By now, the remarks Fareed Zakaria made earlier this week on CNN are losing their power to shock.
Asked on New Day how Trump won, Zakaria said, “The election of Donald Trump is really a kind of class rebellion against people like us, educated professionals who live in cities, who have cosmopolitan views about things.”
That’s because the white bigots all went for Trump.
“A real sense of cultural alienation, older, white, non-college education Americans have, a sense that their country is changing because of immigrants,” Zakaria said. “Because maybe blacks are rising up to a central placed in society, because gays [are] being afforded equal rights. Because of, frankly, working women. Everybody is muscling in on the territory that the white working man had.”
If this were true, we simply should thank white working men for saving America again and move on. But it’s not. It’s what Jesse Watters of Fox News called in a segment on Zakaria’s statement, “…just another excuse, like Russia, to make sure Hillary doesn’t accept responsibility for her loss.”
First, the numbers don’t add up. White voters made up about 70 percent of the electorate. About 22 percent of Americans have college degrees. That means, at most, 30 percent of the population could be white men without college degrees. Trump got 48 percent of the popular vote, arranged in such a way as to give him a comfortable victory in the Electoral College.
A map of counties that flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016 shows that many of those counties were in the upper Midwest – in Iowa and Wisconsin, where Trump scored surprising victories, and a few in Michigan. Of the 81 BOOT counties – they went for George W. Bush in 2004, Obama for both of his terms and Trump in 2016 – most also were in those areas.
Were they bigoted, myopic, selfish, jealous-of-the-social-climb-of-others voters in 2008 and 2012? Or did they sign up for the Klan only after the 2012 election? Do they marry women who “have cosmopolitan views about things” and somehow convert them to a life of racism and “cultural alienation?” Or were they so monolithically in Trump’s corner that they were able to overcome the votes of their womenfolk?
That wasn’t it. Hillary Clinton, vying to be the first woman president, got even less support from women than Obama despite intense Democrat efforts to try to paint Trump as anti-woman.
Also, these analyses focus almost exclusively on the upper Midwest states, but a similar pattern – almost as strong – occurred along the I-85 corridor – the road from Washington to Atlanta. This road also has its share of factories – much of the nation’s furniture is assembled along it – but it also passes through the Research Triangle of North Carolina and some other places with surprisingly high percentages of people “who have cosmopolitan views about things.”
And Hispanic voters, who were assumed by the people who “have cosmopolitan views about things” to hate Trump, gave him more support than any Republican candidate has received since 2004, when Spanish-speaking George W. Bush was running for re-election. Despite a Latino Decisions Poll that gave him just 18 percent support among Hispanic voters, Trump reeled in nearly 30 percent and may have even beaten Hillary in some states.
“That’s implausible,” said Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University professor who studies public opinion and election voting behavior. “We’re going to see some debate about this question.”
Here are a couple of items for that debate. Denise Galvez, a Cuban-American who co-founded “Latinas for Trump,” told USA TODAY she “knew and acknowledged [Trump’s] faults. But everybody took him out of context. How everybody extrapolates that he hates all Mexicans and he hates all Hispanics and he hates all immigrants is absolutely ridiculous.”
And Josefina Rocabado, who came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 1979, said she felt “insulted by the Clinton campaign’s ‘brainwashing’ of Hispanics by suggesting those who didn’t support the Democrat were betraying their roots rather than being more motivated by other issues.”
Trump also did better among blacks, women and Hispanics than Romney. He turned a lot of working class voters in the upper Midwest and along the Eastern seaboard. And although he cut into Democrats’ traditional base of support in a variety of states, Hillary made headway only in a few counties in Utah, which she lost anyway, and in formerly deep red Orange County, Calif.
But the implication of what Zakaria said is that the dumber Americans, the less-informed working class, went for Trump, and the people who “have cosmopolitan views about things” tried to save us.
Maybe it wasn’t Americans who got dumber. Maybe it was just Democrats. Maybe, it was, as Jesse Watters said in a Fox News segment on Zakaria’s remarks, “Democrats got to talking about bathrooms and Occupy Wall Street while the rest of the country was saying, ‘Hey, we’re getting hammered over here.’
“Trump spoke to those people. And that’s why he won.”