"Much of this relationship is accounted for by economic distress and the proportion of working-class residents," Monnat writes. "Trump performed best in counties with high economic distress and a large working class. Drug, alcohol and suicide mortality rates are higher in counties with more economic distress and a larger working class. Many of the counties with high mortality rates where Trump did the best have experienced significant employment losses in manufacturing over the past several decades," mainly the industrial Midwest, Appalachia and New England.
"Alcoholism, overdoses and suicide are symptoms of the deeper social decay that was caused by deindustrialization. This decay led to the fears and anxieties which Trump so effectively capitalized on," Hohmann reports. "I saw this firsthand on the campaign trail all year, in countless interviews with folks who were down in the dumps and struggling to get ahead (or, quite frankly, just get by). Many supported Barack Obama eight years ago because they were desperate for hope and change. They’re still desperate, and now they’re hopeful Trump can bring the change they’re looking for."