November 21, 2016 by Chris Kite
Much of the white, blue collar middle class in America is apparently quite upset. Their reaction was to vote overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in the recent Presidential election. They rejected Hillary Clinton as an insider elitist.
They talked of wanting a solid economic future different from what they have today. They are tired of stagnating wages and lack of well paying jobs to give them and their children the same kind of future that previous generations had.
But the irony is that these same people have recently been firmly in the camp of Republicans because of their conservative ideals. The socially conservative views on abortion, immigration, civil rights, gay marriage, and other issues has led them to support Republicans, who have worked tirelessly to destroy unions and decrease taxes on the rich apparently fit quite well with where they put the blame on the decline of opportunity in America. As Republicans have steadily decreased the power of unions and union enrollment, wages have decreased. Meanwhile, the rich that own and control corporate American have seen their taxes reduced and have been empowered by erosion of campaign finance rules and legislative and court actions like Citizens United that have made money equal to free speech. Which serves to further erode the power of unions and grow the financial gap between the richest Americans and everyone else.
As a liberal elite (upper middle class with a college education, a house, and a strong financial position) I struggle quite a bit with how the white, blue collar middle class largely continues to support policies and positions that make their economic situation worse. As Republicans implement policies these folks have voted them into office to do, their position in life has become worse and their future less secure. This, in turn, has been creating more anger at the “liberal elites” and more of a willingness to vote against their own best interests.
It is truly mind boggling!