What is Donald Trump’s ‘Type’?


Despite calling John McCain “a loser” for his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, characterizing many Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, and calling Megan Kelly “a lightweight” (among other things), Donald Trump carries on with his strange combination of masculine bravado and a simple narrative that Americans have been cheated out of prosperity by their “stupid” leaders.

Donald Trump has led every poll of Republican and Republican-leaning voters on Real Clear Politics since July 12th – and by ever-increasing margins.

Who are these people, comprising about a quarter of Republicans, who have fallen for Trump?

The conventional wisdom, as the New York Times puts it, is that Trump “draw[s] support from voters looking to rage against the political establishment.”

But it doesn’t seem like this is pure protest à la voting for Iceland’s “Best Party”, which campaigned (and won) Reykjavik’s 2010 municipal elections promising free towels at all public swimming pools. Many people really think Trump has what it takes to make Washington work for them.

A CNN/ORC poll released last Wednesday found Trump leading the field on a variety of important issues, capturing a plurality of Iowa Republicans on the economy, immigration, terrorism, and ability to change Washington. On the economy, Trump gained the support of more than 35% of respondents. Trailing in second place was Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett Packard CEO, with just 10%.

As Trump has said before: “I went to the Wharton School of Business. I’m like, a really smart person.”

Of course, one does get the impression from interviews of Trump supporters that they are frustrated and probably resentful.

One illustration of this is among blue-collar workers hurt by outsourcing and layoffs – the losers of globalization and technological changes. A Washington Post article following Trump’s campaign in Flint, Michigan portrays him as “the candidate talking most directly about the loss of manufacturing jobs to foreign countries.” Trump connects to these voters through a combination of nostalgia and assertive calls to restore American jobs.

In contrast to a Republican establishment that sees the outsourcing of jobs in towns like Flint as a natural and efficient product of free trade, and Democratic leaders who are equivocal about it – often voicing skepticism of free-trade and criticizing outsourcing but also creating deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership – Trump bills himself as “the super-president personally yanking jobs back into the United States.”

It’s not hard to see which message resonates most with these voters. Trump taps into resentment from people who feel like they have been cheated out of the American dream – whether by the Chinese cheating by manipulating their currency or the Mexicans cheating our immigration laws. This nationalistic populism, many observers have noted, parallels similar movements in European politics. “In Europe, Donald would have seats in Parliament,” writes The Economist.

All together, Trump brews “a heaping glass full of the frustration cocktail Americans have been served over the past decade: wars that don’t end, a Congress that doesn’t work, [and] paychecks that don’t grow…” He speaks to Americans who are mad that Wall Street got bailed but Main Street didn’t and Americans who are mad that Washington just doesn’t listen. He is an unlikely populist hero, given his unabashed wealth and arrogance, but the simple way Trump talks about outsourcing, China, and bailouts is probably closer to how many ordinary Americans think about these issues than the more nuanced rhetoric of other politicans.

Many people drink it up, clearly. But there is still some disagreement about who they are. Frank Rich of New York Magazine credits Trump’s success to giving voice to the thoughts of the Republican base, saying “his xenophobia and misogyny have long been orthodoxy among the [Republican] party’s base… The difference between Trump and his cohort is that he shouts his party’s ugliest views at the top of his lungs and without apology rather than sugarcoating them…”

By contrast, Joseph W. McQuaid, publisher of the Union Leader newspaper in New Hampshire, said in an email to the New York Times: “Trump isn’t and wasn’t going to get the conservative vote… Trump isn’t philosophically a conservative, and that will come out.”

He continues: “Trump’s base is more the people who used to have season tickets to the Roman Colosseum. Not sure that they vote in great numbers, but they like blood sport.”

So who is right? Does Trump’s support come from the center or periphery of the Republican fold?

The data points to the latter. According to a Washington Post/ABC Poll, Trump’s supporters tend to be less-educated and less-conservative than the average Republican. While Trump is the top choice of 32% of Republicans without a college degree, he gets support from just 8% of college-educated Republicans. Interestingly, Trump does much better among “liberal” and “moderate” Republicans than conservative Republicans. Very conservative Republicans prefer Scott Walker to Trump, by a margin of 25 to 17 percent – contradicting the idea that Trump “reflects a disturbing new far-right tilt in the GOP.” His support is greater among those under 50 and among people earning less than $50,000 annually.

(Trump’s supporters are of course white: 70% of blacks had an unfavorable view of Trump in a recent Gallup Poll, despite Trump’s claims that he gets along well with “the blacks.” Perhaps more surprisingly, Trump gets about equal support from men and women, according to the WP/ABC Poll.)

