INFIRMITIES AND DELUSIONS: Why did people vote that way?


The New York Times dares to ask: Yesterday morning, the New York Times did it again.

The famous Gotham-based daily newspaper broke every rule in the book. It published a news report about the reason why Trump voters voted for Trump.

Correction or clarification! The newspaper published a news report about the reasons (plural) why some Trump voters may have voted for Trump. Hard-copy headline included, the news report started like this:

Report Paints A Dire Picture For Democrats In the Midwest

The share of the Democratic presidential vote in the Midwest declined most precipitously between 2012 and 2020 in counties that experienced the steepest losses in manufacturing and union jobs and saw declines in health care, according to a new report to be released this month.

The party’s worsening performance in the region’s midsize communities—often overlooked places like Chippewa Falls, Wis., and Bay City, Mich.—poses a dire threat to Democrats, the report warns.

Nationally and in the Midwest, Democratic gains in large metropolitan areas have offset their losses in rural areas. And while the party’s struggles in the industrial Midwest have been well-chronicled, the 82-page report explicitly links Democratic decline in the region that elected Donald J. Trump in 2016 to the sort of deindustrialization that has weakened liberal parties around the world.

“We cannot elect Democrats up and down the ballot, let alone protect our governing majorities, if we don’t address those losses,” wrote Richard J. Martin, an Iowa-based market researcher and Democratic campaign veteran, in the report titled “Factory Towns.”

All liberals know that major newspapers aren't supposed to do this. We know why Trump voters voted for Trump. The reason is known to be this:

Amerika is crawling with racists.

All liberals know that that's the reason why Trump voters voted for Trump. Presumably, it also explains why Republican candidates for the House received 47.7% of the nationwide vote in last November's 435 House elections, even after four years of Trump.

Even after four years of Trump, why did so many people vote the way they did? This strikes us as an important question—but in the streets of our self-impressed / self-assured Blue Towns, we tend to get extremely upset when major newspapers ask it. 

Please don't speak to The Others, we cry. Also, Please don't look for varied reasons behind all those Republican votes.

Please don't speak to The Others, we cry. This is a play on the old zoo bromide, Please don't feed the animals. 

We don't like it when these journalists act like there may be more than one reason for all those Republican votes. We very strongly like to stick with The One Big Story We Like.

Our profit-seeking corporate cable channels encourage this part of our psyche. This is Classic Tribal Thinking, major anthropologists tell us. Our brains are wired to produce such thinking. It's as human as apple pie!

For ourselves, we're inclined to see things a little bit differently. We'll turn again to the data from two recent sets of elections:

House elections, November 2008
Democratic candidates: 53.2% of the nationwide vote
Republican candidates: 42.6% of the nationwide vote    
Resulting membership: 257 D, 176 R
(117.5 million votes cast) 

House elections, November 2020
Democratic candidates: 50.8% of the nationwide vote
Republican candidates: 47.7% of the nationwide vote   
Resulting membership: 222 D, 213 R
(150.3 million votes cast)

There are no perfect comparisons between election years. No two such years are just alike—not even 2008, when Obama was elected to his first term, and 2020, when Biden was elected to his.

Those two election years weren't exactly alike. That said, even after four years of Trump, a lot of people voted for Republican House candidates (and for Trump himself). 

Even after four years of Trump, Democratic candidates attracted a smaller chunk of the nationwide vote than they had in 2008, when no one had heard of Trump. How could such a thing have happened? Tis a question devoutly to be asked!

Why did so many people vote for Trump last fall, and for Republican candidates? Even more importantly, in what ways might Democrats peel a chunk of those voters back in line with our own  blue voting preferences?

We'd be curious to see such questions explored. After all, if voters had voted in 2020 they way they did in 2008, Democrats would have a larger majority in the House, and they might even have a real majority in the Senate, rather than the ersatz "majority of 48" which Democrats currently claim.

Where did those various voters go? Correctly or otherwise, the news report in yesterday's Times examined that very question. 

How might Democrats peel some of those lost voters back? That question was also explored in the study on which the Times reported. Stating the obvious, the ability to peel some of those back could be extremely helpful moving forward.

Why do people vote the way they do? In truth, it's hard to say. 

Even after four year of Trump, Republican candidates for the House received roughly 72 million votes last November. Those votes were cast by roughly 72 million different voters.

