The Myth of Angry White Men
Two years ago, Pat Caddell of The Smith Project predicted the rise of a Donald Trump in American politics (you can see that projection from early 2014 here.
At the time, none of us of WeNeedSmith.com knew it would be Trump himself. But we did know it would be someone from outside politics. We knew then that the force of the frustration and alienation of the American people would push this person forward to the front of the political pack.
We created “Citizen Smith” and The Smith Project to understand the depth of the alienation of American voters and the strength of this tide of frustration. Caddell called the mood of the voters at that time “pre-revolutionary.” As we’ve continued to study voter attitudes over the past two years, that mood has moved even farther toward true insurgency.
This overwhelming number of citizens certainly includes angry white men. It also includes angry white women, angry black women and angry black men. It includes angry Hispanics and Asians. It includes all demographics of Republican, Democratic and Independent voters: all of them mad as hell.
Consider some numbers from our national voter polling that define this insurgent mood:
- 66% of all voters believe the United States is in decline.
- 56% believe our kids will have it worse than we have had it, an abrogation of the American Dream.
- 72% believe we have a two-track economy in which working class people are not progressing.
- 78% believe both the Democrats and Republicans are too beholden to special interests to do what’s right for the country.
- 71% believe our nation’s government is not just dysfunctional — it’s collapsing.
- 80% believe the government is its own special interest group.
- 84% believe that incumbents of both parties protect their own power and privilege rather than helping voters.
- 80% say that the economic policies of both parties have failed.
- 72% believe our middle class’ economic fortunes have stalled because of corruption and crony capitalism in Washington.
- 76% also believe that we can’t get our economy on track again until we fix the corruption in Washington.
- 80% believe that an elite of incumbent politicians, lobbyists, big banks, big unions, big business, big special interests and big media rig the system for themselves.
- 70% told us that our government no longer has the consent of the American people.
- And 79% have told us that we need to recruit more regular citizens to office. Almost 80% if given the chance would vote every member of Congress out of office.
Most of the failed candidates and non-starters in this election made the mistake of thinking this would be an ideological election (conservative versus liberal). It isn’t. Most of them thought it would be an issue-focused election like 2012 (gun right versus women’s reproductive rights). It hasn’t been.
The Smith Project has shown that this is an insurgent election. It is the people versus the establishment. And that insurgency very likely won’t end in November.
Yes, it’s a damn shame that Candidate Smith turned out to be Candidate Trump. But you sure as hell can’t blame the voters for that, angry white men and all the rest. Who’s to blame for Trump? Take a selfie, D.C.!