The manner in which Donald Trump captured mainstream white Americans’ fear and turned it into hatred towards minorities and immigrants will have unforeseeable consequences.
The results of this election were arguably largely based on racial bias. As Trump indicated, Obama was believed by many to be an immigrant and a Muslim, both demographics which are largely feared by the general public.
For too many in key locations, a Clinton presidency indicated four more years of an Obama administration. Accordingly, Trump won the election, despite losing the popular vote.
Recently, Senator Bernie Sanders attributed Trump’s victory to a failing middle class. Sanders said, “Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics, and the establishment media.”
Along these lines, The New York Times’ graphs of exit-poll voter data suggest that the white middle and upper classes were predominantly Trump supporters in this election.
Compared to Clinton voters, the vast majority of Trump’s voters are not only white men, but also earn over $50,000 a year – even in the Rust Belt. A Mother Jones reporter tweeted a graph that indicated this as well.
Media, stop perpetuating the myth that working class whites elected Trump. His supporters make significantly more income than average. pic.twitter.com/zDJwLFtFhf— Shane Bauer (@shane_bauer) November 10, 2016
However, working class voters who were pro-Obama but voted for Trump, especially in the Rust Belt, including Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, either really, really distrusted Hillary Clinton or felt racial anxiety, according to a ProPublica report on this “forgotten class.”
More likely than not, Trump’s working class voters in this region may be in for a big surprise when he doesn’t follow up on his campaign promises.
As the “outsider” candidate, Trump offered big plans to “Make America Great Again,” but which of his promises will he actually follow through on? Will he be able to restore more jobs in the U.S. when an estimated two-thirds of jobs are expected to become automated in the near future, as the United Nations predicts?
At this point so early on, it’s hard to say. Trump’s White House plans — including repealing Obamacare, “knocking the hell out of ISIS,” and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border — may very well be thwarted by the Senate. Or, he may pursue other endeavors such as increasing military spending and making tax cuts for the elite. Then again, most presidents don’t keep their campaign promises.
At least there’s Sanders’ true-blue cynicism to fall back on when looking for a voice of reason. But, as the Senator indicated, it’s unlikely that Trump will actually help his low-income voters advance economically.
During Trump's campaign, he promised that he would cut taxes, but his cuts would be for corporations and the extremely wealthy. His tax plan will cost more than $7 trillion over the next decade.
Moreover, Trump plans to increase spending on infrastructure and increase interest rates. This would, in turn, hurt American manufacturers and threaten domestic economic growth, according to The Economist.
In the words of Sanders, “to the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him.”
The question remains. What will it take for Trump's Midwestern supporters to realize that he has betrayed them?
Banner photo: Reuters