Mrs. Clinton carried the popular vote in total, but Mr. Trump won the election because he won most of the states. How he won in places like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin is he brought rural angry white people to the polling places.
I am sad for our country because of what electing Mr. Trump as President says about us as a whole. It is the stated desire by people in most of the states to turn back the clock. In my view, they voted the way they did because of loss and fear.
The losses are real. All one has to do is drive through rural America and see the empty buildings to see the desolation brought only the changes in how the economy works. Family farming is all-but dead, having been replaced by huge agricultural concerns like ConAgra and Tyson. Jobs have been leached away by moving production where labor is cheaper—Mexico, China, Indonesia. Mr. Trump is aware of this because he does the same thing.
Technology is killing good jobs that people used to be able to live on. Robots in factories eliminated untold numbers, ATM machines and online banking are killing bank-teller jobs. Even fast food restaurants are toying with fully-automated restaurants. But, even a lot of tech jobs are handled in India.
The average American worker has been left behind; the median family income has hardly increased since 1980 with all the income increases benefitting the top 5% to 10%. We are increasingly a country of the very few and well-off Haves, with little left for the 90% or 99%.
From an economic standpoint, I get the anger. But, when the economy changes, there is no going back. Remember, the automobile killed the horse and buggy. The internet killed almost all local bookstores and is on its way to crippling all retail.
In the 1970s, I read an article theorizing that in the very near future, unemployment would be in the 35% to 40% range because of technological changes in the economy. One of the fears was how to keep us all occupied when, instead of working full-time, we shared a job with two other people or didn’t work at all. We are almost there. Mrs. Clinton could have done nothing to stem this tide. Neither can Mr. Trump.
Health care has gotten out of control. This did not happen since Mr. Obama became President. Universal health care was proposed by Richard Nixon. Had Ted Kennedy agreed to work with him to get this passed, health care spending was less than 5% of GDP. Now it is nearly 18%. The annual growth rate in costs was been over 9% per year since then, nearly double the growth rate of the GDP. This is the problem that created the need for something to be done. Hillary tried in the 1990s, and failed. Mr. Obama tried to do something, but was blocked by Republicans from any meaningful reform.
What he got was a gift to the health insurance industry, which really does not provide insurance anymore. Insurance is to provide against catastrophe. Automobile insurance does not cover windshield wiper replacement. But that is what we expect from our current system of health “insurance.” In the good old days before HMOs sprang up, insurance didn’t cover routine medical treatments and most years, most people never were out of pocket enough to file a claim. Since 19801, salaries for doctors have tripled (compare that to what has happened to the average person).
For the past couple of decades, insurance companies have adjusted premiums for companies based on the claims they paid. Makes sense—they have to stay in business, but really they do not provide insurance anymore. What they do is collect premiums and transfer them to the medical providers and drug companies. The reason our insurance rates are going up is because the costs are going up. And, no, this is not due to bringing people into the system who were never there before, because the services provided to individuals before the ACA passed were essentially the same whether or not someone had insurance.
Republicans say they want to repeal and replace Obamacare. Fine. Do it, but until the costs are reigned in, nothing will change. People need taken care of.
Ever since the ACA passed, I have said it would not satisfy anyone, that we would move to a single-payer universal health care system, but it would take a Republican President for that to happen. And this is the only thing Mr. Trump has said that makes sense. He is in favor of Universal Health Care. I will keep my fingers crossed on this one.
As much as the economics are real, the demographics of the country are changing. In 1980, the country was 85% non-Hispanic white; now, that cohort is about 60%, soon to be less than the majority. It is legal now for non-heterosexuals to marry and the preferential treatment traditionally afforded to Christians is slipping away.
Socially, things are changing and change frightens people. Ging from a position of proveledge to one of equality is hard for many people to take. I get that.
I really only have a few concerns looking forward, but they are significant:
I worry for our relationships with other countries. I worry for NATO, the United Nations, I worry about world-wide political instability. I worry about our continued ability to travel, especially to Mexico—although as my son said last night, Mexico will need our tourism dollars to pay for that wall.
I worry for the unraveling of progress towards our national goal of equality under the law, where the color of your skin or who you love or who you worship has no effect on your access to the rights of all citizens. The majority should not rule here. If it did, it would still be illegal for blacks and whites to marry, the fear of miscegenation by many people would have prevented it. We must remember that the University of Alabama did not have black football players until 1971 and it has only been recently that blacks were considered intelligent enough to coach or play quarterback in the NFL.
No, not all Trump voters are racist bigots; the majority are good people, but his election gives validation to those who are. They are been crawling out from under rocks for the last several years, and now, with the election of someone who they believes speaks for them, they may become bolder and more vocal.
I pray he speaks out loudly against racism and bigotry. I think he will because I don;t think he rally believes everything he said in that regard. I think he knew he could pull the racists and bigots to the polls to vote for him and played them much like a used car salesman does his new pigeon.
I pray we do not return to the 1950s, where the John Birch Society was strong and McCarthy was investigating people for their beliefs.