Not all Trump’s supporters are mindless, angry and rebellious
November 11, 2016
If you’ve been reading my blog posts lately, you know that I’ve been pretty rough on Donald Trump. But that’s okay… because he deserves it. Let’s face it, the guy’s a sleazeball. And America’s in for a hard time now that the world realizes that the USA is being run by a self-serving, immoral, temperamental twit.
But, for just a moment, I’d like to consider the almost 60 million Americans who voted for the man, knowing full well what kind of person he is. We can’t simply write off that many people as being blind, naive idiots who don’t care about their country. So what the heck motivated that many people to put that depraved man into the Oval Office?
Looking at the electoral map, one sees that it was largely the middle-American states that voted Trump into office. States that, by-and-large, do not have an international border. States that are not the first choice for most immigrants. States who’s residents don’t often travel outside the USA. States with largely white, working-class populations. And states that have suffered from the economic downturn as family farms and businesses have been forced to shut down, or have been bought out by multinationals, or who’s factories have closed their doors only to reopen in other countries. In short, states that are not sympathetic to foreigners who steal their jobs.
These are people who, for the last 20 years or so, have found themselves becoming largely marginalized. While most government programs are aimed at improving the lives of blacks, women, minorities, LGTBQ, and immigrants, the largely straight white American population has been left to fend for itself. The assumption being that they’re straight and white so they can’t be discriminated against, besides they’ve had it good for so many years, and there’s only so much money to go around. So they don’t need our help, and can take care of themselves. That’s fine in the big cities where there are plenty of jobs and a diverse population. But in the working-class rust belt it’s a different story.
These people see government programs springing up all the time that assist special interest groups, but not them. Meanwhile, every day they face increasing political correctness where minorities are protected from even accidental insult or racism, yet where it’s legally impossible to discriminate against white people. Seriously. If someone white and someone Hispanic apply for the same job, and the Hispanic doesn’t get the job, they can theoretically accuse the company of racial discrimination. Whereas, the white applicant can’t… because they’re white and therefore cannot be considered a victim of racial or even white discrimination. That’s the law in the USA. At first glance it seems kind of one-sided, doesn’t it? Well, from their perspective it sure does.
Of course, these programs have mostly been aimed at levelling the playing field, giving blacks, women, minorities, LGTBQ, and immigrants a fair break. But that’s not how struggling middle-American families see it. They just see themselves losing jobs to these people.
These hardworking Americans (if they have jobs at all), feel like they’ve been ignored by their federal government. Perhaps this was made even more painfully evident when a black man was elected president. Not that they had anything personal against Barack Obama because he was black and of African descent, but because they felt he was more sympathetic to the plight of those special interest groups than he was to them.
So, along comes the presidential race of 2016, and a loud, white billionaire comes to their defence, promising to level the playing field again, only this time making sure these white voters get their fair share. He’s rich, he’s strong, he’s outspoken. And best of all, he’s a Washington outsider.
This orange man promises to change things. He promises to restore and protect their jobs. He promises to re-negotiate the free-trade deals which these Americans feel stole jobs out from under them and moved them offshore. He promises to protect their families from outside threats, and give them better healthcare. He even promises to slow down immigration, to crack down on illegals who sneak into the country to work, and to ensure that only legal immigrants are allowed to enter the country. He’s essentially preaching to the choir. He calls it “making America great again”, but they see it as returning the nation to a time and place where they and their families had a fighting chance of succeeding.
Sure, this guy (Donald Trump) is an ass hole, but can you see how he sounded to them? He sounded like a bloody saviour! That’s what. He told them everything they wanted to hear. Whereas, “crooked Hillary” promised to respect and defend women, minorities, blacks, LGTBQ, and immigrants… which, to the white inner-American voter, sounded like more of the same-old-same-old… an old-style politician making old-style promises to help special interest groups and the rich.
Sure, Trump lied. It’s obvious that he made promises he can’t possibly keep. But when your ship goes down, and you’re floundering among the other survivors in the ocean, are you going to reject the guy who comes floating along in a tiny row boat and promises all these drowning people that they can hop aboard with him and be saved? Nope, you’re gonna grab for it even though you know the guy is lying. That’s how desperate these people were.
They’re not un-American. Just because they have mid-western accents, and wear a lot of red-white-and-blue, doesn’t mean they’re weird or evil. They’re not all racists (most of them, anyway), and not all intolerant (most of them, anyway). And they’re not crazy. They’re desperate, is what they are. They’re just trying to save their lives and livelihoods. They’re trying to keep their kids from having to make meth to earn a few bucks for school. They’re trying to bring hope and prosperity back into their lives. They’re trying to restore their idea of normalcy. They want to be listened to. And that’s what Donald Trump promised them. Who wouldn’t compromise their integrity a little on the off chance that their lives and livelihoods might improve in their eyes? What did those people have to lose?
