Saturday, April 30, 2016

Yes, working class people in America are getting screwed by the system. Even those who support Trump

The Self Appointed Cheetos Dust Savior of the GOP
So I just read an article on Salon that argues that sympathizing with Trump voters -- it specifically calls out the white working class Trump supporter -- just empowers them, and that they're all essentially a bunch of racist yokels who deserve no sympathy (they "are not victims" the article argues).

And that is, frankly, hogwash. That's not to say that racism doesn't play a huge role in Trump's support. Of course it does. That racism needs to be called out without hesitation.  The article also makes good points about how the Democratic party lost the white southern voter when civil rights were pursued.

But none of that means that the working class -- any of it, white included -- does not have a slew of legitimate complaints. The working class -- all of it, not just the white working class -- is getting screwed, mostly by Republican policies. And white collar workers are right behind the blue collar, because the lower the 1% can push them, the lower they can push white collar workers. Trump has broken with his party to make this a center point of his campaign -- and it's a mistake to ignore or dismiss that appeal.

The Republican Party has spent the last few decades doing everything it can to keep significant portions of the population less educated (just a few years ago, Texas Republicans were going so far as to attack critical thinking classes!) and more religious -- to keep the focus off ideas that might shine a light on how shallow Republican ideas really are, and so they can reel people in, every year, with Bible thumping attacks on women and the LGBT community. Throw in some fights to teach creationism instead of real science, abstinence only "sex ed" instead of the real thing, (both of which you can only do if your voters have been misinformed enough to support such bad policy and non-factual fails at science) etc, and you both reinforce your pattern of an undereducated (or, worse, wrongly "educated" to believe a-factual nonsense) and extra religious population, as well as fire the voter up for a crusade. It's been a winning, and self perpetuating, strategy for a long time.

Except the greedy bastards in the GOP didn't know when to stop screwing the working class. Too much was never enough. Full time workers living in poverty, people unable to afford to send their kids to school or see a doctor, etc. was just brushed aside -- or worse, mocked. And now they've pushed so far that the crusade isn't as pressing as mere survival.

Trump plays to a lot of prejudices, but he also acknowledges something that the party has long ignored -- that the American worker is getting screwed. Instead of just blaming "the taker", which has been the Republican standby at least since the days of Reagan, he acknowledges what any reasonably intelligent worker already sees: the system is designed to fuck the working man and woman.

That's a legitimate complaint. Sure, Trump doesn't offer any real solutions. But he offers hope. And that, to a desperate person, is better than bible thumping -- or being berated as an unmotivated lazy bastard by a Republican prince born with a silver spoon in his mouth. It's a lot more appealing than a religious fanatic who thinks an intense obsession with what's happening in other people's pants is enough to justify a presidential run. It's a hell of a lot more appealing than being told you just need to keep working further and further into your old age to barely subsist.

So, yes, a lot of Trump's support comes from bigotry etc. And that deserves to be called out. But many of the people who support him respond to his promise to bring back jobs and restore economic stability for the very reason that they have been victimized by a system designed by and for the rich. They feel like they have no other hope, and here is the first Republican in a long time promising to do something other than blame them for not being energetic enough, not having the drive, etc.

And assuming those voters are evil, stupid bastards with no reason to complain is just wrong. Desperation causes good people to do stupid things. Treating all working white Trump supporters like racist yokels isn't going to demonstrate how they're supporting a fraud who is exploiting their desperation while providing no actual solutions. It's just going to make them hate the "elitist" left -- the only party that actually has good ideas and a true willingness to improve the lot of the working class -- even more. Which in turn is going to empower the party that has created this problem.

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