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Trump supporters are not as ill-informed as so often caricatured.

Friday, September 30, 2016 16:12
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Victor Davis Hanson writes,

In truth, there are not one, but two quite different Californias, defined by both geography and mindset.

California’s Trump belt is the antithesis of Stanford or UCLA, Apple or Google, Malibu or DreamWorks, Wells Fargo or Uber.

There’s the affluent coastal corridor between San Diego and Berkeley, where major universities, corporations, Hollywood, Silicon Valley, the financial industry and the largest government bureaucracies are located. And then there’s everything else — the northern third of the state, the mountainous eastern border, the interior Central Valley and portions of inland and eastern Southern California. These counties are poorer, with fewer college-educated residents.

During the week, I work in the coastal corridor — at Stanford University in Palo Alto. Almost everyone I meet there will vote for Clinton. On the weekends, I live in the other California, on a small farm in the poorest part of an indigent rural Fresno County, where a third of the population lives below the poverty line. Many of my neighbors have embraced Trump’s campaign.

California’s Trump belt is the antithesis of Stanford or UCLA, Apple or Google, Malibu or DreamWorks, Wells Fargo or Uber. It is an outland where practical people still depend on 19th century muscular jobs in grazing, farming, timber, mining and construction that both supply the state with its elemental needs, but from a distance and often without much credit or even recognition.

I see Trump signs in unincorporated areas throughout the state’s eastern counties. They belong to working-class folks, both white and from other ethnic groups, who service the agricultural pump and do spot welding on the farms in my vicinity. They believe that the state has left them behind, lacking the culture and money of the coastal elite, but without the victim status of the poor Californians who are entitled to race-based subsidies and advantages in hiring or admissions.

In my hometown of Selma I also know many Mexican Americans of the second and third generations who express support for Trump, at least if no one is listening in. Many do not speak Spanish well if at all, have never been to Mexico, may have married non-Latinos, do not work for the government and are not on public assistance. They often seethe about illegal immigration — because of crime in their neighborhoods and the danger to their children from gangs, as well as the connection between lax immigration enforcement and the California paradox: We have the highest basket of income, sales and gas taxes in the nation while providing schools and infrastructure among the worst.

In contrast, first-generation Mexican immigrants and those in the country illegally detest Trump. They often speak poor English, are poorly paid for hard physical labor or are out of work entirely. They fear deportation and rely on social services, sanctuary cities and non-enforcement of immigration and zoning laws. Government is not seen as too big, too costly or too incompetent, but a force for good that offers subsidies and employment as the first steps to entering the middle class. They nod to the Democratic coastal establishment in an unspoken bargain. In exchange for promotion of liberal immigration and social policies, they will support candidates whose politics, from abortion to costly environmentalism, are otherwise probably anathemas.

(It is an unspoken truth that yesterday’s California Republican party of the rich is today’s party of the populist middle classes, while the Democratic Party has become an odd alliance of the 1%, public employees and the very poor.)

…California’s Trump voters do not believe Clinton can answer why existing federal immigration law is not enforced, or why officials cannot utter the phrase Islamic terrorism after serial terrorist attacks, or why multimillionaires like Beyonc and Colin Kaepernick feign victimhood during prime-time sporting events.

…Trump supporters are not as ill-informed as so often caricatured. A Fresno Rotary Club member just reminded me that California’s billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, unsustainable entitlements, terrible schools, rising crime, astronomically priced coastal real estate, high taxes and schizophrenic laws will eventually hit even the rich in Santa Barbara and San Francisco.

If true, the multimillion-person Trump minority in California might not be a minority for much longer.

Read more here.


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