Like a lot of other liberals I spent a good part of 2017 reading books in an effort to understand how Trump won. Why would anyone from the Rust Belt or Appalachia vote for him when he was such an obvious fraud who was going to do nothing for the white workers who were left behind in this new industrial revolution? The answer is that Trump reinforced their belief that they were victims and he is trying to do it again. Let’s explore.
Most of these people are Christians. (In the case of the Rust Belt the right wing is willing to count Catholics as Christians. I know they are but Bubba doesn’t usually consider them to be.) There is considerable anti-Semitism among Trump’s base but that only gets an occasional shout out from Team Trump because the Republicans need some of their Jewish financiers and Jews are not the most advantageous target at the moment.
Islam is the target religion of choice. Most Trump supporters know next to nothing of Islam and they have a natural fear/hatred of anything they are ignorant of. Difficult as it sometimes is to believe America is actually a secular nation. The reality is that Christianity is and has always been the largest religion practiced in America by a wide margin. Somehow the extreme right (which Trump hijacked after they hijacked the GOP) has convinced Christians that they are being persecuted in America. Furthermore they have convinced enough of their base that Muslims are invading with the goal of imposing Sharia Law in America. Right wing mythology professes that Sharia Law is already practiced in two American communities. That was long ago debunked and in fact one of the communities cited doesn’t even exist.
In right wing mythology all Mexicans seeking to come to America are drug dealing murderers and rapists who are members of MS-13. Interestingly MS-13 is not a native Mexican gang but was a U.S. export to Mexico. There is no question that some drugs come into the United States from Mexico but very little of it comes across the border carried by people on foot. Most drugs cross the border at regular portals via automobiles or airplanes. The exchange good is guns. Perhaps Mexico should build a wall to keep American guns out of their country.
Speaking of guns, if I were concerned about a government taking guns away I’d look at history and be very suspect of a fascist, tyrannical and authoritarian government. If they are successful in neutralizing enough minority groups at what point would a Trump administration disarm citizens who were beginning to wake up?
First Trump and the Republicans were faced with their almost total failure to do anything they promised. Then they passed the Trump Tower Tax Cut. It really doesn’t help their base but they thought they could spin it that way long enough to get through the mid-terms and perhaps even 2020. They were incorrect.
Bubba really doesn’t understand the impact of “conservative” judges and regulation reform/obstruction doesn’t help Joe Lunchbucket; (unbeknownst to him it will actually hurt him in the long run).
Trump went back to his political beginnings and prejudice. He made his first significant political impact when he became the poster boy/mouthpiece for the birther movement; the foundation of which is racism. I continue to believe that if Barack Obama were white we would not have had the Tea Party. Who can forget his portrayal of Mexicans as murders and rapist during his announcement speech in 2015?
Many in Trump’s base have become victims of the opioid crisis or have loved ones that have. Trump and the Republicans are incorrectly, but effectively, conflating the opioid crisis and illegal drugs coming across the border. The main cause of the opioid crisis is the overprescribing and inappropriate prescribing of pain killing drugs to patients many of whom were injured on the job. Most prescribing medical professionals are trying to do the right thing for their patients but the drug companies have given them false information as to the proper uses and safety of the drugs. It is cheaper for employers to drug their employee up to the point that they can temporarily work through the pain, get them back to work and later terminate them for another reason and with that termination goes their health care coverage. Faced with the loss of income and insurance Bubba can no longer afford a doctor or a prescription but the pain hasn’t (and won’t) go away. He then turns to the less expensive and no paperwork required street drugs which may or may not have come from Mexico. Mexicans are portrayed as the villain when Republicans tell the story; the reality is that lax enforcement of laws violated by GOP financiers is the real root problem.
Here are two dirty little secrets the administration is not letting you in on. Crops are rotting in the fields due to a shortage of labor. That means your food prices will go up. More importantly we will run short of labor in general in the not that distant future. Immigration has been part of America’s “economic jet fuel” throughout our history. In what seem to be an economic paradox, unemployment is low while wage growth is almost non-existent. (I could go on about that but that is for another day and another article.) The bottom line is that we will soon need immigrants of working age to fill out our labor force.
When people think they are victims and a leader convinces them that he understands them they are capable of doing things outside their long-term self-interest. Think of 1930’s Europe. Here is the scary part; Trump’s strategy just might work.
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