Race, White Patriarchy, and One Reason we Landed With a Donald Trump Presidency
“Donald J. Trump is the next President of the United States”, a statement I never thought would ever be a reality. Now in November 2016, the country sits in awe, as Donald J. Trump is soon to become the first President with no political or military experience. The “Silent Majority” starts to finally show their face, and liberals sit in shock, with uncertainty looming in the next 100 days. While uncertainty, anger, fear, and disbelief all reside, one thing was proven in this dreadfully long election: We are exactly who we thought we were.
Let’s get one thing clear, everyone was wrong. Every.one. All of the pre-election projections couldn’t predict what we saw on election night, as Trump literally redrew the electoral lines. Trump won counties and states Mitt Romney couldn’t in 2012, and even did better with minority groups than projected. While America (myself included) sat back and mocked the idea of a Trump presidency, everyone was proven wrong, whether they were experts in the media, or those who study politics in general. Those who question the minority vote, are misguided, but it’s easy to look for a scapegoat when a shocking upset happens. Whether the DNC got what they deserved, Clinton failed in her campaigning, or whether people just flat-out hated her, one thing is clear: White patriarchy won in the election. If that makes you uncomfortable, I can understand if you don’t read further than this point.
Donald Trump deserves a lot of credit. He was able tap into an arena of America to find success, in order to win the 2016 election. What he tapped into, fails to be acknowledged. Looking at the exit polls from the election, it’s easy to see trends that line up with the concept of White patriarchy. Groups expected to vote to Trump, showed up, but exit polls show us educated Whites supported Trump, more than previously thought.
To give this some perspective, it wasn’t Blacks, or minorities that elected President Obama in 2012, it was educated young White males and females that won him the Presidency. It’s now four years later we see the same group of people voting for Donald Trump, representing the opposite side of the political spectrum, which could allude to something more than politics.
This election wasn’t solely about race, however it would be foolish to ignore the fact race was a real and significant factor here. Sure, there were plenty of people disgusted with Hillary Clinton, and, to be honest, rightfully so. Others simply stated disgust in the establishment itself, again, rightfully so. But let me be clear, none of these dismiss the self-interest, nativism, and patriarchy of White culture in America. For White America to scream of disenfranchisement — saying the system which has mostly represented them throughout American history, has failed them now — is not only nonsensical, but a sign of the false fear Trump was able to tap into. Vox founder Ezra Klein produced a video this week, in which he quotes Marquette University’s Julia Azari, stating, “The defining characteristic of our moment is that parties are WEAK while partisanship is strong”.
There is evidence to support the statement. The two major parties can send two of the most disliked candidates in American history, and still have the closest election since 2000, because partisanship, is strong. Partisanship is so strong, Evangelical Christians can vote for a man who has had multiple marriages, openly discussed sexually assaulting women, has shown continual signs of xenophobia, misogyny, and blatant racism, all because of “party affiliation”. Liberals, who screamed and shouted about being the party of the people, sat back as the very definition of political elitism became the leader of their party.
This isn’t an attack on White evangelicals, but don’t let the message I am sending be misguided. America sat back, divided, and earned what it received. America, became divided, in some ways lusted in the division, but pretended it wasn’t happening. What we as a people do need to acknowledge is privilege and patriarchy played, and continues to play a factor after this election. You have a group of people in this country, who recognized Donald Trump for what he was/is, and still supported him. Educated people, who supported him. An educated part of the population well-aware of all that came with Donald Trump, knew not to publicly endorse him, but used the privacy of the voting booth to support him where it mattered. Masked in false defenses such as “sanctity of life” and “Supreme Court Justices”, the same population group who voted for Barack Obama, moved like a minority coalition, to a elect a man their own party hated, and questioned the legitimacy of the President they voted for, 4 years ago.
Privilege is being able to ignore Donald Trump’s blatant racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia, knowing it will never, ever affect you. The forgotten truth is, there are people in this country: Gay, Trans, Black, Jewish, Latino, Muslim, and immigrants — who now live in a genuine fear, based off the rhetoric from Trump’s campaign during this election. The dismissal of that fear is dangerous, selfish, but most of all, shows a lack of empathy. The idea of losing a country (that was never theirs), along with the false concept of a system not representing them, neglects the cries of minority groups which are continually, dismissed. Poor and middle class Whites think they have been forgotten, ignoring what minority groups have felt for the length of this country’s history.
The sun isn’t falling out the sky. I don’t believe that day comes…..until the sun actually falls out of the sky. On the other side of spectrum, I can’t dismiss the real fear women have over their bodies, the Muslim community and other minorities feel, now that a platform of racism and xenophobia and misogyny has been justified. More than dangerous rhetoric being justified, these communities have to look in the eyes of friends and family who they now know, don’t hold the same amount of value in life-altering issues as these respective minority cultures do. No, if you voted for Donald Trump, you don’t hate women, that’s nonsensical. If you supported Trump, you aren’t racist, again, partisanship is a real (pointless) thing, and its idolatry played a real factor in this election. BUT, if you did support Donald Trump, a man who was endorsed by Former Klansman David Duke, openly proposed a ban on a whole religion, spoke openly about sexually assaulting women (but presumably only if they are “10s”), supports the authoritarian leadership of Russia , and has shown himself to be a man with characteristics of a demagogue, you MUST own the truth you supported these things as well, as much as the truth of Trump winning the Presidency. It’s easy to take a risk voting for a man who does not pose a threat to anything in relation to your social living and/or culture.
America 2016: we are the designers of our own chaos. If you left the voting booth thinking more than 50% of American population agreed with your political opinion, you couldn’t be more wrong. It was just 7 months ago, America sat back, laughing at our brothers in the United Kingdom during Brexit, only to have the myth of American exceptionalism show its face here at home. Dismissing the racial ties of this election is one of the many ways, we allowed this to happen. Now as we watch the man who called President Obama the “founder of Isis”, it can’t be ignored White privilege landed a man with no experience, as the leader of the most powerful country in history.