This essay made it seem like there are two Americas. The coasts and the middle. It also described the rural perspective of the white voter. But this isn’t how America really lives. Instead, families are split apart over who they will vote for. The same rural household going half for Clinton and half for Trump. The red states have nearly as many blue voters as the blue states and vice versa. The margins of difference between them are never more than 10% to a max of 20%.
Within the states, half of a family has had to move to the urban centers for work. The other half has stayed behind. The people who move to the cities become more liberal in general, but they, too, are diverse in opinion.
So if I were to speak say, as Iowa residents — Jordan’s uncle and Jordan’s brother, for example, as Trump voters, we would share the same cultural background as Jordan, a Clinton voter. Like most Trump voters, we uncle and brother are not poor. Our income is above the median income of Trump voters of 50k. In fact, Jordan’s uncle is a small businessman who has had plenty of success thanks to the pick-up truck craze in the United States, because he manufactured toppers and started a pick-up truck magazine. Jordan’s brother has a couple of business properties he’s been able to keep rented most of the past five years.
Jordan’s uncle and brother are not oppressed and our culture is not under threat, but we constantly say it is. For example, Jordan’s uncle has been complaining for over 20 years about how good the “Indians” have it with their casinos making them rich. He thinks because his father took him to a black dentist as a child — while this same father also told racist jokes — he is not racist. But he’s going to be able to tell you all the reasons we need law and order. Law and order is just a euphemism for cracking down on black people and putting them in their place. I know it, my fellow Trump voters know it, and we are all looking forward to some police kicking ass.
Jordan’s brother is a disgruntled Sanders voter. He can recite every conspiracy theory about Clinton there is. He is an avid Alex Jones enthusiast. The actual conspiracies Clinton and the DNC engaged in with regard to Sanders are not helping. But how can he excuse voting for Trump when Sanders clearly says that is madness? Well, he’s been working for the same PepsiCo food subsidary in Iowa for 15 years and he still has the least amount of seniority in his union. None of the old guys will retire. They have good jobs with good benefits. These guys are voting for Trump, too.
Oh yeah, and the black unemployment rate in our Iowa twin cities (Waterloo-Cedar Falls) is 24%, but it is 3.4% for white people. But we constantly talk about how black people are privileged, how there is reverse discrimination, and how racism is over. Trump blames the problem with the blacks on their hopeless inner city. He says the Democrats did that. Well, we’d be happy to bite on that nugget. We can point the finger at our black community for the employment problems, then.
How much empathy do we need? We’re a couple of middle class white guys who have life pretty good. We are doing better than anyone in our families, including the educated ones who will vote for Clinton. But then a Republican economy works for us. It’d be nice to get a tax cut. We could use a new boat.