So I see you’ve stumbled your way into my political opinions. Just want to let you know ahead of time that my views do not represent the views of AtmoLife, and they especially do not represent the views of my employer. It’s totally cool if you disagree with anything and everything I wrote here (hi mom). I still think you’re great. This post isn’t about who I wanted to win the election, but rather about why the Democrats lost and their best strategy going forward.
Rural uneducated white voters in America generally favor Republican candidates, but Donald Trump, who is not in the slightest sense a “traditional” Republican candidate, won that demographic by unprecedented margins.
Millions of distraught Hillary Clinton supporters are pointing to this as evidence of a bigoted America revealing its true colors. That is simply not the case. Trump himself is a bigot. Many of his supporters shown during his Presidential rallies are bigots; the crazies make the best news stories. The vast majority of the people who voted for Trump are not bigots. Trump owned the rural uneducated white demographic (for the sake of simplicity, we’ll call them “Bubbas”). Bubbas are good people but overwhelmingly voted for Trump because of the complete systematic failure of the Democratic party to understand them.
The Bubbas can’t trust Hillary Clinton, and nothing else matters to them.
The distrust is so strong that many Bubbas believe, correctly or incorrectly, that Hillary belongs in prison. Some Bubbas understand the extent of Trump’s bigotry more than other Bubbas, but all Bubbas are willing to look past his character flaws, because Trump hasn’t given them a reason to distrust him yet.
Some of this distrust toward Hillary stems from her personal scandals, but the vast majority of the Bubbas’ distrust originates in the way they feel they are perceived by the East Coast Democratic elite. To them, Hillary represents the high-and-mighty Yankee attitude constantly looking down on them.
In order for Democrats to re-earn the trust of the Bubbas, Democrats must first stop being so damn pretentious. Referring to the Bubbas as uneducated and close-minded, even if true, is not going to earn their votes. If you’re a Democrat, you need to reach out to these rural communities. Don’t let your education or open-mindedness make you think you’re better than them. Pitch to them how your visions of prosperity will benefit them specifically. Assure them that your progressive desires for others will not impact their traditional desires for themselves.
A simple effort to understand the Bubbas will go a long way in helping them understand Democrats. Hillary spent her entire campaign attacking Trump’s bigotry rather than building herself up as someone who could be trusted. The Bubbas aren’t exposed to much diversity (except those who join the military, and they REALLLLY hate Hillary), so Hillary emphasizing Trump’s platform of bigotry toward marginalized groups doesn’t move their empathy needles much. Once Democrats remove this distrust barrier, they can begin to have real, constructive conversations with the Bubbas about their progressive viewpoints.
This election revealed a massive lack of understanding and communication between between The Democratic elite, blue collar whites, and minority groups. To those of you from marginalized groups terror-struck by Trump’s message, I love you all. You belong right here in America and deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as much as the rest of us. Personally, it’s not my place to tell you what you should do going forward, as I am not from a marginalized group; I come from the Bubbas. The Bubbas will not go out of their way to understand you however. They love their small towns, each other, and their way of life. It will take your polite and humble extension of the olive branch toward the Bubbas to get them to trust you and listen.