Voting Against Your Self-Interest – 1,430 Days And Counting until 1/20/21

 
Image credit: WYFF News 4, screen grab, YouTube

Women, coal miners and middle-class workers will live to regret November 8th

VIA Garnet News
SOURCE Ellison Walcott, Contributing Writer
Feb 20, 2017

While campaigning, Trump assumed that he would be able to govern America, the same way a CEO runs a corporation. Bark orders and the subordinates will follow them. He obviously won, because many Americans thought the same thing. Fortunately, that’s not the way our country works.

In times of severe economic hardship and shifting job markets, voters hear the voice they presume will deliver them from poverty. Despite all the reports of lawsuits, unpaid wages to workers, bankruptcies and legal allegations of sexual assault, they believed Donald Trump was their Pied Piper.

Many voters don’t realize that a president can’t create programs without Congress and an appropriation of funds. The promises of renegotiating NAFTA, building a wall, defeating ISIS, deporting immigrants, and lifting regulations so coal miners and union workers would have jobs again, were nothing more than a ploy to win votes.  Many of his stated positions will harm those who voted for him.

Why Some Voted Republican

Conservatives don’t believe in big government.  They want control of their money and believe that religion has a place in our institutions.  Until this election, they were the party of patriots and respect for family values. Trump put their party loyalty to the test and he won as they chose party over both nation and family. It is a phenomenon that we are seeing played out by the GOP in both the House and Senate. Party first. Nation second.

His pledge to eliminate spending on programs for minorities and immigrants also helped to win the overall white vote. What many supporters don’t realize is that these are the same programs that lift those in the lower income brackets out of poverty, including poor white people in “Confederate” territory living on welfare, food stamps, and inadequate healthcare.

In fact, all Americans benefit from government entitlements. It’s not just minorities and immigrants, “the 47%” that Mitt Romney spoke about in 2012.

States receive a huge percentage of their income from the federal government. Money to build infrastructure, roads, bridges, dams, funds for the fire department and F.E.M.A, support for schools, airports, TSA inspectors, HUD, Federal Parks and Medicaid all come from the Federal Government.

While economics does play a key role, social issues have been added to the mix and have hugely impacted political allegiance. Although there are Republicans who are not driven by race and religion, some are, and the party has become one where xenophobia, abortion, gay rights, and an anti-Muslim stance are central issues over finances. The Republicans broadcast to their constituents that Democrats consider themselves as the social elite when it’s actually the opposite.

Thomas Frank in his book, What’s The Matter With Kansas writes, “You vote to strike a blow against elitism and you receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes, workers have been stripped of power, and CEOs are rewarded in a manner that is beyond imagining “It’s like a French Revolution in reverse in which the workers come pouring down the street screaming more power to the aristocracy.”

The conservatives are also acting to keep Americans ignorant. The current administration is steering education in the direction of making it a privilege rather than a right.

Reuse in USA Today writes, “Founding Father Thomas Jefferson understood how abusive Republicans could succeed, if only they kept the population unenlightened, or in street vernacular blind, dumb, and stupid. Jefferson said, “I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of power.”

Why Women Voted For Trump

On Election Day, 42% of women voted for Trump.  53% of those women voters were White, 4% Black and 26% Latino. Despite the fat shaming, and the countless sexual allegations, and Trump’s blatant disrespect for women, white women voted their privilege with no concern for the people that were going to be affected most by Trump’s policies including themselves.

And now, Trump has chosen a “cabinet that is one of the most hostile in recent memory to issues affecting women. Tax credits for child care and the prospect of paid maternity leave are exceptions to a host of positions that could result in new restrictions on abortion and less access to contraception, limits on health care that disproportionately affect women and minorities and curbs on funding for domestic violence, as well as slowing the momentum toward raising the minimum wage or making progress on equal pay difficult,” Susan Chira writes in The New York Times.

