In West Allis, Wis., last week the 30-something man in the Cubs jacket and cap had arrived at Nathan Hale High School at 9:30 on Sunday morning, so he could be the first in line for Donald Trump's rally. Trump wouldn't speak until 7 p.m., and the doors wouldn't open until 5 p.m.

Nonetheless, he gave up his spot in line to C.J. LaRocke and Dave Suminski. "They're vets, man," Cubs man said.

LaRocke served 18 months in Vietnam, in many roles he says, including helicopter pilot and sniper. He and Suminski said they're Trump fans because Trump is the only one who sticks up for veterans.

LaRocke has a prosthetic right leg from the knee down. He uses a wheel chair, and is 100 percent disabled, thanks to Agent Orange, the chemical exfoliant the U.S. used "so they could find Charlie in the jungle."

LaRocke recently had a quadruple bypass surgery, and he says he's struggling get the Veterans Administration to cover the $4 million tab.

"This is where I have a problem," the Cubs fan busted in to our conversation. "We're giving money non-stop to the immigrants that cross over the Rio Grande or through Canada. And we fund them with food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid — whatever you want to give em, we give em. These guys," he points at LaRocke and Suminski, "have to sweat their balls off — excuse my language — and they don't have the money, and their not getting the services. No money in their pockets. And health-care is horrible for them."

This is a refrain from Trump backers.

"Immigration is a huge issue," Joseph Kubash told me at that same West Allis rally. "How can someone who's a Vietnam veteran, who's had all these issues not be able to get the healthcare that he needs, and somebody that just comes across the border as an illegal immigrant and has a kid and all of the sudden they're covered? I don't think that's right. They didn't pay anything to us. They didn't do anything. They didn't earn that."

"I work," Kubash said. "I pay my taxes. I do what I'm supposed to do. But there's so many people — they've made it so easy for people to abuse the system, and they reward 'em for it."

Kubash tries to put the blame on the system more than on those partaking of it. The incentives are misplaced, he argued.

"I've heard women say, 'why should I get a job? Why should I get a job? I get all this for free. If I go and get a part-time job, I get less.' Well, that's not what welfare is made for. Welfare is made for someone who's struggling, they lose their job, they have an issue. Okay, fine. You go on unemployment. ... Then you work your way out of it, you get out of it."

"I don't qualify for anything," disabled vet Gary Lumay told me in West Allis. "I don't qualify for food stamps. I have two kids. I'm married — my wife. And I have my mother in law and my brother in law living with me. And I don't qualify for food stamps. ... But then somebody that is unemployed and doing nothing? He gets $200." LuMay gets VA benefits because he injured his back in the Navy.

This distinction is at the heart of Trump support: the undeserving are getting all the goodies, and the deserving are getting shafted. It's not a libertarian "leave us alone" message. It's more "those people are getting the stuff we should be getting." It's Bernie Sanders politics, with different characters playing different roles.

All around the country, you can find recipients of federal aid distinguishing between moochers and the worthy. "I earned my Medicaid," Danny Smith told me on his front porch in Menifee County, Ky., while railing against the welfare state.

It's a tricky line to walk, but Trump is walking it successfully. Trump campaigns on preserving Social Security, defending veterans, and sticking up for cops.

The knee-jerk liberal interpretation is that this is all racism: It's hatred of immigrants, and that talk of "welfare abuse" is just code for black people getting benefits. This isn't totally false. Many white people surely hold subconscious or conscious prejudices that lead them to assume the worst of those different from them and the best of those similar.

But it's too simplistic to wipe away all distinctions among types of benefits. Veterans benefits are different from other benefits — veterans were the employees (an understatement) of the federal government, and so their health and pension is the government's responsibility.

Unemployment? All workers pay for that through insurance. On disability, Americans will distinguish between the "really disabled," and those with disabilities they see as fake — maybe depression or neck pain. People with those "fake" disabilities will tell you they are very real. Medicare? I'm paying into that.

Do these distinctions tend to be self-serving? Yes. Is there a racial element? Undeniably. And welfare abuse is also a real thing.

There's no easy way to navigate the rocky terrain. As a matter of political analysis, though, we don't have to, because this is clear: The disaffection that underlies Trump's support is driven not only by those who feel the government is actively harming them, but by those who feel the government isn't helping them enough because it is helping others too much.

Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner's senior political columnist, can be contacted at His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on