Jim Lardner's podcast, Feet To The Fire, is fantastic and the episode above with sociologist and author Arlie Russell Hochschild. Her new book is Strangers In Their Own Land: Anger And Mourning On The American Right and the video above will help you understand what goes on in the mind of a Trump voter. Basically, Hochschild's theory is that these people-- Louisiana Tea Party backers (poor whites)-- have grievances based on what they perceive as "line cutters," racial minorities, immigrants, gays, women... Lardner wants to know what to make of them, how to communicate with them, and if it's even worth trying? Hochschild says it's mandatory.
These millions and millions of (poor white) Trump voters, understand Trump is an amoral scumbag-- they just see him the way many of us see Biden: the lesser evil, but at least one who "sees" them and is suffering for them and their grievances. I suspect they're not obsessing on Trump's serial grifterism. This morning, Politico's Alex Isendtadt dissected the latest manifestation of it. "Trump," he wrote, "couldn’t make it any clearer: He needs his supporters to fork over cash for the all-important Georgia Senate runoff elections. 'We MUST defend Georgia from the Dems!' he wrote in one recent text message. 'I need YOU to secure a WIN in Georgia,' he said in another. 'Help us WIN both Senate races in Georgia & STOP Socialist Dems,' he pleaded a few days later. There’s just one hitch: Trump’s new political machine is pocketing most of the dough-- and the campaigns of the Georgia senators competing in the Jan. 5 races aren’t getting a cent. Trump’s aggressive fundraising blitz appears to be devoted to helping the party defend Georgia’s two Senate seats and, with them, the Senate majority. But the fine print shows that most of the proceeds are going toward Trump’s newly launched PAC, which he plans to use to fund his future political activities. Only a fraction is going to the Republican National Committee, which is investing $20 million into the runoffs."
Trump’s fundraising ploy has rankled senior Republicans, who worry small-dollar donations are being redirected away from the runoffs. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has reached out to the White House and RNC to express its concern and to question the decision, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
The predicament has intensified broader concerns within the GOP that Trump will use his post-presidency to advance his own interests at the expense of the party. Trump has spent the last few weeks battering a pair of Republican governors who haven’t backed up his claims the presidency is being stolen from him, potentially imperiling their 2022 reelection prospects. He has repeatedly said Georgia's election system is rife with fraud, which could have the unintended consequence of chilling GOP turnout in the runoffs. And he has talked up a potential 2024 comeback bid, freezing the field of would-be future Republican presidential hopefuls.
“The reality is Donald Trump does not care about the future of the Republican Party, so if he can raise money off of the Georgia runoffs but keep the money for his own purposes, he will do so,” said Doug Heye, a veteran GOP strategist.
...Trump advisers are deeply protective of the president’s coveted donor list, which is easily the biggest in Republican politics, and they say they have adopted an across-the-board policy of not allowing others to use it. The advisers reason that using the list for candidates other than the president could dilute the list's power. And they also contend that contributors have finite resources and that they needed the funds for Trump’s reelection campaign.
...Georgia Republicans are concerned that small donors may be deceived by Trump’s fundraising appeals. Givers who don’t read the fine print closely enough may think their dollars are going directly to Loeffler and Perdue when in fact it’s going to Trump.
I'm sure we all remember Evan McMullin, the CIA agent from Utah who ran as a third party candidate in 2016 and siphoned off 731,788 votes from Trump, primarily from Republicans who found Trump reprehensible but couldn't pull themselves to vote for Hillary. Utah was his biggest state (21.54%) but he also won some significant votes in Idaho (6.73%). This morning the NY Times published an OpEd-- Should NeverTrump Conservatives Form A New Party? by McMullin that addresses a very different kind of Republican than the ones Hochschild studied in Louisiana.
Hochschild's Republicans are cheering Trump's political survival; McMullin's are grappling with how to offer their own post-Trumpian vision for the country. He takes a victory lap, as a #NeverTrumper, in Trump's defeat and the defeat of a handful of Trump's enablers, although he includes Roy Moore, Dana Rohrabacher and Steve King, whose districts will all be represented by other Trumpists in the 117th Congress and Arizona Senator Martha McSally who was defeated by Mark Kelly, a Republican pretending to be a Democrat who will likely be among the 2 or 3 the most right-wing Democrats in the Senate. "But the NeverTrump movement," he wrote, "has mostly been inward looking thus far. It emerged to defeat Mr. Trump and defend foundational principles such as self-government, liberty and justice, sovereignty, pluralistic society, the sanctity of all life, decency and objective truth. But to turn back Trump’s dangerous ideology, which has survived his defeat, and move America forward, we must build on these ideals and look beyond ourselves."
Unless they're willing to look beyond themselves and beyond the Republican Party and beyond the Biden-Democratic Party establishment, they're not much more than a pack of useless mastabators. If McMullin and his colleagues want to do something for America, sit at the feet of Bernie and AOC and learn how, something Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt might be starting to understand. But not McMullin, who wants to offer a conservative vision "capable of uniting more Republicans, Democrats and independents" against Trumpism on the ballot. Not understanding and working with Hochschild Republicans, but forging a transpartisan coalition among status quo centrists like himself.
McMullin's toxic-with-a-phony-smile vision is absolutely anti-Choice, inherently homophobic and promotes "limited government" and austerity. "Soon," he threatens, "we may field and promote our own slate of candidates running on either party’s ticket or as independents, but under our ideological banner. To advance this vision and support these candidates, we should further develop the infrastructure we’ve created over the last four years: including data firms, messaging platforms, research capabilities and grass roots networks. Eventually, we will have to make a decision: Will we return to a Republican Party liberated of fear, corruption and authoritarianism, or will we attempt to replace it with a new conservative alternative? Our hope is that we can still help foment a broad rejection of extremism inside the GOP. But our immediate task is to build our home for either eventuality, and to continue the fight for liberty, equality and truth." Good, let them start in Utah and Idaho and expand into Wyoming.