The nation was shocked last Tuesday by the upset victory of Donald Trump in the Presidential election with his defeat of the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Dismissed as a clown and misogynist, Trump was expected to lose a close race to the better organized and better funded Clinton who had the endorsement of almost every newspaper in the nation. What caused this tremendous upset victory?
Many pundits were saying before the election that Trump was going to get the vote of old white men who failed to embrace the “diversity” of a changing nation and many of his supporters were derided by Hillary Clinton as being “deplorable.” Election night was supposed to be a coronation for Hillary and I myself fully expected this to occur. However, something was rumbling up in the Rust Belt of the old Midwest. All attention was on Florida and North Carolina, but I watched the returns from the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania. Lackawanna County which includes Scranton was not going for the Democrats as much as it was in previous elections and next-door Luzerne County which has Wilkes-Barre as its major city was going shockingly for Trump. No Republican had carried Luzerne since 1988 when the GOP last won the Keystone State. In the western part of the state, Beaver County was also going for Trump. This is a county that had not gone to the GOP since 1976. Pennsylvania was going into the Trump column and spelled bad tidings for Clinton. It was not bigotry or hate that was driving this revolt in the heartland. It was the resentment of the fact that globalization and mass regulation were doing bad things to areas outside major cities and that the people were being left behind in the new economy. This “economy” was based on debt, propping up of the big banks and high technology that was confined to the coasts. The new economy also included government spending and was benefiting areas like Northern Virginia which escaped the effects of the Great Recession of 2008-09.
As the economy left the Rust Belt behind, the people became angry not only at the loss of livelihood, but also at how they were being looked down upon by the people on both coasts as rubes. They listened to Trump’s message of making America great again and gave Hillary a stunning rebuke that she will never forget as she is past her window of opportunity to ascend to the Presidency. This revolt was a proper sequel to what happened in the summer when Great Britain voted to secede from the EU for some of the same reasons.
Areas of Britain were also left behind in this new economy and they were also resentful of regulations from EU bureaucrats in Brussels. The vote to leave the EU was not confined to traditional Conservative areas of Britain, but was prominent in heavily Labor areas like Sunderland, Nottingham, Kingston-upon-Hull and the areas of Wales where coal mining was a part of the economy. Many workers in the north of England voted to leave as they saw no benefit to being in the EU and they wanted self-determination for their Parliament in London.
The election of Trump and the British vote to leave the EU are the big stories of this year. Perhaps the effects of these elections might minimal, but it is indisputable that the people still know when they are being lied to by the elites and when they are made fun of. Let liberty reign.