Butchery and Botchery

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to supporters in Everett, Washington, 30 August 2016. (Detail of frame via YouTube)

Chauncey DeVega inquires after a point close to the heart of the #trumpswindle:

What happens when Trump and the Republican Party are done feasting on the “white working class” and their other supporters? When the bones are picked clean, to whom will they turn for a meal? People of conscience know the answer even if it terrifies them.

If a budget is a kind of moral document and a statement of priorities, Trump has shown that he is an enemy of the American people and the common good—including his most stalwart supporters. If Trump is willing to betray them, all others should quake in fear at what he plans for his enemies in the process of “making America great again.”

The question echoes: To call for Main Street over Wall Street, why would anyone vote for Donald Trump? To call for empathy with the working classes, why would anyone vote for Donald Trump? To drain the swamp of entrenched interests, why would anyone vote for Donald Trump?

Perhaps the most useful illustration is derived from an awful question, when, after some manner of uprising, someone inevitably thinks themselves wise to point out that “they wrecked their own neighborhood”, and then wonder naïvely why “they” did so.

This question of the “white working class” is a particularly curious beast. There is much talk about how these people were left behind or otherwise abandoned by societal progress, but we don’t get “right to work” laws and other union-busting without the white working class in the Rust and Farm belts. There was influential, even decisive support for Donald Trump on election day in counties wrecked by the opioid epidemic, but we don’t get a War on Drugs that functionally and practically criminalizes addiction without the white working class. And while there does come a point at which it is simply unfair, for the extraneity and futility of the point, to remind that “they did this to themselves”―

(The Bush-era negotiations to evolve CUFTA did not greet President Clinton’s administration on the merits of a coalition ‘twixt industrial interests and poor, minority laborerers.)

―but like we hear from voters in Kentucky, they voted against the ACA twice but fret about what happens to their Obamacare because they were still mad about gay marriage.

It is easy enough to not wonder why the white working class has the appearance of trying to burn down America; pretty much every metaphor is grim—it essentially comes down to whether “America” should be allowed to exist if they do not get to be in charge of everyone else. And there really is a tremendous amount of this supremacist poison coursing through the conservative body politic. Women, people of color, homosexuals, transgender; these implicit enemies of traditional empowerment are who and what this white working class, slow motion riot is about.

As traditional privilege wanes toward equality, the social conservative platform was really all these people had. Their economic platform kept imploding; their law and order platform was failing; the pro-torture platform failed. Honestly, taking it out on women and queers was pretty much all the white working class had left. Sure, some of them cheered the American carnage inflicted on minority communities by our police, but the white working class isn’t losing that thrill anytime soon. And, besides, that’s the cops. What these American patriots want is someone to discriminate against.

And they can’t have it.

So they’re pitching a fit.

And, watch. They will get nothing out of this except the bigoted supremacism; and it will be enough to satisfy them, generally speaking. Everything else wrong with Donald Trump they will simply blame on women, Democrats, people of color, and transgender, in approximately that order.

President Trump can log the toll DeVega describes; as long as they can pick on women and Muslims and transgender and dark skin, his core support will stay close. Everything else can go to Hell because entrenched this and powers that be that and hopeless puppets and great conspiracies are why it’s everybody else’s fault. Empower their supremacism, though, and they will love even #PutiTrump. Empowerment of supremacism is the one common element across the Trump spectrum; it is the precise heart of #WhatTheyVotedFor.


Image note: Detail of frame via YouTube.

DeVega, Chauncey. “The butcher’s bill keeps coming due: Donald Trump’s Hannibal Lecter budget cannibalizes his own supporters”. Salon. 16 March 2017.

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