Pushing back against rural Americans angry at the liberal elite are akin to "fighting terrorism" according to former MSNBC host Chris Matthews.
In November, the annual Reagan National Defense Survey found 70% of Americans believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Despite the overwhelming majority, Matthews suggested on Wednesday on "Morning Joe" that the backlash is primarily "rural rage."
"But I tell you, it’s very tough, because people that didn’t go to college have a pretty good rage on their hands. That’s what you really want in an election, is a rage. It can be Black rage, or White rage, or rural rage. In this case, it's rural rage. They are so angry at the liberal establishment, the coastal elite," Matthews said.
"But in a way, it’s like fighting terrorism," he added. "I mean, you know, we think we just put the army in, or Israel just puts the IDF and they’re going to solve the problem. It never solves the problem. Because you enrage people. And we did it with Afghanistan, and we did it with Iraq. We enrage the enemy to the point where they’re more fiery than ever, and they hate us more than ever. Armies don’t make peace. And we think they do."
Matthews also claimed it was "weird" how regular people feel rage towards things like "Saturday Night Live" and accuse the program of mocking them.
"They look at people on television, they say, ‘Oh, those people on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ those snarling rich kids, I know who they are. They’re all trust-funders. They don’t have to worry about us.’ And the regular guy in the country goes, ‘There they are snarling and making fun of us again.’ And every time we make fun of Trump, we’re making fun of them. It’s a weird thing," he said.
Columnist Joe Concha criticized Matthews while appearing on Fox News’ "Outnumbered" later in the day.
"You know, common sense is like deodorant. The people that need it most never use it. And Chris Matthews is Exhibit A here. Because in 2016, the turning point in that election is when Hillary Clinton referred to Trump supporters as a basket of deplorables. And they missed the entire Midwest in Ohio and in Michigan and Wisconsin, that blue wall, they didn’t get the sentiment because they live in these elite bubbles in New York and Washington," Concha said.
He added, "Here’s the bottom line: He says that rural voters are angry. No, everybody’s angry — 78% of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. That’s an AP poll, a majority think, an overwhelming majority think the economy is going to get worse. We’ve talked about crime. We’ve talked about the open border. We talked about education scores being at a 30-year low. And the world seems to be on fire. Yeah, people are angry right now. And it’s not just those who live in West Virginia or Wyoming."