Overwhelmingly White males voted for Trump in the 2016 Presidential election.
Coming from an extremely liberal city just outside of Washington D.C. I was confused and distraught when Trump was announced our next President. How did this happen? That same feeling stayed with me during the last days of Obama’s administration. That same feeling stayed with me when I watched Trump’s Inauguration in the basement of the MSU Union. That same feeling stays with me to this day.
But at the same time I was upset about my slice of the pie shrinking, others were rejoicing because their slice was getting bigger. These people were White men and White women, typically heterosexual and working class. In a sociology class we learned that lower class people have a strong dislike for immigrants because they feel threatened that they will take their jobs and have social mobility, all the while they never had the same opportunity to elevate in social standing. They were cheated out of the American Dream.
I think this current phenomena relates back to First Wave Feminism. First Wave Feminism initially began because White women felt that if Black men could have the right to vote because they were male, then White women were entitled to have the right to vote because they were White. Working class Whites feel like their rights have been diminished. They may feel like because they are White they should be awarded more privilege than upper class minorities. They believe Washington elites don’t listen to their concerns. They felt like a Washington outsider – Trump – would listen to them, and make their concerns heard.
Coming from Washington D.C. and being a “coastal elite” I didn’t understand the concerns of middle America until I moved to Michigan for college. There are many lifestyle differences that people on the coasts don’t understand about the Midwest and vice versa. I grew up thinking guns were all bad, and they were only used to hurt others. In Michigan, a lot of people like to go hunting or shoot for sport. Without that knowledge, you don’t understand why 2nd amendment rights are so important to some Americans.
White heterosexual males felt powerless in a nation under control by a minority male. They wanted to regain their lost control, so they elected a “successful” conservative White businessman who would restore their power. Many commentators described the outcome of the recent election as “Whitelash,” a backlash against the United States becoming more progressive, orchestrated by primarily White men and women. Make America Great Again was Trump’s campaign slogan. White men wanted to return to their “roots,” a time when they were in power. First a black man in power, then a woman?!
It was too much for their fragile egos.