There was a Republican candidate who touted his business success as a qualification for office. During the campaign, a number of unflattering facts came out about his past, and his reaction was to attack the press for it. He made quite a number of outrageous statements, rude suggestions, and frequently issued threats. That he was actually the Republican Party’s candidate was a source of astonishment not only to Democrats, but a large number of establishment Republicans. Am I talking about Donald Trump? No, that was back in 2010, when the candidate for governor here in NY was Carl Paladino. Donald Trump was him 6 years later, on the national stage, and it’s no surprise that Paladino was one of biggest supporters here in New York.
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My past three posts have been about the areas that went overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in this past election, and why they’re going to be disappointed, to put it mildly. Those aren’t the only places like that, and most of them are going to suffer the same disappointment, along with those who are suddenly finding out that the Republicans and Donald Trump meant what they said about repealing or “reforming” various programs and taking certain actions. Although my nasty side is looking forward to it, at the same time my better side is worried about it. You see, I live in a place like those. Very rural, clannish, virtually entirely white, and yes, things have been declining for years. It’s a place that went 2-1 for Trump, and during the campaign I heard all the reasons and justifications for it. Most of which were the result of cherry-picking statements, hearing what they believed, and a healthy dose of denial.
In my previous post, I talked about how modern manufacturing no longer relies on people to do the “grunt work” of manufacturing, but instead on mechanization. That’s also true of many other industries, and the fewer jobs that they provide require a more educated, flexible workforce than was the case in the past. That would be bad enough, but there’s another reason why so many of the areas that voted for Donald Trump won’t see the much hoped for job growth they’ve been promised: Infrastructure.
During the campaign, President Trump’s big selling line that he would be bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, and spurring job growth in what is now the Rust Belt and big sections of rural America. It was bought hook, line, and sinker by those areas, since they’ve been seeing declines for decades. As I pointed out last year, they didn’t share in the economic recovery other areas of the country. They’re going to be badly disappointed though, because any jobs that do return won’t involve them.
I know places where there is high poverty, poor education, a high percentage of single parent households, large numbers of out-of-wedlock births, lots of violence, and enormous drug problems. Generations have been living on the public dime, and despite various liberal programs the people there never seem to want to show any gumption to change that. Conservative politicians would have you think that if only you took away all those programs, it would force people to stop demanding government services and special treatment, get jobs, and lift themselves out of poverty. After all, “those people” are getting all sorts of things that “Real Americans” aren’t!