Edition: 070317 – Words: 1714 – Audio: N/A
Well, consider this. Let’s assume for a moment the last election was some sort of “perfect storm” of situational events that just turned into a political cluster f***k. First off I should qualify for those readers who will somehow interpret my meanderings here as some sort of denial of Trump’s win or hoping for someone to declare a political “offsides” and de-legitimize the election. I’ve said it more than once… Trump won and I wish HE realized that and would just focus on trying to be president. But he won’t.
Ok.. back to my theme here. Let’s keep anything about the Russians trying to intervene in our election out of our exploration here. Hillary was the favorite to win.. but she was a Clinton, and she worked for Obama, so she had a fair amount of political baggage for the Right to digest further. Add to that the Benghazi thing and “those damn emails”.. the Conservatives had no problem energizing their conspiracy theories. Then totally out of left field (or, right field, actually) Trump’s blunderbuss admonitions about what HE thinks is wrong with the country finds an audience outside the normal Right Wing… and finds an anchor with a demographic that was traditionally liberal who felt frustrated and politically ignored to the point that right or wrong, Trump represented someone who could shake up the traditions of Washington politics and break up the “elite establishment”. Trump’s bravado and pompousness and ill-experience meant nothing to a segment of voters who just wanted to “upset the political apple cart”.
In the end, Trump was just being Trump. But he entered the picture smack in the middle of the right kind of discontent that appreciated his normally-ridiculous-at-any-other-time harangues and unfounded perceptions of what needed changing in the country. But right up to the end even Trump and his campaign had a relative feeling that Hillary would win. Then the “rust belt” revolution was an unexpected element as a silent majority changed the electoral vote, forcing a vote climax not representative of the popular vote. Again, a perfect storm of political and social feelings and events within the electorate that, on both sides of the political spectrum, came as a surprise for most.
So.. can we blame Trump for winning? Nope. He just happened to be there and said the right thing at the right political moment that a segment of the voters wanted to hear, against another candidate that had a questionable image, that swayed a close vote within the electoral college that, in a rare result, did not represent a popular vote win… as in only a very few past presidential elections. Fate. Was it all just chance or someone’s grand strategy? More important, did Trump win more because Clinton reflected the same old elite.. and Trump voters reflected a “Oh who gives a shit… let’s see him upset the apple cart”? Maybe that’s what is important here… apathetic frustration.
In the end what us Americans got is two-fold. You either got what you wanted.. total chaos, random performance, embarrassing Administration… or… you got what you didn’t want.. which is “all of that”. Judging from Trump’s polls 35% like what he’s been doing. All this is not Trump’s fault. He is who he is.
In the end Trump’s base got what they voted for… educated liberal elites removed from Washington. Well, kinda. Congressional “elites’ are still there, and what few Trump appointments he has filled thus far are GOP “elites”, although grossly without political experience. Is this all about educational levels of the voters?
Hmmm… Education Levels?
One of the more sensitive demographic comparisons is that of level of education that determines a specific voter reaction one way or another. There’s nothing that perturbs rural, less traditionally educated folks as telling them, however abstractly, that they are somehow “stupid” or “not as smart as”, and don’t understand things like educated Easterners or sophisticated urbanites. But while there are indeed certain voter demographics that do trend results pertaining to education levels, it’s not a 100% application or determination of intelligencia. For example, consider our Dear President. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from The Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania. Yet it’s VERY easy to wonder how he ever made it past high school given his inability to focus on issues, inability to compose coherent speeches and general social correspondence, unable to reference accurate comparisons to historical events, balance abstract concepts, questionable social and problem solving skills, and most certainly, has difficulty playing nicely with others. This is all before you even begin to measure his mental and experiential ability to be fit for the position of president, but that’s not an academic criteria. To be sure, there are voters in this country with far more demonstrated intelligence and abilities that barely finished high school, that are far more capable in handling the job of president than him.
