In my local community, I’ve heard many explanations, often seasoned with a teaspoon of blame, on how and why Donald Trump prevailed in this week’s presidential election.
White people elected Trump!
Or, men elected Trump!
Or, small-town and rural America defeated the big cities.
Or even, less-educated voters — those without a college degree — elected Trump.
In my opinion, it is more accurate to say that the neglected, aggrieved working class revolted against the Democratic Party and against the perceived elites. The working class AND the middle class! The dividing line between working class and middle class these days is about as thin as a dollar bill.
The working-class vote that elected Trump is mostly white, it is true. But it is not exclusively male. Many working-class women, as well as working-class men, voted for Trump. And many college-educated men who do not hold prestigious, high-paying jobs, voted for Trump as well. Call them working class or middle class. What’s the difference?
Bernie Sanders had it right. The Democratic Party cannot turn its back on working class voters. They should be our voters! Shame on the Democratic Party if it allows Republican candidates to win the allegiance of the working class.
It was the revolt of the working class and the middle class, male and female, high school educated and college educated. And, when we drill down a little deeper into the election results, I suspect we will find that a significant number of working class black men voted the same way as working class white men.
The revolt of the working class, of whatever gender or race, added to traditional suburban Republican voters, made Donald Trump president.
Also let the record show that the 2016 general election was a low-turnout election. When turnout is high, Democrats can win; when turnout is low, Republicans win. Nothing new or surprising about that!
Some working-class folks who never voted before turned out this year. A few women and men who might have voted for Hillary Clinton, or would have voted for some other Democratic candidate, simply stayed home. Similarly, minority voters didn’t turn out for Hillary in quite the numbers that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. At least a few younger voters who were inspired by Bernie Sanders also stayed home, or perhaps voted for the Libertarian or Green party candidates.
Every vote counts. Every Democratic voter who decided to stay home enabled the revolt of the working class and the middle class to put Donald Trump over the top in the electoral vote.
The working class has made it clear that they are angry and worried. Donald Trump is the president-elect.
What will the Democratic Party do now?
— John Hayden