Presumably, those 72 million people aren't all exactly the same. Except in the Mandated Narratives of Our Town, one of which goes like this:

Amerika is crawling with racists.

Here in Our Town, we love that story, It makes us feel morally good. 

We humans are like that, top experts all say. Our brains tend to be wired for that.

Tomorrow, we'll start to ask an important political question:

How do We in our Blue Towns appear to all The Others? 

What do We look like to Them? More specifically, what dumb things do we do every day which may cost our team votes?

Even in our flawless Blue Towns, our infirmities and delusions are many. We human beings are wired that way, those leading top scholars all tell us.

Tomorrow: Attention, K-mart shoppers! But also Iowa voters!


  1. 'The famous Gotham-based daily newspaper broke every rule in the book. It published a news report about the reason why Trump voters voted for Trump.'

    The NYT (and other papers and magazines) have done several interviews with Trump voters since the 2016 election. Somerby never mentions that because he is a blatant liar who likes to push his own tribal narrative (fealty to Donald Trump, Roy Moore etc.)

    'How might Democrats peel some of those lost voters back? '

    Certainly the first step should be to point out people who claim to be liberals but spend 4 years defending Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Ron Johnson, Guiliani et al. In short, expose Trumptards who try to be 'useful idiots' for Trump (although in TDH's case, a useless idiot).

    1. You could address the economic anxiety and powerlessness that these voters have.

    2. 11:56,
      You can only win their votes, by assuring black people don't also benefit.

  2. Why would liberals feel good because the country is crawling with racists? Answer: we don't. Somerby is making that up.

    Trump voters are also making up feel-good reasons for why they supported Trump. Somerby is dumb enough to take them at face value.

    1. So in the end, Russia/Trump collusion was proved totally wrong and economic anxiety was proved to be totally right.

      Wtg wasting 5 years!!!!!!

    2. 11:57,
      Do you have any proof that black people (who overwhelmingly did not vote for Trump) have no economic anxiousness?
      Because that doesn't sound right.

    3. 12:08 That's the same kind of reductive nonsense that allowed you to be fooled on Russiagate for years and years. You make your party look really stupid.

    4. 3:39,
      How so?
      You suggested Trump voters decision was based on economic anxiousness, and not at all because of his bigotry.
      How do you explain that blacks, who have much more reason to be economically anxious, overwhelmingly rejected Trump?
      If that blows a whole in your theory, cop to it, instead of lamely trying to insult me.

    5. Anon 3;39, stick to Hugo Chavez and some cream for that butthurt. RussiaGate worked to tie Trump down for 1-2 years and emphasize his nuttiness. So who's stupid ? But no problem, some more cream will work.

    6. 7:30,
      Try to stay on topic. You (eagerly) fell for the economic anxiousness of Trump voters shtick, hook, line and sinker.
      Only you know whether that is due to gullibility or denial.
      BTW, Trump was so tied-up he passed a HUGE tax break for the rich. You probably didn't hear about it, due to the rousing applause he got from the downtrodden, economically anxious Trump voters, who aren't at all bigots, as far as you say.

  3. Like it or not, Manchin and Sinema ARE Democrats and we thus have 50% not 48% of the Senate, and the tie-breaker in the Vice President.

    This kind of reasoning, that calls 50% less than it is because of the votes of two obstructionists, shows Somerby's inability to discuss a topic without his own thumb on the scales, as he puts it. We have yet to see how this attept to pass major legislation plays out.

    Meanwhile, Somerby keeps moving the goalposts. Biden wins with the most votes of any president ever and a huge popular vote margin but that isn't good enough. Now he is trying to pass very ambitious legislation, but Somerby portrays that as Democratic ineffectivenss, when no other Democratic president has been able to overcome Republican obstructionism either. That's just bullshit.

    Trump is an odious creature and there was no excuse for anyone to vote for him, in 2016 or 2020. That anyone did represents the failure of Republicans to act like decent human beings. I refuse to treat this as anything other than the demise of Republicanism and the rise of neo-Nazi authoritarian power, abetted by large corporations, in an attempted takeover of our government. Treating this as anything less can result in loss of our democracy under the stresses of climate change and pandemic.

