Understanding MAGA…

I have made it my quest lately to try and understand the MAGA folks who voted for the current Oval Office occupant. They surely are not set on destroying our country but what drives them? I got a partial answer to that from a recent Fareed Zakaria program on CNN.

He was interviewing Tara Westover who is an author and recent Yale Doctrate graduate. The interesting thing was that she came from a Morman survivalist family in Idaho. She managed to earn a Ph.D. from Yale University despite her family prohibiting any formal education as a child! That alone is totally amazing and her story as written in her book shows us a unique insight into some of the MAGA clan. I am just beginning the book about her amazing young life. I will very likely have more to say about it in later posts.

For this post, I want to keep our central attention on her interview with Fareed. I think it provides another clue in the MAGA cult phenomenon. Let’s start with the image below:

As shown in yellow these twenty-five states have the lowest medium household income. Unsuprisingly, my homestate of Indiana is in that group. Yes, there are several auto plants in the state but for the most part jobs requiring college educations are just not that prevelent. But that is only secondary to the point of this post. Let’s look at the next image:

As you can plainly see the all of the low income States voted for the current Oval Office occupant. Many by double digit figures. Of course, this is not the whole story of MAGA but it seems obvious that they are just not bringing home the income of those who voted against the current occupant. But is that a cause for effect? Are they bitter because, due to lack of education, they are not reaping the benefits of the higher income States?

Another factor that is surely in play is education levels. I don’t have the data at hand but I’m pretty sure the States above are likely also in the lower education levels. I know for Indiana less then 25% have a college degree. That is compared to 33% at the national level.

Like Ms. Westover, I can certainly attest the opening of my worldview was primarily because of the population and diversity at the college I attended. Up until that point I had little idea just how different the world was outside my small rural home town.

8 thoughts on “Understanding MAGA…

  1. These are also for the most part the “Bible Belt” states that feel their religious culture is under attack from the “elites”. There is a guy, Michael Sandel, who also has a really good explanation of the Trump voter but unfortunately I have only found him on YouTube which may be a problem for you if his material is not CC. Maybe you can find some written articles.


      1. Try this Michael Sandel YouTube video – it has CC – a good short talk on “Why Trump”. Probably faster and easier then a book at this point.


  2. I think” partial answer” is the correct observation. Trump supporters are made up of many diverse groups. It was simply the perfect storm that got him elected. Some of his supporters, that I personally know, fit into the following categories. I hate all Muslims, all I want is a wall between the USA and Mexico, I won’t give an inch on gun rights, democrats always raise taxes, I despise Hillary, anti abortion and I will never vote for a democrat. Numerous of these people are college educated, some do not believe in God and some are women.
    Lack of education and low income states is definitely only part of the answer.
    The Democrats can only win this fight by totally crushing the hardcore republicans & causing a splintering of their party. This will require a clean sweep of the house, senate and presidency. They will then have to have a long range plan, consistent follow up & real time answers to the problem that Americans want addressed. Since the democrats typically are not as good at long range planning as the republicans and both parties are totally corrupted by special interest money it is highly unlikely they can hold on long enough, put much of what is needed into place or make it stick.
    I think we need a viable third party that can side with either existing party to accomplish what we need. Since this is not likely to happen the democrats most likely hope is a change in demographics. If this is keeps them in power long term don’t count on them getting less corrupted. Power always corrupts.


    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Fred. Yes, I thoroughly understand that there is no “one” reason we are in the place we are. Many angry and fearful people came together in the perfect storm as you indicated to make it happen. This will be an interesting year coming up. Once Trump realizes that he is going to be soundly rejected, I am afraid he will do something idiotic, even for him. That is what scares me.


  3. Ms Westover was raised in a fundamentalist LDS family. They are not a part of the LDS church most people know. She must have had a great base in education, or she would not have made it through Harvard ( although, maybe current elementary education is just bologna). I understand her raising was harsh, but she did get educated. I have not read her book. I am not LDS.

    The other ideas, that only poor uneducated people voted for Trump is interesting. New Mexico ( the absolute poorest) and most inner cities voted for Hillary. Should be interesting to see what happens in 2020. So far, I don’t see a strong challenger. Got my fingers crossed for someone to come forward.


    1. Jan, thanks for the thoughts. It took me a while to check out some of your questions.

      Here is a review of the book at Amazon:
      Tara Westover wasn’t your garden variety college student. When the Holocaust was mentioned in a history class, she didn’t know what it was (no, really). That’s because she didn’t see the inside of a classroom until the age of seventeen. Public education was one of the many things her religious fanatic father was dubious of, believing it a means for the government to brainwash its gullible citizens, and her mother wasn’t diligent on the homeschooling front. If it wasn’t for a brother who managed to extricate himself from their isolated—and often dangerous–world, Westover might still be in rural Idaho, trying to survive her survivalist upbringing. It’s a miraculous story she tells in her memoir Educated. For those of us who took our educations for granted, who occasionally fell asleep in large lecture halls (and inconveniently small ones), it’s hard to grasp the level of grit—not to mention intellect—required to pull off what Westover did. But eventually earning a PhD from Cambridge University may have been the easy part, at least compared to what she had to sacrifice to attain it. The courage it took to make that sacrifice was the truest indicator of how far she’d come, and how much she’d learned. Educated is an inspiring reminder that knowledge is, indeed, power. –Erin Kodicek, Amazon Book Review
      You are probably right, they are not part of the LDS most of us know. To me that is pretty much the same as all those “Christians” out there were are MAGA addicts, They are not the type of Christians that I know.

      As to New Mexico being poor, that is most likely due to all the Native American Pueblos there. They just don’t see their world from a money standpoint.

      I was not trying to say all poor people are duped by the current Oval Office occupant. This is just a “slice” view, not an all-inclusive one.


  4. “Once Trump realizes that he is going to be soundly rejected, I am afraid he will do something idiotic, even for him. That is what scares me.”
    Here is one long shot. If the polls look extremely bad he may just announce he won’t seek a second term. I think he would rather do that than lose. Excuse would be along the lines of, I am losing billions doing this job.
    If he did it he just might not give enough notice for them to put together a good campaign for an alternate candidate. Since the republicans mean zero to him, as do any other human beings, he really would not care who was elected if not him.
    Not something I am counting on but well within the realm of possibilities for someone this truly imbalanced.


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