Sunday, October 02, 2016

The Just Grievances of Trump Supporters

The Democratic Party aims to "care for the harmed", especially those harmed by the government itself. Trump appeals to those who believe that they have been harmed by the government because the government helps those who have been harmed by previous government policies. The Trump people - working class white men, in particular - believe they were in line for the American Dream, and that Democratic "care for the harmed" policies amount to letting other people - women, people of color, gays and lesbians, the handicapped, immigrants - jump the line ahead of them for no good reason. The Trump people are right that they are losing a benefit (a privilege) they used to have. But on this point I think the Democratic Party policy is fundamentally right.

The best Democrats can do to address this real grievance is the plan to reduce the cost of college, especially community college, for the ambitious part of the white working class. I would trumpet that policy right at the Trump supporters.

The harder issue to address is about the effects of globalization. The leaders of both parties are internationalists, for good reason. The world is safer with a free-trade regimen, our national economy benefits, all consumers benefit, and many workers benefit. But not all. Here the Trump supporters have a real grievance, which cannot be easily addressed by either party. Low-skilled manufacturing jobs are not going to come back in sufficient number to re-employ them at family-supporting wages. They refuse to take farmworker jobs, which can fill that gap for people willing to do very hard work (as the immigrants show).


CJ said...

My understanding of Trump supporters' (in particular the alt-right) grievances is that they're upset with not only the academic/career advantages granted to minorities over the past decades, but also the full scope of social justice policies and attitudes that have become very popular America over the past several years that they believe have become too extreme and one-sided.

It's unfortunate that too many of the people with these legitimate grievances, especially on the Internet, act like antagonistic brats with an unhealthy fixation on memes. They're so eager to dye their entire cause in the petty "Us versus Them" mentality focused on insulting their opposition and national community that they accuse of doing the same, which is contrary to the open-minded and constructive dialogue they allegedly want in America. It's not surprising that Trump resonates with this type so well.

Anonymous said...

CJ, Hypocrisy Much?

CJ said...


Yeah, I probably went too far with the brat comment and there's no excuse for it despite my frustrations. I never meant to give the impression that we should point fingers or criticize Trump supporters in particular for the kind of thing I'm describing. At the end of the day it's an 'everyone problem' shared by just about every political faction in America in some similar fashion.