How Trumpists Prey on Loneliness, and Loneliness Preys on Trumpists


    Drew Angerer/GettyThe story of our era may be one about loneliness, isolation, and a lack of community. Scientists tell us that social isolation is as bad for your health as smoking or not getting adequate sleep. COVID-19 took an already bad situation and made it worse. Meanwhile, (anti)social media does nothing to solve the problem, and likely exacerbates it.And while lack of communal ties may be killing us at the micro level, on the macro level this phenomenon has contributed to numerous societal ills, including the rise of Trumpism. In the 2016 Republican primary, for example, it was well documented that Trump performed better in places where people were socially atomized. For example, Republicans who attended church regularly were less likely to support Trump. This, of course, all fell apart once he became the nominee.If you doubt loneliness and lack of healthy communal ties is perhaps the dominant problem of our era, Michael Bender’s new book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election, sheds light on the subculture of Donald Trump fans who followed his rallies like they were on tour with The Grateful Dead. Instead of tie-dyed shirts, they donned red “MAGA” hats. Instead of being young adventurers running away from their parents, these “front-row Joes” (as he calls them) tended to be people who were “retired or close to it” and “estranged from their families or otherwise without children”; they also had “plenty of time on their hands.” What they found was that “Trump had, in a surprising way, made their lives richer.” His rallies gave them a “reason to travel the country, staying at one another’s homes, sharing hotel rooms and carpooling. Two had married—and later divorced—by Trump’s second year in office.”Read more at The Daily Beast.


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