Yesterday evening I watched a documentary about Donald Trump, and why he is penetrating Democrat heartlands. Armed with a little new knowledge, I can now comment as expert!
Seriously, I was shocked at the abject poverty shown in Cleveland in particular, populated by black residents. Last time, they all turned out in droves, some for the first time, to support Obama.
Yet they feel he did nothing for them, and they do not feel Hillary will either. They have no prospects, no decent schools, no facilities and no hope.
These people should be natural Democrat voters, but some are seduced by Trump’s enjoinder, “WHAT have you got to lose?”
In their situation I might very well feel the same way. These people are not a “basket of deplorables”; they are disenchanted people with no representation.
Make a journey across the pond. It is FAR too simplistic and frankly ignorant to align Brexit with Trump. The parallel is with the rise of Corbyn ( far left) and UKIP( on the right). The problem with attributing Brexit to UKIP and a narrative of racism, is that UKIP voters made up only a fairly small minority of those who voted LEAVE.
People from traditional Labour heartlands such as Sunderland, Rochdale, Bolton, Middlesborough ignored Labour’s official position and voted LEAVE also. When questioned, these voters will not be returning to Labour in the next general election. Under years of both Conservative AND Labour administrations, they feel under represented and angry.
Britain has been through a period of strong economic growth, but it doesn’t feel like it to them. The wealth generators work in London, and it is the South East in general which has grown richer- not the rest of the country.
I work independently, have a nice house in the leafy middle class part of my town, but a 15 minute drive takes me into areas where I feel uncomfortable. We are a big University city, and that drives our local economy. People move away to work if they want a job outside the professions.
Once, not so long ago, we had the steelworks, the mines, the cutlery makers. Are all the ex-workers to be thrown on the scrapheap now that they are surplus to requirements?
We hear about how Trump’s supporters are not well educated; how Farage attracts “swivel eyed racists” ( quotation courtesy of David Cameron); how Corbynistas are militant young Trotskyists. So what? Are they to be ignored then and dismissed with a wave of the hand? In much of the highbrow media, there is disdain for those who voted for Brexit, and even more for those who were UKIP supporters, because OF COURSE we didn’t understand the issues.
There was even an attempt to subvert democracy and push for a second referendum- vote until you get it right! Democracy is a bitter pill sometimes, and “remainers” will have to swallow it and not spit it out.
In the US and the UK there is a vast disconnect between the political elite and the working poor. We sneer at these people at our peril. Those blue collar workers who lack a college education built our countries and we would do well to remember that fact.