The last and only time I’ll talk about politics here.
The serial killer I once knew wrote angrily about how the newspapers weren’t covering him. They were covering David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, who’d killed a mere 6 people. The guy I knew would go on to kill 10. His name was Dennis Rader.
There were so many ways I could have started this, but I kinda figured that saying “the serial killer I knew” would be more attention grabbing. I did know Dennis Rader. He was always polite. Started dropping around more and more; apparently someone kept calling the animal patrol office to get him to come check my family out or something. Only later did I hear that he’d been targeting us, after he was caught.
That’s not really what this is about.
For whatever reason, that one sentiment, the frustration that the media was obsessed with killers like Zodiac (5 murders) and Son of Sam (6 murders), when BTK was out here doing the same thing, except he was active for over 30 years and killed more people, stuck with me.
People don’t care about Kansas, you see.
Part 1: To My Friend
I got into a fight with a friend about this upcoming election. I told him the outcome and why it would happen. He told, quite vehemently, that I was wrong. I want to talk to him about it now, not to rub it in his face or anything. I just… I don’t know. I’m curious, really. It’s a morbid curiosity. I want to know what he thinks, what’s going on in his mind right now.
But I don’t know how to say “so, uh, now that the election’s come, and I was right, how do you feel?” because I don’t know how to say it without it being a dick move, and if there’s one thing I don’t want to be here, it’s that.
Part 2: For You
Yesterday, around the time the polls opened, I saw a picture on Twitter of someone laughing at pictures of people sobbing at the loss of 2012 Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The person posting the image seemed sure that Trump’s camp would see the same thing.
I remember the Romney supporters after that election, just as I remember the McCain supporters before that. All equally heartbroken. I remember hearing people saying that they thought Obama would introduce martial law, that people would be jailed for wrongthink or what have you. It was ludicrous then.
Is it ludicrous now? I’m seeing folks on Twitter posting similar imagery and treating it as if it’s somehow powerful and profound. They’re saying things like “this is how democracy dies,” which is basically the same thing the Republicans I know said last time.
I don’t want you to be scared. I don’t think you deserve to be. I see people tweet images of a supposed Klan celebration (it’s not) or a Nazi flag (apparently the owner is anti-Nazi and raised a gay pride flag in some weird, poorly-considered symbolic display). Edit 4: Turns out this guy’s lying about getting hit with a glass bottle too. I find myself wondering if it’s hyperbole, just like it was for the Republicans.
I don’t know if you have to be scared. I feel like the evidence I’ve been confronted with says you don’t have to be. What you do with what I’m going to give you is up to you, but I’m here hoping to alleviate some pain.
Part 3: Why I’m Writing This
I used to volunteer in politics. I liked it. Then I grew out of it. I am not a member of either political party. I liked Bernie Sanders though I thought his ideas were unworkable. I didn’t like Clinton. I really didn’t like Trump. I’m not going to tell you how I voted. I consider myself a moderate, which I believe to be important.
There was this wonderful bit by the great author C.S. Lewis. It went something like “people want to believe the opposition is evil itself,” and then he went on to explain the process by which division brings evil and hate into the world, and that’s always struck a chord with me. It’s why I feel like I should be a moderate, to avoid putting myself in a position where I can see any group of people as the enemy. I want to understand everyone. I care, deeply, for everyone I meet.
I remember watching a funny video where a baby did something dangerous, the parents freaked out, and only after the parents freaked out did the baby start crying. I’ve been seeing a ton of people posting suicide hotline numbers lately, all because they think people are going to kill themselves because of the election. Personally, I haven’t been able to find any evidence that anyone is going to kill themselves, but I do know that people have seen the “don’t kill yourself, please” messages and assumed that this is how bad life is now. It’s like shouting “you’re going to be okay” in a room full of people who are okay; pretty soon, people start to be afraid when they don’t need to be.
I don’t want people to be afraid or in distress. It breaks my heart to watch. If people don’t need to be afraid, then I want to prove it. If they do, then I want to know how to stop it.
I want to prevent this election from happening again in four years. And the only way we can prevent it is if we understand why it happened. No room for rhetoric, no time for demagoguery. We need to sit down and look at the facts and figure out how it happened so it never happens again.
I’ve got no illusions, right? Like, I’m a disabled dude in a flyover state. I may be heckin smart, but nobody cares enough about my smarts to keep me out of poverty and disability, so I’m clearly not all that important in the grand scheme of things.
