How Trump redefined “elite”

Poor white Republicans (PWRs) hate rich smart people because they are rich, and resent them because they are smart. Trump hates rich smart people because they are smart, and likes them because they are rich. Trump and his dupes appear to have something in common.

Trump is popular because he is both stupid and angry and nakedly so. It is rare to see stupid and angry in a position of power advertise itself as such. But that’s what Trump has done, and PWRs found it attractive.

Trump got votes from two cohorts: (1) the paleo-capitalists from the One Percent, and (2) stupid white workers (PWRs). Only the first had any business voting for him, because Trump, like all Republicans, is determined by his class position to extract as much value from workers to capital as possible. How did Trump, the most arrogant of all the Ritchie Rich politicians in history, get votes from the people who ought to hate Ritchie Rich politicians?

First, by wearing a NASCAR cap and talking like a redneck.

But he has another weapon—the word elite. He redefined the word. Before Trump, an elite was a rich person who is also educated. PWRs hate rich smart people. But they should fear more rich dumb people. (I mean smart/dumb in any sense you like. Anti-Keynesian Republicans are dumb because their policy choices lead to strikes, riots, possibly revolution, certainly backlash. You can’t shit on 99% of the people openly. By immiserating the workers they depend on, Paleo-Republicans undermine their own self-interest. Blatantly impoverishing and immiserating people leads to problems for the master also.)

Trump hates “the elite” because they reject him for his cheap, boring, infantile, frat-boy, narcissism and sociopathic inconsideration, which has served him well in his MO of chumping people off, fucking them over, and generally exploiting them. He has tried to dissimulate his character away, but he can’t. He cannot think abstractly or systematically, and lacks a theory of mind, so has no ethical intelligence.

Rich smart people, on the other hand, are inclined to promote social welfare—for their own self-interest. Also, rich smart people are also the only ones with the means to exercise the privilege of Being Principled. Universal health care is a no-brainer. Welfare. Universal wage. Poly-racial fairness. Non-enabling of armed sociopaths (police).

Rich smart people appreciate the fact that their enjoyable lives are siphoned off the lost freedom and exploitation of others. If the source of your livelihood is human capital, it is an investment in your own future self to ensure the health of your cows. Trump has at least heard of this idea. But to make his base happy, he needs to invent darkies as the enemy and then also punish them.

The only friends the PWRs have in power are rich smart people—the philanthropists and socialists. But the PWRs, being stupid, are easily misled about the cause of their suffering. Dependable and effective are the classics other-race and other-ethnicity. These groups wear an empirically accessible otherness on their skin or voice, and this makes it easy to assign them enemy status. But they are no the enemy. Mexicans are not the reason PWRs are poor. Republicans (and quasi-Republicans like the Clintons) are the reason. Economic problems are economic.