Shortly after the election, a Trump whirlwind ensues bearing the question of “How” and “Why.” Photo by: Jamelle Bouie
Only 48 hours since Trump assumed the title of President-elect, a widespread Trump whirlwind hits the nation. In response to Trump’s stunning victory, protests have erupted across the nation, students have walked out of Colleges and Universities, and prominent Democrats or celebrity Democrats who have found themselves simultaneously lamenting, and galvanized by the election.
In addition, during the election and following Trump’s victory I’ve received hundreds of messages all asking the same thing: how did this happen, and what now? To answer these questions properly, it will take a series of posts—following this one—that will help explain things in further detail.
Read this article by Jamelle Bouie at Slate, comparing Trump to George Wallace, and recurrent themes: authoritarian currents are always strongest at times of disadvantage, tremendous social change, or both.
Nevertheless, I wanted to offer an abbreviated, but comprehensive statement of how we got here: Voters who have an inclination toward racism and sexism, and who also feel displaced by the economy, and the shifting color in America showed up on November 8, 2016. And, without eight years of President Obama, we would likely not be here. Distilled further, it was a matter of voters whose positions are being challenged, or may no longer see themselves in the fabric of this great nation.
That is not to say that some voters who voted for Trump simply did so as a “No” vote to Hillary Clinton. Moreover, their vote against Clinton may have directly stemmed from a traditional American apprehension to so-called Dynasties in America (i.e. Bush Family, Clinton Family, etc.).
Indeed, a vote for Trump in these cases certainly signals affirmation of the aforesaid, as well as a signal to Congress to get moving. But, interestingly, government has largely created this uprising. Where, as has been the case, government operates increasingly toward secrecy thereby the governing failing to be transparent with the governed, the voting class can only speak out—through voting—to the information readily available.
For example, the contingencies abroad have been a sustained effort by the Federal government now for four presidential terms. And, yet, the general American would likely fail at an attempt to articulate the reasons for the U.S. presence, actions, and commitment to these contingencies. Thus, misunderstandings of the contingencies abroad, coupled with a general lack of knowledge makes the voter susceptible to false, or partly false, statements regarding these contingencies. Unfortunately, President-elect Trump has openly claimed his stance will be one of less transparency.
In a similar fashion, there is disproportionate understanding and knowledge of the current economy. Many Americans are confused with globalization, and the growing trend toward a technical and service oriented economy; meanwhile, open and free trade—a previous hallmark of democracy and capitalism—is suddenly the devil’s child. It is in moments like this to remember that is still many people affected by the 2008-2009 market fallout, and some of those cities have not, and potential may never, recover from the market fallout. Thus, voters who have been displaced by the changing economy will, consequently, vote in a fashion that protects their livelihood.
On the bright side, with the election over the conversation will change. Leading up to the election, and a sizeable gripe of myself and many think-tanks, was that this cycle virtually outright ignored substantive conversation in policy. Instead, the conversation focused on facial aspects of each candidate, such as Clinton’s emails, and Trump’s businesses and attitude toward women. With the conclusion of the election, the conversation will move back to the realm of policy revealing the mostly destructive, and erroneous policies touted by Trump.
Overall, there are still many factors that will help shed light on what led to a Trump victory on November 8, 2016. One of the factors that helped boost Trump to clinching the Presidency were voters who have an inclination toward racism and sexism, and have been displaced by the changing American economy. On that same token, votes for Trump were equally a “No” vote to Clinton, and American Dynasties. But, one thing is certain: a Trump whirlwind has washed over the country.