This makes sense: Trump is disliked by so many high-brow conservatives (Erik Erikson, Bill Kristol, George Will, Megan Kelly, etc) that he is clearly not the choice of party elites or conservative intellectuals – people who devote their lives to studying politics and developing a coherent ideology. Trump said in the first Republican debate that socialized healthcare “works in Canada” and “works incredibly well in Scotland” – not exactly mainline Republican thinking.

In short, the typified Trump supporter is a low-information, ideologically moderate or heterodox, disaffected, blue-collar white person – the sort of person who is “least likely to know or care about [Trump’s] lack of consistency with the standard party line.”

As Patrick Ruffini, a Republican strategist and political analyst, puts it: “Trump outperforms the most amongst the groups least likely to vote in a Republican primary.” Partisans, activists, and ideologues prefer someone more consistently conservative, like Scott Walker. But if Trump did run as an independent candidate, it’s likely that the same people who say they’d vote for him in the Republican primary now would vote for him then.

This is politics, not physics, so of course it could change. Indeed, rather than becoming narrower, Trump’s appeal seems to be gaining new ground. As Harry Enten of the New York Times’ 538 reports: according to one set of polls, just 20% of Republicans rated Mr. Trump favorably in June. Now, in early August, 52% do.

Where it stops, no one quite knows. Political analysts like Nate Silver reassure us that, once some candidates drop out and Republicans coalesce around a smaller field, Trump will lose. But Mr. Trump continues to defy conventional wisdom – and enrage in equal measure.

About author

Michael Zoorob

Michael Zoorob is a senior from Brentwood, Tennessee, majoring in political science and economics. Zoorob’s interest in politics grew out of an interest in news and world events that began at a young age. Though intrigued by all forms of politics, Zoorob is particularly interested in international relations, drug policy, and the politics of stigmatization. Previously Online Director, he is currently the President of VPR and writes the column, "The Politics of Fear."

  • Ghana Entertainment news#1

    May 7, 2019

    this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have

  • Tenisi Vans Romania#2

    April 27, 2019

    This is one awesome blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  • oferte tommy hilfiger#3

    April 27, 2019

    Really appreciate you sharing this blog article. Really Great.

  • individualki chelyabinska#4

    April 27, 2019

    Right now it looks like BlogEngine is the top blogging platform available right now. (from what I ave read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

  • nong san sach#5

    April 27, 2019

    There is apparently a bunch to identify about this. I assume you made some good points in features also.

  • avaliaco#6

    April 26, 2019

    Very neat blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  • Tamisha#7

    April 25, 2019

    I am requesting my mother. She does not always wish to make money off them, her purpose is to utilize her blog site (once popular) and also utilize it as referrals to perhaps help her get a newspaper article. She has a title for one called “Solution to Life’s Troubles”. Where can she post blogs and they end up being popular? She published it already on WordPress but there are 3 million individuals uploading blogs hers gets lost in the mix. Any recommendations?.

  • i love pron#8

    April 22, 2019

    mOrXoi wow, awesome blog article.Really thank you!

  • Hung#9

    April 19, 2019

    I’m looking for apparel as well as design suggestions at a practical rates for a lady over 25 … Any individual recognize any type of great websites or blogs?. Feels like every little thing I find is either tailored towards teenagers or is insanely expensive couture … Many thanks!.

  • Deirdre#10

    April 12, 2019

    Someone said that you needed to purchase a domain, or your blog sites weren’t seen by everyone, is that real? Do you recognize what a domain is? IF not do not address please.

  • John Deere Service Manuals#11

    April 10, 2019

    living rooms should be decorated with style that is why i always get some living room decoration idea on the internet`

  • Clorinda#12

    April 9, 2019

    Is there a copyright or anything on content in Youtube videos?

  • you can check here#13

    April 7, 2019

    Hi. I have a blog which i installed wordpress. So far so good. Except that wordpress stats shows me the visits and i want it to show how many visitors visited my blog. Can anyone help me? Thanks a lot..

  • Tractor Workshop Manuals#14

    April 7, 2019

    it is a known fact that baby skin is very delicate despite it’s very smooth and soft appearance-

  • John Deere Service Manuals#15

    April 6, 2019

    i have so many funny bones in myself that is why i would love to be a comedian~

  • read review#16

    April 2, 2019

    I simply want to tell you that I am beginner to weblog and definitely enjoyed you’re web-site. Likely I’m want to bookmark your website . You absolutely have fabulous well written articles. Bless you for sharing your website.

  • Ivan#18

    August 18, 2015

    Solid article! Although I’m still trying to wrap my head around people ignoring his inconsistency and sketchy business practices.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *