Is this a variant of that elite condescension for ordinary folks who are "bitter," and who "cling to guns and religion"?
He knows these poor souls will die in the earthquake, or else cling to life before the whole universe is vaporized on October 21.
Mark was still trying to cling to more than $60 million sought by the trustee when he took his life.
Old English clingan "hold fast, adhere closely; congeal, shrivel" (strong verb, past tense clang, past participle clungen), from Proto-Germanic *klingg- (cf. Danish klynge "to cluster;" Old High German klinga "narrow gorge;" Old Norse klengjask "press onward;" Danish klinke, Dutch klinken "to clench;" German Klinke "latch").
The main sense shifted in Middle English to "adhere to" (something else), "stick together." Of persons in embrace, c.1600. Figuratively (to hopes, outmoded ideas, etc.), from 1580s. Of clothes from 1792. Related: Clung; clinging.