Monday October 25, 2021
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Rumination on the Trump DeplorablesRalph E. Stone, Salem-News.com
Trump supporters voted against their economic interests.
(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - Were we better off January 20 than we were four years ago? The answer is a definite “NO.” I am still trying, however, without much success, to understand why 74+ million Americans voted to re-elect Trump when for four years he has embarrassed himself and this nation with his ignorance, ineptness, and lack of human decency.
During the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters a “basket of deplorables.” Who are these deplorables?
Assuming they were paying attention, these supporters knowingly voted for a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, and a xenophobic; they supported a person endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan and White Nationalist groups.
I do not think they are necessarily racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and xenophobic, but all are on a spectrum from white nationalists to just plain ignorant. And Trump made this okay.
Trump supporters voted against their economic interests. Income inequality increased during the pandemic. During Trump’s presidency 900,000 filed for unemployment benefits, effectively erasing 10 years of job gains.
Retail sales plunged in March, and small businesses exhausted the $350 billion in funding from the Paycheck Protection Program in less than two weeks. About 60% of jobs in America paying $100,000 or more can be done from home, compared with 10% of jobs paying under $40,000.
The Wall Street supporters, who may strongly dislike Trump, but benefit economically from the Trump administration. Trump rid them many of those troublesome regulations through deregulation of hundreds of regulations, and the ideological bent of his appointees to regulatory agencies. This deregulation, of course, was at the expense of American’s heath and safety.
In 2017, Trump signed the so-called GOP tax overhaul wherein half of the tax cuts went to the top 1% with the notion that tax cuts for high-income earners and large corporations would trickle down to average American, a "voodoo economic economic policy" as former President George H.W. Bush called it.
Surprise, surprise, the tax cuts did not trickle down as promised. Over a roughly seven-month period starting in mid-March 2020 – a week after Trump declared a national emergency – America’s 614 billionaires grew their net worth by a collective $931 billion.
Trump often touts stock market gains as a barometer of the strength of the economy. The stock market, however, is not the economy. It is really an indicator of corporate profits and how fast investors expect them to grow.
That window into the economy is smaller than you might think. Less than a third of Americans work for publicly traded companies, and much of consumer spending, such as rent, goes to individuals or small businesses, which the stock market doesn't directly account for.
After a pandemic-induced plunge in March 2020, the stock market quickly recovered. The gains, however, mainly benefited the most affluent households. Consider that 1% of Americans own 50% of stocks held by American households and the top 10% of American households, as defined by total wealth, now own 84% of all stocks.
Thus, the stock market does not necessarily define economic health as a whole. Stocks were on the rise, but many individuals – and the country as a whole – are still facing the effects of business closures, record-breaking unemployment rates and more.
Why has Trump won over the majority of evangelical voters? As far as I know, Trump is not a churchgoer and though he claims the Bible is his favorite book, he does not quote the Bible at all and given no indication he has ever read it.
Why then would conservative or right-wing evangelicals support Trump, especially as he is a racist, a misogynist, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, and corrupt? Because Trump has nominated 274 individuals to federal judgeships, 234 of whom have been confirmed, including three to the Supreme Court.
These evangelicals hope this will result in a reversal of Roe v. Wade. They also hope he will blur the Constitutional separation of church and state. I also suspect that they supported Trump, not because he is an authentic Christian, but because Christianity for millions of white evangelicals in America is simply white supremacy in disguise.
After all this rumination, I am still unable to fully wrap my head around Trump’s appeal. I wonder after the wreckage Trump will leave behind, do these deplorables still believe Trump was worth supporting?
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