Trump and other conservatives ignore how their supporters are greater socialists than liberals when it comes to government assistance
Leslie County, population 11,310 in southeastern Kentucky, is Ground Zero for Trump Country.
In 2016, some 89.4 percent of voters there cast ballots for Trump, the highest percentage of any county in that state and one of the largest in the nation. About one-third live below the federal poverty level. Some 97 percent of residents are white.
They have been through tough times, from coal mines shutting down to a steady stream of commercial and residential flight. Most people there believe in the axiom of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” during the lean times. Most abhor liberals and Big Government — which many call “the gummint.”
Still, about 53 percent of those residents’ income in 2016 came from government benefits like Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, unemployment insurance, veterans assistance, and Social Security, according to federal statistics. Yes, most suck at the teats of the very gummint they claim to abhor. There are not that many boot straps left in Leslie County, Ky.
They continue to support Trump and other Republicans by such a wide margin, even though those leaders want to drastically cut the federal benefits people there depend on to survive. Even if it means that many people there lose their benefits and slowly starve to death.
As hypocritical and mind-boggling as that development may be, Leslie County is by no means an aberration. Of the ten states in which government benefits comprise the largest share of residents’ income, seven supported Trump, according to a recent New York Times article.
Meanwhile, Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal includes cuts of some $1.5 trillion to Medicaid and $845 billion to Medicare over a decade, despite Trump pledging not to slash those programs during his campaign. He also wants to cut Social Security by $26 billion and food stamps by $220 billion.
While many conservatives like to call Democrats “socialists” and worse for supposedly supporting government assistance programs for the needy, the data show that counties that mostly voted for Clinton in 2016 contained residents who obtained more of their income from actual jobs than those counties that supported Trump.