Can President Trump
Deliver A Utopian Dream?
The President-Elect Has Succeeded In Confusing His Supporters That He Would Usher In A Revolution: To The Contrary, He Promised A Return To Days Gone By That Will Never Be Seen Again
Parody image of Donald Trump by Donkey Hotey and used under the terms of a Creative Commons Search.
By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine
Nov. 10, 2016 — The 2016 Presidential Election is over, and Donald Trump is America’s President Elect. He rode to power on a wave of populist fervor, appealing to an overwhelmingly white voter base by guaranteeing political upheaval, a disruption of the status quo and promising to snatch power back from the amorphous “elites.”
In short, he promised a revolution.
But, the truth is Trump represents anything but a revolution. In fact, the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency of the United States of America represents a horrific clinging to the status quo by (predominantly white) Americans—an investment made by a monoculture to keep social, economic and political power firmly in white male hands.
Donald Trump is a wealthy, white male and now he will be president. There is nothing revolutionary about that. In our country’s entire history, only a few presidents have not fit that description. The most recent is the current commander-in-chief, President Barack Obam. Sure, there have been some presidents like Andrew Jackson (a flagrant genocidal racist whom an obviously inebriated Rudy Giuliani favorably compared Trump to on election night) who came from humble beginnings. However, by the time he reached the White House, he was a wealthy, white male.
Rather than representing a “shake up” as Trump is fond of claiming, the election of Donald Trump actually represents a stagnation, or a regression to the way things had always been, not a shake up or the start of something new. It is roughly 50 percent of the American electorate doubling down on white privilege and systemic oppression of women and people of color. The very phrase his campaign was built on, “Make America Great Again,” is a nod to the preservation of this 1950s-esque Leave it to Beaver parody world that so many white voters find appealing, but is a nightmare scenario for people of color, women and others who do not wield the white male privilege that makes such times seem utopic.
Many of his supporters will scoff at the notion of white privilege attached to his victory. But white privilege is the only thing that can explain this election in which a man can win the presidency despite being caught on tape advocating for sexual violence against women, facing multiple sexual assault accusations, facing multiple lawsuits for illicit business practices and showing absolutely no remorse or regret for any of it.
That leads back to the discussion of the disenfranchisement of people of color, and especially women of color, during this election. Hillary Clinton won 94 percent of the black female vote and 68 percent of the Hispanic/Latino female vote, according to exit poll data from New York Times. Voters from those demographic groups are justifiably upset post-election as Trump won almost exclusively based on the white vote. Americans who would posit that we live in a post-racial society need to come to grips with the fact that a man just won the presidency despite appealing to a nearly non-existent segment of minority populations.
The Trump campaign has preyed upon the very real economic and social hardships faced by many lower and middle class white voters over the past three decades. However, it did so by stoking racial tensions rather than by dissecting the extremely complicated socioeconomic and educational issues at the roots of these problems, because it is easier to blame minorities and immigrants for problems than it is to come up with actual, actionable solutions.
Anyone looking for proof of the racist undertones of this election need look no further than the white female vote. As expected, Trump won big with white men, garnering 63 percent of that vote. But the more astonishing win for Trump occurred with white women, 53 percent of whom voted for Trump. A majority of white women voted for a candidate who has advocated for arresting women who get abortions and whose running mate, Mike Pence, has some of the most backwards views on women’s reproductive rights amongst the political establishment (including advocating for forcing women to bury miscarried babies).
That a majority of white women would vote against their own self interests is perplexing. But seen through a racial lens it makes more sense. A Clinton presidency was seen by many as a continuation of President Obama’s policies, and the candidacy of Trump can be seen as a reaction to the first black presidency in American history. For a majority of white female voters, racism (whether it be overt or subtle) appears to have trumped self interest.
The thing is, as much as Trump’s base and swaths (or as Trump would say, “swatches”) of America’s political right don’t want to admit it, there is no war on white people. We (yes, I’m from European ancestry) still wield a disproportionate amount of privilege in this country. White males have wielded the vast majority of power, privilege and influence in the U.S. since its inception and they continue to do so today.
Despite some positive movement during the latter half of the last decade, women and minority groups still occupy a small fraction of the highest ranking business positions in this country.
“There is a growing but still small percentage of white women who are CEOs of Fortune companies (4% of all Fortune 500 CEOs in 2013), but there has been a decline in the number of African American, Latino, and Asian American CEOs since high points between 2007 and 2011. And there is stasis at best since the turn of the twenty-first century in terms of the percentage of white women and people of color who sit on corporate boards. After decades of efforts to diversify, corporate boards are 87.7% white and 84.5% male,” according to Diversity Among CEOs and Corporate Directors: Has the Heyday Come and Gone? by Richard L. Zweigenhaft of Guilford College.
Diversity in government representation is equally abhorrent. Since the founding of this nation, only 26 non-white individuals have served in the United States Senate, according to the Senate’s official website, and 11 of those Senators took office in the last 16 years. That means that over the 129 years between 1870 (when Hiram Revels, the first black senator in U.S. history, took office) and 1999, only 15 minority senators took office.
And, while there has been some positive growth in diversity in Congress overall, it is not getting much better. The 114th Congress was considered the most diverse in history despite the fact that “whites account for 83% of the new Congress but just 62% of the population,” according to the Pew Research Center. The diversity of the country is literally outpacing the diversity of the legislative bodies that are supposed to represent it.
America is still a country overwhelmingly ruled by white males and this election proves that many voters in this country are still unwilling to accept minorities and women rising to the highest positions of power. Just because America elected a black President once does not mean that this overall trend has changed.
The false narrative that somehow minorities are grasping power in this country and using it to actively disenfranchise white people is a myth perpetuated by the Trump campaign, alt-right organizations like Breitbart and Internet trolls in order to stoke a riot of the mind amongst white voters (roughly 63 percent of male white voters and 52 percent of female white voters, to be more accurate). These voters willfully eat up this propaganda because they are terrified of a society in which they are not the dominant force. Equality scares them. They are terrified of a world in which their privilege is diminished and they have to operate an an even (or more even) playing field with minority citizens, immigrants, the LGBTQ community and other traditionally oppressed groups.
Comedian and YouTube personality Akilah Hughes summed this up on Twitter better than I ever could when she wrote “Equality feels like a loss if you benefit from inequality.”
So, in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election, do not cower in fear of the terrifying new social order Donald Trump will usher in, because there is nothing new about it. Stand in defiance to the age old paradigm of racism, misogyny and hate that he will prop up for years to come.
Equality feels like a loss if you benefit from inequality.— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) November 9, 2016
Wayne Schutsky is the associate managing editor of Modern Times Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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