Tori Sanders, in her recent article, “Hate Didn’t Elect Donald Trump, People Did”, suggests “The results of [the presidential election] did not expose a red shout of racism but [rather] a red shout for help.”
She goes on to argue that “To write this off as simple racism is to ignore the very real and very heartbreaking struggles small town America faces.” Sanders then concludes: “Even if you do not believe Trump will follow through on his promises, he was still one of the few politicians who focused … on rural communities and said “I see you, I hear you and I want to help you… [I will not ignore you. I will not insult you]. In response, these voters came out for the candidate who [listened to them] and offered to “make America great again.”
With my family background being closer to what Sanders describes than not, I understand and I agree. If this election proves anything it is this: Working-class Americans have been mocked, maligned, and forgotten long enough. They are fed up and they went to the voting booth last week and said so.
This election’s “red state” vote had little to do with racism or any phobias. The message we heard last week was, rather, a clear and simple plea from the average blue-collar, small-town mother and father for Washington and other big-city elites to stop belittling, disparaging and vilifying them and their families. It was their way of telling the “know-it-alls”; the politicians and pundits, to stop flying over and driving past their gutted factories and dying towns and pretending they don’t exist and do not matter. They simply wanted the “smarter and more educated” city folks to know that they are tired of insults and that the condescension needs to stop. They voted for Trump because someone finally appeared to care and listen.
They voted for Trump because he seemed to get it. Finally, someone seemed to understand that the average guy: the plumber, the carpenter, the truck driver, the farmer — the good and decent family man from Dewey, Oklahoma, and from Hillsdale, Michigan — is the one who is now suffering from more cultural disrespect than perhaps anyone else in all the country.
They voted for Trump because they’re sick and tired of being laughed at. They voted for Trump because they have, frankly, “had it” with being labeled intolerable by those who claim to be tolerant. They voted for Trump because they think it’s deplorable that they are the ones being called “deplorables.”They voted for Trump because they can’t turn on the TV, listen to the radio or read the news without some highbrow elitist in the mainstream media calling them “low-information,” “uneducated white males” who are too dumb to know what’s best for them and too stupid to see that Washington knows best. They voted for Trump because all they want is to have a job, get some respect, pick up a paycheck, go to church, raise their kids and be left alone.
This is why. This is the explanation.
Hate had nothing to do with it. Love for their farms and their families, their towns and their villages, their kids, their community and, yes, even their factories did. And the more protests these honest and honorable people now see in the streets of New York City and on the campuses of the ivory tower — protests they rightly see as a sanctimonious charade of “inclusion” that shamelessly seeks to “exclude” them: their voice, their vote, their values, and their very existence — the more these hardworking men and women are going to realize they were right all along when they went to the ballot box.
This is why they voted for Trump.
Dr. Everett Piper is president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.