This past Wednesday morning, a good friend who lives in a very conservative part of New Jersey texted me, “There are more Trump signs in my neighborhood than before the election!” I replied, “That’s telling. Dems just don’t understand the monster that they helped create.” My friend responded, “Yep.”
What both my friend and I understood is that many people who voted for Donald Trump didn’t advertise their support because they realized that much of his rhetoric was racist, sexist, xenophobic, and generally offensive. At the same time, those same voters could not bring themselves to vote for Hillary Clinton, who represented the status quo, hypocrisy, and corruption.
The New York Times published a very detailed exit poll, and among other things, it showed that people who rejected the status quo and/or did not trust the system voted for Trump. The findings showed that 69% who said the “direction of the country was seriously off track” voted for Trump; 79% who said “the economy was poor” voted for Trump; 63% who said “life would be worse for next generation of Americans” voted for Trump; 77% who said that “they were angry at the way the government was operating” voted for Trump; and 83% who said that “the most important quality in candidate was the ability to bring change” voted for Trump.
Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post summed up the exit polls best by saying, “Trump’s victory should be in no way interpreted as a vote of confidence in him or his capacity to do the job. Less than 4 in 10 voters (38 percent) had a favorable opinion of him. Only 1 in 3 said he was ‘honest and trustworthy.’ Thirty-eight percent said he was ‘qualified’ to be president. Thirty-five percent said he has the ‘temperament to serve effectively as president.’ How can a candidate win with numbers like these? Because the desire for change was so great that it overrode all of the doubts — or at least many of the doubts — people had about Trump.”
What no exit polls show is how many would have voted for Bernie Sanders over Trump, but the general consensus seems to be that Sanders would have defeated Trump; in fact, at least one pre-election poll indicated that Bernie would have won in a landslide. Sanders, like Trump, stood for change and railed against the machine, but without all of the ugliness. However, the Democratic overlords preferred to promote the distrusted and disliked Clinton to protect their own special interests. This involved the DNC colluding with the corporate media, and even promoting Trump early in the race, when he was still considered unelectable.
Who knows how many Bernie supporters voted for Trump or another candidate? A good number of them may have simply not voted at all. When the best thing that you can say about your candidate is that she is not Donald Trump, you can hardly expect people to be inspired. Percentage wise, the turnout for this presidential election was the lowest since 1996, with Clinton receiving roughly 10 million fewer votes than Barack Obama did in 2008 and six million fewer than Obama in 2012.
Of course, there are those who saw Clinton as perfectly fine candidate and want to blame third-party voters for Trump’s victory. Those solely blaming the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, clearly struggle with math. Had all of Stein’s votes gone to Clinton, it would have changed the outcomes in only two states, Wisconsin and Michigan, and that would have not been enough for Clinton victory. Those who want to blame the Green Party and Libertarians, collectively, clearly do not understand ideology – the two parties could not be further apart and would never vote for the same candidate en masse. The whole concept of holding other parties responsible for not electing shitty Democratic candidates displays a sense of entitlement that could only belong to a party that is clearly out of touch.
Other Democrats would like to attribute Trump’s win to racism and xenophobia, but the exit-poll data does not necessarily confirm this conclusion. The Washington Post compared the 2016 results with 2012 and reported that “Trump actually performed slightly worse among white voters than Mitt Romney did. He did, however, perform better than Romney among blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans, making it more difficult to claim that racial resentment was the dominant factor explaining Trump’s support nationally.” The Guardian published a similar report that focused on the Latino vote, saying “They (exit polls) show that Clinton took 65% of the Latino vote, down from Barack Obama’s 71% in 2012, while Trump’s 29% share was actually two points up on Mitt Romney.”
There is no denying that white voters favored Trump while non-whites did not. There is no denying that the majority of anti-immigration voters supported Trump. But there is also no denying that politicians often use “divide and conquer” tactics and pray on people’s fear to deflect blame for their own misdeeds. This is especially true when it comes to economic issues; politicians will almost always point the finger at some group of people rather than the unjust capitalistic, imperialistic system. Those in power have ingrained this type of thinking into our heads with constant propaganda since birth.
There is an irony here, too. While Democrats smugly call Trump people racists and bigots, Clinton and the Democratic Party have supported racism, colonialism, and apartheid all over the World for years. How many Democrats support Black Lives Matter, especially the white ones? What have Dems done for the people of Flint? What have they done to stop the executions in our streets by cops? How many call out for the end of mass incarceration? How many protest Columbus Day or the racial slur that is the nickname of the NFL team in our nation’s capital? How many stand up for all of the brown people murdered in the Middle East? How many support freedom for Palestine? How many have protested Obama’s constant drone strikes and deportations? How many protest our country’s alliances with brutal and repressive regimes, such as Saudi Arabia? How many refuse to stand with the hands on their hearts during the national anthem at sporting events, like ancient Romans saluting in the Coliseum? How many dare to say the military is not fighting for our freedom, but rather the interests of the wealthy? The answers to all of these questions are either “not many” or “not much!”
There is no doubt that some Trump supporters are bigots and racists, but many Democrats are just as guilty — they just manage to do it quietly. There is a whole level of racism and bigotry in this country that is “acceptable,” and Dems have ownership of that as much as anyone else.
Democrats can whine about Trump and all of his awfulness all they want, but it is difficult for true progressives to take them seriously when they stand for so little. Despite their smugness, Democrats are complicit in much of the injustice and misery around the World, and their failure to acknowledge this, combined with the economic unfairness that they support, makes even further extremes possible. This country continues to shift further to the right, toward fascism, and the Democrats are doing absolutely nothing to stop it. They are part of the problem, not the solution.