This does not sound like your original point. You said they were “the same thing” (direct quote). Later you say, “The economic issue leads logically to the cultural issue.”
Let me clarify. My original thought, perhaps poorly phrased, is that the two (cultural dysphoria and economic dysphoria) can be (not must be, but can be) two sides of the same coin. In some cases, they are indeed different manifestations of the same problem.
I am not debating in the slightest the fact that cultural dysphoria can exist standalone; the cultural debates have existed as long as I have been alive, and that includes some pretty strong economic times.
But what occurred in 2016 was unique in my memory. It was notable, on election night, when the NY Times election analyst, Nate Cohn, who is very very good at what he does, tweeted out “the white working class has started to vote like a minority bloc.”
But my primary point was this: the trend among the literati is to assume that cultural issues aren’t “real”.
The elites have been claiming that there is no “culture war” for forty years, during which they continue to wage it. And you’re correct, they reflexively fall back on broad racism (something else the data does not support the existence of) or other shibboleths.
In contrast, I tend to think that if 6 out of 10 people in rural America believe that “Christian values are under attack”, the proper conclusion is that Christian values are probably under attack. And given that I grew up and live among the culture doing the attacking, we can drop the word ‘probably’ from that sentence.
I think it’s higher than 6 out of 10.