The one trait that predicts Trump fever

In the case of Chevy Chase, the key to understanding Trump opposition in the primary has a lot to do with understanding the strength of the community, just as it does in a Wisconsin town called Oostburg. Oostburg is different from Chevy Chase in almost every way except for one crucial similarity: Both of these villages are knit together by the kind of community institutions and civil society that have rapidly disintegrated in most of the United States in the past several decades. These places illustrate a kind of social cohesion that directly undermines what Trump says about the direction of the American dream. And so the stories of Chevy Chase and Oostburg, two places that rejected Trump, help us to understand why so many other places in the United States embraced him, and why they might do so again in 2020…

The best explanation of why these pockets of elites rejected Trump is found in Trump’s own words. He was selling a sense of decline and a desperate need to turn things around. In Kasich Country, though—in college towns and prosperous suburbs—people believed the American Dream was alive. These people also believed America was great already, while much of the electorate didn’t.

This isn’t a universal rule, and it doesn’t apply as well to the general election, when voters were picking between Trump and Hillary. But, as a general rule, you can use Trump’s electoral strength in the early Republican primaries as a proxy for pessimism.

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