Self-Domestication of the Trumpian Underclass

Trump's Trumpers

Trump needed a "Spiritual Advisor", so he picked Televangelist Paula White.

Napoleon famously said, “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich”. Napoleon was reputed to have been agnostic, and hundreds of years before Trump, saw the substantial value in religion and its ability to manage the masses. It was one of his recurrent military tactics. Extolling the virtues of Catholicism as his armies marched through Italy, Napoleon understood the intrinsic necessity of a military conqueror in feigning support for the religion of the conquered. And switching allegiances was effortless for Napoleon. While campaigning in Egypt, his propaganda machine even extolled the virtues of Islam: “There is no God but God, and Mohamet is his messenger.”

Napoleon was the greatest of the philosopher-kings and an unparalleled military genius. He also ran a brilliant public relations campaign in France, as early on, he was planning to parlay his many military successes into political dominance of the French empire he built with his armies. But to do so, he had to at least retain the appearance of the French Revolution and its many reforms, and then go about the business of circumventing the democratic structure of the new French constitution that would ultimately lead to his position of Emperor.

And this was accomplished in plain view of the very concerned French public. The charismatic Napoleon had a strong core of support across all socioeconomic segments of the French population. Like Trump, he had strong support among the poor. And like Trump, Napoleon, a propagandist way ahead of his time, saw the dangers of a free press to a corrupted autocratic power. Under his political control, the number of Paris newspapers dwindled from 73 to just 9 by 1800.

But Napoleon’s biggest internal threat was from the religious. More specifically, it came from the Bourbon-supporting Catholics. Catholics made up 90% of the French population, and Napoleon promoted both religious freedom while at the same time getting the Church to relinquish their claim on their appropriated lands during the Revolution.

And while Napoleon was a firm believer in religion’s ability to induce the poor masses to submit to a strong leader and exchange their earthly struggles for a reward in a heavenly afterlife, he was missing something even more important. Race. This was understandable, as France was a predominately caucasian country at the time.

But Trump didn’t miss it. Now that religion has lost its sheen as the main political force in people’s lives, race has taken its place. It is the Holy Grail of Trump’s base, and Trump discovered its effectiveness during his aborted 2000 campaign for the Reform Party nomination against Pat Buchanan’s anti-immigration platform. He saw more value in the liberal side at that time, and declared Buchanan to be a racist.

While racial motivation is ubiquitous among our seven categorizations of Trump supporters, it’s not the only factor used in our categorization system. Trump’s support is highly factionalized, and while the regular themes of Republican support are in play through each one of his factions, such as attraction to a strong leader, racial bias, etc., any of these factions can turn on Trump quickly, but for different reasons. Let’s begin.

The Dumb Trumper

The liberal stereotype of the Dumb Trumper

This is the classical liberal stereotype of the Trump supporter. Do you really need an example? Then look at the people behind Trump during one of his rallies. According to the liberals, they are racist, non-college educated, did poorly in school, speak incoherently, and always resort to one of their favorite Pavlovian replies in the face of Trump’s fountain of illegal and immoral behavior: “lock her up!”. Their brains will forever be managed by the rich and powerful, as they always prefer rich white people to non-whites, every day of the week.

And they like Trump. They like his personality. They like the way Trump speaks. He’s like one of their racist buddies that is always complaining about some minority getting government assistance. They understand him. Trump‘s rambling of barely coherent hyperbole dominates their temporally oriented brains, without the smarty-pants prefrontal cortex cutting into the discussion with its predictable “what is he blabbering about?” response. They try to listen to the liberal elite, but they can’t focus for more than ten seconds. They are too complicated to follow. And they are boring. But Trump, he screams. He gyrates. He insults. He yells “drain the swamp!”, while everyone he knows is copping to guilty pleas. Trump, they understand. And Trump understands that. That’s why he feeds them with his blabbering. They can’t get enough.

Trump ad for rally actors

This, of course, is an oversimplification, and based mainly on watching the people standing behind Trump during his rallies. The selection process for these people is a bit of a mystery (is that the best they have?). One theory is that the people selected as “wallpaper” for the Trump rallies is based on their lack of visual intelligence markers.

But the dumb Trumpers scare the liberals. Is this what our government has been reduced to? An idiocracy? Bill Maher summarizes this attitude by referring to a Trump rally as a “hillbilly Nuremberg”. Trump masterfully handles this category, as they will continue to shout out “lock her up!” while their messiah’s crimes are exposed in greater detail every day. Trump is even looking guilty when they start talking about locking people up.

And Trump knows all too well that this segment of his base is all about immigration. And not just illegal immigration. Any immigration, which is why Trump is now directing his policies against refugees and legal immigrants. In fact, many in this segment want naturalized citizens to lose their citizenship. And Trump knows it. And Trump also knows he has to keep upping the ante with this segment, otherwise, the Dumb Trumpers won’t be so dumb.