But this isn’t to diminish the role in being educated as being a part of self-improvement, personal achievement, personal growth, and some intellectual command in living within our social environment. It’s just that some folks seem not to improve even when going through all that education, while others can excel without going through all that.
But a bit of formal education does indeed provide certain elements of understanding the possibility that alternative and contrasting opinions do exist in the world; that thinking through contrasting possibilities and their possible ramifications, over and above emotional knee-jerk, can lead to substantive understanding and possible compromise; that there might be something more than just self in considering alternatives. Just normally, college itself takes a personal discipline and motivation to want to exceed beyond normal traditional roles of learning a trade, getting married, and raising a family. I am not in the least suggesting that people who choose this route are inferior. We all march to the beat of a different drummer. But the end result of having a higher education or not seems to formulate a (VERY) generalized perspective that educated people think “what could be” and less educated people perceive “what IS”; hope vs. reality. In essence, when you are eating well you can afford to dream about the future. When you and your family are not eating well your next meal is your reality.
So this helps to set up the current political polarity leading up to the election. You have the extreme far right that has always been in existence since the Founding Fathers (and traditionally a minority) and you have those who have been struggling all during the “globalization” years of Clinton, Bush, and Obama where the country is doing well… but those in the traditional manufacturing and fossil fuel industries have been struggling against changing market demands resulting in industry-wide closings in rural areas of the country.
So Trump comes along and loudly campaigns on the following…
- Immigration from Central America, specifically Mexico, is taking away jobs, sucking the welfare system, supporting the drug trade… and of course, rapists (“…although some of them are probably good people too”). We need to round all these people up, send them back, and build a wall to keep them out… and make Mexico pay for it. (The Implication: Foreigners are the cause for your suffering, America)
- “Unrestricted” immigration from terrorist/Muslim extremist countries must stop in order to protect our country from Islamic terrorism. (The Implication: Islamic extremists are threatening America’s survival.)
- Repeal and replace everything Obama… Obamacare, etc. (The Implication: Obama and Clinton democrats have brought you to your level of suffering, America)
- NAFTA, Trans-Pacific, and any and all trade deals passed by Obama and the Clintons are obviously all wrong. (The Implication: Democrat trade deals have obviously not worked and have brought America into this economic suffering.)
- NATO is obsolete. Member countries are not paying their fair share. (The Implication: Our tax dollars are going to foreign countries for no good reason… taking advantage of America.)
- China is a currency manipulator and must be stopped. (The Implication: China is screwing America economically.)
- Prosecute Hillary Clinton to the fullest extent of the law. (The Implication: Hillary Clinton is at the root of all that ills America and is the reason Americans are suffering.)
- Approve waterboarding as authorized torture. (The Implication: Americans are losing the war on terrorism because we can’t torture people.)
Now, decades past these kinds of campaign promises would have been dismissed as pure populist garbage as anyone with basic common sense could realize that no rich real estate baron blowhard could possibly have the inside knowledge of any of these subjects enough to make these kinds of promises just to get votes. In fact, to make most of these changes one would need the support of Congress and that is hardly a given just because this guy declares it. In fact… every one of these campaign “promises” is based on NO factual basis, no government statistical data, but happens to be handy rhetoric some voters love to hear. In fact, Trump himself, after taking office, abandoned or revised his position on a number of these promises, and others not on this list, likely due to getting the real facts once in office. Yet some of his supporters fell for these lamentations enough to vote for him.
In other words, few would have been fooled by these campaign promises in decades past. But.. things changed in 2016… when frustration spawned gullibility and harsh rhetoric became the smokescreen for the call to make America great again.. when it already was. There was no need to actually vet what Trump promised because he was so sincere that he could do anything, change anything… America’s change agent-in-chief. But it’s not his fault he got elected.
So….. the question remains… is there a desire to make a course correction? That would depend on the will of the people. The polls suggest the will of the people rests inside the 65% who doesn’t think the presidential anomaly is performing presidentially.
Carry On America.