It’s been 3 months since the election of President Donald J. Trump, and people are still trying to figure out why people have voted for him.  We have heard much about people “voting the wrong way,” or being a “low information voter.” But there have been a more than a few studies showing that the reason that most vote the way they do comes not through a deep consideration of the issues, or comparing the two candidates with each other comprehensively. The book Trust notes that much of how people choose even vital life-changing events through simple shortcuts. Working-class people, for example, might vote left-wing if they see that the left-wingers are for the working-class, while the right wing party is for the rich. But if the working-class see the right-wing party as the working class voice, and the left-wing one as weak and for giving money to the undeserving  underclass, then they will vote right-wing: unless they have a better reason not to.

 

This, I think is what happens a lot more than people who support the left would care to admit. Ever since the sixties, the dream of the left has been a middle-class liberal governing a coalition of the working class, the racial and sexual minorities, liberated women and other oppressed to make left-wing change. But the working class, previously the top dogs in leftist ideology. And, similarly, I think this is what happened in Nazi Germany.  We have talked about how the SPD, thanks to the working class , had usually been the largest part in the Reichstag. We also talked about when the crash of 1929. the German  people ran to the Weimar coalition, but then were disillusioned when the SPD and the Zentrum Party only helped with the spending cuts. This is where the wild swings of voting from the KPD to the Nazi Party. The working class who did this had clearly lost faith in democracy, and was looking for someone to save them from unemployment. This is how an antisemitic party aimed at the lower middle class got a third of the working class vote. It wasn’t that the working class endorsed every article in his screed, but simply voting in the ways they thought would benefit them.

 

This is not a writing to exonerate those who voted in Hitler as dictator. But it is an explanation on how so many ordinary people went to the far right. It is also a lesson to how, if we want to see a change in how people voted recently, we have to NOT call them stupid, and not go back to the old ways of appeal, but to bring in new ideas to appeal to them.