On November 8th 2016, the American people elected Donald J. Trump president of the United States. As somber of an occasion as this may be for some, as jovial as this may be for others― this is historic. The election of Donald Trump confirmed what many Americans feared― we are a divided country. However, the question on everyone’s mind right now is― how? How did Donald Trump win? How did a businessman from Queens with funny looking hair and very small hands beat the most qualified person to ever run for the nation’s highest office? All of the polls had Hillary Clinton ahead. All of the pundits were laughing at the possibility of a Trump presidency. However, against all odds, against the media, against the Republican and Democratic establishment, against the most powerful political machine in history― he pulled off an upset. And he did so, because the Democrats forgot about one person― the white worker.
The white worker was once a symbol of America. He worked his job at the factory, lived in a quaint little house, and went on vacation about twice a year. He voted for the Democrats religiously and his children would volunteer for prospective candidates. However, on the day NAFTA was signed, his life changed. The white worker was now laid off, the house was foreclosed, and the vacations became a thing of the past. The factory shut down and moved overseas while the workers were forced to collect unemployment benefits. After losing all hope in the promise of America, the white worker stopped voting and started to believe that the system was rigged against him.
Meanwhile, the Democratic party has nominated “empty suits” (or pantsuits) to run every four years and pitch the same standard scripted message. The Republican party figured that it was more important to reach out to new voters than to implement policies that would help the disaffected. Washington doesn’t acknowledge the significance of the white worker and Politicians see him as a liability. What once was the heart of the middle class now became the “angry white man”.
However, in 2016, everything changed. A man by the name of Donald Trump decided to run for president. Donald Trump, for the first time in our nation’s history, acknowledged the suffering of the white worker. Donald Trump acknowledged the strife of a people who we once knew as the middle class. Donald Trump spoke to the forgotten man, and the forgotten man listened. Donald Trump, for the first time in our nation’s history, decided to point the blame at his own party’s leaders. And the sleeping giant known as the silent majority, was on the cusp of awakening.
Alongside Trump, another man acknowledged the strife of the forgotten middle class. A socialist Jew from the state of Vermont whose message resonated with millions of working people. With no campaign infrastructure, with no corporate donors, he was able to win 22 states and shake the nation to its core. However, he lost the Democratic party’s nomination to the most standard politician in history.
The general election was between the candidate of yesterday and the candidate of tomorrow. The polls had Hillary Clinton winning by a landslide. The Monmouth University poll, on the day before election day, gave Hillary Clinton a 6 point lead over Donald Trump. However, the polls forgot to sample one key demographic― the white worker who was part of something we once knew as the middle class. And on election day, though he hadn’t voted in 20 years. Though he had lost all hope in the political process. The white worker came out and voted for the one person who acknowledged his strife and despair. For the one person who saw him as an asset not a liability. For the one person who gave him assurance in a better tomorrow. Donald J. Trump.
Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States is a backlash at all of the institutions American’s once held dear. And as we cope with the grief inflicted upon us by Trump’s victory, we must understand that Donald Trump’s election is a giant middle finger to the ways of yesterday. The fact that a self proclaimed billionaire from New York became the champion of the white working class goes to show how disconnected Washington is from America. If Jeb Bush, instead of talking about his opposition to gay marriage, spoke about bringing jobs to America, he may have been president. But instead, he followed the standard playbook written by some Ivy Leaguer who gets paid six figures and has yet to meet someone laid off due to NAFTA. Then, Jeb Bush wonders how his $150,000,000 was only able to win him four delegates.
Donald Trump gave the forgotten white working class something to believe in. He allowed these people to become part of a movement. These are the nameless individuals who came to his rallies and donated whatever they could to his campaign operation. These are the people who gave him victories in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio. And as Donald Trump becomes the next President of the United States, let us not forget the reason why he is able to be in such a position. Because the politicians forgot about the sleeping giant known as the white working class.