When people see Donald Trump, they see the racism, the outrageous comments, his bravado, and they think, “hell we don’t want this guy for our next president”. All those characteristics have created one of the most globally despised, and in the same time, absurdly successful Presidential candidate in the United States. However, what people don’t see behind his KKK-endorsements and the outrageous headlines he creates is a candidate that might just have a point. His point, his take on neoliberal capitalism is one worth analyzing. How the Republicans manage to use his point to their advantage, and the lack of interest in the Democratic party for the same issue might determine the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Elections in the United States.
Back in November 2015, a study was released showing that the number of deaths caused by suicide, drug use and alcohol use among white working class individuals between the age of 45 and 54 has risen in the past 10 years. The data shows that the rate was increased by 22% from 1999 to 2014.
Many experts believe that the death rate among white working Americans is caused indirectly by loss of jobs and lowered income. For starters, the minimum wage hasn’t been increased since 1979. In fact, the minimum wage has fallen down in recent years.
Another study shows that blue-collar jobs, or the ones that bring the best income and create the middle class, have declined to 17% in 2010. In 1970, the percentage of blue-collar jobs was 28%. Retail sectors are not better as well. For example, the hourly wage for white working class in the retail sector has fallen to $17.50 in 2014. For comparison, in 1979, the same hourly wage for white individuals with nothing more than a high school diploma was $19.76. Factor in the increase in price, and white working class has the same amount of money, but goods have become more expensive.
One of the reasons why white working class has declined is because of the loss of power. In the past years, the deunionization of the private sector has left white workers with no bargaining power. It all started in the 80s, when corporations began to adopt the doctrine of maximizing shareholder value.
Another aspect that people forget about Trump is his promise to bring back jobs in America. The United States have become one of the largest exporters of jobs in the world, with companies now commonly using third world countries, as well as countries in development for production and manufacture.
One example is the Carrier air conditioning plant in Indiana. Few years ago, all of the 1400 workers in the company were told that the company is moved to Mexico, and they are no longer needed. The reasoning behind the move? “Extremely price sensitive marketplace”. In other words, in order to stay competitive, the company had to pay lower wages.
Free market ideology has made people fire “fuck you” at companies like that. Companies are packing and moving their businesses to Mexico, China and many other countries. Trump’s way to solve the problem? Tax everything that American companies import to the United States from their factories in Mexico and China.
Going deeper into the trade issue, one of the primary messages Donald Trump is trying to send to voters is the promise “to shred America’s trade deals and impose fines on imports from China and Mexico”.
Trump is banking on voters understanding that “foreign competition is robbing American jobs and shrinking wages”. In one speech, Trump went on and said that “We’re being killed on trade”. Fun fact: Trump and Bernie Sanders have the same view on the trade deal. But while Trump has managed to attract voters thanks to his policy on trade deals, Bernie is falling behind Hillary Clinton.
One look at the numbers, and it becomes even clearer. For example, in 2015, US imported $2.76 trillion in goods and services. In the same time, the country exported just $2.22 trillion. The numbers state that the country had a $540 billion gap, a trade deficit that was the 7th biggest in the history of the country, and the biggest since 1975.
As mentioned, while Trump is getting most of his votes from white-working class, the Democratic party is falling, despite Sanders echoing the same arguments.
Numbers say that in the last three elections, the Democrats lost the white-working class voters (non-college) by 22 points in average. The worst loss was in 2012, when president Obama lost the white-working class non-college vote by 26 points. Some 12 years ago the white-working class was the backbone and the bulwark of the Democratic votes. Nowadays, the Democrats can’t get the vote.
Some people address the issue in correlation with the shrinking size of the white-working class. By 2020, the number of white-working class will reduce to 30% of all voters and 44% of white voters in general. For comparison, almost 20 years ago, in 1988, white-working class occupied 54% of all voters and 64% of white voters.
The challenge for the Democratic party is finding a way to attract those voters back. Even scarier fact is that the number of people identifying themselves as Democrats has fallen to the lowest point since 1950.
From 2008 to 2014, the Democratic Party saw their supporters reduce from 36% to 30%, or a 6 point drop. In the same time, the Republicans saw just a 2 point drop. The belief in the American Dream has fallen among Americans, especially the white working class. Some years ago, white-working class believed in the middle-class security as a goal that is attainable. Nowadays, not so much.
Trump might have grabbed headlines with quotes like banning Muslims, but his point on jobs for the white working class is a statement that is worth analyzing. After all, his take on the jobs market might win him the vote over neo-left movement. The neo-left wing was applauded for the free market ideology, but it might be time to accept the casualties that the free market has caused.
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