On Wednesday night in Florence South Carolina, an elderly man was so incensed about the audacity of “the government” (represented by cops), showing up at his house to serve an arrest warrant. His rage was much so, that he felt completely justified to “exercise his second amendment rights” to “stand his ground” and fire upon police officers hitting 7, killing 52 year old Officer Terrence Carraway, a veteran officer of the Florence Police Force.
Ever since Donald Trump announced his run for the presidency, we have been exposed to white male anger, which culminated in the last few days with the deranged rage we saw from both Supreme Court (SCOTUS) nominee judge Kavanaugh, Senator Lindsey Graham and of course the ultimate all powerful victim, the president of the United States (POTUS).
The Florence South Carolina shootings did not happen in a vacuum. They have happened under an environment where the one single demographic that enjoys the most unfettered, unearned privilege on the whole planet, has been bombarded with messages about fictional disadvantages they are facing. We saw this expressed when both Trump Sr. and Jr. expressed their concerns for (white) males faced with this fictitious siege they are currently under.
All of the above takes me back to the oft repeated trope of “the poor, neglected, straight, angry, working class white male” that was responsible for the election of Donald Trump. In fact this is a provably fictional myth that has been trafficked by an unimaginative class of my colleagues in the vacuously incurious occupation of main stream journalism in the United States.
First and foremost, there has been anger ever since the passage of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and whites have expressed their anger in their votes at exactly the same rates to the tune of the 60s and 70s percent, ever since then. Donald Trump was elected by the exact same percentage as voted not only for John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012, but also for Reagan including in his 1984 win where he won forty nine of fifty states.
In fact, Trump won because Democrats, which include a diverse makeup of the majority of the population simply didn’t trust the Clinton machine. That coalition includes African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and every other minority ethnic group in between as well as younger white men and women. This so called Obama coalition, either decided to stay home, vote for a third party candidate or not register a vote in the presidential race while voting for other seats, in just enough, albeit, very few states, to deny Hillary Clinton the win that all national polls had quite accurately predicted for her.
Indeed Clinton won the popular vote by over three million votes. Further, quite frankly we’re unlikely to ever be able to gage the extent of Russian interference in that election and we may very well never know whether or not indeed the Russians actually hacked voter machines to in fact alter votes in favor of Trump. We now know quite clearly, without any shadow of a doubt that the Russians were highly motivated to ensure both a Clinton defeat, as well as a Trump victory for reasons that will more than likely continue to reveal themselves in the coming months and years.
I wish that once and for all, this ever enduring trope of the disadvantaged white male can just be put to rest once and for all. For years, both parties have attempted to appease and earn these votes, with Democrats moving further and further to the right, afraid to discuss sensible gun safety measures, unable to articulate the rationale for sensible progressive taxation and lately even being unwilling to aggressively defend unions. Democrats dating as far back as President Clinton have not only taken the pain and misery of black men for granted but even added to it for example with the explosion of mass incarceration under President Clinton as well as the awful anti poor-people effects of the welfare reform bill.
President Obama made multiple trips to Elkhart Indiana to highlight the 17% unemployment rate among the small Mid-Western white working class community, while neglecting to highlight either the 50% black male unemployment in cities such as his own hometown of Chicago, New York, St Louis, Buffalo and Milwaukee among others. Even more glaringly, the devastating gun violence in Chicago was never once highlighted as a priority for President Obama.
Simply put, Trump won because both Obama and Clinton failed to motivate either the Obama coalition or the additional newly registered young voters who lean Democratic. There were an additional 50 million plus with national voter rolls bypassing the 200,000,000 mark in 2016 at 200,081,377 voters compared to 146.3 million only a mere 8 years prior in 2008 when Obama was first elected.