Donald Trump won with a message of hope and change. Ironic as that sounds, that was his message: “Make America great again” is really a rewording of President Obama’s message that carried him to the White House twice. The white, blue-collar men and women voted for Trump because they felt a sense of betrayal by President Obama whom they view as foreign – not at all like them, in skin color, in education, manner or values.
It is clear from the election results that the elites of both parties, the media, pollsters, and the educated middle class, including myself, have deeply and continually underestimated Donald Trump.
The Republican elites failed to hear the voices and concerns of lower middle class whites with strong religious values. The Republican leadership had used this group’s votes, pushing the anti-abortion button to win previous elections. Trump’s winning of the Republican primaries demonstrates the distrust his supporters had toward the Republican leadership who had manipulated them in the past.
Hillary Clinton had also made the mistake of calling half of Trump’s supporters “the deplorables”, which did nothing to win their vote. She and the rest of the Democratic Party, who once saw this group of voters as the backbone of the Democrats, had ignored and forgotten them years before. Trump’s supporters were invisible to her.
Progressive support for abortion and gay marriage attacked the religious values of this group. What had once been seen as sinful now was viewed as acceptable. This group of rural workers refused to accept Clinton and her values and not only rejected her at the polls, but came out in massive numbers to elect their hero, Donald Trump. We all had missed the fact that the white working class felt their needs had been ignored while the government aided immigrants instead.
We had done our homework: Read editorials, researched the electorate, and perused the polls. We were appalled at how much of a bully Donald Trump was. We failed to understand Trump’s intuitive genius with the masses.
We were too fooled by his vulgarities, his prejudices, his ignorance, his arrogance, and his lies and exaggerations to see past these faults. Trump somehow knew how to speak to the working class’ fears and concerns in ways that this silent majority could hear and appreciate. These working class conservatives were enraged at the enormous social changes brought about by Obama and the Democrats. They wanted to turn back the clock.
This silent majority felt they could trust Trump more than they could trust “lying Hillary” and the out-of-touch Democratic establishment. They were deeply motivated to vote in support of Trump.
Trump’s supporters knew that much about the U.S. government is broken and is interfering in their lives. Trump’s supporters hated government gridlock in Washington. As a result, they voted for Republicans to support Trump’s programs in Congress and to get conservative justices appointed to the Supreme Court.
Obamacare seems to have touched a raw nerve among this group. It has cost small business owners their livelihoods as medical costs have risen. To Trump’s supporters, Obamacare is symbolic of what is wrong with America – too much government meddling.
The lesson for us all is to be aware that simply by reading the news and commentary by people as educated as we are, we are in danger of missing the inarticulate and unexpressed voices and concerns that Donald Trump seems to be in tune with.
Donald Trump’s message of hope and change deeply resonated with the forgotten and ignored majority electorate of our nation. Hopefully, Trump will continue to surprise us by becoming a great president. If, however, his words are empty, and the real Trump demonstrated by his campaign and debate are the real persona, then the survival of our republic is in danger.