Personality and Political Perference

I’m wondering about the role of personality in political choices, a subject covered in books I haven’t read. If anyone can suggest a good one, I’d like to read it. The Ownership Society envisioned by George W. Bush generated a motto: You are on your own. Obama contrasts this with the New Deal slogan: We’re in it together. Why the gut reaction on the part of so many people to reject “together”? Why do so many embrace “alone”? My guess is that these are people who cannot tolerate feeling under any control or obligation. They tell us they are willing to be charitable but they want to choose who they help. This contrasts with the across-the-board sense of mutuality described to us by those who were there during the Depression and the New Deal. With one third of the country unalterably opposed in principle to mutual solidarity with their fellows, we must ask what the difference is between then and now.
The difference is obvious in the words of Trump’s followers: Them. The Others. By the time of the New Deal, the early wave of immigrants, having been cut off by WW I, had assimilated. Now, immigrants from the fifties on are continually augmented by new arrivals.
Here’s where I lose the C/conservatives (see my Magnum Opus for the C/c distinction): those earlier immigrants were from Europe, IOW, White even though at the time of their arrival they were not always categorized that way, thus the title of memoirs, “How I Became White”. The deepest thrust into the American psyche came after the immigrants from Asia and South America began arriving and it was the Civil Rights Movement. Many Americans do not know that discrimination against Blacks was written into the Federal regulations on housing and other services, denying opportunity to African-Americans and keeping them apart. So the “together” came to mean White people only. Now it’s different. Now Social Security and other benefits go to everyone. The Welfare office I worked in in 1966 had only just begun to give assistance to non-Whites, or so the older workers told me.
A recent retiree from a public school bitterly declaimed in his farewell address that he had signed on to teach “American kids”. The school went from well under 20% Hispanic to about half Hispanic during his tenure. These feelings are common among many people, about a third, like I said. They are inchoate but Trump has gone beyond dog whistles and put it right out there, validating the person who says, “I want my country back”. The Brexit vote came from the same sense of a lost country, their imagined country of the fifties. Those of us who were there wonder where these people get their notions of life in the fifties from and then we remember: TV shows. Andy Griffith, Father Knows Best, Leave It To Beaver, Death Valley Days, Gun Smoke, and, most of all, the iconic John Wayne. What do the Brits “remember”?
Now we have a chance to see how easily Britain will slip back to the halcyon days of the fifties, a course chartered by the new government that will surely follow, perhaps with restrictions on the number of curry shops allowed in one town and other symbolic measures to recreate the past. But I haven’t addressed my question about the role of personality in politics. Do we see a difference in personality between people who are nostalgic for a past, imagined or not, and those who are always looking toward new horizons? Can you sort out people you know into those pining for earlier times versus those getting on with it? I think I can. Just last night we had a birthday party for a friend turning 60 and anytime Trump came up it was all giggles and snorts about the absurdity of the whole thing and how quick can we get Hillary in. Interestingly, about 70% of the 30 people there were Asian, none who spoke the language of the old country except for a couple of octogenarians. But that is ethnicity, not personality. I don’t know if I can figure this out. Maybe someone reading this has some ideas.

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