This election everybody seems to agree that People Are Mad, but nobody knows exactly why. Some people say it’s because of hate. Some say it’s because we want to go backward. And I think those things are true for some people. Most people who rant frame it in some political way — Left/Right, Dems/Reps, Far Left Sanders/Far Right Trump people are scary, because they threaten the status quo and will disrupt everything!!!! . I mostly see it as the pendulum finally swinging back after years of conservative policies. Bernie blames it on the banks and scares people in power, Trump blames it on everybody but himself and scares people in power. But for all that, somebody is going to these rallies. Thousands go to see Bernie, Thousands go to see Trump. I get the feeling that 5 or 10 people go to see Cruz. Thousands, but smaller numbers, go see Hillary, the former most liberal person in America, at least as the media would have us believe. Sure, Hillary was To The Left Of Everybody in politics, but that doesn’t take much when the world has gone so “Capitalism is God”. Just getting up in the morning she was that. And a fine target she was. Here’s the problem though — Hillary Clinton is the best possible option (or the most liberal one) if you’ve given up on politicians understanding your plight. But when your plight is this bad, people start yelling for simple survival. That’s where both people at the Trump rallies and people at the Bernie rallies are.
“Rednecks” on the Trump side are from the Poor White Trash contingent. Oddly, they’re ok with being seen as Trash, and they thought their being White would protect them against the world, but poor is poor. Hungry is hungry. Working hard and getting a pay cut is working more and getting less. Watching your kid cry because they are hungry is watching your kid cry because they are hungry. Being homeless because your rent went up but your salary did not is still not having a place to live. Those people go to see the Icon of the White European and they demand answers about why they are so poor, or sick, or why their kid is crying. They go to The White Man because that’s who they know and trust — The White Man with the weird hair, but at least he’s sort of like them. He tells them they are right. He’s “not going to lie to them”. Politicians are corrupt. They’re only in it for the money. He knows them, but he’s not one of them. He doesn’t need the money, so he doesn’t have to be a “politician”.
Everybody else that’s Not White and Not Male goes to see their version of the same — Bernie or Hillary. They, too, are poor. They, too, can’t afford their goals. They, too, can’t afford a place to live, don’t have a good job (if they are allowed to have any). They, too, are hungry. They also have crying children and no way to fix things. They demand answers, as well. Hillary promises them that she can play the political game better than anyone else, and she’ll make the same old solutions yield different results. Bernie phrases it as “she’s corrupt”.
What nobody gets is that the political system isn’t working because it isn’t working. The promise of Trickle-Down economics and Reagan didn’t come true. The promise of Alan Greenspan on Clinton’s staff didn’t come true. The second part of Obama’s grand plan was to “spend money on infrastructure” and give people jobs doing it. His cabinet people aren’t asking the questions like “do you have enough food, decent housing, or a job that pays enough?”. They ask investors if “the system is working”. If you can invest, the system of paying investors is working. I’m betting no one at a Trump rally is an “investor”. It’s clear to me that the Non-White and the Non-Men at Bernie’s rallies aren’t either.
Remember the question, “Does America have the greatest health-care system in the world?”. The answer was a resounding “Yes, if you have access to it”. It’s the same question, with a different subject. “Does America have the greatest opportunity system in the world?” Yes, if you have access to it. Do we have the greatest democracy in the world? Yes, when we have access to it.
Americans believe — above everything else — that the laws should apply to everyone, that truth is truth, that we all have an equal shot (when we have access to it) and that, if you work hard, you should be able to feed your family, have a place to live, and not have your kids cry any more than they have to. In short, they believe that fairness is the goal for Americans. They put their money on the Trickle-Down horse for awhile. At first, it was only the people with no power who were hurt. Then people who had power lost their power and lost their shot at “fairness”. Then nearly everybody in America (the 99%) realized that “fairness” and “the system working” weren’t the same thing anymore, because they had been working hard, they still had skills, they had been tested in every way they could, but they no longer met the criteria for food, shelter, work, or anything else.
When most people can’t afford their housing, can’t afford their food, can’t work enough, can’t afford to invest, can’t afford to go to college, can’t afford to retire, then we start saying, “Yes, we were (and could be again) the greatest (fill in the blank) on earth, but we don’t have access to it”. We believe in the ideals of this country. We really do. We especially like them when we get to eat, have a place to live, and get to raise our kids with less tears because of them. We have great ideals, we just wish we had access to them. In other words, we wish it were fair.