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Class Warfare Within Republican Party Central To Nomination Fight

January 25, 2016

White Americans–and namely white men–who feel ticked off with how the world has evolved in terms of economics and social progress are seeking ways to lash out and show everyone else how unfair life has become.   They are causing one hell of a mess in the Republican nominating process.

Now before anyone thinks I am just side-stepping what many feel to be legitimate political issues with this group might be interested to know I follow the polling data and know this is a real segment of the electorate.    The anger they want us to know about is not just over why many have lost on average about $4,000 in their paychecks since the 2008 recession, but also why the party they vote for is made of up Wall Street defenders and lovers of all things related to the Chamber of Commerce.  They want to know why Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, (select more Republicans of your choosing) are not more concerned about the lives they live.

The Wall Street crowd that has long controlled the Republican Party are being taken to task by the angry villagers carrying torches.  As we have seen the angry crowd does not care what it destroys–which should scare the hell out of the GOP.

I have heard the resentments from white men since the creation of the Tea Party.  But while I read and listen there is no way for me to be empathic to this line of discussion.

Back in the early 1990’s I recall talking with my best friend about how white men in America had the world in the palm of their hands.  Where women and minorities had to struggle over a raft of problems with sexism and racism, white men on the other hand, had no reason to complain about anything.    It was a genuine feeling then and one that I still hold.

Then, like now, the question that must be asked of those white men complaining about their station in life is what did they do to make sure they were on a path for success?  It is not meant as a harsh question but it requires pondering given the polling data this election season.

According to a YouGov poll half of Donald Trump’s supporters within the GOP stopped their education at or before high school graduation.  Only 19% have a college or post-college degree.

Now I am the first to feel sorry for folks who lose their jobs.  I have a big heart for those who have a tough path to trod as teenagers and in need of a helping hand to get higher education.  But one can not make a case for every Trump supporter who is angry at how life turned out and wishing to blame someone.

Our nation always seek ways to make progress in this land, and while succeeding bit by bit so all feel upward movement, there is also the truth that white males are still the best positioned for success.  To deny it is simply unacceptable.  Let us be honest that the loudest in this land–the most angry from the base of support for Donald Trump–are also highly uneducated.  I suggest also that is by their own choosing.

The resentments expressed by some white males focus on immigrants ‘taking our jobs’ or ‘underserving’ people getting benefits.  All of this and more are aimed to fit their narrative that white people are getting the shaft.

Not only are these malcontents upset with brown people but also with the Republican Party establishment who they feel are unable, or more to their argument unwilling, to stop all the woes they face.  The establishment’s desire for tax cuts for the wealthy, trade deals that  will assist the business community, and cozy relations with the financial industry all run counter to the new class warriors who are beating their chests in this nominating season.

Donald Trump has tapped into this mindset and played the angry while males like a Stradivarius.  In so doing he has moved the long simmering dispute about class warfare that so long had been  between the two main political parties to instead being waged with the GOP itself.

The ugly debates about birthright citizenship, religion, and a raft of other matters that many thought were not ones Americans would ever lower themselves to fighting have become ripe fruit for the picking this election cycle.  The populism, or as I like it to be termed as heartless nativism and xenophobia, has made a large stain on the body politic.  But for the GOP it has become a class war which has fractured their party in a way that will find any healing most difficult to undertake.

This post in no way is to suggest there are not real problems that need national attention and problem solving.  I also am not suggesting that white middle to low wage earners are not deserving wage increases or better opportunities in the job market.  I am well aware some of the Trump supporters would have benefited from a better way to afford college education.  We surly need to reform the large banks.   There are a raft of things we could applaud here.

But raging in a mindless way–as Trump and his supporters do–without caring for facts or deeper policy only underscores one of my main beefs with this white demographic.   Trump may want to play to the class warfare angle for his own gain, but we know the role education plays is central to determining how life turns out.  Instead of class warfare the focus should be on education.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2016 11:52 AM

    As you know from the start the Founding Fathers treated women as second class citizens and stated blacks were 3/5ths a person Those who wished to see social progress have worked from the late 1700’s to the present to affect change. So for white men who had only the hurdle at the start of this nation being requited to own property to now still complain about their station in life is just not acceptable. Talk about grievance politics!

  2. tom permalink
    January 26, 2016 10:43 AM

    Why are blacks and women so upset about their “station” in life? Can’t they see that in other countries, conditions are far worse? Didn’t anyone ever tell them to stay in school and get an education?–If this sounds sexist and racist, why is it not sexist and racist as you present it above?

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