Still, better to try than to whine.
Part 4: The Narratives
So, as with any news story, there’s a narrative. It’s one of the things we learned in J-School back in the day. That’s just how things are. The big narrative this election has been that Donald Trump is a racist inspiring racists. You’ve heard the stories about how he equated Mexicans to rapists and said the Chinese invented global warming.
Twitter’s response so far seems to be pretty much this: Trump winning is a big win for racists everywhere, this is all about racism, it’s a “whitelash” against Obama, what are we gonna tell our kids, I’m crying now, etc etc etc.
So that’s Narrative A, that racism has won and we’re all boned.
Then there’s the other narrative, and it goes something like this: this election was about Americans who aren’t being listened to getting fed up with the establishment and going with the biggest “screw you” they could find, which happened to be the one guy who was campaigning around the Rust Belt and promising to fix trade and bring in jobs.
That’s Narrative B, the disenfranchised narrative.
A lot of people seem to prefer Narrative A to Narrative B. Now, me, I’d much rather B be true, wouldn’t you? Narrative A basically says America is full of awful people who hate us and want to hurt us. Narrative B says a bunch of people need our help.
Vox makes an interesting argument for why Narrative A might not be true while also explaining how it’s so popular. The claim is essentially that liberalism is so caught up in its smug self-superiority that it wants to believe any opposition is wrong. It wants to mock and deride. Please read that Vox piece before continuing.
“ The knowing know that police reform, that abortion rights, that labor unions are important, but go no further: What is important, after all, is to signal that you know these things. What is important is to launch links and mockery at those who don’t. The Good Facts are enough: Anybody who fails to capitulate to them is part of the Problem, is terminally uncool. No persuasion, only retweets. Eye roll, crying emoji, forward to John Oliver for sick burns.”
It makes sense, then, that Narrative A is so popular among my liberal friends. It also makes sense that they’re so heartbroken at this election; they’ve spent so much time mocking, deriding, belittling… that when they lost… well, how would you feel? How would you feel losing so soundly, on every level of American government, to the people you’d been making fun of for so long?
So. Right away, just going with that Vox piece, I feel like a big part of the distress, and a big part of the reason people want this to be about racists, is because of how horrifying it would be to confront the truth that making fun of people you dislike makes you an asshole.
Easier to feel like you’ve been wronged, like you’ve been hurt, and kind of gloss over the people that you’ve been laughing at and mocking for so long who just thrashed you in an election.
Maybe, just maybe, you’re acting like the bully in a bad 80s teen movie who just lost and won’t stop crying about it.
I didn’t come here to shame anybody. In fact, I came here to ensure that an election like this never happens again, and while I think maybe a bit of self-reflection would be nice, we’re here to look at numbers, and while that Vox piece reflects my lived experience, it’s not hard data. And besides, it doesn’t benefit me to basically go “making fun of people makes you the bad guy” if Narrative A is true and the racists really are winning.
So let’s look at Narrative A. Then let’s look at Narrative B.
Part 5: Was This Election About Racism?
I don’t think this election was about racism, and I don’t think it was won by racists. Don’t get me wrong, there was racist rhetoric and an awful lot of talk about racists, and racists did awful things during this election, but I don’t think the racists came in and won the election.
Clinton 2016: 59,861,516
Obama 2012: 65,915,795
Romney 2012: 60,933,504
Obama 2008: 69,498,516
McCain 2008: 59,948,323
Notice anything? Clinton is the weakest offering here. Sure, Trump has about 200,000 less. Kerry had about 850,000 less. Bush had about 2.25 million more. The winners since 2004? All over 60 million votes.
So there’s this theory going around that Trump’s win here is a “whitelash,” a great last stand by the Evangelicals (exit polls say he’s at 81% with them) and racists and white people against Obama.
You’d think that if that were true, Trump would have won the popular vote by a handy margin, or, heck, I don’t know, that they might have outdone Obama with his 69.5 million or his 66 million votes. But they didn’t. In fact, Trump has fewer votes than anybody here.
If this was some major, crazy push against Obama’s 8 years in the White House, you’d think all those racists coming out of the woodwork would have somehow given him more votes than Romney got last time, and it’s not like all of Romney’s support went out and voted third party, since that didn’t even break 5% of the vote.
