) privilege.


In the tumultuous world faced by Marvin Gaye—especially war torn—he sang:

But who really cares?
Who’s willing to try?
To save our world
To save our sweet world
To save a world
That is destined…to die

Trumplandia is a defiant “Not us” from white America—and efforts to whitewash that callousness as economic angst is further proof that the dirtiest word in the U.S. to utter is “racism” because of the delicate sensibilities of the most powerful people in the country.

[1] Matthew 19:24: Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

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