Donald Trump and the New Rise of the American Blue Collar White Voter

Donald Trump just won the election. Besides the shock and unease, I have been filled with a few competing thoughts since the voting data showed that the election was going Donald’s way around 8:15 last night. First and foremost I am disappointed in my fellow Americans. As turnout data ossifies in the coming weeks, I’m sure I will have many things to say about the story those numbers tell.

So far the numbers that stick out most to me show that only 1/3 of the population voted (roughly 1/3 is too young to vote, but aware of the definition of bullying since they are all snowflakes, so one can hope that they grow up to resist a bully like Donald). That means that since Donald won about half of the voters, roughly 3/4 of the eligible population thought it either didn’t matter or that they’d prefer Donald Trump as president.

Each person has a right to their say, and while I flirt with elitist mentalities about who should vote, if we hope to form a more perfect union, we must give each American the chance to cast a meaningful vote in elections. It is clear that the American public wants Donald Trump. Look at the map. Unless you live in NYC, DC, Philly, or a city in CA, your area voted for Donald. From the campaign staffers I’ve talked to, it seems like most of the targeted voters came out in droves, so the election wasn’t lost by Hillary, it was won by Donald.

I keep wondering what the world would be like if the baby boomers had focused more on teaching people how to read, or instituted minimum wages that rose with the dollar, or taken a little less acid. Instead they have consistently spent many times more money than they had so they could falsely inflate their lifestyle. This cycle of over-consumption and bust is unhealthy, which helps explain why we have a gluttonously capitalistic and misogynistic president, again.

However, once I start to quaff that bottle of gripe juice,  I find myself unwilling to blame someone else. I am a white cis Millennial American man, and though I worked to help elect Hillary and wish to have the opportunity to vote for women and people of color in many future elections, I am part of the problem.

It’s hard to quantify the blinders I believe have been placed on me because of my privilege – I have had so many opportunities, and receive biased positive outcomes so often that no matter how “woke” I am or become, I will never be able to absorb what the world feels like from the perspective of either a white rust belt septuagenarian or an immigrant.  I would like to think that I am an ally to women, people of color, and anyone less fortunate than I, and when faced with opportunities to help others I try to do my level best to do those things.

It’s obvious that the anger, frustration, and hopelessness of the rust belt is a real thing. What solutions can we come up with to address that? If towns and lifestyles are dying and industry has left, what can we do to fix that and bring renewed hope to people outside of large cities? Wisconsin voted for Donald because Hillary never visited it once during her campaign. She took it for granted, but the voters there roared to life and insisted that they have a say.

Perhaps as a result of privilege, I tend to be optimistic, so I resist the urge to lash out in superlatives and hyperbole about what evils that man may do. Either we live in a democracy or we do not, and seeing as I want to respect the institutions that I believe give us the power and prestige that we have, I would like to find some way to help empower our legislators to help the poeple who need it.

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