I'll start off by saying that YES! Let's economically improve the Rust Belt! That's been necessary for about 40 years now! And let's definitely try to figure out an economic future for small town America, and working families, without pretending that manufacturing and resource extraction jobs are coming back. People, of course, want jobs. Public works initiatives can get us partway there, but not all the way. There are not enough jobs for everyone in America's future. We must face that and come up with plans that don't involve trying to stuff the automation genie back in the bottle or tear up our remaining natural resources in search of extractable materials just to provide Americans with jobs.
|from the exit polls|
For instance, I've seen a lot of people claiming that this election is all about economics, about the decline of the Rust Belt and middle-class America. That's a really comfortable liberal analysis. But it's not accurate.
Let's unpack some of the false beliefs a lot of people on the left hold that are messing with their analyses here:
1. Racism is evil. And people are good. Therefor, people are not racist.
The truth: Racism, particularly against Muslims, BLM activists, and Mexican, Central American, and South American immigrants, was a huge factor in the way Americans voted in this election. We have to take a stand against that, always, even if it means losing votes. And we have to oppose it and call it out in our streets, from our police forces, and in our news media.
2. People vote their best interest from an economic perspective.
The truth: Most people vote based on a complex set of deeply felt issues and gut heuristics. I know I do. Being economically comfortable doesn't stop you from lodging a protest vote. Many securely middle-class people voted Trump. In fact, that is where most of his supporters stand.
3. While sexism is a problem, most people evaluate men and women fairly, based on the facts.
The truth: Most people -- women included -- don't trust women. It's a fundamental story -- the very first, in fact -- in Christianity. In this election, a woman ran against a known and clear liar, and with every victory she logged along the way, more people, including many on the left, labeled her a crook and corrupt and a liar. It's not comfortable to face how differently we all judge women, especially for those of us who believe deeply that men and women should be treated as equals. But the fact is, the electorate did not believe the woman candidate could be trusted, even though her opponent lied at every debate repeatedly and has defrauded tens of thousands of Americans for his personal economic gain. Trust was a major factor here, and the biggest liar I've ever seen run enjoyed a lot more trust than his female opponent.
If we don't face that, we'll continue to excuse the tremendous injustice women and girls face. Women's health care decisions will be taken from us, since we can't be trusted. And we will continue to live in a culture that covers up sexual assault and abuse. Not to mention we'll continue to see every major industry dominated by men and see far too few women in government, leadership, and culture.
We have to face the data. We cannot just dismiss it because it doesn't fit our narratives. We must shape our narratives to the evidence, not the other way around.
Read the exit polls. Face the data. Then let's move forward.