Economic Anxiety, My Butt
Won't you sympathize with the "white working class"? Sure they voted for Trump, but they had nothing left to lose! Won't you feel their pain from their loss of jobs and income? What's wrong with you liberals? Aren't you supposed to be the 'empathy' guys?
This has pretty much been the narrative covering Donald Trump's surprise win in November, and while much of the media has began to do some of the long overdue work of vetting candidate Trump after he ascended to the White House, this zombie narrative about the 'economic pain' of the 'working class' just won't go away.
But it is a zombie narrative. Because everything about the narrative of economic anxiety being at the root of the 'white working class' voting Trump into office has been proven false. Hillary Clinton won the under-50K demo. In fact, Hillary Clinton won every demographic group except whites, and she lost nearly every white sub-demo. She and the Democrats were much better trusted on policies that would help the middle class. Barack Obama and the Democrats had rescued the American economy from the Great Recession, and Hillary Clinton offered policies ranging from a hike in the federal minimum wage to debt-free college. Donald Trump was - and is - a hothead with a messiah complex.
With all of that evidence contradicting their zombie narrative, the media still persevered. So one should not expect their narrative to suddenly change in wake of the latest news. But to the extent that facts still matter, this news really should be the final nail in this zombie narrative's coffin: the nation's median income rose to its highest level ever in 2016, reaching $59,032.
Not only that, the poverty rate fell to the pre-crisis level 12.7%, and the uninsured rate to the lowest ever at 8.8%.
Oh, and the median income for that all important white working class rose to more than $65,000 last year. In other words, the black president's final year in office was exceptionally good for the working class, and especially so for the white working class.
And yet, this venerable 'white working class' voted in droves for a man who promised to undo everything that made that progress possible.
Economic anxiety, my ass.
The white vote - especially in the crucial battleground states - massively backed Donald Trump not because they felt a loss in their economic well-being but because they perceived a loss in the privileged place for white people in American society. Trump voters saw a black president, a rising group of immigrants and people of color in leadership in government, media, entertainment, and in businesses ranging from technology to finance, as a threat to privilege they thought reserved for them not because of what they had done but because of the skin they were born in.
They saw Barack Obama as a threat to white dominance, for certain, but in some ways, they saw Hillary Clinton as an even greater threat to their internalized feelings of superiority. Hillary Clinton is a white woman who forcefully called out institutional and personal racism and white privilege. She became a race-traitor.
The "white working class" did not vote for Donald Trump because they were worried about their economic future. They voted for Donald Trump because they feared the loss of white privilege.
Like what you read? Chip in, keep us going.