I wrote this to some online friends in other countries:
You might be wondering about what is going on in the culture of the USA. For one thing, the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves – and I am one. We used to be the party of the working people. We cared about the working man and woman, and championed being able to improve the quality of life for them, and for all Americans.
More than 20 years ago companies began moving to other countries and leaving many towns and some cities without an economic base. We did nothing, and the Republicans did nothing – until this election cycle when one person saw the anger and resentment at being marginalized and tapped into it. Democrats talked about creating jobs, lowering taxes on the middle class, and making education more affordable, but their one big idea was to raise the minimum wage. As if everyone’s working at Walmart or a fast food place. What people want is good paying jobs, real jobs. Instead of thinking about electing the first woman president, Democrats needed to be thinking – as they used to do – about poverty and the dignity of work. The Republican leadership didn’t get it, either, so they missed the Trump Train.
Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate and her husband and staff, came off as elitist insiders and that only fueled more anger. Unfortunately, Trump infused his campaign with rhetoric that blames immigrants and Muslims for problems they have not caused, and this is a dangerous thing. He used the anger to stoke the flames of hate even higher. Today, many of those who felt they weren’t being listened to by the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C., feel vindicated, but they may also feel empowered to take revenge.
Both the right and the left in the US complained about the move into a global economy, noting that there were victims, mostly small businesses and working people. The Democrats had a candidate who was a strong voice for these concerns, but he lost in the primary. He won the “Rust Belt” states, though, and that along with what he was saying should have been a wake up call for the party.
I think many Democrats, and the Republican leadership, assumed their fellow Americans would never vote for a racist, sexist, foul-mouthed boor. They didn’t understand that the anger was so deep people would excuse or ignore, and even revel in, that behavior.
My biggest concerns about Donald Trump are: the blaming of specific ethnic and religious groups; racism; aggressive denial of free speech to those who disagree with him; ignorance about international relations; and his impetuosity.