Hate and Fear Overcomes
November 9, 2016, was the capstone on an already unbelievable year of total fuckery. Prince died, Muhammad Ali died, Harambe got shot, Bowie died, the Cleveland Cavilers bested one of the best teams in NBA history to win the NBA Title, the Chicago Cubs won the “freaking” World Series, and America elected its first orange-American Internet Troll to the highest office in the land. Yes, it is still surreal to say that Donald Trump is the next President of the United States. This election was upset of the decade. Trump won thanks to the Electoral College, a system that no one fully understands but that exists anyway – kind of like male nipples, we know they serve no purpose, but we still have them.
Pundits, political scientists, historians, and journalists alike will over analyze this election win for decades to come. The stunning victory over the Clinton Dynasty has divided an already fractured nation. Many liberal pundits and talking heads have blamed low black voter turnout, millennials, the FBI, poor rural white people, and even pro-wrestling for Mrs. Clinton’s loss.
But what really made Trump victorious? What will Americans be subjected to in this brave new world called ‘the Trump era?
While Trump’s rise to the highest office in the land can be attributed to many things, first and foremost, we must be honest that Trump ran a campaign rooted deeply in misogyny, racism, and xenophobia. Haters helped him win. For example, he was endorsed by many white supremacist groups including the infamous Ku Klux Klan. In fact, Trump went full on with white nationalist language. Additionally, his campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again” was thinly veiled code for “Make America White Again.” His whole campaign harkened back to the days of Jim Crow when the women and people of color knew their place and kept their mouths closed.
It would be simple to conclude that Trump’s win was due entirely to bigotry. I think it is a bit more complicated than that. Trump’s exit polls saw him gain a relatively large portion of women, Latinx, and Asians voters. Wealthy voters gave their votes to the Donald also, and I’m sure that has something to do with more tax cuts and further financial deregulation. When it’s broken down by gender and race, Trump won 63% of the white male vote and 53% of the white female vote. Hillary Clinton lost white women to a man who bragged about kissing women out of the blue and grabbing them by their crotches. (Trump, I’m sure that’s not that way seduction it works, but sexual assault works that way, though.)
Ultimately, the Trump coalition was made up of almost entirely of white folks from different class backgrounds. For some strange reason, he only got 8% of the black vote. (sorry Democratic Party, you can’t blame us for this one). I guess Kanye West, Stacy Dash, Ben Carson, Omarosa, and Floyd Mayweather were his only black supporters. Although, Kanye admitted he didn’t actually vote in the election. I think Kanye has more pressing issues to worry about at the moment.
One must give Trump credit for his cleverness. He did tap into a populist anger that has been with the country since the decline of blue-collar factory work starting in the 1970s. White middle-aged people without a college degree are at-risk for suicide, depression, and drug abuse.
Economic anxiety from the Great Recession has hindered and crippled small-town America for years. Many people see very little hope for a better tomorrow. Donald Trump, the constant showman and con artist he is, did something that Mrs. Clinton failed to do. He sold folks a dream. Many Americans never saw HRC as trustworthy. Her husband’s support for NAFTA and her support of TTP didn’t help win over many people in the rust belt or small coal mining mountain towns. Trump tapped into those fears and channeled that into rage and hatred towards the non-white other, e.g., Mexicans immigrants, Muslims, evil Chinese businessmen, and ‘the blacks.’ Or maybe these Trump supporters were the white voters LBJ mentioned the Democratic Party had lost for a generation after passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Thus, they would never vote for someone like Hillary Clinton anyway.
Or maybe it all happened just as the filmmaker and cultural critic Michael Moore predicted it would in his post back in July 2016.
In a post from late summer, I proposed a similar theory the one Michael Moore expanded upon. Thinking about the Dark Knight’s Joker, played brilliantly by the deceased Heath Ledger, I quoted Michael Caine’s, Alfred: “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” I knew this was what Donald Trump represented to the American and global political system. He was neither a conservative republican nor neo-liberal democrat. I ended that post with terrifying thought of how many people would want to stand by his side and watch the world burn with him.
We see this week that Trump’s transition team is in disarray and some of his cabinet picks have been highly questionable. Nevertheless, millions of American’s wanted to see ‘the Donald Runs the Country into the Ground’ reality TV show for at least the next four years. Some called it the Jesse Ventura effect.
“Remember back in the ‘90s when the people of Minnesota elected a professional wrestler as their governor? They didn’t do this because they’re stupid or thought that Jesse Ventura was some sort of statesman or political intellectual. They did so just because they could. Minnesota is one of the smartest states in the country. It is also filled with people who have a dark sense of humor — and voting for Ventura was their version of a good practical joke on a sick political system. This is going to happen again with Trump.”