Many followers of Bernie Sanders in 2016 were white, educated, and upper-middle class. Yet they wanted revolution and identified as alienated outsiders. Meanwhile, millions of working-class right-leaning voters, for whom the economic system has decidedly not worked, have mobilized not around economic justice but around identity politics—religious liberty, hostility to immigration, resistance to a diversifying culture. This system—the cultural system that maintains straight Christian whiteness as Americanness—still “works for them,” at least for the time being. These citizens want to compensate for the reality that they’ve become economic outsiders with the belief that they are still identity insiders.
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