    Meanwhile Somerby pretends he isn't part of that coup, urging us to consider it the Democrat's fault. Phooey on that. I will stay with the explanations that future historians will use when they consider this time in American history.

    Trump was an easily manipulated buffoon, making him the perfect tool in the hands of large Republican donors and corporations with an eye on the dollar. Read today's report on AT&T's funding of OAN, or read how the Kochs are using their money this month. Somerby thinks we can be played for fools, like Republicans. Democrats are different, thank God!

  4. What will Somerby talk about when the Republicans start going to jail?

  5. "Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats issued a report on Thursday detailing former President Trump’s efforts to use the Justice Department as a weapon in his bid to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

    It delves into some of the starkest examples of corruption that took place in the run-up to the insurrection, as Trump flailed for ways to stay in power."

    This is what Somerby should be reading and discussing. If he wants, he can try to explain why anyone would vote for such an obvious crook.

    1. That report just showed you dummy - they vote for him because of economic anxiety. Which was always obvious to those who could look at the matter subjectively.

    2. That would be fine except that Trump voters have higher incomes than non-Trump voters. They are generally middle-class educated white men. They are not unemployed blue collar workers struggling to get by. They are relatively wealthy and looking to pay lower taxes and increase their wealth. The idea that they supported Trump due to economic uncertainty was debunked after the 2016 election.

    3. 12:01,
      I hope it was "economic anxiety" and not the fact that Democrats were offering "radical" ideas, like cops shouldn't shoot unarmed black men.
      If so, they'll vote Democrat next time, now that the Republicans are rejecting the $3.5 trillion bill, where the money goes directly to them to address their economic anxiety.

    4. They get economically anxious when whitey doesn't get the whole pie.

    5. 12:09, 12:24, 12:43 Good luck with that! They are all a bunch of racists, right?. Middle-class educated white men could never have economic anxiety ... even when Democratic campaign veterans warn they do.

      Good luck! This is going to turn out the same way Russiagate did for you ... with you being 100% wrong.

    6. 1:41,
      Any reason why the economically anxious black folk overwhelmingly rejected Trump? Or is voting for a bigoted, grifting, self-admitted sexual predator from Queens something only the white eoonomically anxious do?

    7. Blacks always overwhelmingly reject Republicans. But less and less. In 2020 Trump gained black and Latino voters. Good luck! Just like Russiagate, you have a lot of people fooled and conned. Good luck keeping it going.

      Make fun of economic anxiety! The "Democratic campaign veteran" doesn't realize they are all stupid racists, right?! Good luck!

    8. Just like Russiagate you are 100% wrong and a total fool.

      economic anxiousness
      Tell us all what BS it is!

    9. Stop calling Trump voters "racists".
      Trump voters were sick of the rigged economic game, and tired of rich businessmen walking all over them. So they voted for a rich businessman, who stiffs his contractors, because he has economic leverage
      Even racists aren't that stupid.

    10. Look how stupid you were to believe Russiagate, amirite?

    11. Another attempt at a big lie: “Russiagate was wrong.”

    12. 2:46,
      Occam's razor points to the Republican base being jacked-up by Trump's bigotry, not by anything Russia could do.

    13. "Blacks always overwhelmingly reject Republicans."

      That's almost as unexplainable as no Democrat having won the white vote in a national election since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    14. 12:34,
      Exactly. The Right doesn't think ALL voters in the 2020 presidential election cheated. Only the ones from "urban" areas.

    15. Russiagate was wrong.

      Russiagate is a Big Lie.

      Russiagate is one of the most successful propaganda campaigns in history. And you fell for it stupid!

    16. Believing voters chose Trump due to economic anxiousness is both, stupid and lazy.

    17. Not according to the Democratic campaign veteran profiled in the New York Times. Amirite?

      It's you, not him, that doesn't believe it. Amirite?

      And you are stupid as you clearly show over and over again. He is not.

      Amirite? Amirite? Amirite?

    18. Look how stupid you were to believe Russiagate, amirite? You are so stupid, you STILL believe it!

      That's like, Maddow-watcher level stupid.

    19. Wrong on Russiagate, wrong on mass bigotry, wrong on economic anxiousness. You seem to be always wrong about these issues. Yet, you still make a fool of yourself day after day.

