For the first time, race isn't guaranteeing all of them comparative success.
“If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” — President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Since the 1970s, American wages have stagnated, income and wealth inequality has skyrocketed, and the nation has grown increasingly diverse. Nonetheless, there was a belief among many white males that the US was still their country; that the American Dream was just around the corner, and that other white men would always make the big decisions.
But following a deep recession and a two-term black president, the idea of a woman being the next person to occupy the Oval Office was a bit too much to bear. They could stand the feeling of being ignored by white men, and even a black man for two terms. But to continue that narrative, with a woman at the helm, meant their concerns would definitely not be heard in the future. For better or worse, Trump represented disruption to the status quo, and he was also a white male.
The 2016 Democratic Party, led by Obama and passed on to Hillary Clinton, did not appear as a party sympathetic to white males out in the swing states. Minorities and women had become the face of the party, even if an olive branch was extended to white maledom with VP candidate Tim Caine. Besides, what position were white males in to ask for more political representation, when black males were and still are getting killed by police?
Nonetheless, this played into the perception that the Democratic Party was suffering from a limousine liberal image. Concerned for minorities from the safety of their luxury apartments, city whites simply could not comprehend how less-wealthy rural whites could vote for a man like Trump. Outside the white liberal echo chamber however, his base was becoming larger and larger.
It was a natural reaction for many white men, because they no longer felt superior simply due to their race. Lyndon Johnson’s charming quote above conveys the mainstream Republican platform when courting voters; give white males a sense of superiority, and subtly proclaim your allegiance to that. I am aware that Johnson was a Democrat, but his remarks mirror the Republican strategy of recent times.
Illegal immigration, inner city crime, and refugee bans all became central pillars of Trumps agenda (as well as jobs, jobs, and jobs). Many voters, some of whom had voted for Obama twice, threw their weight behind this new political pariah. Trump became the Republican politician they had been looking for, because he was going to ensure that white males would be back at their rightful place at the top of the totem pole (even though they had never vacated).
Because some women and minorities were making strides in business, politics, and culture, some white men felt left behind. The embrace and explosion of white supremacy since Trump took office is further evidence that white men are worried about their place in the nation, as well as its direction. The Democratic Party, whose diversity is often proclaimed as its greatest strength, can never hope to appeal to white men the same way the Republican Party does. Because of this, Republican voters will continue to vote for Trump’s GOP, because at least he tells them what they want to hear.
As long as there is an electoral college and voter suppression in Republican/Republican leaning states, Trump has a pretty decent chance of winning a second term (if he isn't removed from office before 2020). The Democratic Party must pander to rural white males as well, if it wants to beat him. I know that sounds completely antithetical to the Democratic Party’s modern ideals, but it is how you can win elections.🔷