Why red states voted for Trump:
- Not enough job growth, wages have stayed stagnant, real buying power has gone down
- Washington is totally corrupt – drain the swamp
- The “elites” look down on us – change to “people like us”
Why a vote for Trump and the Republican Party is useless to achieve these goals:
The rise in the stock market since Trump’s election is a reflection of speculative optimism that is held by the business world that a Trump administration will be pollution friendly, corporate tax friendly, and will expand military spending. This is not the result of any new fiscal or economic policy, or legislation. Also, the stock market is not the US economy. That is measured in the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This number has remained lower than the historic average, and is currently at about 2 1/2%. Due to slow growth, companies have continued to be tight on wages. With inflation, most American households have actually lower buying power than they had 10 years ago. Companies expand jobs due to greater sales, not due to lower taxes. Since Trump hasn’t done anything to improve the economy, the job situation is unlikely to see much change. Republicans like to hold out the prospect of tax returns as a way of making up for this problem. The republican tax reform plan is to benefit the 1%. This will not help the other 99%, and the money will be directly added to the national deficit. This will only make the situation worse in the long run.
The president does not have the power to “drain the swamp”. The president is not a king. Congress is a separate and EQUAL branch of government. The president can only use the “bully pulpit” to influence those bodies, but he does not control them. This is manifestly clear by the actions of the Republican Party in the course of the efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. When a representative feels that his or her position is secure, the president’s bully pulpit is useless. The problem with Congress can only be solved by putting teeth into independent Ethics Committees, and by the American voter.
Trump and the Republican “elite” are no more “people like you” than are the Democrat “elite”. Check out the actions of Tom Price, who has used over $300,000 for private jet flights in only 4 months, or Steve Mnuchin’s use of private jets for himself and his wife. The Republican Party has exploited the feelings of the rank and file to secure an election, but are not in sympathy with their supporters. If you want to see how they feel about their supporters, look at their policies, which will devastate red states.
The Republican explanation for the “plight of red states” is a false narrative constructed to blame their political opponents. The real reasons for their situation has more to do with the urbanization of America, the impact of technology, and the effects of globalization than with government policies. Technology has replaced workers, and made existing workers more productive, reducing the need for growth. Globalization has made products cheaper, but moved jobs elsewhere. These decisions were made by companies, not by governments. Since the industrial revolution, people have been moving to cities, and depopulating rural areas. This means that goods and services are cheaper and more available in urban than in rural areas. Jobs are more available in urban settings. This has inescapable consequences on rural opportunities. As republicans want to tear down the safety net, what will happen to these areas? When hospitals can’t see enough patients to make that high-tech diagnostic gear profitable, they will have to let it go. Patients will have to travel to those places with higher population density that can afford expensive medical equipment. How many hospitals will simply close due to bad economics? The companies that run them don’t have to keep them running. They can opt for only running hospitals in profitable urban areas, just like retail department stores.
This problem only gets worse. The forces that drive urbanization continue. Where will rural America be in 10 years…in 20 years? Soon there will be auto-driven trucks. Where will the jobs for truckers go? The country is undergoing profound change. America needs to anticipate that change. We need a stronger social safety net, not a weaker one. Having social attitudes from the early 1900’s doesn’t work anymore. We don’t look down on people who have had a divorce anymore. We don’t let kids work 60 hours a week in textile shops anymore. We need to understand that most people will go through periods of retraining and change, and that there is a place for government support for that.
We need more regulation, not less. The opioid crisis happened because there was too little oversight, not too much. The pharmaceutical companies are not liable for their misleading the countries doctors. We need people focused companies, not “engines of profit”. Rest assured that without massively different thinking, companies will not change. Income inequality will increase. Big business means small people.
The Democratic Party agenda focuses on people, but does not account for the corruption or the obligation to do the bidding of their donors. These problems led to the widespread dissatisfaction with the political system. This is the base problem. Without fixing this, the red states will get worse. Their billionaires will keep buying the system, paying the think tanks, and crafting the legislation. People will lose.
Editor – Political Nation USA