Even though I would never vote for Donald Trump, I understand that the question "Why don't more red-state Republicans vote based on their own economic self-interest?" is a nicer way of asking "How could they be dumb enough to get tricked into voting for Donald Trump?"
The same self-interest question never gets asked about people like me.
I am a small business owner and on most issues, pretty liberal. You could argue that by voting for Democrats, I, like a working-class red-state voter, am also not voting based on my own economic self-interest. Having just submitted my second year of tax returns as a small business owner, I am very aware that the economic policies that are usually the focus of Republican talking points are far more beneficial to me than the economic policies that are usually the focus of Democratic talking points.
So why aren't their podcasts and editorials dedicated to figuring out why someone like me votes against my own self-interest?
It may be because the political scientists and pundits asking the self-interest question believe it's just more acceptable to base your vote on climate change on abortion. However, it's hypocritical to give liberals a pass on voting against their own economic self-interest because of issues unrelated to their wallet, while openly wondering why conservatives can't see the light and vote on economics and not social values.
The fact that the self-interest conversation is so completely focused on red-state conservatives just reinforces the idea that there is an elite ruling class looking down at people whose votes are shaped by the values they learned in the small towns (like the one I live in) of Middle America.
And the reality is most voters may have concluded that voting based on your own economic self-interest is itself a myth, unless you happen to exist in the narrow bands of the very richest Americans or the very poorest Americans.
Slightly more than 3 percent of hourly employees earn the minimum wage. Labor unions represent 6 percent of private sector employees. About 1.5 percent of the population earns $200,000 or more per year—and that group represents the portion of the population that stands to gain the largest windfall (both in rate reductions and absolute dollars) from Donald Trump's proposed tax cuts.