Backlash of the Betrayed and Belittled

I read this most stimulating essay (thanks, Dan D.) that explains well the notion of the poor white and why that demographic so disproportionately supports Trump. Please read it for yourself before proceeding. There is plenty there that may bother liberals and conservatives alike, but being written by someone who has been there, it carries the weight of authenticity, a reality that most people reading this never have nor can understand.

How do I know? Easy. I have been an actual, in-the-flesh “poor white”, son of a high-school-dropout manual laborer, roaches and rats in profusion in every residence until college, no car, no air conditioning (in Texas), more hours than anyone I know today spent in public-aid offices.

I understand the article well. None of it is surprising. I’m going to help him to explain the phenomenon of lower-class white support for Trump, much as I don’t like it and won’t go along (I will not support Hillary either, in any way, shape or form).

I understand the appeal of a seeming advocate as “big” and powerful as Trump, with his stated positions and blunt smack talk, can have to many folks who see themselves, with considerable justification, as:

    * Marginalized,
    * Insulted by the powerful elites,
    * Increasingly left out of the political process in favor of narrow special interests,
    * Failed by public aid that is highly inefficient, dignity-killing and privacy-intrusive, yet
    * Often is directly seen as going to the undeserving (with some justification);
    * Betrayed by Republicans pretending to be conservative, saying one thing at home then doing another in DC
    * Told their jobs are obsolete as they are outsourced overseas,
    * Told they are irrelevant and worthless demographic anymore,
    * Belittled by powerful and well-connected Democrats, for example, that “they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion” (this is where perception is reality re: popular and political attacks on Christian faith)
    * Told to shut up and stand at the back of the line (you’ve had your turn for 200 years, nevermind you’ve been alive for a quarter of it and have reaped little of the benefits of that “turn”), while others perceived as less deserving and/or mooches get rewards,
    * And in many cases in social media and online commentaries, told to “just die off” so better (i.e., “enlightened”) people will replace them…

…all for roughly 8 years going, while having all those concerns summarily dismissed by many in the media and online.

I can put myself in “their” shoes easily, because unlike most atmospheric scientists (my dominant circle of friends and associates), I have been one of “them”. I speak from first-hand experience–the most credible possible place–about the subject.

So why, you ask, would I not support Trump? Believe it nor not, it is not due to formal education–as even some liberal friends have noted correctly, there are well-educated people who will vote for Trump. My opposition to Trump from a moral Christian perspective and for his lack of conservatism is strong, but just adds to the following.

I disfavor Trump for another facet of my background that is not common to most poor whites, and not described in this article nor “Hillbilly Elegy”: inner-city. My street smarts say, “this guy is a shyster–don’t trust him!” And I don’t trust him, any more than Hillary. A recent meme asked: “If Trump and Hillary were stranded in a boat in the middle of the ocean, who wins? America. America wins.” For sure!

“Street smarts” is not something that is measured tangibly, but allowed me to see Trump’s con game from the very start, transparently, easily–been there, seen that, nothing new. There is no fundamental difference between Trump and the guy on the corner of Harwood and Jackson selling “Rolex” watches for $20 from inside pockets of his trench coat, or the hubcap guy on Industrial Blvd. trying to convince you how badly you need his wheels. If you are vain enough to want a Rolex (and poor people can be vain, believe me), then you’re vulnerable to Mr. Trench Coat’s con. Same for the hubcap guy, if you have a car. Same for the big name from a TV show your demographic preferentially liked (Apprentice) who talks tough, takes no s__t, and lays it on the line, offering you a better life for the price of something much easier than the price of a hubcap or counterfeit Rolex: a vote. A simple, easy vote–nobody’s looking, you’re in that booth, you don’t have to let anybody know who you really voted for.

Many others besides me also see through his con, but having no other hope, shoot the dice (something we used to do in the inner city) and gamble on a vote for him regardless, because the other candidate is seen as a Goldman Sachs tool (with good justification), doesn’t give a f*** about “us”.

And that’s the reality, like it or not. I don’t like it, but I do understand it, which is one reason I am voting third-party.

Oh, and regarding one passage in the article: “If you believe as I do, you believe that the Holy Spirit works in people in a mysterious way. I recognize that a lot of secular folks may look down on that, but I’d make one important point: that not drinking, treating people well, working hard, and so forth, requires a lot of willpower when you didn’t grow up in privilege.” Yes, it does. Faith, regardless of how flawed the sinner, DOES have benefits, especially for the poor. To deny that is to deny reality.

White privilege? It does NOT exist for the poor white.


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