Why the Political Establishment Fails to Understand Trump Supporters
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By John Ubaldi
Contributor, In Homeland Security
Now that the first 100 days of the turbulent, unorthodox Trump administration have passed, there is one thing that still perplexes the political establishment. Why did so many Americans vote for and continue to support Donald Trump?
To understand the reasons behind why people support Trump, you must first look at the election from those citizens’ perspective, rather than any partisan viewpoint.
For years, we heard that the United States needed a third party to challenge the status quo of the two-party system controlled by the Democrats and Republicans. What we witnessed during the 2016 presidential campaign was Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party.
The Media and Political Establishment Do Not Understand the Electorate
What many people in the media and the political establishment fail to understand is that they paint Trump supporters with a broad stroke. They lump all Trump supporters into one category and often with despicable labels, such as racists or misogynists.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) added to this narrative during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Warren said that Trump was able to “tap into” a deep-seated anger felt by low- and middle-income voters, who blame their conditions on ethnic and religious minorities.
“Part of it is an ugly stew of racism,” Warren said. “Part of it is Donald Trump tapped into anger. He got [it] that people are deeply angry.”
Last month, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton blamed her loss in part on the impact that misogyny had on the election. The Washington Times reported that at the Women in the World Conference in New York, Clinton blamed misogyny for her loss.
“I’m currently writing a book where I spend a lot of time wrestling with this,” Clinton noted. “As you might guess, I’ve thought about it more than once. I don’t know that there is one answer. It is fair to say that certainly misogyny played a role. That just has to be admitted.”
Neither Clinton nor Warren understood why Americans who voted twice for Barack Obama would then cast their ballots for Trump. Nor did they understand the anger directed at the political establishment.
Trump Voters Rebelling at Washington’s Establishment
The middle class is angry, but not in the way Clinton or anyone in Washington or the media can understand. They are angry because they see their lives and their families’ lives stagnating at the expense of the Washington establishment.
Many of the voters whom Warren derides as racists voted twice for Obama. However, they also felt everyone else has gotten ahead at their expense.
The Democratic Party nominated a candidate who was out of touch with ordinary Americans. Clinton routinely vacations in Martha’s Vineyard and is paid over $225,000 to give speeches to Wall Street bankers. She was also enmeshed in a scandal over her use of a personal email server that contained some classified documents.
Many middle-class Americans believe that if they were caught up in this type of scandal like Clinton and her key aides, they would go to prison. But the Washington establishment can get away with acts that the middle class cannot.
The Economy Is the Real Concern of Voters
What was the real reason why so many in the middle class voted for Donald Trump? The answer is the economy.
In Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – and in many rural counties – voters who had not cast ballots for a Republican in decades heavily broke their traditional party links to vote for Trump. They continue to support him because he speaks to them, not at them.
These middle-class people feel alienated in their own country. Far too often, Washington has promised to make their lives better. Instead, the middle class experiences foreclosures, job losses and closed factories as jobs go overseas. All they are left with are unfulfilled promises of better jobs and better health care.
Rising Health Care Costs Affect Middle Class Health
The current health care debate is a prime example. The argument centers around coverage for those with limited means to afford it. This is a debate worth having. President Obama promised Americans that under the Affordable Care Act, they could keep their doctors, retain their medical plans and reduce their health care costs.
Instead, many Americans faced escalating costs of health care premiums and deductibles. They also paid for health care insurance they cannot afford to use.
Health care costs are rising but wages have been stagnating for decades. People are losing their jobs, especially in rural America.
Trump supporters haven’t embraced Republican ideology; they just want their concerns to be heard. These voters feel marginalized and blame illegal immigrants and other foreigners for their plight. They feel that their values are degraded in favor of the elite establishments on both coasts.
Trump found the way to reassure these voters that their economic situations would change. Does anyone still wonder why they voted and still support Trump?