What I’m saying is, looking at this, if this election’s so racist, where are the racists? Heck, where were they in 2012? If the theory here is that racists won, why haven’t the racist numbers risen as racists got more frustrated? Maybe it’s because they aren’t actually that big a deal. After all, the SLPC, a reputable organization, said that there’s less than 5,000 Klan members in the US. It’s not that big a number. The numbers don’t move all that much; all we really have is that fewer people voted than in the last few elections. 2000 still has a worse turnout, at least.
There was a lot of “Trump is a racist” coming from the Clinton camp, and a lot of people are holding on to that “this is all about racism,” but is there really a lot to go on here? The numbers don’t seem to back it up.
What they do seem to show is disinterest.
It’s not racists voting for Trump, it’s people not voting for Clinton. End Edit.
EDIT 2: Some More Stuff, via the Washington Post.
The only places with blue leads are those big, urban cores. A mere 68 counties. More on that later. End Edit 2.
The data shows some other stuff too…
Part 6: Some Interesting Patterns
These guys looked at exit polls and noticed something kinda interesting. There’s a shift towards the Republicans among poorer people and towards Democrats among the rich.
“What? Why are poor people voting Republican?”
Most people assume that the 1%, the rich folks, they’re all Republicans. If you ask them to name names, they will tell you the Koch Brothers. That’s basically it. Obviously that’s not proof, so, uh… remember those articles above, the ones I asked you to read about America’s wealth being moved to specific counties?
If you look at those counties and an election map, you’ll find those counties don’t vote red.
The rich counties vote blue. Always. Johnson County, the white collar county in Kansas, always votes blue. Sedgwick County, the blue collar county, which has a higher population but far less wealth, votes red.
You will find this pattern repeating itself across the United States: the richest counties are always blue. Always.
“But I saw exit polls saying that the poorest people voted blue, and the richest people voted red!”
Dunno what to tell you. Maybe the exit polls were wrong. Maybe it’s because younger people tend to be poorer/living at home/unemployed, and younger people voted blue this election. I don’t know how the NYT exit polls work. Again, here we have the New York Times showing a dramatic shift towards the red by lower income demographics.
The New York Times says:
“Mr. Trump made large gains across rural America, helping to defeat Hillary Clinton and her urban supporters.”
Poor people moved toward Trump.
Part 7: On Rural Americans
It’s really interesting to me that people push that “he won big with uneducated voters” thing. Like, a lot of the language makes it sound like he won with rural idiots who couldn’t find their way across the field to make moonshine with Paw-paw.
But, uh, remember that Vox Piece?
Or, heck, remember that great Norm MacDonald quote?
“I think clever people think that poor people are stupid.”
I went to college, and I have three degrees, and I would have been just as fine without them. In fact, I saddled myself with $40,000 in debt and wasted almost a decade of my life doing my best to do what I thought would give me a better job.
So, yeah, let’s not knock people just because they weren’t college educated. College is becoming increasingly irrelevant in America today; jobs want you to have degrees, but colleges are really about trying to milk a bunch of money out of poor kids without preparing them for the world. I could do a whole essay on higher ed and why it’s bad for kids these days.
My point is, let’s not just go with “it’s a bunch of stupid, poor, uneducated racists.”
Part 8: What’s The Deal With Disenfranchisement?
You won’t find many people more disenfranchised than me. My adjusted gross income was less than $4,000 last year. I think the total cash I survived on in 2015 was around $8,000. I lived on food stamps. I’ve been trying to find work, but there just aren’t that many jobs I can do around here, especially in the blue collar sector.
I’m sick, but I can’t afford health care. Obamacare actually made my life worse — insurance was actually more affordable before it showed up. I had to take out a loan to fix a tooth. This summer, I spent another $80 fixing the tooth, at a “free” clinic. They told me I needed thousands of dollars of dental work because I needed an implant and some other stuff.
I don’t want to spend a ton of time talking about how my life sucks, though, but suffice it to say, when I looked at Hillary Clinton, the person I saw was…
“… a candidate who enthusiastically backed NAFTA, seems most at ease in a room of Goldman Sachs bankers and was almost certain to do nothing for these towns other than maybe setting up a local chapter of Rednecks Who Code.”
(Huffington Post, The Democratic Party Deserved to Die)
I live in Kansas.
Nobody cares about Kansas.
See, here’s the thing: most of the people I follow on Twitter who are freaked out right now live on the coasts. Seriously. By and large, the people who are struggling to understand this win and accept the idea of disenfranchisement are the people who live on the coasts. The people who are disenfranchised, well, we don’t live there.
