A report from the Rust-Belt
From Ohio, Chris Athanasiadis reports on Trump’s Faux Revolution
How did Donald J. Trump become elected President of the ‘world’s greatest democracy?’ Some of you might be laughing as you read “greatest democracy,” and you’re right to chuckle. This is a shock to most Americans, even avid Trump supporters. Nobody thought he would win. Not me, not the media, not polling and not my Aunt Kathy who voted for him.
There’s an array of dirty tactics used to suppress our vote here. We have an outdated Electoral College system forcing us to vote for the only two viable parties, both which happen to be corrupt. Neither party is concerned with high voter turnout. Republican and Democrat controlled states both suppress the vote and implement many strategies to turn voters away. We are consistently near the bottom in voter turnout amongst OECD countries. You would think as the world’s “greatest democracy” that we’d have high voter turnout.
In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act were no longer relevant. Consequentially, 868 polling locations that were covered by the Voting Rights Act were closed. In Arizona, Republican officials reduced polling places by 70% from 2012 to 2016. Louisiana saw a 61% decline and Mississippi a 34% decline in polling placed during the same time period.
In New York, a Democrat controlled state you must register as a Democrat six months prior to the primary in order to vote. Shouldn’t Democrats make it easier for citizens to become a Democrat? Isn’t the goal of a political party to garner as much support possible and bring new members into the party? Many other states here have same day registration, meaning first time voters can simply register and vote at the same time.
We have so many voting issues here, but this one might be the most egregious. Some of you may never of heard of Interstate Crosscheck, a company that targets supposed voter roll fraud and purges voters from the rolls. Surprisingly, most people have never heard about this system created by Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and Trump immigration advisor. Republicans are obsessed by voter fraud even though fraud is near non-existent. If a voter by the name of Michael Jackson votes in Georgia and Virginia, there’s a strong chance their vote can be removed without them even knowing. Kris Kobach identified 7.2 million potential double voters and we saw 1.1 million voters removed from voter rolls in November. This system alone probably awarded Trump POTUS. In Michigan, Trump won by 13,107 votes and Crosscheck purged 449,922 votes. In Arizona, Trump won by 85,257 votes and Crosscheck purged 270,824 votes. In North Carolina, Trump won by 177,008 votes and Crosscheck purged 589,393 votes. Do you think Republicans would use this system if it suppressed their base, the white vote? Of course not. Crosscheck specifically targets minorities that largely vote Democrat.
Hillary Clinton should’ve easily beaten Donald Trump, but she had a profoundly miserable message and no real policies that voters felt passionate about. Her team was great at making snazzy campaign videos that highlighted Donald Trump’s buffoonery, but she rarely talked about policy. Her message was “Donald Trump is horrible, vote for me.” Instead of courting the massive Bernie Sanders’ base and moving to the left, she instead appealed to centrist Republicans. Chuck Schumer (D) of New York stated “For every blue collar Dem we will lose in wester PA, we will pick up two or three moderate Republicans in the suburbs of Philadelphia.” What an idiotic strategy. She abandoned the left in favor of the right.
Hillary’s shady dealings in regards to emails while at the State Department supplied a healthy dose of red meat to Trump’s base, the voters she tried to court. Her Wall Street speeches were kept hidden from the public even though there was huge support to release them. Many polls showed as high as 70% of voters were interested in hearing the speeches. In one hacked audio at a fundraising event, Hillary insulted Bernie supporters by calling them basement dwellers and even said she occupies the space “from the center-left to the center-right.” Hillary was also dubbed “fracking queen” and pushed the TPP 45 times, all major problems with left and some right voters.
The Hillary campaign was sloppy. She never visited Wisconsin once and instead choose to raise huge amounts of money with celebrities in Los Angeles. She wasted millions in Chicago and New Orleans trying to win the popular vote. Instead of campaigning in Michigan, she choose Iowa in attempt to fool Trump into spending money there. He ended up winning Iowa by 10 points and Michigan by less than 1%.
I’ve lived in the Rust Belt my entire life. Manufacturing is huge here and Hillary downplayed how the economic stressors in the Rust Belt would hurt her campaign. New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio produce the top 30 largest economies in the world. Despite our economic strength, NAFTA has ravaged jobs here. Trump was able to leverage Bill Clinton’s support for NAFTA against Hillary. Trump’s method certainly appealed to voters on the fence, many who were affected by job loss. There’s a consensus amongst many Democrats that Trump won because of racist America. Let me remind them we overwhelmingly voted for the black guy with a Muslim name. Economics were certainly front and center for many Rust Belt voters.
Her campaign slogans were terrible. “I’m With Her” is horrible. People don’t vote for someone because they want to hang out with Hillary. The appeal to women was overplayed. “Stronger Together” is better, but this was not helped by her divisive comments, including calling Trump supporter’s deplorables and Bernie supporters ‘basement dwellers’. All this was out on the open, social media exposed her issues present and past. When the media wouldn’t cover these issues, social media filled the gap.
The worst campaign strategy used by the Hillary team was revealed from the leaked John Podesta emails. “We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to (take) them seriously.” Her team didn’t take Trump seriously, she wanted him to be the nominee. Hillary viewed him as low hanging fruit, an easy victory. What a massive failure that was. Now her campaign strategist Robby Mook is making paid speeches to Wall Street – go figure.