As compared to 59% of D voters, to be clear to anyone reading this because I think most people would assume the gap would be bigger. I don’t think it’s a huge difference. It’s also interesting to note that 60 years ago, this was reversed, and it’s only gradually shifted over time. This is I think partly why Republicans love to go on and on about colleges being “left-wing” and supposedly brain-washing people, but the reality is more like they’ve shifted increasingly towards the kind of populism once represented by the Democrats, and are finding that, as ever, populism doesn’t work very well on educated, thoughtful people (they may take advantage of it, but are less likely to actually buy into it).
I don’t think education is necessarily a good measure of social class in the US, though, and I don’t think it’s one Americans would use - I mean, it isn’t one Americans use. If I look at the very poshest Americans I am personally close to, who are multi-millionaires, not all of them even have a college degree, whereas others have PhDs and so on. By your approach, that makes the ones who don’t “working class”, and means that families contain people who are working class and presumably, upper class, which is kind of an obvious nonsense, because all the people in these families are very obviously the same social class should one meet them. Right at the other end of the spectrum, money-wise, you have people who are extremely poor, but where someone has managed to get a college degree, often by working hard through college, often the first person in their family (or one side of a family) to get a degree, and you’re saying those people are, what middle-class? Which seems laughable, because it’s erasing the real class differences.
Basically this approach to class erases class struggle and class realities entirely, in favour of convenience, and because it’s a single factor - higher-level education, why call it class at all, when it’s actually just higher-level education? It’s fine to say that splits the parties to some extent - it does a bit, but it’s not social class in any meaningful way.
Social class reflects a lot more than that. It’s also weird that you take this approach when you note that in the US, you can often make a lot of money without a degree. Because that’s obviously true. In fact, it’s why the US middle class is so large. A lot of jobs which might be working class in other countries, and have working class concerns (like just getting by, lack of opportunities, lack of political impact, etc.) are obviously middle-class there. Or were, especially in the 1990s and earlier. I mean, if you worked at an auto plant in the 1990s or earlier, you probably solidly middle-class in terms of your real-world concerns, goals, hopes for your children and so on. In general there wasn’t this economic precarity and vulnerability that characterises the working class.
And this is the issue with Trump voters. They talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. They aren’t the people who suffer from economic precarity. They aren’t poverty-stricken people, by and large. They aren’t people working hard, dead-end jobs, or multiple jobs. They may or may not have a college degree, but most of them are comfortable, relative to Americans in general. This graph is not hard to understand:
In the 0-50k and 50-100k brackets, Democrats dominate. In the 100k+ bracket, Republicans do. And you’re trying to tell me that “working class” voters are the ones voting for Trump? Nah. Educated voters do vote Democrat (I suspect in part because of the “reality has a left-wing bias” issue - the right has in general gone to a place of rejecting science and rationality, and QAnon and so on is the clearest evidence of that), but richer voters don’t. People whose real concerns are upper-class, or towards the upper end of middle class increasingly vote Trump/Republican.
I mean, you can slice it other ways, race, age, and so on, but the end result is always going to be people who have more money, people who live easier lives are were more likely to vote for Trump, not less likely to vote for Trump. This is not the story the media has told, and particularly not the story the media told in 2016/2017, where the narrative was very much that “poor white” voters who were, as you say “afraid” somehow all voted for Trump and all love Trump. It is true he did better with that group then than now - that was pretty much entirely down to him promising to improve their lives, whereas other recent politicians hadn’t really focused on that. But his core, his base, his devoted supporters, the lunatics who turn up in MAGA hats, had boats with Trump 2020 painted on the side and so on, were largely well-off. Hell the timing of the recent rioting demonstrated that - it was in the middle of the week. These were employed people in the sort of jobs where they could just decide to take time off (which many Americans cannot, this ain’t Europe) and travel thousands of miles to a political protest at fairly short notice. They might dress in ways that attempt to code themselves as “working class” (which factors into the whole “honour” thing you discussed), but they are not, in any meaningful way, “working class”. They aren’t worried about “getting by”. They don’t have economic precarity. Fewer of them may have college degrees, but more of them have money and comfortable lifestyles.
The real change worth noting, which Trump was able to utilise in 2016 but which didn’t work for him so well in 2020 is that a lot of jobs that used to provide a solidly middle-class lifestyle now either just don’t exist, or provide only a working-class lifestyle, like they did in the 1920s. Trump claimed to have the answer to that, but it became obvious he’d lied by 2017. That’s when I saw the genuinely poorer people who’d voted for him start mocking him and sneering at him, where before they’d been cautiously optimistic. One of my wife’s cousins voted for him in 2016, the cousin is a funny guy and initially he was making these cute pro-Trump jokes, keeping a little distance from him because Trump was obviously not a good guy, and everyone could see that, but clearly thinking “Well this guy might improve things overall”. By 2017, he and others had changed completely to just mocking Trump. Not so rudely they’d offend the richer ones who were getting more and more cult-y, but there was no more cutesy pro-Trump stuff, just light mockery, and and in 2020, they even crossed the mockery line into outright insulting him (even where they still voted R on other issues, they voted D on President, at least that’s what they said and I believe them). Obviously that’s all anecdote but I think it’s interesting.
TLDR: Lower Middle-class people afraid of becoming working class voted for Trump in 2016, but not in 2020. Middle Middle-class and higher Trump voters became cultists. Higher income = more likely to vote Trump.
I mean, that’s an answered question. They were deeply connected, and Trumpism was an integral part of their belief, because all their theories, with no exceptions, hinged on the idea that Trump was some sort of god-emperor (thanks Warhammer 40K, because yes that is where that came from, thanks to the cretins of 4Chan and so on), who was working in secret to do all this crazy nonsense.
Post-Trump, a form of QAnon that doesn’t require him will no doubt continue, but we can already see massive schisms. Some people are thinking the whole thing was bullshit (gee what a shock guys), some people are saying Trump was a fraud but Q is somehow real (doesn’t really work), others are saying he’s “Shadow President” (hard to work that with the rest of the theories, but no more berserk than them), and so on. Previously QAnon had a belief structure which meant you could believe some or all of the bullshit, and you’d still be all basically on the same page. Removing Trump forces people onto different pages.