Note: The opinions and comments stated in the following article, and views expressed by any contributor to In Homeland Security, do not represent the views of American Military University, American Public University System, its management or employees.
By John Ubaldi
Contributor, In Homeland Security
Three weeks have passed since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States — and since his inauguration, the nation has endured daily protests as his detractors still can’t comprehend how he was ever elected president.
Most political analysts have continually failed to understand the mood of the country — before and after the 2016 election — never understanding the real issue which drove so many voters to vote for Donald Trump.
The Democratic Party, throughout the campaign and continuing today, focused more on identity politics and missed the real issue of the presidential race: the U.S. economy.
A Stagnant Economy
Democratic operatives cling to the belief that the 2016 election loss was due to a message failure, but in reality, it was a reflection of the abandonment of their progressive policies which the electorate found to be not working. Middle America has felt the sting of these policies and opted for a radically different direction.
The final vindication of recent failed policies, and one that went barely reported, was the U.S. Commerce Department’s report for the 4th quarter of 2016, where the GDP grew only 1.9 percent. For all of 2016, the growth rate was an anemic 1.6 percent, the weakest it has been since 2011.
Since the recovery began seven and a half years ago, the GDP of the nation has only grown 2.1 percent, the smallest recovery in the post-World War II era. Over $10 trillion was spent in eight years and yet the U.S. economy remains stagnant.
The U.S. economy has not seen over 3 percent growth rates in the GDP since 2005, with President Obama having the dubious distinction of being the only president to never achieve 3 percent growth during his presidency.
Trump Voters Who Voted Twice For Obama
Many who voted for Trump also voted twice for President Obama because the latter promised “hope and change,” but now many have become disillusioned with the lack of economic opportunities for them and their families.
These same voters abandoned the Democratic Party, with counties like Crawford County, Wisconsin, once the sturdy blue wall for Democrats, crumbling, sending voters to Trump.
Throughout the Midwest and the Rust Belt, counties transformed into Trump country, with voters frustrated at the establishment of both parties and deciding to give a billionaire businessman a chance.
Obamacare Sent Voters to Trump
The other aspect of why voters went for Trump was the “Affordable Care Act,” commonly known as “Obamacare.” Ever since its passage, President Obama and the Democrats have touted that individuals can keep their doctors, keep their insurance, and their health care costs would go down. Unfortunately, that thinking proved to be false.
Voters, in fact, experienced lost coverage, had high premiums, had to switch doctors and saw higher health care costs. This added burden has crippled some of the nation’s small businesses.
Unemployment is down, but far too many Americans are working part-time and far too many have only experienced wage stagnation. More small businesses are leaving the economy than are entering – hardly a sign of a robust economy.
Middle America and The New Makeup of the Democratic Party
The so-called ‘Middle America’ voters reached a breaking point, tired of the political establishment that sometimes looked with disdain at the values held by Middle America. Now the Democratic Party must reinvent itself. They may say they are made up of working-class people, but Victor Davis Hanson, writing in National Review last month wrote this on who represents today’s Democrats:
“On key issues, they represent a minority opinion, one confined to the entertainment industry, academia, race/class/gender elite activists, and the wealthy scions of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Wall Street. In addition, minority activists themselves do not get out in the heartland and mistakenly believe that the demeanor, mindset, and, yes, guilt of white urban liberal elites in their midst characterize the white working and middle classes in general. And they mistakenly assume they themselves cannot be out-of-touch elites, given their ethnic and racial heritage, when in fact many most certainly are.”
Far too often, these same individuals lecture a West Virginian miner or an unemployed steel worker, or a fabricator in any of the Rust Belt states of America. How do these individuals lecture any of these out-of-work blue-collar citizens about white privilege when they have never experience poverty themselves? Does anyone wonder why Trump won the presidency when the Democratic Party looks down on the individuals who used to be the rank and file of the Democratic Party? My father, a blue-collar iron worker, would not recognize his own party today.
Of course, it’s very likely that if Trump doesn’t revive the economy, then these same voters will abandon him like they abandoned the Democratic Party. Ultimately, both parties need to examine their futures from within.