I keep hearing these political arguments suggesting liberals need to be more supportive of the “working class.” More specifically, liberals need to better understand the plight of the white working class who voted for Donald Trump. They need to be more sensitive to the feelings, the beliefs, and the ethos of the Trump voter. The day after the election much of the post-mortem analysis concluded that elitist liberals, led by Hillary Clinton, were responsible for the voting habits of a group of Americans who felt unheard and unseen. It was this brand of liberal who needed to be responsible for the men who felt emasculated by the disappearance of job opportunities in the heartland, and the women who voted the same way because they love them, saw their hardship, and helplessly shared their plight. This lazy rural damsel-in-distress, insulting stand-by-your-man argument of voting patterns was in newscasts, think-pieces, books, and most recently I even heard remnants of it from a guest on a Pod Save America podcast earlier this week. I label this argument as lazy, because it retreated so quickly to find a face to try to explain away this devastating blow for so many Americans, and yet again fell into the trappings of white supremacy by granting such innocent power to this spiteful voting behavior, as if there weren’t other people who have felt victimized, as if there weren’t other working class people of color feeling the pain of an economic downturn and shift in industry that would leave them behind, yet didn’t feel the need to cast a vote for a known racist, homophobic, misogynist. The argument is problematic, because that vote for Trump was always known to be counterproductive as he built his campaign on lies from the very beginning. His subsequent administration continues that practice, rendering the votes of his followers a vote against, not just their interests, but their very own needs. It plays into the dilemma of identity politics because it reduces these fellow Americans to a single-minded, single-issue demographic, and the situation our nation is now dealing with is more complex than that. You and your interests are more complex than that. I understand how these statements may be deemed arrogant or insensitive, but I’m not presuming I know what all those interests might be, but we can objectively identify that the promises Trump made to win these red states during the campaign have been quite empty.
The complicated paradox of this inalienable truth suggests that while it’s your right to risk condemnation of the rest of the country with that vote, it has not come without consequence, and has jeopardized many voters like yourself in the process. In order for us to move on, many disappointed Trump voters should take ownership of that, just as liberals looking for retribution with a pendulum swing back in their favor must acknowledge a breakdown in civility and communication; it serves no one to make excuses for either analysis or to be coddled because a vote backfired. (And for good measure, it is also important to openly acknowledge the flaws of both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.) Put differently, the perceived invisibility of working class white individuals is not a fair justification for being blind to the cultural and political scourge that has been unleashed upon this nation. The response was out of proportion to that invisibility, because now with this White House, their needs are still unmet and they were used for their votes to attack other underserved groups and divide the nation. The circumstances are further exacerbated by manipulation via weaponized Russian propaganda through social media.
We are in a crisis, and now is the time to extend the olive branch; please don’t argue that we’re mocking you for pointing out these facts. We are not your enemies, and the guy you voted for is throwing you under the economic bus with his own foot on the gas pedal…as he comes closer to driving the nation’s reputation off a cliff. With our tumbling towards potential war with North Korea, this is not hyperbolic mockery, this is a cry for help! This is identifying the direct consequence of empowering Trump out of frustration, anger, or one’s perceived invisibility, while nearly a year later, still feeling just as hopeless, and now, because of it, thousands of people may quite literally disappear in the ashes of a nuclear fallout.
Trump has made decisions or taken steps that negatively impact nearly everyone (this list is not exhaustive):
- The Sick & Uninsured – the numerous attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, attempting to take away health insurance from millions of Americans
- Underserved Communities – see above, but also empty promises, tax reform that benefits the wealthy and corporations, lies about jobs coming back to underserved areas, only to have them dissolve months later
- Women – removing requirement for insurance coverage for birth control; not to mention his own improprieties and claims of sexual harassment and assault; rollback of standards for dealing with campus rape and sexual assault; not to mention the many derogatory ways in which he has spoken about and to women
- People of Color – his pattern of attacks on numerous people of color, from the Khans, the Gold Star family during the campaign to kneeling NFL players now, his tepid and thus far ineffective response to devastation in Puerto Rico and his fight with the mayor of San Juan, calling Mexicans rapists and drug dealers, and declaring “very fine people on both sides” after Charlottesville, Virginia was under siege by Nazis and white supremacists
- Immigrants – his travel ban, the border wall, which Mexico most certainly is not paying for, his move to end DACA
- The LGBTQ Community – his Justice Department’s repeal of protections for transgender individuals in the workplace; the transgender military ban, and there have been talks that Trump has planned an executive order on “religious freedom” to block protections against anti-LGBTQ discrimination
They say the way to appeal to people who feel they disagree with you is to show how much you are alike, so I suppose some solace comes in realizing we have all been screwed over by this administration. It’s ok to admit that. It’s also ok to rally behind that to change our future by working together to rebuild an America based on equality that doesn’t pit us against each other. How do you know you have made America great again, unless you fabricate a narrative that has one group climbing over another? That is not greatness when it is sown on the backs of so many, and it never has been. There can be no equality when the 1% continue to take an even greater percentage of the majority of the world’s wealth and resources as we all continue to fight for what’s left, all while Trump becomes more unhinged with each passing day. I know this may sting a little, but I’m just trying to say, as he fans the flames of the worst versions of ourselves by making this a fight of “us against them,” it’s time we mobilize our votes to show that it’s actually “US against him.”
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place