In a time of such a seemingly polarized socio-political climate, the two sides of American politics have not been so starkly contrasted since the times predating the civil war. Often it is easy for both sides to get lost in their own beliefs and agendas but the vast and very rapidly growing difference between the two sides and their inability to compromise is extremely dangerous to the very fabric of our society. Radicalization is typically a response to not finding help support and answers where traditionally one would. The effects of this phenomenon can be seen time and time again throughout history. The question most moderates are left asking is why this is happening and how?
Trumps victory came as a shock to many but for many others, his victory could be seen coming from miles away. His win however, can be traced back to the hardening of middle America’s views due to their perceived and in some cases actual disenfranchisement. In contrast to the hyper-visible coastal states that Clinton won by a landslide, “the leftover people” as one writer referred to them were much more interested in something different than the same administration they felt unnoticed under.
The truth of the matter however, is that at this point Trump and his administration seem to favor supporting big business and their interests over the middle to lower class rural demographic he won. This is ironic considering the business elite were among his biggest opposers. The steady rise of affluent voters (making at least 100k a year) tilting over to the democratic side has reached the pinnacle with this being the first time the majority of the wealthy have gone against the reigning republican power since 1964.
This can be seen in Obama’s 2012 re-election when he won 8 of the 10 wealthiest counties in the country. Again Clinton won the richest counties in the country by an even larger margin than Obama did in 2012. This however has not prevented Trump from filling his cabinet with business executives and CEOs. The fact of the matter is that Trump has already proven in the short time that he has been president that he cares more about making good business decisions than making decisions for the greater good of the country.
Trump in fact has never been abashed about letting he public know how he felt on the matter, which can be seen in his public defense of tax returns where he defends his suspicious activity as simply being a good businessman.
In February more than half of Trump supporters agreed that he was taking measures to pick the best team for his cabinet but now public funding and programs are being slashed and completely defunded in these very communities. In a lot of cases these government assisted programs such as the ACA, Meals on Wheels, and the free/reduced school lunch programs were these people’s only means of survival. Since the implementation of these policies his approval rating among his supporters has been on a sharp decline. Once at 50+ percent, it now only stands at 39%. Many of these Americans are realizing that their hope of something new and better is not as good as they imagined it to be. Where does this leave the demographic who voted Trump into office?