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Dear Trump supporter

November 6, 2019

I really don’t want to insult or dismiss you.

I’m not talking to the white supremacist wing. (To them I say: What the hell are you doing on my site? Fuck off.) I do not believe everyone who supports Trump is in it for the bigotry. Far from it.

Nor am I talking to the fundamentalist Christian wing, who proved in 2016 they would make a deal with any devil who promised to get them justices on the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade and deny women legal access to an important medical procedure.

No, I’m talking to you, the men and women of the Great Lakes states. And I want to begin  by saying that three years ago I could almost understand why many voters in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania were drawn to Trump.

For decades in the twentieth century there was a social contract between workers and their employers – especially in the years from 1945 to 1980. You took a job in a steel mill or a car plant and there was a simple deal: you worked hard and in return you received a living wage and a number of benefits. By “living wage” I mean enough salary to support a family living in their own home and driving their own car. (As opposed to these days when the definition of a living wage seems to mean barely enough to lift you out of heartbreaking, soul destroying, grinding poverty.) Of course unions played a huge role in establishing this social contract, as did consigning most women to household duties for the first couple of post-war decades. Nonetheless, it was a good deal.

Then came Ronald Reagan. Reagan didn’t come up with the idea of negotiating trade deals that would allow US companies to rip up their social contracts. Frankly, he wasn’t that smart. But he was a more than willing tool.

When the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed by Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Mexican President Carlos Salinas and Reagan’s successor, Bush Senior, US captains of industry rejoiced. Mexican workers were cheaper and – more importantly – didn’t belong to pesky unions. Manufacturing jobs began to migrate rapidly. Factories shut down. Cities and towns in the Rust Belt went into decline. Workers were betrayed by corporate greed, which was abetted by government-negotiated  trade deals.

And no one in Washington, DC gave a shit.

Then came the 2016 primaries, each party offering up a rogue.

Bernie Sanders talked about making the rich pay and either won or came within a whisker of winning the primaries in your states.

Donald Trump talked about the corruption of Washington and promised to bring back all those long gone manufacturing (and coal mining) jobs.

As I said, I could almost understand those Rust Belt voters who decided in 2016 that the best way to shake – or even blow – things up was by voting for the loudmouth.

The first thing the loudmouth tried to do in office was claw back or even take away your health care. The next thing he did was sign a tax bill that benefits corporations and the super rich and screws you. You may not be a fan of trade deals, but I’m sure you can see that Trump’s trade wars, far from benefitting you in any way, are doing incalculable harm to workers in the US – especially the farmers now being driven into bankruptcy.

I don’t know whether you think you should care that there is a man sitting in the White House who believes your Constitution is something written on crinkly old toilet paper, who clearly thinks “checks and balances” means writing him cheques to increase his bank balance.

I know a lot of you have noticed the emperor has no clothes. I know a lot of you have remembered why you usually vote Democrat. (As far as workers are concerned, the Dems really are the least worst option as they are less likely to do anything to knowingly screw you.)

But an astonishing number of you haven’t and for the life of me I cannot fathom how this can be. A lot of you still fill stadiums and cheer yourselves hoarse for this snake oil salesman.

How is this possible? Can it really all be down to Facebook and the “alternative facts” on Fox News?


That is so depressing.

From → Columns

  1. krysross permalink

    Welcome back. Well said, as usual.

  2. nebulaflash permalink

    Thanks for remembering the important parts. If there were more like you there would be less of those who lapped up the myths and entertainments, less of those who don’t seem to care about those who are suffering.

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