The inequality in the U.S. is obscene: Middle class workers are fired relatively easily and quickly and then what do they do? They vote the wealthiest capitalists into office.
The voice-over on the video sounds cold and clinical even at the closing sentence: “In order to remain competitive and maintain our business model long-term, we have decided to shift production from our Indianapolis factory to Monterrey, Mexico.”
That’s how management informed one labor force that in all probability they would soon be unemployed. The workers began complaining, but the boss, unmoved, continued by saying the best way to service “a price-sensitive market environment” was to transfer 1,400 jobs to Mexico.
In the U.S., workers are fired the American way – dispassionately. There are hundreds of thousands of them across the nation. After being so coldly tossed aside, would any of them ever vote for the bigoted, lying, hate-filled racist demagogue Donald Trump? Highly probable. And those who would do so – are they all stupid? Or bigoted, hate-filled racists?
To adequately explain Trump’s success to Americans, people often seek reasons from among the voters themselves. The key term there comes from the Trump fan’s inclination to be against something: “Anti,” as in anti-elite and/or anti-establishment. Born losers. Uneducated and incorrigible. It’s from this swamp that Trump gets the magic elixir that gives him his strength.
But the post-ideologue Trump didn’t create these people; more significantly, he made them the focal point of his campaign. The white, American worker. That’s when he sounds most like a liberal. He complains that the plight of white, middle class workers in America is worse than it has ever been. Trump is seldom right, but in this case the facts support him: The capitalist machinery is malfunctioning in America as evidenced by the fact that the 20 richest individuals in America control more wealth than half the nation’s population — 152 million people — and also by the fact that the 400 wealthiest people own or control as much as the bottom 61 percent of the population collectively – $2.34 trillion.
The inequality has reached such obscene levels that many observers are making long-term predictions of capitalism’s downfall. No society has ever survived for long under such a development.
Mortality Rate for Middle Class White Males Increasing
For example, the mortality rate for middle class white males has gone up as has the drug addiction rate, a subject that plays a large role in U.S. election campaigns.
Yes, Trump is a liar, a racist and a demagogue and some of his fans support him precisely because he is. Many in the business and political worlds try to put the blame for Trump’s rise on the disaffected who vote for him but that’s oversimplification.
Trump Wants a New Economic Policy
The important questions are these: What makes Trump voters so fearful of their world? What drives their hatred and their racism? What has made them losers in the land of unlimited opportunity?
The answers to these questions are in the video which goes a long way toward explaining why Trump will be the likely candidate picked by the Republicans and why he even has a shot at the White House. (SEE VIDEO HERE)
In his speeches, Trump makes frequent reference to the “Carrier Air Conditioner” video. His campaign is largely self-funded and he can therefore claim he’s “not for sale,” a point that has become central in pitching his economic platform. He talks of that more often than he does his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border, yet the wall pops up with more frequency in news reports than does his economic platform.
Trump wants — and here he is remarkably in agreement with his Democratic anti-establishment counterpart Bernie Sanders — a totally revamped U.S. economic policy. Trump considers trade agreements a problem. He feels America’s gigantic trade deficit makes it a “loser nation.” To him, trade is synonymous with change for the worse. He has therefore declared China above all to be a national enemy.
That’s popular with workers in, for example, the industrial northeastern United States. Trump proposes to tax Carrier Air Conditioner heavily when they re-import their Mexican-manufactured products into the United States.
Whether Trump’s economic medicine can be effective is immaterial at this point. How much of it can be done, what it can accomplish or what damage it may do is not relevant to explaining his success. For that, it’s necessary to turn to the symptoms of the disease.
For some time now, not everyone in the U.S. has been able to earn an adequate income. Equal opportunity is an ever-fading American myth. Social mobility, one measure of how many individuals make it to or near the top, is now more restricted in the U.S. than it is in Europe. Those born into poverty are likely to remain poor all their lives; those who previously thought they were economically secure find they must now fear for their positions.
Middle class jobs have ceased being taken for granted for some time already and even in a household with two wage earners, the income is often not enough. Wages have fallen, competition from overseas has risen and pensions are looking uncertain.
Here is what’s changed since earlier times when mainly minorities had these worries: Now the entire middle class is affected, the so-called blue-collar workers, factory workers and tradesmen who still make up 40 percent of the population. A Pew Research Center study showed that 75 percent of Trump’s most loyal supporters say that life has become worse for them and for people like them.
The American working class has lost faith in the agendas put forth by their party leaders and in spite of all the symptoms of crisis, the Republicans continue to push for neoliberal concepts with the least possible governmental involvement.
Trump Benefits from Failure
But the promise that laissez-faire capitalism would lead to prosperity that would reach all the way down to the lower end of society proved to be a lie. That the wealthy would invest more the more money and power they had was assured. Wages were therefore tied to hedge funds, always with the promise that the less you have today, the more you’ll have in the future.
Even at the highpoint of the financial and banking crisis, the Republicans kept pushing for lower taxes on the rich. They demonized social programs, health care programs included. The motto was “prosperity via self-denial” along with “shut up and go along.” That made the development of such destructive anti-social behavior more palatable to some — those with a mindset best displayed by Trump. He employed illegal Polish workers in his Trump Tower operation, and at his former university he is reported to have swindled people out of millions. The list is endless.
But he of all people — the capitalist-in-chief, the real estate billionaire — has now become the beneficiary of failure, the grave robber of a system that made him what he is. Trump profited even if it’s by no means certain he can beat Hillary Clinton or that his Republican rival Ted Cruz still has a slight chance of hindering his run for the presidency.
Paradoxically, it’s no longer Wall Street and the large banks whom the public hold responsible for their woes, now it’s the “others,” the foreigners, the Muslims, the Mexicans and all the “others” taking away their jobs – and the politicians, the establishment, the Republican party leadership who do nothing about it.
Which brings us full circle back to Trump. His resentment, his racism. And his success. Trump the great simplifier who — without factual evidence — never hesitates to tell us things he believes will get him more votes. He has also long since recognized that free markets and free trade — revered for decades by Republicans and Democrats alike — have now become suspect.
In this “land of unlimited opportunity,” freedom has turned into fear. People feel betrayed and cheated out of the American dream. They want their country back: “Make America Great Again.”
The Carrier Air Conditioner manager closes his speech with a reminder that as long as units are still built in their factory in America, the workers are expected to ensure that everything they do meets the highest quality standards.
He’s answered by shouts of “Yeah, fuck you!” It’s the same “Fuck you” that carries Donald Trump from one victory to the next.