The Great Revolt – Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics – by Salena Zito and Brad Todd looks deeply into the Trump vote in the Midwestern counties that swung the vote to Trump. Salena Zito was noted for her astute observation that Trump’s supporters took him seriously but not literally and his opposition (from both parties) took him literally but not seriously.
One of the self-serving explanations of Trump’s victory was his strength among the less educated. This should lead the curious to question how if more and more students attend college and if colleges are typically hotbeds of liberalism that this should be the result. Zito and Todd offer a different view.
Among college educated in cities and jobs dominated by other college educated this explanation held true. But college educated in small towns or in industries with lots of interaction with blue collar workers, it was much less true. The critical difference was not their college degree, but whether they hung out mostly with other college educated. The density of the credentials mattered more than the credentials. This suggests peer pressure had a greater effect on urban college educated potential Trump voters. It also suggests that many Trump voters may have been embarrassed to give their true opinions to fellow workers or pollsters.
I would contend they were not embarrassed, just tired of defending themselves and being treated rudely and demonized by the outraged Trump haters. Politics is a much greater part of the personal identity of the left. The right is more likely to avoid political conversation in confrontational circumstances.
As one columnist astutely noticed, the polling booth proved to be the ultimate safe space.