What Kind of People Vote for Hillary?
There have been many pieces written over the last few months trying to explain why anyone would vote for Donald Trump. Everyone, even his supporters, admit that the guy is kind of a wild, unpredictable, narcissistic, bigoted, misogynistic, sleaze bag. But he has managed to hold on to many devoted, loyal supporters. Lots of people have traveled to places like West Virginia to try and find out what some Trump supporters are thinking.
But what about the Hillary supporters? Who are they? What kind of lives do they have that would get them to support a woman for President, especially a woman who is old and can’t tell a server from a router.
I live up here in Deep Blue country. We are a bunch of not so plain folks who are educated, have good jobs, work hard, make a good living, pay our taxes, care about the environment, mostly value a diverse culture, and we want to protect our lifestyle. We are not a monolithic group by any means, so it is more difficult to say what drives us.
On Saturday I went to Boston, a city that has a liberal tradition and almost always votes heavily Democratic. My wife and I went to hear a speaker at the main branch of the Boston Public Library. We heard the architect who designed the recent renovations of that building describe his work. A few hundred people came to hear him. The rest of the building, which was doubled in size about forty years ago, was full of people reading and studying. Most of them seemed to be college and graduate students. The Boston area has over fifty colleges of various sorts. You probably have heard of a few of them, Boston University, Boston College, Tufts, Harvard, MIT, Wheelock, Simmons, Wentworth, Northeaster, UMass Boston, Leslie…. the list goes on and on.
Also, that day the library was a polling place for early voting, which has recently been expanded in Massachusetts. We try to get as many people to vote as we can, so we have weekend voting. If you are registered, you can vote, no other requirement. The line to vote went through the library lobby, out the door, down the street and around the corner. Everyone is the line seemed to be in an upbeat mood and getting along. People were happy, patient, and there was some quiet kidding around. From what I could tell, from a very unscientific personal poll, was that about 90% of those folks would be voting for Hillary.
Their reasons were different. Some were voting FOR Hillary. Some were voting AGAINST Trump, and some felt that both of those reasons were equally important.
So, what kind of lives do all those people who vote for Hillary get to experience here in Massachusetts?
They not only have all those colleges, by many measures they have the best primary and secondary public education in the country. It’s not perfect, but I’ll get to that later.
More than any other state, these people are covered by health insurance. They had Obamacare before Obama. And it’s expensive. But they all want to keep it in place, and they keep making it better. They also have access to many of the best hospitals in the world, right here in Boston.
The irony of course, is that it began under Romney, and that was part of why he lost the election. He had to run against his greatest achievement.
These people also have jobs. And they are good jobs. The unemployment rate last month was 3.6%. Not as low as neighboring New Hampshire, but the 8th lowest in the country, and most of the ones that were lower have a lot of people who work in fracking, which may not last, and chops up the land, often causing earthquakes.
Massachusetts also has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. It is not necessary to carry your own gun to feel safe here. People trust the police and the community to protect them. It’s not perfect, but it is very good.
Life is good here. The state has the 3rd highest income per family, second only to Connecticut and New Jersey, where all the Wall Street and Hedge Fund people live. Most of the money made here in Massachusetts comes from good jobs in high tech, biotech, health sciences universities and health care. These are the kinds of jobs that help the whole country live better. I have heard that some people out there think that climate change is a hoax that the Chinese have created to slow down the American economy. There are many people here in Massachusetts who not only think that climate change is real, but they are studying ways to help the planet survive. That will even benefit the people who still don’t believe anything is wrong.
The overall impression is that life in a liberal state is very good. People are smart, interesting, caring, and cooperative. They work hard, care about their families, and their families future. Oh, yes, that includes all kinds of families. Mass was the first state to legalize gay marriage. And you know what, that hasn’t made any one sick, crazy, molested, or strange. It’s just made everyone happier, more relaxed, and a little better dressed.
The people who are voting for Hillary don’t want to mess that up, They don’t want some crazy guy, who has no idea what he’s doing, control government spending, the military, threaten everyone who isn’t White, and lech after all the women.
I want to be fair about this, Massachusetts is far from perfect.
The schools in many of the cites, Boston, Springfield, Lawrence, Lynn, and other places are not close to being a good as the suburban schools. Most of the kids in the city schools are not white. It’s not much better than the rest of the country.
There isn’t a lot of racial tension here, but there isn’t a lot of real integration either. There is some overlap, but it’s very little.
The traffic is terrible. The $19 billion Big Dig, is already overwhelmed.
Even with all these colleges there is no national college football power. However, our professional sports teams are the best in the country. Brady is back and better than ever. The rest of the country hates that.
More than in other parts of the country people are reserved, and not overly welcoming. Not mean, but quiet. And it’s true that the people are a bit snobby, but it’s more about education than about money. I have never seen a Trump building in Mass. That kind of glitz is frowned upon. Things here are usually understated. There’s still lots of old money.
It gets cold, windy and wet five months of the year here. That helps the kids study.
It’s very expensive to live here, especially housing. That’s because life is good here, so many people want buy houses. But the price I could get for this nice-enough condo is ridiculous.
That’s my quick impression after spending many years living among people who now support Hillary and who are really frightened by even the idea of Trump as President. These people are the kind that are demonized by some of the folks in red states. They are highly educated, they believe in science and in trying to find evidence for what is true or not. They are often very secular. They value competence, thoughtfulness and planning. They realize that the world is complex. They think governments should do good things for the people they serve, and they are willing to pay their taxes if they don’t feel the money is going to waste. We recently elected a Republican governor. He beat a woman Democrat by 1%. He said he would never vote for Trump.