We’ll be reporting from Cleveland all week and live-blogging each night. Check out all our dispatches from the GOP convention here.
CLEVELAND — “It’s been a rough year for the media experts,” Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” said at the Republican National Convention this week. “It must be humbling to be so wrong about so much for so long.”
“But I have a theory about how they missed the Trump train,” he continued. “They don’t hang out with regular folks like us who like to hunt and fish and pray and actually work for a living. Heck, I don’t even know that they know how to talk to people from middle America.”
There’s been a lot of this talk at the RNC, about “real” Americans and “regular” Americans and how they’re the ones who make America great. When it’s not focused on the media, it’s usually directed at Hillary Clinton.
This real Americans stuff isn’t new; instead, it’s part of the populist tradition. The segregationist governor George Wallace of Alabama, a Democrat, regularly employed this sort of rhetoric. And at a 2008 fundraiser in Greensboro, North Carolina, Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin spoke of the “small towns that we get to visit … in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America.”
These politicians, implicitly and often explicitly, usually have certain people in mind when they refer to “real Americans.” They often mean white people without college degrees — the so-called “white working class.” They usually mean practicing Christians. Their examples usually refer to people in the South or the Midwest — not East Coast elites or West Coast hippies.
If you’re one of these “real Americans,” you’re in the majority in almost every respect. Most Americans are white, most are Christian, most don’t …