During the new deal they were mad that blacks got the same treatment from the government programs. In the 1960's they hated LBJ because of his civil rights positions but supported Vietnam then they turned to Nixon. Nixon was one of these angry resentful people. He called himself an othogonian (conservative working class whites) and he hated the so-called franklins (rich liberal whites) and his political career was all about getting everybody stirred up over wedge issues to break consensus and get his 51% of public support. It's all in the book Nixonland. Reagan for his part had to do little to cater to them except little stunts and positions on the flag and religion but in concrete terms he gave them nothing george w. bush came along and pretty much repeated the pattern on steroids. All the while they keep getting poorer and angrier but can't understand why. If you ask them why they're republicans, very few of them will actually be able to explain why. That makes them vulnerable to democratic persuasion. If Obama wasn't black I bet many of them probably would be more open to hearing what our side has to offer. That's why it's important for Obama to reach out to them and if you look at the polls it's actually starting to work. Many of them are either going to sit the election out or vote 3rd party because they hate romney and don't get the warm fuzzies when they look at the others. I'll give it 20 years and many of the angry tea party types will be either a part of the democratic party or they'll be completely irrelevent because of new voters.