Thursday, November 10, 2016

November 10, 2016--How He Won

First, how did he win?

I've been hearing all day from friends--all very progressive--that as the result of the election they have lost faith in our country, our democracy. One said, "We set the clocks back an hour last weekend and yesterday we set the country back 100 years."

I said, that the true test of a democracy is how we handle differences--not feeling it is working only when we get the results we prefer. Victory is easy. The real test is how we handle defeat.

Another said, he can't believe we will now being governed by "white, male high school graduates who are racists and misogynists."

I said back to him that Trump's range of supporters was much wider than that and that if we ignore this fact, there will be further dues to pay.

We have to begin by not creating bogeymen or ignoring reality, no matter how upsetting or maddening.

The first spin from the liberal media is that Donald TRUMP was elected because, in the words of the New York Times, the "Working Class Speaks: Blue-Collar Whites Give Stinging Rebuke to Democratic Party."

This is stereotypical and at best partly true.

In the very same edition of the Times, the actual breadth of TRUMP's coalition is apparent--
  • Trump received 45 percent of college graduates' votes and 37 percent of those with graduate degrees. This is surprisingly counterintuitive.
  • He received about 50 percent of voters earning between $50,000 and $250,000. And, again surprisingly, 48 percent of those earning $250,000 or more. So much for blue-collar workers rebuking TRUMP.
  • Then, perhaps most interesting, he did much better among women and Latinos than anyone would have a right to expect. 
  • It was anticipated that he would do very poorly with both groups considering his anti-Hispanic and misogynist behavior. He got 29 percent of the Latino vote and 42 percent of the female vote. 
  • So, it is an exaggeration to say that he was elected primarily by angry white males since he received "only" 53 percent of the male vote and much of it from well educated and affluent men.
In reality, then, he was elected by a wide spectrum of voters, very much including Hispanics and women.

Thus, to understand where we find ourselves as a people it is imperative to look at the facts and from that seek ways to move forward either together or in effective opposition.

Here then is one final anecdote from one of my liberal friends who voted for Hillary--

He said that the transgender toilet flap last fall might be considered a vivid example of the problems pervading our political culture.

"Here we were learning that frustrations with governments and institutions were building among disaffiliated-feeling people who were struggling with systemic issues in their lives while we as a people became obsessed about pressure to set aside designated bathrooms, especially in schools, for transgender children. What an issue, that affected so few, to devote oneself to--tearing people apart--at a time when so many were hurting and fuming about more fundamental concerns."

He continued, sounding rueful, "Progressives especially, if we want to understand and attract the support of those who are felling left behind, need to take a close look at our propensity to engage in identity politics at the expense of not finding ways to reach out to everyone."

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