Friday, November 25, 2016
Why Did They Vote For Him?
Ah, how the media loves to engage in post-mortems after elections, especially the ones that didn't turn out the way they prophesied. One theory is that Democrats had simply lost touch with the white rural working class in middle America. I call bullshit on that. I live in the heart of white rural working class America. Most of these Trump voters didn't have a clue themselves why they voted for Donald Trump. I know because I asked them.
Some mentioned that they liked him because he wasn't beholden to billionaire donors. But, of course, now that his cabinet is beginning to take shape, we see that so far, they are all billionaire donors. They are the very same lobbyists and bankers and politicians we thought we hated so much.
Meanwhile, Hillary had policies that actually would have helped the white rural working class but the media didn't want to talk about policies. They wanted to talk about e-mails. And, evidently, the voters here in Indiana where I live didn't want to talk about policies either. They didn't care about raising the minimum wage or a program that would assist them to afford college for their kids or equal pay for equal work or improving, not repealing, Obamacare. Instead, they thrilled to the sounds of "Lock Her Up!" and "Build That Wall!", like those things would have any impact on their lives whatsoever.
They loved when Donald talked dirty to them. The very same Republicans and Evangelicals who were in such high dudgeon about Bill Clinton's moral failings that they impeached him, no longer care about such minor failings as adultery and serial wives and "grab her by the pussy."
I guess they just think that's all part of being a great leader and a manly man, like Vladimir Putin, who has become one of their heroes since Trump likes him so much. Does it bother them that a foreign government hacked American systems in an effort to manipulate our elections? Does it bother them that the supposedly-neutral F.B.I. put it finger on the scales of an election in an attempt to influence the outcome? Does it bother them that much of what they read about Hillary on Facebook were flat-out lies deliberately put out by fake websites? Nope and nope and nope. They'll take their dirt wherever they can get it. Of course, listen to them scream bloody murder if it ever happens to them.
So far, Trump's choices have been disasters. Seriously, a woman who has never attended a public school, who never sent her children to public schools, whose tried to filter money from public to religious schools, is our new Secretary of Education? Tom Pompeo, a man so caught up in Hillary hate that he refused to accept the outcome even when the 7th investigation on Benghazi found no deliberate wrong-doing on her part, as the C.I.A. director? Jeff Sessions, as attorney general - a man who has about as much interest in racial healing as Jesse Helms? General Flynn, a right-leaning Muslim hater, as National Security Advisor? A climate change denier leading the EPA? I actually like Nikki Haley but she has no experience whatsoever in foreign policy. which makes exactly like her new fellow cabinet members and indeed, like our president and vice-president elect themselves.
It's as if we just handed the reins of power to a bunch of 4th graders out of curiosity to see what would happen. "Just wing it," we've told them, "how could you do worse than those who came before you?" The answer to that is: they could be lots, lots worse.
Trump already seems to be backing down on many of his promises but who can trust him? The kinder, gentler rhetoric doesn't match with the people he's put in place so which ones are the lies and which is the truth? With the Donald it is impossible to tell. Is he going to try to lock up Hillary? Is he going to build a wall? Is he going to initiate a Muslim registry? Is he going to start deporting illegal immigrants? We don't really know.
Meanwhile, it looks like the gravy train that is the presidency will be flowing directly into the coffers of Trump Enterprises. He says he "can't" have a conflict of interest so his kids sit in on meetings with heads of state one day and meet with business people from foreign countries the next. Both Trump and the Argentinian president denied that Donald asked for a favor but low and behold, a couple of days later, his long-held-up plan for a luxury hotel in Buenos Aires was approved. Trump has already let it be known that he'd "appreciate" it if dignitaries with business at the White House would stay at his Old Post Office Hotel (the luxury suites, if you please). And we just learned today that the U.S. Secret Service will be renting two floors of Trump Tower to the direct benefit of landlord Trump. I didn't hear how much the cost of two floors of Trump Tower rents for but I expect it is quite expensive, don't you?
And while the Trump Traveling Medicine Show keeps us all entertained, the congressional Republicans are trying to figure out how to "reform" entitlements and if you're one of the white rural working class Trump voters (or even if you're not), you might want to figure on working a few years longer before Medicare kicks in and hoping you can find health insurance for the amount of the voucher they allot you. And if you're young, you'll most likely see Social Security privatized altogether. We gave the Republicans complete control and I'm sure they'll take full advantage of it.
A good friend of mine, who is gay, voted for Trump in what seems to me the ultimate in self-destructiveness, especially considering the v.p.-elect is our very own gay-bashing governor. He says he thinks Donald will put people back to work and kick those lazy-ass welfare people off the dole. That bothers him more than anything.
So everyone had their reasons for voting for Trump though they could hardly ever articulate what those reasons actually were. One woman told me that they prayed and prayed and God answered their prayers and now we have a good Christian man in the White House. God must be pulling his hair out, hearing that. "Are you people crazy?"
So, what should the Democrats have done to reach the white rural working class if that was our problem? Did we have to be meaner? Did we have to promise to "bomb the shit out of them"? Did we have side with the WRWC against the Blacks and Latinos and Muslims? Did we have to cozy up to Putin? Did we not hate on the media enough? Should we have threatened to put our opponents in jail?
Or maybe it wasn't our fault. Maybe it was Jim Comey's fault. And maybe it was Julian Assange's fault. And maybe it was Vladimir Putin's fault. And maybe it was the fault of the fake story writers on Facebook. Maybe it was the fault of state Republicans who pulled every possible trick in the book the suppress the vote. Maybe it was the fault of gerrymandering districts for partisan benefit. Maybe it was the fault of the media for seeing Trump as a ratings bonanza rather than a serious contender for President of the United States or for covering Hillary's e-mails for 600 days in a row instead of having any policy discussions whatsoever.
Or maybe it was the fault of the voters who either couldn't, or chose not to, see through all of this.