One of the big questions in the wake of the 2016 presidential election is how long it will take for the millions of low information, working class white voters to realize that both Trump and the Republican Party played them for fools with no intention of curing the ills that they believe afflict them and their future. Succumbing to appeals to their own racism, xenophobia and nativism, these voters ultimately ignored their own best economic interest and put in office a team that will strive to give more and more to the wealthy and large corporations while shredding the social safety net and leaving these voters much worse off. Yes, in the short term they may feel smug and superior and better about themselves as they look down on blacks, Hispanics, non-whites, non-Christians, and, of course, LGBT American, but down the road they themselves will be the biggest losers. A column in the New York Times looks at this said tale of trickery and votes cast based on resentment rather than logic. Do I have sympathy for these voters? Candidly, no, none whatsoever. Given the base motives that ultimately motivated them, they deserve whatever misfortunes that may befall them. After all, it will all have been self inflicted. Here are excerpts:
Donald Trump won the Electoral College (though not the popular vote) on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Mr. Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University.Yes, the white working class is about to be betrayed.
The evidence of that coming betrayal is obvious in the choice of an array of pro-corporate, anti-labor figures for key positions. In particular, the most important story of the week — seriously, people, stop focusing on Trump Twitter — was the selection of Tom Price, an ardent opponent of Obamacare and advocate of Medicare privatization, as secretary of health and human services. This choice probably means that the Affordable Care Act is doomed — and Mr. Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters will be among the biggest losers.
The first thing you need to understand here is that Republican talk of “repeal and replace” has always been a fraud. The G.O.P. has spent six years claiming that it will come up with a replacement for Obamacare any day now; the reason it hasn’t delivered is that it can’t.
Obamacare looks the way it does because it has to: You can’t cover Americans with pre-existing conditions without requiring healthy people to sign up, and you can’t do that without subsidies to make insurance affordable.
Any replacement will either look a lot like Obamacare, or take insurance away from millions who desperately need it.
What the choice of Mr. Price suggests is that the Trump administration is, in fact, ready to see millions lose insurance. And many of those losers will be Trump supporters. . . . . we’re probably looking at more than five million Trump supporters, many of whom have chronic health problems and recently got health insurance for the first time, who just voted to make their lives nastier, more brutish, and shorter.
Why did they do it? They may not have realized that their coverage was at stake — over the course of the campaign, the news media barely covered policy at all. Or they may have believed Mr. Trump’s assurances that he would replace Obamacare with something great.
Either way, they’re about to receive a rude awakening, which will get even worse once Republicans push ahead with their plans to end Medicare as we know it, which seem to be on even though the president-elect had promised specifically that he would do no such thing.
And just in case you’re wondering, no, Mr. Trump can’t bring back the manufacturing jobs that have been lost over the past few decades. Those jobs were lost mainly to technological change, not imports, and they aren’t coming back.
There will be nothing to offset the harm workers suffer when Republicans rip up the safety net.
Will there be a political backlash, a surge of buyer’s remorse? Maybe. Certainly Democrats will be well advised to hammer Mr. Trump’s betrayal of the working class nonstop. But we do need to consider the tactics that he will use to obscure the scope of his betrayal.
One tactic, . . . will be to distract the nation with bright, shiny, trivial objects. True, this tactic will work only if news coverage is both gullible and innumerate. . . . . But judging from the coverage of the deal so far, assuming that the news media will be gullible and innumerate seems like a good bet.
And if and when the reality that workers are losing ground starts to sink in, I worry that the Trumpists will do what authoritarian governments often do to change the subject away from poor performance: go find an enemy.
Remember what I said about Trump Twitter. Even as he took a big step toward taking health insurance away from millions, Mr. Trump started ranting about taking citizenship away from flag-burners. This was not a coincidence.
The point is to keep your eye on what’s important. Millions of Americans have just been sucker-punched. They just don’t know it yet.
I always advise clients that they must put logic over emotion when making both business decisions or decisions to institute lawsuits. Following emotion may feel good, but often the result is disastrous. Trump voters chose to go with emotion as opposed to logic and reason. Now they deserve to pay a very high price.