More importantly, they tend to live in the few counties that are actually making money. Big coastal cities, like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland. That’s where people are really, really struggling to accept the disenfranchisement thing.
Why is this important?
Well, here’s the thing: contrary to what the Clinton campaign said, America’s actually not doing too great. While we’re experiencing economic growth, that growth is limited to about 20 counties, clustered around those big cities I mentioned, as well as in the bigger cities in Texas. The Resolution Foundation, which apparently studies this stuff, made a similar claim:
The economic challenges faced by middle and lower income America have much deeper routes than the financial crisis and the recovery from it. Instead the economic anger has more to do with the experience of the last 40 years of two big trends.
First, the simple fact that wages for the typical worker have not kept pace with the growth of the economy during that time — and indeed have simply flat lined for large chunks of that period. This is both about the level of pay people receive and about how fairly the boon of economic growth is shared amongst the population — fairness as well as absolute living standards drive our attitudes. A version of that trend is visible in a number of developed countries, including in the UK in periods from the early 1990s, but the sheer length and scale of it stands out in the US having lasted since the end of the 1970s.
As well as the more regularly discussed problem of stagnant pay — there is a second and in some ways more fundamental trend going on that explains the economic discontent many in the US feel. Not only are people not earning enough, but not enough of them are in work in first place. While most economies would love an unemployment rate of 4.9 per cent, as the US does, there is a far deeper and worrying labour market trend — falling participation in the US.
In America today many more people are neither working nor looking for work than was the case in the past. This partly reflects a failure in the US to bring women into the labour force in the way that has been done in much of Europe, but it is driven by more and more men dropping out of the world of work entirely.
A lot of those people who aren’t looking for work? They’re not in the big cities. They’re in the rust belt. It’s about those of us with little to no hope for a future. I have no idea how I’m going to marry and have kids, or even own a home, or, heck, even raise a puppy. Ever. I’m 28 and if I somehow make it to my 70s, I don’t know if I’ll ever have even owned a puppy of my own.
I just applied for an income-based student loan. My payment would be zero. I almost broke down on the phone telling the woman that I didn’t know how I would ever be able to pay back my loan, like… ever.
Here’s some reading material on disenfranchisement, by the way. I could probably work it into this essay better, but I wanted this to be a one and done thing that I’d never return to, so, please read those before continuing.
The Washington Post: A Very Bad Sign For All But America’s Biggest Cities
The Atlantic: The Original Underclass
It’s gonna get worse, too, as self-driving vehicles come into existence.
EDIT 3: Remember this chart from earlier?
A mere 68 counties voted Blue. You’ll notice those are Urban cores. Those tend to be the richest parts of America. Because rich city folks vote blue. All the national attention is being focused on those few counties, at the expense of everyone else.
The people voting red? Literally everywhere else.
End Edit 3.
And the thing is, we live in a world where people on the coast think that this is normal:
A single person can make $230,000? What? A married couple with four kids has an income of $650,000? In what universe? IN WHAT UNIVERSE? How does a retired couple make $180,000 a year?
I have three degrees and I’d be lucky to get a part time job at Wal Mart. My father has a PhD in Metallurgical Engineering and a post-doc, he worked 18 years at Boeing, has been the main speaker at international conferences concerning the technologies he works with, and I don’t think he ever made more than $120,000.
I was told, when I applied for a writing job, that I had no chance of working remotely for them, that they needed people living in New York or San Francisco, basically. Never mind that those sites have and had legacy people who lived all over. I live in Kansas.
I was told “I’ve never met you in person, so I don’t know if I could hire you,” so I spent my entire life’s savings and part of a school loan to go out to GDC to meet people. I got about 60 seconds with one prospective employer. Cool. Cool, cool, cool.
I have no hope for the future. I just want to survive, man. I want to know that I don’t have to worry about putting a roof over my head or keeping food on the table. I ate today because I got a coupon for a free entree. I’m trying to ration what I have here at home.
I’m complaining about me again.
I didn’t vote for Trump, if that’s what you’re wondering.
But I get why people did it, right?
People did it because they were as mad and scared and afraid as me, because the establishment keeps ignoring them, because it literally renamed their home to “the rust belt,” because it sits there and mocks them because it thinks poor must be stupid.