The Bible Trumpers

Is Trump really praying?

The religious Trumper would seem to have the hardest time supporting Trump. But surprisingly, it has been the easiest for them. After all, God forgives those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, despite how evil they have been all their lives. That's perfect for Trump. Like Napoleon, Trump is at best nonreligious, and at times, has arguably been an atheist. But don’t let his religious supporters fool you. They are the first group to overlook Trump’s real religiosity and immorality issues, and they do it naturally. They were built to do it.

The religious are well endowed with a cognitive phenomenon that Trump has exploited famously, and one that allows them to simply ignore any and all information of their choosing. After all, the universe was created in six days, right? While everyone is afflicted by this to some degree, there are good reasons to believe the Bible Trumpers are exceptional. First, they are left brained. This is not necessarily a feature of all spiritual people, but for the ones that literally interpret the Bible, it is quite common. After all, maintaining a literal belief in the Bible is quite difficult in the face of scientific evidence. After all, the sun rotates around the earth, right? Amusingly, the flat-earthers are making a comeback, and their ranks are swollen with the Bible Trumpers.

The phenomenon of belief bias is primarily the product of the left brain, which is more closely connected to conservative and religious beliefs. And never underestimate the Bible Trumpers’ ability to believe. In anything. And they are political clay for Trump. Here’s a very good example. Every President needs a spiritual faith advisor. So who would Trump pick? That’s right, a televangelist from the Christian Broadcasting Network, Paula White. Who else is going to give him that kind of optics? A sexy babe in the mold of a Fox News anchor. Classic Trump.

So what about the issue of Trump’s anti-refugee policies and Jesus Christ’s own refugee status? Of course there’s an answer. Paula White went on to explain Trump’s anti-refugee policies and how they are consistent with the Bible: 'Well, Jesus was a refugee,'" she said. "And yes, he did live in Egypt for three and a half years. But it was not illegal. If he had broke the law, then he would have been sinful and he would not have been our Messiah."

Now who can argue with that? You can’t really argue with the Bible Trumpers’ minds, but it highlights the way the Bible-fixated brain operates to find ways around the many reality checks they are constantly subjected to. They only need one thing. That one thing must provide relief to the pressure caused by the evidence against their belief. Often their logic often becomes circular, as evidenced by White’s workaround for the refugee issue.

But forget all about God and the Bible. The Bible Trumpers really aren’t about any particular god or religious scripture. The Bible Trumpers are all about reproduction, and they are the ultimate practitioners of Darwinism. Their god can be an angry thunderer, a humble altruist, or a very crooked president. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they out reproduce everyone else. But be careful, Donald Trump, and hope that no story comes out about you paying a woman (or women) to have an abortion. These Bible Trumpers will need another twisted excuse to still love you.

The Alpha Trumpers

Bikers overwhelmingly support Trump

Trump is the very definition of an alpha male, and has a very well thought out way he presents himself to make sure it registers with his alpha-loving followers. First, Trump accentuates his health. This is a ubiquitous behavior across all hierarchical social species, as nothing in the wild eliminates an alpha’s position as quickly as illness. And thus Trump has pressured his physicians to overly accentuate his health. He even rewarded his doctor, Ronny Jackson, with a VA nomination because of this. Trump vainly colors his hair and tans (either chemically or via tanning bed) constantly, which indeed is another attempt to promote his health (and alphaism) to his followers.

And they eat it up. Conservatives have long been accused of being attracted to strong and dominant leaders, and “owning the libs” is a mantra they have embraced. Trump deliberately maintains body posture and facial expressions that exude dominance, with one of the classical examples being his deliberately intimidating and space-invading behavior during his debates with Hillary Clinton.

But one of Trump’s more unusual behaviors is his perpetual need to reestablish his position of dominance. As President, you would think he would give it a rest, and just relax. But his case is unique. It is perpetual. And it is just like the constant dominance displays of lower primates. Trump’s desire to re-establish his dominance, played out daily on Twitter, only sleeps when he does.

You might think that his lavishing of praise on certain people indicates his unselfish side. Just the opposite. This correlates quite closely with the behavior of alpha primates in the wild. They seek to form coalitions, and the more dominant they are, the more they seek coalitions. He lavishes praise on people with his usual hyperbole, and can be equally as insulting to those same people the next day. Both are dominance seeking behaviors, and Trump lives in a minute by minute cycle of dominance acquisition and maintenance.

But who are the alpha Trumpers? They tend to be high testosterone and reproductive age males, between 18 and 45, drive motorcycles or trucks, own guns, and treat the election of Donald Trump as an increase in their own personal dominance level. They are louder than average, and you can hear them talking loudly in restaurants, revving their engines on their motorcycles or trucks, and tailgating you as you drive at the speed limit.

