It’s no wonder, then, that Trump’s crassness with women didn’t damn his candidacy, even with self-proclaimed Christian conservatives. Indeed, he represents a return to an earlier time, when not just people of color, but women knew their place — which is not in the White House.
“The age of the pajama boy,” in the words of former Trump national security adviser Sebastian Gorka, had given way to the return of the (white) “alpha-male.”
Trump resonates with what you might call James Woods’ America. Actors Armie Hammer and Amber Tamblyn recently took Woods to the woodshed after his Twitter attack on Hammer’s new movie, “Call Me by Your Name,” in which Hammer’s character has a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy. Tamblyn then revealed that he invited her to accompany him to Las Vegas when she was just 16. (Woods has denied this account.)
This is also true on race. Polls show that while most Americans, black and white, express revulsion towards neo-Nazis, a majority of Republicans agree with the notion that white Americans are under attack. They, not people of color, are the real victims of racism. The America that clings to Confederate statues and flags, and that jealously guards the social privileges white Americans have long enjoyed, form the stalwarts of Trump’s base.
It’s no coincidence that Trump’s dismal but stable approval ratings, stuck in the upper 30s, are propped up solely by support from majorities of white men and white Americans without a college degree, while his numbers are middling among all white Americans and deeply under water with every one else.
“Economic anxiety” didn’t elect Trump. The desire of millions of Americans, from the farms to the suburbs, to see Mexican immigrants deported, a wall erected across the U.S. southern border and Muslims banned from entering this country did.
It’s an uncomfortable reality that Obama’s America tried to confront, only to be met with hostility. It’s one that Trump’s America has given real and potentially devastating power.
We are still reckoning with the result.
Joy-Ann Reid is a political analyst for MSNBC and host of “AM Joy,” which airs Saturdays and Sundays from 10 A.M. ET to noon ET. She is also the author of the book “Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons and the Racial Divide," and co-editor of “We Are The Change We Seek: The Speeches of Barak Obama." Reid was previously the host of “The Reid Report,” and the Managing Editor of theGrio.com.