Now, I admit that Trump attracted some extremists. There’s pretty solid evidence that the KKK, white supremacists, and racial hate groups glommed on to Trump. But I sincerely don’t believe he was deliberately wooing this demographic, even though his aggressive words and actions sanctioned their beliefs. He has certainly fostered a renewed climate of intolerance. At one point he tried clumsily to distance himself from them, but it was a weak effort, and it didn’t dissuade these groups from making him their poster boy. But even if we estimate that upwards of 1 million of Trump’s supporters are nut-ball wackos with tattoos and guns, that still leaves 59 million law-abiding and decent hopeful supporters who just want their fair share of the pie, with less overt bias in favour of blacks, minorities, women, LGTBQ, and immigrants. Let’s not go grouping these honest, hard-working people in with the fringe extremists.
And yes, I do acknowledge that there was some Trump support in other states bolstered by millennials and conspiracy theorists who fell pray to mischievous online trolling and fear-mongering. Trump did nothing to dispel these moronic untruths, and actually fuelled the flames by endorsing some of them. That was the sleazeball in him oozing out. He couldn’t resist appealing to the fears and anger in the inner cities and suburbs, trying to capture some of that elusive vote. Like I said, he’s an ass hole.
And then there are the shit disturbers… the people who voted for Trump simply to mess with Washington and screw up the federal political system. Without a doubt, there was a movement of angry, vengeful trouble makers out there who hoped that a President Trump would burn down the house, as it were, forcing the country to start over. As if lobbing a human Molotov cocktail into the White House would cause such chaos and upheaval that the established federal system would crash, and the nation would need to reset and reboot… preferably back to a time when men were men (white men, that is), and women were women (housewives, that is), and no one in their town wore a turban.
And finally, we must acknowledge that a lot of people who voted for Trump are neither downtrodden, unemployed, or struggling. A large number of his supporters are, in fact, upper-middle class people who need neither social programs, nor better job opportunities. These supporters were in it for the tax cuts to business owners and the rich. And maybe for looser gun laws. I mean, hey, Trump was still the Republican candidate, and that’s their platform, right?
Modern reactionary voting can largely be summed up as opposition to Globalism… the movement towards international co-existence that mingles cultures, trade, ethnicity, and habitation, while supporting Nationalism… the move to isolate, internalize, and fortify traditional national values such as a straight, white, christian, monoculture. Most of the educated world has embraced the inevitability and economic wisdom of Globalism, while a growing number of closed-minded voters in countries like Britain, France and America are desperately clinging to the narrow, intolerant, and anachronistic values of Brexit and Trump’s Americanism.
I’m not defending those brainless voters here… they’re just stupid. Nor am I defending those well-off opportunists, either. I’m saying we need to cut a little slack for the millions of honest, hard-working people who fell victim to Trump’s false promises of future prosperity and a “greater”, safer nation. They did what they thought was best for themselves, their families, and their friends. They succumbed to the dream (the lie) of restoring a long lost America they thought they grew up in. And you can’t fault them for their naivety.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that I forgive them for putting that lunatic into the Oval Office. I don’t. That was a big mistake that even his supporters will have to pay for when Trump fails to deliver on his promises. But I believe they were just doing what they felt they had to do, in order to stand a chance for a better life. As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.
And I’m not saying that I agree with their narrow-minded views. I don’t. But I think I understand them. Those of us in cosmopolitan areas live everyday amongst a diverse population, where we come to appreciate the spectrum of cultures and lifestyles that such an environment has to offer. Our world view is broad. But it’s different for those in the interior states. Their isolation from outside cultures makes their world view narrow to the extreme. To them, America is all there is, and all there ever needs to be. It’s kind of sad, actually, that there are still people like this in the 21st century.
So let’s all agree to reject Trump as a presidential choice, but let’s also offer a little understanding (and, dare I say, tolerance) to those desperate voters who took a chance and voted him into office so that they and their kids might stand an equal chance of having better jobs and achieving their idea of a decent life. Let’s just not condemn them, or make them our enemy.
In fact, over the next few years, let’s try to find some common ground with them. Maybe a few years with Trump as president will open their eyes to the true horrors and injustice of racism, bigotry, misogyny, and intolerance.
I’m just sayin’