How could Trump ever became the candidate of a major party? How could candidate Trump ever poll higher than in the single digits? Who are the voters propping him up and where did they suddenly come from?
They're the Trumpfederacy, and they've always been among us.
Even before Trump, I've felt for a few years now that there is a kind of civil war raging in this country, but thankfully it's a cold one, fought with words and votes rather than with bullets. I'm not sure it's really something new, however. Certainly the election of a 'negro' to the oval office got the Trumpfederates angry, but I'd argue the main reason they're much more noticeable these days is because the Internet and social media makes it far easier than ever before for them to broadcast their hateful messages.
In reality, the Trumpfederacy has existed long before Trump. Decades before, the Trumpfederates were the ones who cheered Governor Wallace when he stood for segregation, and who jeered President Johnson when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. A century before that, the Trumpfederates were known as the Confederates, who voted to secede from the United States and who fought to preserve the Confederate States.
That picture speaks a thousand words, because I believe there are some very strong similarities between the old Confederacy and the new Trumpfederacy. The rhetoric is almost identical. Whether in 1861 or 2016, they believe that the system is rigged against 'real Americans.' Who is doing the rigging? Liberal elites. Why would liberal elites stack the deck against these self-proclaimed 'real Americans?' According to both, because liberal elites care about their own power first and foremost.
Then, according to the Confederates, the liberal elites hated the South and preferred to worry about African slaves and immigrants from Europe. Now, according to the Trumpfederates, the liberal elites hate 'flyover country' and prefer to worry about African-Americans and immigrants from Central and South America. ..and about the LGBT community, and about women, and about Muslims.
Granted I'm likely oversimplifying some of the grievances the Confederacy had with the way those supposed liberal elites were causing harm to the country, but in both cases the Con/Trumpfederates are bitterly angry because they feel their power slipping away and because they perceive a strong sense of persecution. Likewise, simple-minded, gullible people play a strong role in both camps. Certainly some are just inherently bigoted and hateful.
Yet the average Confederate soldier had now financial interest in preserving slavery, and it would be difficult to argue that they were all racist enough to be willing to risk their lives to preserve slavery. No, some just believed the lies told to them about the liberal elites by their Confederate puppet masters, and these days some just believe the lies told to them about the liberal elites by their conservative Republican puppet masters.
Back then it was Johnny Reb, now it's Donny Reb. Who knows who it'll be in another few decades or maybe a hundred years, when the Con/Trumpfederacy has a new leader and a new name. At least now we are fighting with words and votes rather than with bullets, but their hate and ignorance remains just the same.