But lest Donald Trump show any weakness when he struts his stuff, he will lose these Trumpers quickly. His kneeful submission to Putin at their last summit cost him dearly, and he quickly canceled his follow up meeting (requested by Putin) as he saw its negative impact on Dominant Don, the President cum pro wrestler that humbled himself in a cage match in front of his own personal alpha, Vladimir Putin.

The Meth-head Trumper?

Meth Labs by County

Curiously, Trump has courted the drug abusing side of the electorate like no other Republican president before him. Republicans have always kept this segment of the electorate at a distance, until Trump. So what is going on here? Does Trump really care about people who use drugs illegally? Not bloody likely. But there is indeed a correlation between low population density and illegal methamphetamine use. There is also a strong correlation between low population density and conservatism. But is there also a correlation between methamphetamine use and Trumpism? Is a meth user, when controlling for population density, more likely to support Trump?

There is no study that directly establishes any such connection, but we can make an argument that it should be true based on the closer relationship between conservatism and the left-brain’s dopamine system, which methamphetamine targets asymmetrically. So by proxy, this might link illegal meth use to enhanced Trump support. The curious Trump focus on this segment of the voting public had to have some payoff in the future. If not from them, from their families. Once elected, Trump's “emergency plans” to deal with the crisis asked for no funds to address it. Who would have guessed that it was all talk? But Trump doesn’t really need to address this problem to maintain their support. Ironically, this segment of his base might be the most stable.

The White Supremacist Trumper

Trump carefully encourages their support

All of the previously mentioned Trumpers are elevated in their ethnic bias scale relative to the general population. In a recent survey, 41% of the millennials that voted for Trump cited “white vulnerability” as their motivation. Add that to the Trump supporters that felt the same way, but were ashamed to admit it, and you will likely find that most of the millennial Trump support was racially motivated.

But white supremacists are another matter. They are different than your average "mind your own business" racist. They are really angry. But are they just fundamentally angry and hateful people, and then look for non-white targets to vent their anger? Or do they acquire this anger by direct experience with non-whites? Nature versus Nurture?

Studies of fraternal and identical twins solidly demonstrate that all types of aggressive behaviors have a substantial genetic component. So the White Supremacist Trumpers would seem to be over reacting to the world around them. Indeed, the neurological evidence on racism also points to significant cognitive problems they might be experiencing in racially integrated environments.

In “An fMRI investigation of the impact of interracial contact on executive function”, Jennifer Richeson et al. identified executive control issues that people with higher racial bias have when exposed to black faces. Racial processing seems to correlate with activity in several regions of the brain: amygdala, fusiform gyrus, insula, anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC).

The brain seems to be at war with itself with regards to racism. This is not just true for conservatives, but also true for liberals. The lower level structures like the amygdala seem to up-regulate racist responses, while the higher cortical regions like the DLPFC down-regulate it. It indeed is wired in the brain. But is it genetic or environmental?

The answer is of course, yes, as both play a large role in racial attitudes. But to the White Supremacist Trumpers, this one issue is paramount over all others, and one that Trump does his most complicated dance around.

Trump has a not so subtle system of dog whistles around race, and they are meant to both maintain his position with his White Supremacist Trumpers while allowing for periodic condemnations on their behavior. But they don’t last long, and the White Supremacists know full well that Trump is just acting when he is delivering one of his weak condemnations of White Supremacism, which are much more infrequent now. And the greater Trump’s legal problems, the more he needs to cultivate this racist voting block. And his indirect assault on non-whites comes through loud and clear when he bashes NFL players, Lebron James, or other "low IQ" targets that warm the hearts and gather the votes of white supremacists everywhere.

The Second Amendment Trumper

Self protection or dominance seeking?

Three percent of the US population owns between 8 to 140 guns. And this increases every year.

One reason for gun ownership that is totally missed by the survey takers is dominance. Gun owners are high dominance people, and overlap the ranks of the Alpha Trumpers considerably.

So you have a lot of money? I have a gun. So you have a high education? I have a gun. So you have a lot of power? I have a gun. Guns tip the scales of dominance in their direction, and these are high dominance individuals to begin with. And thus their complete devotion to them. It’s not about the gun. It’s about the gun that maintains or enhances their dominance level.

But the Second Amendment Trumpers don’t really trust Trump. Trump doesn’t like guns, and deep down, believes in regulation. But even he knows the Second Amendment Trumpers aren’t really Trumpers. You don’t get in the way of the dopamine rush they feel when they put their hands on an assault rifle. It’s like meth. And if Trump signs any bill regarding gun regulation, these Trumpers will be gone at the same moment. And he needs all the Trumpers he can get.