    20. How does it feel to be so stupid and wrong?

    21. THe chavezites seem to have run out of cream for their butthurt again.

    22. 7:31,
      That always happens when you point out Trump voters are racists. That's when the chavezites on the Right stop whining about things being too PC.

  6. It really does seem like Somerby is trying to divert attention away from the bad news for Republicans by attacking Democrats and Biden on a day when an embarrassing report for Trumpies is released. why would I suspect that? He is a bit earlier than usual with his "essay" today and it says nothing about the main news of the day (nothing new there, however).

    Our focus should remain on healing the nation and rooting out the kind of corruption described in this Senate report. Who cares why a bunch of idiots in the midwest thought it would be better to vote for the covid denier than face reality and vote for someone who could address our scary problems.

    Trump always made a nasty attack on some unsuspecting actress whenever he wanted to distract from unpleasant news. Whatever the Democrats have or haven't done, we have never used the DOJ to subvert an election. That outweighs whatever bogus reasons those sad Trump voters had for throwing their votes away on a useless piece of trash like Trump.

  7. 'What do We look like to Them?''

    Well, Somerby looks like a pathetic tribal fool obsessed with something he thinks (using the term loosely) happened 20 years ago, while hypocritically asking others to not be concerned about something that happened over the last 4 years. In short, you look like a useless idiot.

    'More specifically, what dumb things do we do every day which may cost our team votes?'

    I'm sure Somerby does lots of dumb things every day. But he's too ineffective for it to cost his team of Trumptards any votes

  8. "the 82-page report explicitly links Democratic decline in the region that elected Donald J. Trump in 2016 to the sort of deindustrialization that has weakened liberal parties around the world."

    Duh. This is exactly what we've been telling you, dear Bob.

    And if you become The King tomorrow and replace your dumb hitlerian talking-heads dembots with the most eloquent kind, it won't make one iota of difference.

    Political economy, dear Bob; it's all in political economy.

    1. Did the de-industrialization only affect white voters? I ask because blacks overwhelmingly rejected Trump at the polls.

    2. Those Trump voters won't be happy until our military budget is zero.

    3. Good point Mao, about hitlerian talking points. Here we have "black lives matter" and Hitler had "Jewish lives matter." The same thing, right?

    4. Every time you, dear dembot, feel compelled to reply to my comment, you sound dumber and dumber.

      Any drivel essentializing race or ethnicity is hitlerian. Comprende? And that's what your liberal cult does, day in and day out.

    5. Essentially, the Right doesn't want minority votes to count.

  9. When did Iowa become the most important state in the union?

  10. "A Reuters review of court records shows the role AT&T played in creating and funding OAN, a network that continues to spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic.

    OAN founder and chief executive Robert Herring Sr has testified that the inspiration to launch OAN in 2013 came from AT&T executives.

    “They told us they wanted a conservative network,” Herring said during a 2019 deposition seen by Reuters. “They only had one, which was Fox News, and they had seven others on the other [leftwing] side. When they said that, I jumped to it and built one.”

  11. For this to make sense, you would also have to show that Trump improved the economy -- but he didn't. His tarrifs were disastrous for midwestern farm states. He didn't save any jobs there by retaining industry. The economy was doing poorly even before covid hit. The only thing Trump did was lower taxes on rich people, and that was little benefit unless you were rich. If people voted for Trump due to economic anxiety, they got conned. But that isn't what most studies have shown about why people voted for Trump. It was his permission to be as racist and sexist and xenophobic as you want, to unleash hostility and behave badly toward other people. That's what attracts Trump voters and it isn't pretty.

    1. Actually, I guess you're stupid so you can't see you have to look at what Trump was saying to the people before they elected him. Not after. Was he speaking entirely to racism? The votes are based on his promises.

    2. 2:05,

      "and some, I assume, are good people."

  12. Could it be, and brace yourselves, there isn't one single reason that voters went for Trump? Amazing idea huh?

    Perhaps black voters, poor voters, wealthy voters, etc. may have had different reasons for voting for him?

    No you all probably want to shoehorn them all into one reason, don't want anyone's brain to be over stressed...

    1. Not all Trump voters were economically anxious, but you'd think there would be at least one of them up in arms about Trump's HUGE tax cut for the rich. Instead, we got crickets.