Why Workers Voted For Trump

According to columnist Robert Reich, “A smaller share of working-age Americans hold jobs today than at any time in more than three decades. People are so desperate for jobs they don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want rules and regulations enforced that might cost them their livelihoods. For them, a job is precious – sometimes even more ,” than a safe workplace or safe drinking water.”

This may explain why factory workers and coal miners voted for Trump. He vowed to deregulate corporations and environmental standards. He won’t keep them, however, because he can’t.

The problem of a declining middle class is not a new concern, and the truth is there’s an industrial and technological revolution that is transforming the face of economic identity. Quitting high school and going to work in a factory is no longer a viable option.

Automated and robotic equipment requires computer skills and training. Immigrants are not taking the factory jobs, and mostly they are not moving to the middle of the country, (Trump Country) because there is no opportunity for them there.

People look for someone to blame during moments of severe struggle. The right wing narrative offers enemies in immigrants and an economic illusion that corporations will create new jobs if the rivals are conquered.

“We are in the darkest moment of America’s history, where fascism, misogyny, and hate have propelled Trump to the presidency. If we want to save this country, we will have to organize and build an agenda that addresses the issues that have propelled so many people into enough despair that they voted for Trump. It is time progressives became serious about building economic power,” writes Reich.

Why did coal country vote for Trump

Trump excelled in coal country, because he promised to “restore the coal industry to its former glory” and bring back jobs to West Virginia and Pennsylvania and slash environmental regulations on emissions. In contrast, Hillary Clinton ran on policies to invest heavily in Appalachia and convert its economy away from coal.

However, just after the inauguration, Trump signed an executive order to revive the TransCanada and Keystone Pipeline projects. He chose natural gas and oil over coal.

A recent post on the White House blog of House Joint Resolution 38 blocking a regulation in the coal industry is just another diversionary tactic to make Trump look as though he is attempting to keep his campaign promise.

The Atlantic Monthly quotes Trump telling supporters at a rally during his campaign, “Let me tell you: The miners in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, which was so great to me last week and Ohio and all over, they’re going to start to work again,” Trump said at one campaign stop. “You’re going to be proud again to be miners.”

What miners don’t know is that the industry fell because of a declining market, not because of regulations. As other types of energy grow in popularity (the wind, solar, nuclear), the demand for coal is dwindling. The cost to set up new mines is no longer economically feasible. Also, where they used to hire hundreds of workers, coal companies only employ a couple of dozens. Coal as an energy source is becoming more or less obsolete.

Why Supporters Of The Affordable Care Act Voted Against Their Own Interests

Trump vowed to scrap the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but many women, coal miners and union workers rely on the ACA, yet they cast their vote for Trump. Many didn’t believe that Trump would be able to dismantle the ACA. Or naively trusted that he wouldn’t because it would leave so many uninsured. Some voters had a hard time grasping that anyone would do anything other than what is beneficial for the greater good.

Republicans have made a habit of referring to the ACA as Obamacare, and not by the Affordable Care Act. This terminology confused some voters who didn’t realize that Obamacare and The Affordable Care Act were one and the same. They wanted to repeal Obamacare but keep the Affordable Care Act.

Despite the constant promise to repeal “Obamacare,” many voters assumed that the law wouldn’t be reversed.

The truth is Trump plans to repeal a program that saves lives and many of the people that will be impacted by its repeal  voted for him.

It’s not a new phenomenon that a good swath of American voters vote without consideration of the big picture. They get lost in keywords, like “more jobs”, “better pay,” and platitudes that haven’t an ounce of research or truth behind them. Critical thinking skills, education, respect, and intelligence are no longer prized.  They loved that Trump “tells it like it is” even when he is lying. He played to their racist, sexist and xenophobic hearts and incorporated their rage into his platform.  They lost all sight of what is best for them as they were more concerned with making sure that everyone else didn’t get theirs.

When they lose their healthcare, their jobs; when their air once again wreaks of coal dust or emissions and when those promised days of “making America great” don’t come, some will realize that they were sold a bill of goods; others will once again look for the “those who don’t look like me” to blame.  Other’s won’t survive and they won’t have anyone to blame but themselves.

 

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