Oh, Good Lord, where to start? :-)

How could a sizable chunk of the country vote for a know-nothing conman who made racist appeals the mainstay of his campaign?

Well, the short answer is that that sizeable chunk (almost half, basically) don’t consider him to be “know-nothing conman”; nor would they agree with your assertion that he made “racist appeals the mainstay of his campaign.”

How could we know so little about the country that his victory came as a surprise?

Again, short answer: Democrats/Liberals/Progressives, more and more over the last two decades, have concentrated themselves into urban enclaves. They don’t know any conservatives, talk to any conservatives, and have poisoned the well that contains the few media outlets that are right-leaning such that they would never consider drinking from it. Ergo, they don’t KNOW the people who inhabit the other 95% of the acreage of the nation, and therefore have not a clue about how they live their lives, what problems they face, what concerns they have, etc.

You’ve seen this, I trust. This is a voting map of the US by precinct. To my point.

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To be sure, I had gotten hints about the benighted nature of the far-right’s fever swamps during Obama’s presidency — the myths of a Kenyan birth that wouldn’t die; the emailed memes showing Obama as a tribal warlord, or worse, a monkey, that even some elected officials trafficked in.

Yes; and a good three to five percent of us took that nonsense seriously. The REST of us had serious concerns about the direction of the country, but all your media wanted to report on was the nonsense you mention above. So, in one manner of speaking, the election was a primal scream from nonurban America, to the effect of “Hey, assholes, CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW!?!?!??!

Instead, the mode is racist memes, fake news, conspiracy theories, and affirmations of support for Trump.

There is data on internet users (I am not in the mood to search for it now) that indicates that the people who actually POST things on the Internet, GENERALLY SPEAKING, are at the social, political, and cultural extremes on any issue. I hate to break it to you, but that’s what you found. The Average Joe who voted for Trump is not part of some “Facebook Group” about Trump; Average Joe has now gone back to working his job and caring for his family. You won’t see him paying attention to politics again until 2020.

Trump Troopers is one such very active group with over 70,000 members.

I don;’t know the group, but I know Internet statistics. If it has 70,000 members, about 50% of them will be active readers, and 5% of them will be active posters. Further, 70,000 is .11% of the people that voted for Trump in the last election. Keep those statistics in mind when you use them as a proxy for all people who voted Trump.

That all said, I am going to abort discussing what the people you interacted with said, and address some of the relevant points.

  1. For conservatives, the issue is *not* that IMMIGRANTS don’t respect the importance of (our) culture; it;’s because they don’t believe (with good reason) that LIBERALS and PROGRESSIVES don’t respect the importance of our culture. This turns the traditional American suspiciousness of immigrants (don’t let the rewriters of history fool you, this has never been a nation that welcomes immigrants with “open arms”) into a matter political, with Trump on one side, the immigration doves on the other.
  2. Regarding taxes, conservative voters (a) don’t view the rich as the enemy like the left does, and (b) tend to vote in the long-term, not short-term, interests of the nation, because that’s the nation their children will grow up in.
  3. For a conservative, high taxes mean more capital is tied up in government inefficiency. Lower taxes result in less capital being tied up in government inefficiency. That’s Econ 101, pretty much. And less is good. :-)
  4. Regarding Ryan; you’re right, he’s generally reviled on the right these days, although I’m not sure why. The reasons generally given are specious. However, that said, Ryan indeed has mutated into a rather garden variety GOP-er, where earlier in his career he was much less corporatist and much more libertarian.
  5. Both “sides” use caricatures to define the other. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to explain that because I wear the “conservative” label, I am not a toothless high school dropout living in a trailer park. :-)
  6. Regarding media bias, I don’t think it’s controversial anymore to point out that the broadcast networks lean left, both in commentary (which generally impunes conservative positions and values) and on topic selection.
  7. The “New World Order” notion started back in the late 70’s, and is generally viewed as a conspiracy theory by issue conservatives like myself, although we definitely see where the conspiracy theorists get the theory from. It is often conflated with related conspiracy theories about the Rothchilds and the Freemasons, as you rightly mention. It also got wired into evangelical Christianity at that time. Anyway, the summary of it that you write is pretty close. The general idea is that there is a group of wealthy and elite politicians who, some for egalitarian reasons and others for profit reasons, are facilitating true, Star Trek-type globalism. In order for such a “New World Order” to emerge, (a) national borders would have to be broken down, either eliminated or minimized as in the EU for EU citizens, (b) cultural differences would have to be diluted or dropped, and © religious barriers would have to be diluted or dropped. So, yes, if you’re into that theory…….then Trump’s full throated defense of American borders and culture is a relief to you.
  8. Collusion: Going to leave this one alone, as the ground under us on it has shifted over the last week. But conservatives now feel much more comfortable in the beliefs they have held about it, it’s fair to say.

Hope that helps.

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Data Driven Econophile. Muslim, USA born. Been “woke” 2x: 1st, when I realized the world isn’t fair; 2nd, when I realized the “woke” people are full of shit.

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