Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Across the Great Divide ("It's where the rivers change direction")

I spent some time yesterday reading what I decided is an excellent and empathetic explanation of what really lies behind the US divide: city vs country, small town vs metropolis. Do take a look, and at the very good collection of comments - so long a thread that I didn't manage to read all.

The piece, by David Wong at Cracked.com, is headed: How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind.

Mr Wong explains why so many people are determined to vote for Trump as President of the USA: "Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. "Are you assholes listening now?"

It's the answer Bill Maher was seeking on Friday night. We caught his "Real Time" on the hotel room's TV. I'd not seen Maher's programme for months, we ditched HBO earlier this year. Maher posed the question, why do so many Americans still intend to support Trump in spite of the stuff now being revealed? The answer may lie in David Wong's excellent piece.

Some random lines from a variety of commentary from a 2000+ long thread:

It wears on you, being talked down to and treated like a lesser bc you are just some regular Joe trying to live paycheck to paycheck.

Finally, an article about Trump that isn't just idiotic "Trump is bad, mmmkay" clickbait. This is the analysis we should've had all along.

Wong's correct in the fact that regardless of the results of this election, they're going nowhere. As difficult and frustrating as it is, the liberal progressives need to tap into those bleeding hearts of theirs and show some empathy to the red (myself included) without expecting reciprocation and avoiding condescension. Their plight is real and their anger is certainly not baseless or derived solely from unfettered ignorance.

As someone in England watching everything unfold, I appreciate someone explaining why so many people are voting for him. Someone else mentioned in their comment that it's weird that rural folk like him since he's such an arrogant billionaire, but after reading your article I understand that to them, Trump is their only chance for change. Seeing him through rose tinted, desperate eyes.

On the flipside, I have gone through very well-to-do neighborhoods in my area and have seen a number of Trump signs. This leads me to believe that greed and pure selfishness are simple factors that stand the test of time. These people are cowards who think Trump would let them keep all of the things they think they're entitled to... But Trump can be bought with a pat on the back and an underage girl.

Regarding that last comment excerpt, in the wealthiest "millionaire row" area of our town, in a wooded enclave not too far from Chez Twilight & Anyjazz (our abode exists in a far less rarified atmosphere), we've spied a couple of Trump signs on that "millionaire row" and wondered: "WTF?"

This rural-life/city-life divide isn't peculiar to the USA of course. Same thing applies in Britain, and I feel sure in other nations too. I was born in an English city port known for its Labour credentials, but grew up in small-town rural England where the majority of residents always voted Conservative. Later on, I lived and worked in big cities where Labour held some strongholds. The political atmosphere in England wasn't, in my day at least, quite as highly charged as it is here in the USA. I suspect Brexit could be changing that.


mike said...

Hhmmmmm...David Wong paints an allegory of them vs us as supporting Trump's attracting the moths to the flame of death. I read his essay then skimmed it again thinking it was cheeky in the spirit of satire, but I suspect he's serious with his urban-rural contrast. He presents much symptomology, but avoids an examination of cause.

His graphic for "The rate of new businesses opening in rural areas has utterly collapsed" obviates a discussion of Americans purchasing goods made in China at their local Walmart, which displaced the mom-and-pop stores, thereby eliminating many jobs in small communities. Further, he states that the recession pounded rural America...well, it pounded urban and suburban America, too.

His "Here's how the nation voted county by county in the 2012 election" may not hold for the 2016 election. It's important to note that the viewer of this 2012 map should not confuse surface area with population density, which Wong acknowledges. Click on the link under that map ( http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/2012/ ] and view the election results by state and particularly the cartogram, which resizes each state by population density. Wong purposely chose a specific map to emphasize his point.

Wong does not discuss Trump's appeal to the middle-class, corporate elite, and the 1%, via tax cuts, business and environmental deregulation.

Of course, I have my own view as to Trump's popularity and I attribute most of it to fear, selfishness-greed, and fascism. Trump is a surrogate for many Americans that have succumbed to the needs of the individual and are reluctant to see how their selling-out delivered them to Trump's vote for salvation.

Twilight said...

mike ~ "Attracting moths to the flame of death", you wrote...perhaps that's so, but also a way to poke establishment elites and snobby "liberals" in the eye in return for their snotty denigration of poor rural dwellers and their lifestyles. I can see this.

There are going to be several more reasons for Trump's seemingly undentable popularity, depending on perspective. I thought David Wong explained one of the reasons rather well. He obviously made points and used illustrations most pertinent and helpful to his theory - as do we all, all the time! ;-)

As has been mentioned many times throughout this zany election season, so many voters, Democrat and Republican, have become terminally sick and tired of the establishment stranglehold on the nation's politics. Something different would appear to bring forth a breath of fresh air. Not sufficient number of voters on the left were fed up enough to vote for the man I thought to be the obvious choice: Bernie Sanders - shame on them!! Trump has been the choice for change on the right, including for reasons put forward by David Wong.

I don't see any good choice as ballots stand. We're screwed either way.

mike (again) said...

Matt Taibbi, "The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump"


Twilight said...

mike (again) ~ Thanks for the link. Another interesting take on these peculiar political times.

Let's look on the bright side - Trump has done one good thing for us, he took Ted Cruz out of the picture (for now). :-)