Edition: 042817 – Words: 1441 – Audio: 11:27
There is a lot of discourse.. and there will be a lot of discourse in the years to come, regarding Trump’s political base and how loyal it appears to be in spite of the obvious abnormal antics of Trump himself. Now that we are a couple
days away from his first 100 days the media is already adding up the score. A poll just coming out as this is being written illustrates that at the end of his first 100 days his overall popularity is the lowest of any modern president. As a result a couple of the networks have sent their reporters to those rust belt states to query those residents who voted for Obama as democrats then shifted to Trump, to see if anyone has shifted their opinion of Trump given his low performance rating after only 100 days.
For the most part, many of these folks are sticking with the President, albeit some have some reservations. As I listened to these folks it seemed to me that there is an interesting mix of people that are simply unaware of what politics is and how government works… our President included. Now, I don’t wish to come on as some snobbish elitist know-it-all by belittling my fellow Americans who reflect opinions that lack informed background. Yes.. I have posted in this blog that I do consider the far right… those that promote racism, white entitlement, conspiracy theories, fear mongering, pure stubbornness in fact checking, Trump lovers in spite of his character, as being some level of “ignorati”. Honestly, I still hold to that, in spite of the fact that they are entitled to their own opinion as much as I am.
Yet, those rust belt folks who voted for Trump I do hold to a higher description of being from “the right”. Those folks didn’t vote “right” or “left”.. they voted for the person that sounded good given their interpretation of reality in their communities… and that person happened to be on the republican ticket. Much akin to the reason many voted for Obama not because he was black and very qualified but because he was very qualified and just happened to be black. Some of the responses I heard from the news reports ran a range from “loving to see Trump mixing things up in Washington” to “he’s not taking crap from anyone” to “I think he’s doing great!” to “He’s going to bring jobs back here.” I just scratched my head on a lot of that.
Being a humanist of sorts I can attribute a lot of current political opinion to interpretations and perceptions of where various humans find themselves, and subsequently their friends and families in the community, regarding economics and their ability to make money to live. For example, many rust belt community residents look around and see abandoned factories that once teemed with activity and employed thousands from the communities. Local businesses, now boarded up and closed all along Main Street America, once flourished and people made a decent wage to afford homes and cars and big screen TV’s. Local housing values have plummeted as people were forced to leave and move elsewhere to survive. When one is part of an environment like that it’s difficult to understand a greater picture that this is all some normal progress of both technology and globalization. We ask ourselves, what could be normal about all this unemployment and images of economic depression in once industrialized segments of our great country? Do people believe this way then look to Pied Pipers like Trump to deliver them from what they see only as their sad lot in life and not the greater picture of progress and that the nation is doing well?
Someone has failed to educate these folks in economic progress in this country.
- Some businesses have indeed gone overseas but the vast reason for the drop in manufacturing in the last couple decades is because of automation.
- Obama hasn’t been the culprit in killing (or trying to kill) the fossil fuel industries. Simply put, it’s progress. Alternative fuels.. even natural gas… employs far more people than coal and oil in this country because of natural demand for cheaper power sources. It’s market demand that’s changing things.
- Downtown businesses are closing as a result of three main reasons… less people living in the area to support such businesses.. and.. the internet itself is in direct competition with brick & mortar retail ma & pa’s. Also, the big box stores like Walmart, Home Depot, etc. have done more to destroy Main Street USA than any other single reason.
We humans are diverse creatures and that carries to our perceptions of life around us and helps to form our opinions. Of course within our society, as with any society, those humans who have achieved some level of higher education tend to approach life around them with some measure analytical and reasonable interpretation; understanding problem-solving skills as a means to survive. On the opposite end of the spectrum, many of us humans who do not share broad-life academics toward world economic theory can demonstrate preferences and skills (often not of our choosing) on dealing more with the realities of immediate survival, for themselves and their families. For example, “It’s great that E=MC2 but I have to go out and get the crops planted or the family will starve this winter. If anything or anyone gets in the way of that, my vote goes elsewhere.”
So while the rust belt folks seem to be holding steadfast for Trump at the frustration of “us” more (allegedly) worldly-trained folks, they are just interpreting their reality different from those of us who claim to see well beyond. In actuality, it’s been the responsibility of those of “us” who knew better (politicians, economists, state & federal government…) of what was happening in these rust belts areas to try and make social adjustments and educate these areas into progressive change.
Here’s the greater problem to come. As Trump continues to be himself and just muck up things with his own disassociation with reality, and his promises that won him the rust belt votes don’t come to fruition, this segment of our population is going to likely feel three things… the disappointment that Trump could do nothing to make their lives better.. second.. an embarrassment in voting for Trump to begin with because they compromised their own feelings in exchange for the false (unrealistic) hope he represented… and third… the country will be doing well in spite of their struggles, and they will feel left behind.
Right now these folks are still hopeful that Trump will come through. At the end of the next four years of his administration they will see that those abandoned factories will still be abandoned, and Main Street will still be boarded up. We help these folks to help themselves by pushing for social re-education programs that begin in their schools; to stimulate personal growth as the way to community growth; to re-invent local economies in adjusting for less traditional industry and manufacturing.
There is one other force at play with the rust belt folks. If you take a look at the people most concerned with the loss of traditional industries and local Main Street businesses you might see a trend in them being mostly baby boomers and older. I am in this age category and it’s normal for folks our age to reflect back on the good old days. When we were young I recall my folks, members of the Greatest Generation, lamenting about how much less complicated life in their day was compared to us TV generation, sex, drugs, rock & roll kids. Now we’ve reached that age… and the world around us has changed. The sights and sounds and environment that gave us comfort is passing quicker than you can say “Woodstock”. But make no mistake… our age group is still a strong political force and a huge economic market. Just look at the TV commercials. Inside three decades the commercials have gone from pushing the latest electronic computer toys to seemingly non-stop drugs to deal with aging maladies.
This super force of target marketing that has lasted for the last 70 years will begin to end as us boomers start to fade away inside the next couple presidential election cycles. Our bitching about things will stop… someday. Just be patient. Attrition will solve the Trump problem.
Carry On, America.