Hillary came along with her “basket of deplorables” remark, and a bunch of people who’ve been hoping that Obama or Bush or Clinton or someone would listen to them, just listen and try to make things better, and what do you think happened?
WHAT DID YOU THINK WOULD HAPPEN?
LISTENING TO US
We’re dying out here and nobody cares about Kansas.
Wichita had an identity, y’know? It was the air capital of the world. We built all your airplanes, the ones you use to fly over. We don’t have an identity now. Boeing split in two, became Spirit, and it people keep getting laid off. The blue collar workers, the people who make stuff so you can fly around.
I wanted to fly, once. Then I got too sick and nobody could afford to help me and Obamacare ironically made it even harder to get medical coverage and now I catch myself staring up at the sky with an envy you’ll never understand.
You keep thinking about the coast and flying over us and portraying us in the media like we’re all a bunch of crazy people from the middle of nowhere. Mary-Ann Summers was just a girl from Kansas who wanted a better life. Weird serial killers are all rural, even though, y’know, in real life, most serial killers are urban problems. Most murders are urban too. Most crime. Most of the bad comes from the big cities, and they gobble up all our cash, and they take all our jobs and turn ’em white collar and ship it overseas because of the tax incentives.
So of course the rich folks in their rich bubbles couldn’t understand what was happening.
They weren’t listening.
I’m tired of listening to all of you people in your big coastal cities with comfortable jobs whine about how mean the world is going to be to you because the people you made fun of beat you fair and square in an election.
I’ve been in pain for so long and I’m so tired, so very tired.
And you’re saying a bunch of racist boogeymen are out to get you.
The simple fact is, there wasn’t that much excitement around Clinton. Look at the numbers. She’s flaccid and ineffectual.
The entire campaign was “I’m with her,” like… we were supposed to rally around this person who signified the banks and the government, the person whose husband basically paved the way for so much of the reduced oversight that ruined us.
You chose not to listen. To anyone. Wikileaks has a 100% accuracy record, and you listened to some guy who literally made things up. You told me, to my face, that Clinton was more qualified, while refusing to listen to those of us who didn’t actually want a qualified politician when every. single. one. had failed us.
“She’s the best person for the job,” you keep saying. As The Guardian points out, she really wasn’t. She was a mediocre politician at best, and the sheer, raw amount of doubt surrounding her should have let people know that maybe people weren’t into that. Having a job for 40 years in an industry — and it really is an industry — that’s built entirely around who you know doesn’t make you a good fit
Remember, Romney and McCain both lost to Obama, the guy they both argued wasn’t experienced.
In case it wasn’t obvious by now, America doesn’t want the experienced candidate. They definitely don’t want the robot completely lacking in charisma.
Let me be clear. Racists didn’t win this war.
You lost it because you wouldn’t listen to those of us who were screaming this would happen.
I was so panicked when I told a friend Clinton would lose to Trump. He told me she was a career politician, that she was experienced (what, more than Bernie?), that she was the best person for the job. Whatever. She was going to lose to Trump. Always.
She had no charisma. The messaging was bad. I mean, I remember the 2012 election feeling like this big, important thing. If it were the Olympics, this was like Utah or Athens, y’know? Big on the ratings. Interesting. Felt like you had to watch. This election? Sochi, the winter Olympics without snow, where the officials were murdering dogs for some reason. Rio, with the record lows, the apathetic viewers, without any hero stories, where the water was turning weird colors and the officials were pretending nothing was wrong.
This election wasn’t inspiring or exciting, so we saw a drop in voters.
People didn’t care about Hillary. Like some of the articles I’ve already linked have said, she was the presumptive nominee. The coronation was expected. It’s like an Olympic event that assumes it’ll have high ratings because it’s the Olympics, so it ignores all the concerns people have about Zika or dead construction workers or algae in the water and plows right through and then wonders why nobody cared.
Nobody cared because Hillary had no game.
Trump won because a bunch of desperate people nobody’s listening to decided to go for the guy who pretended to listen.
It’s gonna get bad out there.
It could have been avoided with a good candidate who actually listened.
Maybe a bunch of racists are out there to get you. I honestly don’t know. I barely leave the house. What’s the point? My life ended a long time ago, but nobody was paying any attention.
Addendum, 11/13/16: So I wanted to write a piece looking at data and basically going “hey, friends of mine, if you’re afraid, you don’t need to be, because it looks like none of the data suggests your fears.” I failed to do that because I wrote this in a single draft and got emotional near the end. All my edits have been to either add data or tweak grammar. The structure and tone of the piece remains the same. I think it works as it is.