    2. Rationalist - good point. We are talking about tens of millions of people. There presumably are multiple reasons why all these voters voted as they did, often irrational reasons. But among the many factors, a few that I would suggest are anti-abortionist religious people; people who have always been republican, and believe that republicans are the lesser of 2 evils, people who are uncomfortable about all the woke stuff etc etc. The has been a lot of de-industrialization, and Trump, unlike previous republicans, cleverly exploited that issue (not saying he did that much about it). TDH is stating the obvious - the dems hung on by a thread in both Houses in the 2020 election - it should be a cause for concern if your pro-dem.

  13. It's not that America is crawling with racists, it's crawling with a media and people who are frankly, stupid.

  14. Somerby fails to examine the most important question: Were the problems cited in the article handled better by Democrats or by Republicans?
    Have their jobs disappeared because of policies implemented by Democrats?
    What have Republicans and democrats supported in regard of union jobs?

    1. Good question. It is both sides. NAFTA ... both sides. Participating in lobbying and election-buying culture that puts corporate interest before the common good ... both sides.

      Both sides sold us out.

    2. There you go. The "untouchable" issue.

    3. Both sides are killing the $3.5 Trillion bill.

      The 100% of Republican Senators, and the 10% of Democratic Senators.

    4. Senate Democrats in the Senate Armed Services Committee overwhelmingly voted to increase military spending. Both sides are in the pocket of military industrial plutocrats. We all know that. Stop pretending both sides are not bought by plutocrats. We will spend 8 trillion over 10 years on the military budget and Democrat rank and file don't say one word about it.

    5. 2 out of 50 is 4% not 10% and they haven’t voted yet. Military are now staffing some ERs. Not sure I’d vote against their budget either.

      Repubs & Dems do different things in office. They are NOT the same.

    6. Not exactly the same. Each serves different plutocratic voting blocs. But they ARE the same when it comes to taking issues that affect the vital interests of their plutocratic donors off the table and hiding them from their constituents and respective political agendas.

      Like the military budget that will soon pass without one word from Digby. Etc. etc. etc.

    7. You think Donald was corrupt? Biden set his son up with a number of outrageously sweetheart deals. He's corrupt too!


      The House on Thursday passed its sweeping annual defense policy bill that would add billions of dollars to President Biden’s defense budget proposal, call for answers on failures in the war in Afghanistan and require women to register for the draft.

      The House easily approved its $778 billion fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in a bipartisan 316-113 vote Thursday night. Thirty-eight Democrats and 75 Republicans voted against the bill's passage.

    9. Just goes to show you the richest country in the history of mankind can invest trillions on caring for it's people AND a gigantic jobs program, like the military.
      Since both parties are the same, what's keeping Republicans from voting to invest in the citizens?

    10. @7:19:
      Those 75 Republicans voted against the bill because they thought it didn’t spend enough. The Democrats who voted against thought it was too much money.

      If you thought “Defund the Police” was a shitty slogan (as somerby claimed), wait till you hear the reaction over “Defund the Military.” Too much slashing, and the bill won’t pass at all.

      The Democratic Party contains people who are slightly right of center, at the center, liberal, and progressive. Basically anyone to the left of the Genghis Khan party, aka the GOP. You have to compromise, and you make gradual changes, as the progressives like AOC are trying to do.

      Note that the Democrats appointed Bernie Sanders the chair of the Senate Budget Committee. He isn’t even a Democrat, and he has been harshly critical of the Democratic Party in the past, but he supports Biden, and Biden supports him. This represents what I think is change in the Democratic Party. But it seems to be the “cool” thing to do by random trolls on the internet to claim both parties are the same, while bashing only Democrats, oddly enough.

      I will also mention the number of Democrats (more than 100) who pledged not to take corporate PAC money in recent elections. It’s a tough stance in a game that is incredibly rigged in favor of corporate money.

    11. Both sides are beholden to corporate money, the military industrial complex and the myriad industrial complexes that purchase their fealty. Both sides.

      You're wrong about both sides. You're wrong about Russia. You're wrong about bigotry. You're wrong about economic anxiousness. You're a stupid idiot.

    12. Please stick around and comment more.

    13. "economic anxiousness"


  15. Why did labor vote for Reagan?

    1. Not all labor did.

      McGovern & Mondale not strong candidates.

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