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Trump: Tribune Of Poor White People

jmotivator

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Trump: Tribune Of Poor White People | The American Conservative

Rod Dreher: A friend who moved to West Virginia a couple of years ago tells me that she’s never seen poverty and hopelessness like what’s common there. And she says you can drive through the poorest parts of the state, and see nothing but TRUMP signs. Reading “Hillbilly Elegy” tells me why. Explain it to people who haven’t yet read your book.

J.D. VANCE: The simple answer is that these people–my people–are really struggling, and there hasn’t been a single political candidate who speaks to those struggles in a long time. Donald Trump at least tries.

What many don’t understand is how truly desperate these places are, and we’re not talking about small enclaves or a few towns–we’re talking about multiple states where a significant chunk of the white working class struggles to get by. Heroin addiction is rampant. In my medium-sized Ohio county last year, deaths from drug addiction outnumbered deaths from natural causes. The average kid will live in multiple homes over the course of her life, experience a constant cycle of growing close to a “stepdad” only to see him walk out on the family, know multiple drug users personally, maybe live in a foster home for a bit (or at least in the home of an unofficial foster like an aunt or grandparent), watch friends and family get arrested, and on and on. And on top of that is the economic struggle, from the factories shuttering their doors to the Main Streets with nothing but cash-for-gold stores and pawn shops.

The two political parties have offered essentially nothing to these people for a few decades. From the Left, they get some smug condescension, an exasperation that the white working class votes against their economic interests because of social issues, a la Thomas Frank (more on that below). Maybe they get a few handouts, but many don’t want handouts to begin with.

From the Right, they’ve gotten the basic Republican policy platform of tax cuts, free trade, deregulation, and paeans to the noble businessman and economic growth. Whatever the merits of better tax policy and growth (and I believe there are many), the simple fact is that these policies have done little to address a very real social crisis. More importantly, these policies are culturally tone deaf: nobody from southern Ohio wants to hear about the nobility of the factory owner who just fired their brother.

Trump’s candidacy is music to their ears. He criticizes the factories shipping jobs overseas. His apocalyptic tone matches their lived experiences on the ground. He seems to love to annoy the elites, which is something a lot of people wish they could do but can’t because they lack a platform.

I'm going to have to pick this book up. Both parties would do well to take heed of what this book reveals about deeply impoverished rural America.
 

Henrin

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I'm seeing some major failure in understanding basic economics here.

High tariffs is going to decrease competition, raise prices, and hurt the economy. It will likely also cause other countries to put higher tariffs on your goods canceling whatever benefits you were having from it.

As for free trade, this is what I said before on the topic:

Free trade creates opportunity and efficiency. It allows markets to specialize in what they are efficient at producing. It incentivizes innovation and thus creates more higher paying jobs and a higher quality of living.

Also, why would economic growth only be for businessmen? Maybe children should be taught some basic economics in school.
 

PirateMk1

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I'm seeing some major failure in understanding basic economics here.

High tariffs is going to decrease competition, raise prices, and hurt the economy. It will likely also cause other countries to put higher tariffs on your goods canceling whatever benefits you were having from it.

As for free trade, this is what I said before on the topic:



Also, why would economic growth only be for businessmen? Maybe children should be taught some basic economics in school.

There's no time anymore in the public schools to do that. Its sucked up by all the social propaganda required now.
 

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jmotivator

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Maybe these people should just accept the handout the government gives them and be satisfied to be slaves of the states like black are.

You aren't helping.
 

Patrickt

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The two candidates representing the two major parties both have a single principle of "if the money's there I do not care." Who in the hell would look to either one if they need work, needed to pay less taxes, and needed to have less of what they earned earmarked for expenses the government thinks you should have.

I will give Donald credit. Poor people, disabled vet, widows, and orphans could lose money in his casinos right alongside right people. No discrimination for him.
 

jmotivator

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I'm seeing some major failure in understanding basic economics here.

High tariffs is going to decrease competition, raise prices, and hurt the economy. It will likely also cause other countries to put higher tariffs on your goods canceling whatever benefits you were having from it.

As for free trade, this is what I said before on the topic:

Also, why would economic growth only be for businessmen? Maybe children should be taught some basic economics in school.



None of that was an argument in the piece presented, and most of the impoverished don't look long term anyway. They need jobs now, and they see protectionism as the way to do it.

This is why Bernie and Trump play well in that strata, because both promote what the poor see and the best fix for lack of jobs.
 

Visbek

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I'm going to have to pick this book up. Both parties would do well to take heed of what this book reveals about deeply impoverished rural America.
I guess... Except that is a fairly small percentage of the population, which AFAIK is shrinking.

Only 20% of the population lives in rural areas, and the poverty rate for rural Americans is around 14%.

So, we're talking about 3% of the population. Maybe 6% if we include people at near-poverty income levels?

Let's get crazy and say 10%. In 2014, rural voters heavily leaned Republican (47% R vs 39% Dem). Is that a critical swing demographic? That doesn't seem very clear.

That's also a population that is very, very tough for a government to help with anything other than a straight cash benefit or a tax credit. Because population density is low, it's hard to provide education, medical assistance, job training, child care services... Heck, they had to mandate and subsidize phone companies to provide service to many rural areas.

It certainly doesn't make sense to pursue ridiculous protectionist trade policies in an attempt to benefit this population. Aside from how those policies routinely backfire, even if they work they won't help much -- as manufacturing jobs that return to the US are almost always heavily automated, pay lower wages than in the past, and result in very little job growth (e.g. Onshoring Isn't Bringing Back Good Jobs - The Atlantic)

Just campaigning in those areas can be tough, as a candidate will have to travel all day to a 1,000-seat high school gym; and what appeals to someone in Appalachia may not have the same appeal to someone in rural Georgia or rural Montana.
 
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