So far, every major incident I’ve seen of someone going “look, people are getting attacked!” has turned into literally nothing. Misinterpretation or a fake in every case I’ve personally seen shared online, but, heck, people are retweeting an image of a Venezuelan protest pretending it’s Los Angeles.
I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re scared and afraid, I dunno. Maybe you don’t have to be. I don’t know what’s going on out there, but it seems like a lot of people are faking stuff right now. Maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem? Maybe they are. I don’t know. I only left my apartment twice since the election, and I barely made any human contact.
I hope things are okay. If I can do anything to make things better, I want to. From my computer, it feels like the most helpful thing I can do is show you that you don’t have to be afraid. But I could be wrong. What do I know?
Edit: you bet this was a single draft meltdown.
Edit 2: Added an image and a tweet link to back up one claim.
Edit 3: reversed opening’s “us” and “my family” because “us” is weird without the context of it being my family.
Edit 4: changed “for longer” to “except he was active for over 30 years and killed more people.”
Edit 5: added “who” to one sentence where it made sense to do so and did not make sense otherwise.
Edit 6: Italicized one word and de-italicized another.
Edit 7: A period.
Edit 8: Removed some swearing. I’ve been trying to break the habit.
Edit 9: Added this:
Heck, where were they in 2012? If the theory here is that racists won, why haven’t the racist numbers risen as racists got more frustrated? Maybe it’s because they aren’t actually that big a deal. After all, the SLPC, a reputable organization, said that there’s less than 5,000 Klan members in the US. It’s not that big a number.
Also tweaked a sentence to clarify that younger people voted blue this election.
Edit 10: And here’s a piece on the New York Times, which shows how out of touch it is.
The bigger shock came on being told, at least twice, by Times editors who were describing the paper’s daily Page One meeting: “We set the agenda for the country in that room.”
Having lived at one time or another in small-town Pennsylvania, some lower-rung Detroit suburbs, San Francisco, Oakland, Tulsa and, now, Santa Monica, I could only think, well, “Wow.” This is a very large country. I couldn’t even find a copy of the Times on a stop in college town Durham, N.C. To believe the national agenda was being set in a conference room in a headquarters on Manhattan’s Times Square required a very special mind-set indeed.
Edit 11: And here’s a YT video of some dude explaining why the Left lost. Once again, it’s about listening to people. The left didn’t listen. In fact, he argues that the left made it hostile for others to speak, which is why so many were unprepared. I get what he’s saying. As a moderate, I feel like I can’t speak openly about things concerning me without an ocean of “you’re just a horrible person.”
Heck, ever since I wrote this piece, I’ve been waiting for the fallout. I still have this sinking feeling in my gut people are going to read this and act like I’m a horrible person who should never speak ever. It’s happened before.
Edit 12: Wall Street Journal.
This election ends where elections always do: with the voters. This contest was more about viewers of “Duck Dynasty” than “Saturday Night Live.” Voters are angry at the failure of elected officials in Washington to listen to them and act. They are angry that the country can’t secure its borders. They are angry about a war on terrorism that has dragged on for more than a decade and has shown more signs of defeat than victory. They are angry at the arrogance of the rich and well educated who don’t seem to know–much less care–that working people’s standard of living has been declining for a generation. They are angry at the media, at journalists they think look and sound too smug, too certain, and too aloof. They are angry at the “new economy” that trumpets apps and functionality and brags about the “costs” (read: jobs) that are being eliminated. They are angry about being mocked and vilified as rubes, racists, and “deplorables.” They are white-hot angry that their children don’t have reasonable prospects for advancement.
But I am a single mother who can’t afford health insurance under Obamacare. The president’s mortgage-loan modification program, “HOPE NOW,” didn’t help me. Tuesday, I drove into Virginia from my hometown of Morgantown, W.Va., where I see rural America and ordinary Americans, like me, still struggling to make ends meet, after eight years of the Obama administration.
Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the growing importance of social issues in the national debate and Democrats’ reliance on wealthy donors on the two coasts who are more focused on cultural liberalism than on economic solidarity had, together, left the party somewhat disconnected from the working class.
“Social issues now have become central, rather than class issues,” said Ms. Weingarten, calling for what she called a “both/and” approach.
Edit 14: Typo. “Entry” for “Entree.” No idea how I didn’t see that.