Examining some of the reasons WHY Trump won the White House.
Yes, the people democratically elected Donald J. Trump, but that does not take away my right to comment on the type of people who voted for him. Thus, to those who voted for the president-elect, I say this: you are against people of colour; women; disabled people; Muslims, and immigrants. You are an enabler. That was established when you (albeit, democratically) decided to tick the box voting for a man who continues to spew vile and offensive thoughts, to be the leader of one of the most powerful counties in the world. No doubt there were many reasons people voted for him, but to pretend that they cancel out the fact that they have voted for a misogynistic, racist bigot cannot go unnoticed. As a consequence, an immeasurable amount of the US public will now suffer the fear of living in an American they never wished to see.
Throughout his presidential campaign the president-elect used divisive and dangerous language that caused a climate of fear, that allowed innocent sectors of the population to become scapegoats – punching bags for his supporters frustrations. He validated and gave a mandate to his followers to openly use and practise racist attitudes and actions. We are seeing a slow rise in abhorrent hate crimes towards many minority groups across America- synonymous with what happened in Britain post-Brexit.
There is more to the story than Trump’s outlandish and absurd behaviours. What has been so fascinating about the 2016 presidential election was Trump’s ability to mobilise the silent majority. A massive shift has occurred in American politics.
The democrats under Hillary Clinton simply failed to mobilize effectively. White urban liberals have helped create a reactionary conservative movement, and the outcome of the election has proven that the condescending treatment of both the right wing and the uneducated can only be taken for so long without consequence.
Many middle-class and working class families alike across America have fallen victim in recent years to an increasingly globalised market and economy. Huge sections of the public felt let down and inadequately cared for under Obama’s administration: concerns and day-to-day struggles have simply not been adequately resolved. With many feeling neglected by the political establishment, an outsider promised them a way out. Clouding promises in a language that allowed them to identify and vilify scapegoats, Trump represented a brand new alternative to what had gone before. It is no surprise that many Americans did vote for Trump.
Bernie Sanders, a congressman who ran against Hillary Clinton for the Democrat Nominee, noted after Trumps win- ‘Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media.’ This anger was reflected in a reactionary, ‘protest’ vote against the political elite and establishment.
I will not be naïve in ignoring the importance of the demographic that gave Trump a majority of his votes- White American males, or in recognising the silent but sure rise of hatred and intolerance across educated young white America. Siyanda Mohutsiwa, writes an eye opening Twitter thread describing the ‘Radicalisation of white men.’ As Siyanda poignantly notes, internet groups were able to captivate young white men when they were vulnerable. Stirring and spurring their disdain towards liberals, there was the perpetuation of the idea of the ‘liberal agenda’ as a destructive force to Western manhood. They were not uneducated, but they were ‘taught to intellectualise their hatred’ hence reflected in the demographics: White educated voters in their majority went for Trump just as they did for Romney. Alienation took place right under our noses. Support for Trump was further made easier with the increasing rotting that took place at the heart of American Liberalism.
Trump was the answer to a prayer Middle America had been silently hoping for
There is also a relevance in the simple fact that Hillary was a woman: this mattereied to some when they cast their vote, despite the fact she is arguably the most qualified presidential candidate America had ever seen. What also mattered, and potentially even more so, was that she was a Clinton.
The Democrats inability to recognise Hillary Clinton as one of the most unpopular presidential candidates in American history, pushing and vetting for her without recognising middle Americas growing and dangerous aversion to what they perceived as the ‘establishment’, was their biggest mistake. “Crooked Hillary”, a slogan Trump so brilliantly capitalised on was what I found, from watching many interviews of gleeful Trump supporters during the release of results, in my five am delirium, to be one of main reasons he was able to seize the White House. It seemed they were concerned with anti-corruption and keeping Hillary out of the White House: Trump is an outsider, and a breath of fresh air to many.
Trump was the answer to a prayer Middle America had been silently hoping for.
66% of white women valued their whiteness and privilege more than their womanhood
Perhaps the biggest shock for me was finding out that 66% of white women valued their whiteness and privilege more than their womanhood. Despite Trump’s sexist and racist views (don’t argue with me on this because they are blatant) their white privilege was too precious to lose. White women have shown themselves to be more aligned with white men, they did not see Trump’s views on for instance Planned Parenthood as a threat to them, nor did they sympathise with the legitimate fears minority women had about a Trump presidency. Intersectional feminism has never been more important now as I find myself distancing myself away from mainstream feminism; seeking a corner where my voice will be represented as a woman, as a black women. White feminism has reared its ugly head. White women are not immune from racism or partaking in systems or mechanisms that enable it to take place simply because they have their own battles to fight as women. It drives them as much as it does white men. There is no solidarity alongg the axis of gender in America, it is simply not there.
As with the Brexit vote, where 75% of those aged 18-24 voted to remain, 55% of 18-29 year olds voted for Clinton (not a huge majority but a significant difference to Trumps 37%). We see that young people’s political choices at the ballot box stand in opposition to the older demographic. What some young people are now forced to recognise in both Britain and the U.K is that their parents and grandparents are against a future that they want to see. Their world views do not coincide with ours and whilst political apathy amongst the young is on the decline, the powerhouse that is the aged generation continues to deliver on turnout when it most matters, completely altering the futures that we desire.
So what do we do now?
Written by Jasmine Botchey