As CNN’s electoral map turn increasingly red as Tuesday night drew on, a clearly perplexed Anderson Cooper remarked, “What did everybody get wrong?”
Many were happy to provide an answer to the CNN host. NBC’s political pundit Chuck Todd explained, “Rural America is basically screaming at us, saying, ‘Stop overlooking us!’” Trump surrogate and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani offered that was rural resentment directed toward an “Eastern arrogant establishment.”
White Hillary Clinton dominated in large cities, Donald Trump cleaned up in the areas in between, heavily populated by disenchanted blue collar voters. The scorn heaped upon this section of the electorate backfired, turning these voters away from Clinton and into the arms of the main alternative, the Republican Trump.
Giuliani explained this point, asserting, “They believe that’s what you all think of them,” referring to the constant insults leveled at these voters, with invectives like “ignorant” and “uneducated” casually bandied about. “Well, they’re not. They happen to be as smart and smarter than we are. They happen to work as hard and harder than we do. They happen to fight our wars and their children die for us to keep us safe. And they were fed up with how they were treated by the so-called Washington establishment.”
Concerned with the dissipation of job opportunities and the resulting worsening of personal finances, and trade deals that seem to clearly favor foreign interests, these working class voters saw in Trump’s combative personality a leader who would aggressively look out for their interests, when the powers in Washington, D.C., clearly would not.
In addition to frustration at a government that doesn’t seem to care about them, voters from fly-over country have also voiced exasperation at an American media that refuses to acknowledge that they have legitimate concerns, and instead insists that these stated concerns are merely a fig leaf for irrational bigotry.
The 2016 presidential election may be remembered as the Verizon election: “CAN YOU HEAR US NOW?!”