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Trump's Razor Thin Win: How it Came About

Protests against Trump’s victory are spreading. I am not a fan of this . It does not make me happy. He won the Electoral College vote. Yes, it’s a flawed system but it’s the one we’ve been living with for centuries. Accept it and deal with it and move on. There are reasons why he won and the ones I think are significant haven’t gotten much play in the media. Sure, he pandered to racists and xenophobes and nativists and misogynists. But others have done so and not gotten the traction with the larger electorate. No, folks, there are other elements operating here and they are important and they are critical to anyone who hopes to understand the febrile undercurrent of the American electorate. 

I, we, my friends, mostly educated, liberal, thoughtful are appalled at Trump’s language, his naked prejudice, his unthinking reactions. His special base, the one that pushed him over the top, is not. They do not care. We, we look on in horror and ask ourselves “how can anyone support this man?” They do, passionately. “But,” I, we repeat, “do you not see how crazy this is? do you not understand that we cannot have someone like this as commander-in-chief, with the nuclear codes, in negotiations with the Chinese?” They laugh and flash their T-shirts with “lock up the bitch” on them.

They hear the pundits, they see the newspaper columns but the sound that penetrates is that of intellectuals talking past them, the message that comes through is the opinion of another coastal elitist who’s been taking them for granted for decades. They hear Trump and there, they say, is a guy who just fucking gets it. His words resonate with them. He stands there, tall, wealthy, powerful, an authority figure who, they know, they know, understands them, will return their once useful lives to them.

And, you know, they’re right. The pundits have neglected them. The intellectuals look down their noses, walk past them on the street, drive through their decaying, rural towns looking for the Interstate and tsk, tsk about how America has declined. But I, we don’t stop. We go to our offices, homes, businesses and worry about what’s happening. We know that Clinton’s programs are the ones that would help these poor bastards, that the Democratic platform is geared to their pain, that the left’s economic policies are designed for boosting the working classes. But we didn’t stop. Trump did.

So we sit here at our desks, like I am at mine right now doing what I, we always do: think about the issues, analyze them and fall back into wonk mode. And the thought just won’t go away, “why didn’t they see that Trump’s policies will not bring back the jobs, that he’s a horrible human being.” But they weren’t thinking about whether his actual plans would work and they didn’t care about his personality just like I, we didn’t care about Crooked Hillary’s emails — which they thought utterly disqualified her from the presidency and made her a criminal who should be in prison.

How large is this cohort? Not that big, but it didn’t have to be. Where is this cohort? Well, all across the country but the ones that counted, the ones that ushered him into the Oval Office are in the rust belt. They’re the ones who lost their homes when the housing bubble burst, got laid off when the steel mill closed, lost their jobs when the local plant got automated. They used to be Democrats. They still should be. And if Hillary and the DNC had spoken to them instead of past them they might still be. Now they’re his and they gave him razor thin wins in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Now I, we, all of us live with what we have and we wait to see. There is one thing we can be quite sure of. Trump’s plans will not help this cohort. How long before they turn on him?

Reader Comments (2)

Well written, Arthur. Just what I would expect from an east coast professor. You did get a couple of things right, though.

November 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjerry g. dalla

"They used to be Democrats. They still should be. And if Hillary and the DNC had spoken to them instead of past them they might still be. Now they’re his and they gave him razor thin wins in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan and Wisconsin."

Amen brother arthur

PS the Kris Koback voter list purge also caused the delta.

Crosscheck in action:
Trump victory margin in Michigan: 13,107
Michigan Crosscheck purge list: 449,922

Trump victory margin in Arizona: 85,257
Arizona Crosscheck purge list: 270,824

Trump victory margin in North Carolina: 177,008
North Carolina Crosscheck purge list: 589,393

November 13, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersteve wolff

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