I am still baffled as are probably many around the world about what just happened in our American election. How could this so called dangerous and divisive man become president?
Two words keep coming to me to explain this phenomenon: Blind Trust. Not just the so called Blind Trust that President Elect Donald Trump says will happen when he gives his businesses to his children, I am referring to the Blind Trust his supporters placed in him.
To understand this anomaly we must look at the voting bloc that pulled the lever for him. Most are white, rural, working class people, many who have never voted before or are former Democrats and Union members. They are a disenfranchised, angry, and forgotten group that has been overlooked for decades going back to the 1980s when President Reagan allowed their jobs and factories to go overseas for corporate profit. Ironically, many of them are Reagan Democrats.
These blue-collar workers are still waiting to recover from the 2008 recession. Michael Moore, who warned of Trump's possibility of winning, chronicled in 1989 a documentary of this trend in Michigan called "Roger and Me." Moore is in touch with this angst and working class populism being from Flint, Michigan himself. He has recently released a documentary called "Trumpland" where he interviews Trump Michigan supporters at a town hall meeting. As Moore predicted the state went for Trump and it is usually a blue stalwart Democratic firewall.
I don't believe all Trumpsters are racist, misogynist, and homophobic. They just want jobs and recognition and Trump's campaign rhetoric about bringing back steel and coal was music to their ears. No matter that the world is changing and these products are on the path of the iron forge and typewriter and cassette tapes and rotary phones. He promised through better trade deals to revive these industries despite climate change and technological advances. Blind Trust.
We all should have had a clue to Trump's appeal to these folks when he was able to insult Senator John McCain as not a war hero and get away with it. In fact, his fans are so anti-establishment that they cheered every time he took on a career politician whether they were Republican or Democrat. They cheered when he called the media bad people. They cheered when he called his opponents liars and crooked politicians. They supported his war on "political correctness."
His campaign followed no rules or standards of decency or ethics and the angry Trumpeters loved it. Trump is an equal opportunity insulter. They admired the way he never apologized or backed down from any incendiary remarks he made whether it was calling Mexicans criminals and rapists or wanting to ban all Muslims from entering the country. They consider our current president weak on foreign policy in leading from behind and not doing enough to combat terrorism and allowing too many illegal immigrants to enter our country including Muslims (even though this is largely untrue. Immigration from Mexico is down to zero and the amount of Syrian refugees is very small.) The more Trump put down President Obama the more they cheered. Blind Trust.
There have been studies made that showed that while Trump lambasted so many running against him as liars, he himself lied 78% of the time. His followers would never believe this because they felt he "told it like it is" and he would say politically incorrect things that other politicians never dared and that he was speaking their language. And President Elect Trump's admonishment of the media made his fans think they were the ones lying about him. Blind Trust.
Trumpsters don't care that he has no government experience. In fact, they view that as an asset: the total outsider. Never mind the fact that he has influenced, or worked with politicians for decades to bolster his businesses, or hired illegal immigrants to build his buildings, or taken his factories overseas, or stiffed many contractors and workers, or bankrupted four of his casinos. They don't care. He said he was their voice. They would rather take a chance on the unknown than stick with the status quo. Blind Trust.
As for Trump's promise to be the "law and order" candidate, they see that as someone who will support the police and put down rebellions from Black Lives Matter activists as well as bring back "stop and frisk" policies which is basically racial profiling. Despite Trump's outreach to the inner city communities saying how he will improve conditions (without specifics except for school choice), his followers believe he will keep them safe from minority uprisings. Ironically, his election has sparked spontaneous protests across the nation. Blind Trust.
When the incriminating Access Hollywood tape came out that many thought would finally derail Trump's candidacy, the President Elect did something he hadn't done the entire campaign: apologize. He also dismissed his comments of being able to grope women as "locker room talk". His male supporters forgave him immediately. His female fans took a little longer but then they said Trump had repented and when the Director of the FBI came out 11 days before the election and said there were possibly more emails of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's to explore they switched back to their hero again. Never mind that it turned out to be nothing and James Comey found her not guilty again, the damage had been done. The dreams of having the first woman president were thwarted. Blind Trust.
Some of these Trumpsters are the ones that candidate Barack Obama once said "clinged to their guns and religion." We can't underestimate the Evangelical Christian voters who are pro-lifers and Second Amendment folks. They were strong Trump supporters and he campaigned hard for their votes. Whether he will keep his promises to them remains to be seen. Blind Trust.
This is what brought us Donald J. Trump: Blind Trust. Blindness to the truth, blindness to his divisiveness, blindness to his inexperience, blindness to his narcissism, blindness to his vindictiveness, blindness to the dangerous rhetoric, blindness to his misogyny, blindness to his ties to the white nationalists and racists of the alt-right, blindness to his dangerous economic policies that will benefit the wealthy and create huge deficits that may take us back into a recession, blindness to his Russian ties, and blindness to the conflicts of interest he will have between running the country and supporting his world wide businesses (blindly trusted to his children.)
We must never dismiss the angst and legitimate economic concerns of his rust belt supporters. That was something both parties are responsible for. But we have to do a better job of opening their eyes and uniting our country for all of our citizens. While Trump has called them the "silent majority", I don't believe that is true. Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote by close to 1 million. And 46% of the nation did not vote at all. But we must pay attention to the needs of all citizens and while I am skeptical that the President Elect can help these folks I will support him in areas of common interest as infrastructure building and LGBT causes and whatever else may benefit the country. But for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and that is happening now all over the country as millions are mobilizing and coming up with plans on how to oppose our new president if the need arises.
One thing I know is that we need a free and open press that must continue to report the TRUTH. We can no longer to allow Blind Trust to rule the day. We shall know the TRUTH and the TRUTH shall set us free. I for one, am holding onto that hope.