The Rich and Powerful Trumper

The Real Beneficiaries of Trumpism

On the other side, the rich Trumpers are the least aligned to Trump, but behind the scenes, they do the most to promote him. This should be of no surprise, as they are also the most educated. Highly educated people and Trump do not get along well, on either side of the political spectrum. But the rich support for Trump starts and ends with his tax and economic policies, which they struggle to understand with every crazy tweet.

But what they all have in common is a disdain for the non-rich. In their view, they feel like they shouldn’t pay taxes for anything except a military budget. No social programs. No EPA or SEC controls. Nothing. Every man for himself. They want to convert all governmental activities into for-profit private enterprises. They want the VA, prisons, schools, roads, and the military to all be for-profit, and want the Department of the Interior to hand over the Federal lands to themselves and then disappear. They want to hand over Social Security to Wall Street, and then put blinders on while it mysteriously disappears. Like the divestiture of the Soviet Union’s industries to the Russian oligarchs, the government is just another mark for the Rich Trumpers. Something to game and convert into profit. They are the builders of the swamp that Trump amusingly talks about draining.

Mitt Romney is a classic example of a Rich Trumper. No doubt, like Romney, most of the Rich Trumpers think Trump is a liar and an idiot, but therein lies Trump’s particular genius. Trump has an ability to connect to the Dumb Trumpers like no rich person before him. Who else could go in front of an audience of rally Trumpers and talk about his tax plan as such: “This is going to cost me a fortune this thing, believe me, believe me. This is not good for me, me it’s not so good for.” Who else would believe that but the Dumb Trumpers?

Only one politician on the planet would have the gall to proclaim that in front of a crowded room, and that’s Trump. But a few choruses of “drain the swamp!” or “lock her up!” will keep his underclass coming back for more. But Trump’s handling of the underclass is what allows the Rich Trumpers to do what they do best. They subvert entire legal systems with stealth efficiency. They work quietly, behind the scenes, courting congressmen tactically to get them to write little gems into bills which have huge unseen impacts. So while the Dumb Trumpers are screaming “lock her up!”, the Rich Trumpers manage to secretly assault every social benefit they have. And they are relentless. Pre-existing conditions? Hah! But “drain the swamp!” Yes!

Who would think that health care premiums would jump after Trump took office? What were the odds of that? But the Rich Trumpers are scary to Trump. They would rather have Mike Pence. The only problem is that he’s not electable. He’s an introvert and a very stiff politician. He can’t command the Dumb Trumpers like Trump can. Trump’s support from the Rich Trumpers is totally dependent on his control of the Dumb Trumpers.

The Self-Domesticated Underclass

The liberal stereotype of the Trumper is indeed quite vile: an angry, bullying, entitled, uneducated, aggressive, lazy, selfish, and gullable person that is easily manipulated by the next wannabe autocrat that tickles their racist bone. But this is harsh and simplistic. Their ancestors came from Europe, often poor and unwanted. They are the descendents of the surplus people. The people that no one wanted. And they did well in America.

They were major players in American history. They reproduced rapidly, grew crops, dug coal, made steel, built cars, and fought and died in rich men's wars. They took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War. They died on the Gettysburg battlefield. They died on the beaches of Normandy. They died in the jungles of Vietnam. They swarmed the Great Plains and the shores of the Great Lakes and fed their bodies to the American Industrial Revolution.

But capitalism, which they revered like a religion, would eventually get them. It would relentlessly attack their real wages and health care costs, making it not only very difficult for them to reproduce, but to survive. And their normal Republican leaders won't get them anything but overpriced health care and tax cuts for the rich.

Enter Donald Trump, their savior. The struggling are always looking for a savior. And at this point, Donald Trump could have a dozen love children from illegal immigrants, kill a hundred people on the White House lawn for sport, move all the gold in the Federal Depositories to Mar a Lago and pile it high so everyone can see, demand that all the females in the realm be brought to him as concubines, and declare the end of the American Republic, with the Trump family as the ruling monarchs forever.

And he might lose a few percentage points of his base. Might. The Trumpers will always prefer monarchy to a representative government. Representative government is something that pointy-headed educated elites come up with. Their desired autocratic structure is based on their own strong preference for family organizations. Just like the mafia.

You need a powerful, unquestioned paternal figure that sets rules, and is so powerful, he doesn’t need to follow them. He does what he has to do for the family, no questions asked. He breaks the law. He sleeps with hundreds of females. He steals. Only to be forgiven because he’s looking out for the family. A constitutional government? Why would they do that? It is much more natural for them to yell “lock her up!”. Other than the Second Amendment, the Trumpers have no use for a constitution. They don’t understand why you would need it. But a strong, forceful, dominant alpha male, albeit extremely crooked and immoral, they understand. And his disdain for the law and his blatant immorality makes him seem that much more powerful.