Reflections on the 2016 Election and why Trumpism won?

As a lifelong Republican, Christian-conservative, I was very enthusiastic about the 2016 election.  I saw it as a chance for conservatism to make a come-back in true Ronald Reagan style.  I started out being very jazzed about Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, they seemed young Image result for rubio and cruzand vibrant with lots of good ideas.  I also found the fact that that they were Latino exciting because the Republican party has had a problem with inclusion of minorities and I saw them as a chance to reach out to Hispanics and even African Americans.  It seemed like the dawning a new era for the Republican party.  The Republican lineup was even more racially diverse than the Democratic candidates.

THEN, along came Trump.  At first, I thought him laughable and remembered him from professional wrestling and from scenes of him saying, “You’re Fired” on The Apprentice.  I Image result for trump wrestlemaniadidn’t really think that anyone would take him seriously as a presidential candidate.  I sorely underestimated him and his gravitas.  He stumbled upon a message that resonated with lots of Americans and I was left puzzled as to why people found what he said to be appealing.

Trump’s message right out of the gate seemed aimed at Latinos.  Early on in the race, he stated that he would “build a wall” between Mexico and the United States.  My question was constantly, why did he think that Mexicans crossing the border to find work in the fields and unskilled factories presented a

Image result for trump and latinos
Latinos in Los Angeles protesting against Trump during the election.

threat to America?  I just didn’t get it!  Then, he started talking about Mexican illegal immigrants saying that they were “rapists and murders.”  This seemed troubling because the incidence of rape and murder among illegal immigrants is, in fact, much lower than that of natural born Americans, so this seemed like unfounded propaganda to me.  I was sure that people wouldn’t buy it, surely, they would see right through that ploy.  But, they didn’t, on the contrary, they ate it up and repeated it like a motto.

I figured that these statements would resonate with a small minority of racists, but that

Image result for trump and evangelicals
Evangelical leaders lay hands and pray for Trump.

mainstream White America would shun any sort of disparaging remark about Blacks and Latinos.  But, NO, it gained ground.  I first I just thought that it was racism, but it was more than that.  Lots of nice, ‘god-fearing’ folks were getting on the “trump-train” and this worried me.  It was more than simple racism, it was an issue of two competing visions of America.

Trump’s Republican America Hillary’s Democratic America
·         America for Americans (white anglo protestants)

·         White default America

·         Big Government is evil

·         Anti-immigrant, anti-diversity

·         Protectionist-isolationist policy

·         Pro-big business (they provide jobs)

·         Anti-environment – disband EPA-bad for business

·         Repeal ObamaCare and Medicare/Medicaid/social security

·         Lower taxes on upper class and businesses/corporations

·         Lower or eliminate the minimum wage

·         Against redistribution of wealth (unless referring to tax breaks for the wealthy)

·         America for Everybody (all ethnic groups)

·         A multicultural America

·         Government can help people

·         Pro-immigrant, pro-diversity

·         Free trade with equitable protections

·         Protections should be placed on big business

·         Pro-environment – clean air/water – more protections needed in some areas

·         Expand public healthcare and preserve gov’t healthcare programs / social security

·         Lower taxes on middle and working classes and raise tax on the rich and corporations

·         Raise the minimum wage to $10 or higher / people working full time need a living wage

·         In favor of some redistribution of wealth to create a social safety net

I see Trumpism as a fear-based ideology.  It appeals to white blue-collar worker that Image result for trump and fearcomes from rural America out in the heartland and the South.  Why? Well, the blue-collar adult has seen the fabric of America change a lot over his/her lifetime.  America has become a “browner” nation, suddenly he has noticed that there are lots more minorities around him than ever before.  They look different, are rather clannish and stick to themselves, they speak other languages and not English very well, they act differently with different customs, and they have different denominations and religions.  All of the sudden his community looks different than it did when he was a kid, and you know that the blue-collar guy does not deal with change well.

Image result for trump and blue collar
Here is the working-Joe, blue-collar American guy supporting Trump.

 He asks himself, “why can’t they be like us? Speak our language, English, this is America after all.  I wouldn’t go to their country and not speak their language?  Well, they don’t even worship Jesus, I saw their church and all they had was statues of Mary!  You know, some of them are Muslim.  They don’t even serve our God! Why are we letting them in here! Just look around, it’s not even our country anymore, soon they will take over.  We need to through the bums out now while we can.  Let’s build a wall.  Let’s make America great again!  That there Donald Trump is right!!!!!”

It was blue-collar America’s fear of a changing face of America that has been distilled and personified in the person of Trump.  He speaks their language and appeal to this fear-based sensibility.  I just cannot personally align myself with this way of thinking.  I see no problem with living among different ethnicities, I have all my life.  Being a native Floridian, we were are from somewhere else growing up.  We were surrounded by various kinds of Latinos who were well entrenched in the community and its institutions.  African Americans were in the mix, as were Asians of various ilks.Image result for demographic trends in the united states race

We all got along pretty well and learned to appreciate each other since no one group was dominant except for an overall sense that we were all Americans.  To me, multiculturalism is the norm. This is not so for the majority of the heartland of America. Up until recently, the White working Joe has pretty much had America to himself.  The North and Eastern coast big cities and the far West coast big cities have had diversity for a long, long time.

 As we saw, they all were Blue States, while the South and MidWest went Red.  However, what Red middle-America will soon realize in future election cycles is that America’s diversity isn’t going anywhere.  Get used to it!  America is for everybody, Black, White, Latino, Asian, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.  Demographics and birth rates do not lie, the face of America is changing. Image result for i have a dream

The White hegemony and dominance of what is considered “the default” for our nation and culture will not ONLY be represented by White America’s vision, but by a conglomeration of all races, ethnicities, religions, and people groups of the United States.  The fact is that the America of our childhood is not the America of the future.  We are a growing and changing people, we are evolving and growing into our better selves.  I have hope that MLKs dream of racial equality and appreciation will become America’s new norm, not too many decades in the future.  And if not, maybe we will evolve into a new mixed nation that is a hybridization of all of our groups’ best selves.

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