While stunning many at first, the republican president-elect’s victory is not as shocking as it first appeared
By: Brady Coyle, Staff Writer
After the results of the American presidential election on November 8th, many, including myself, were stunned. President-elect Trump was not a notion for which a majority of Americans were prepared.
For many it took some time to sink in. For others, it still hasn’t sunk in, but it is a reality that must be faced by anyone who did not foresee a Donald J. Trump presidency. An even tougher reality to face for democrats and liberals will be that the results, while stunning at first, actually make a fair bit of sense.
The first thing to do is look at Hillary Clinton. Yes, she was undeniably one of the most qualified presidential candidates of all time. However, for a country that was crying out for change, Clinton represented no tangible shift from the status quo. Say what you will about Donald Trump; he certainly represented a shift from a conventional presidential nominee.
The Democratic Party, as a whole, is a group that must be scrutinized and wear some responsibility for Trump’s election. The Democrats lost because they took major steps away from being the party for the working class.
Trump spent much of his busy campaign schedule giving speeches in the rust belt states, promising to bring back jobs and raise employment numbers. During the general election, Clinton did not make a single appearance in Wisconsin. The Electoral College reflected this.
Why was there no visit to Wisconsin? Well, the Democratic Party, the party of the blue-collar worker, was no longer that. They took for granted that the middle class would vote for Clinton, and that they had nowhere else to go. And then suddenly they did.
Suddenly, Trump was making frequent visits to Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, promising to bring back jobs to America, and sharing tangible strategies that would allow him to do it. These visits and promises were coming only from one party.
Hillary Clinton, whose pockets had been lined with funding from fat cats on Wall Street and many other elites, spent her final campaign weeks buddying up to Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Adele. The Democrats had essentially abandoned the working class American and had turned into a party that reflected much more elitist values.
“When the left party in a system severs its bonds to working people—when it dedicates itself to the concerns of a particular slice of high-achieving affluent people—issues of work and income inequality will inevitably fade from its list of concerns,” writes Thomas Frank, in his book Listen Liberal; Or, Whatever Happened to the Party of the People?
The Democrats had become complacent in assuming that blue-collar Americans would inevitably vote for them, despite the party’s lack of dedication to them.
For many Liberals it’s difficult to overlook what Donald Trump has said and how he has acted. However, there were 63 million people who could overlook it or who agreed with him. And while there are many who will label all of these voter racists, sexists and bigots, it’s certainly not the case, for the most part.
There were blue-collar workers, abandoned by the Democrats and promised jobs by the Republican nominee. There were many traditional right-wing Republicans who would not, and could not, fathom casting a vote for Hillary Clinton. There were groups of American nationalists, who for years had been silenced and been told that they were wrong for wanting to protect American values. And then yes, there was a pocket of radical right-wingers who were encouraged and motivated by the fear mongering and racist, sexist dialogue coming out of the President-elect’s mouth.
So what should the Liberals take from this? Well, for one, name calling and labelling does not work, and continuing to do so will leave the door open for a Trump victory in 2020. But, all hope is not lost.
With Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote, a majority of the country has displayed left-leaning ideals. So how should the DNC approach 2020? The main priority is rediscovering their identity. The party that was, in its essence, formed for the people, needs to turn back into just that. The Democrats lost the vote of what once was their main demographic of support.
The Democratic Party will have to do some reflecting before preparing for the 2020 election. While Donald Trump’s inauguration later this week shouldn’t be as surprising as some found it, his success in a presidential capacity remains to be seen.