Why we shouldn’t condemn Trump supporters

14 Oct 2016

Read any newspaper and you'll find supporters of the Republican Party nominee, Donald Trump treated as intellectually vapid racists. This portrayal is not only damaging and wrong, but it is the key reasons why people vote/voted the way they did.  


It comes as no surprise that Donald Trump’s campaign is being propped up by disaffected, white working class voters often from areas that have suffered the most from post-industrialisation. Indeed, Trump has made a concerted effort to target what is known as America’s ‘rust belt’:  states such as Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that were once the base for America’s steel, mining and transportation industries but following the decline in industry have become centres for high unemployment and poverty.


However, for all their decline, the rust belt states offer a sizeable 70 Electoral College votes and the disgruntled working classes present a sizeable portion of the rust belt’s electorate. 


Far from the caricatures of senseless racists, Trump supporters are poor, desperate and ignored. Senseless they certainly aren’t. Regis Karheim a Pennsylvanian farmer was interviewed by news site Politico. Coming from a long line of Democrat-voting blue collar workers, he switched to Trump this year because: ‘While there are some things that worry him about the GOP nominee...He’s a bit outspoken...that’s what we need."


For voters like Regis, Trump is the only one talking about the dire situation many blue collar Americans face. He has exploited a sentiment held by many working-class Americans of being ignored and insulted, something which the Clinton campaign keep fuelling such as calling Trump supporters a ‘basket of deplorables’. 


Small wonder that Trump, despite his racism and misogyny and loss of support from Party bigwigs like Paul Ryan, remains in the race. 


What Clinton needs to do is address the concerns of Trump supporters rather than dismissing their issues as tripe. Many of them live in abject poverty and terrified for the future. However, the more we fail to listen to and help these people, the more they’ll flock to the scaremongers and the xenophobes, as at the very least, those are the only groups who are actually reaching a hand out to them.

You can read more by this commentator here. 



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