As the analysts and pundits and politcos attempt to read the tea leaves of whatever data and rumors are available to explain the murder of America (or if you prefer, its suicide) more and more I believe no one, including me, has a clue. Something strange happened where millions of people voted to harm themselves thinking somehow they were sticking it to the people they think caused the harm. In short a whole lot of people let their emotional response to a shameless self-promoting charlatan, the worst con artist that only P.T. Barnam could admire, drive their vote against your own self-interest. You hate others so much you are the suckers that a demagogue needed to advance his ego-driven pathology and your further destruction.
But as much as all this is going to screw me personally what will happen to me will be a lot less bad than what will happen to you. I’m (somewhat) protected by my white male privilege and the now much-despised education that allowed me to sock away a few resources for my survival. But the chumps who actually think this guy is going to do anything for them will suffer far more and perhaps, in the end, even more than the ‘others’ they seek to put in their place. Have fun with your hate and what good it does you.
Take for instance all those stupid coal miners. I can believe coal mining is a dirty, painful and dangerous job. I’m typing now because coal is being burned a few miles away to supply the electricity. I should thank you for your service (you should thank me for the technology you’re using to read this). The decline in the jobs and pay for those jobs and injury to their health and bodies is real. But what good did they just do for themselves? Do they have a clue what is really going on? Rapists from Mexico and terrorists from Syria (both mostly non-existent) didn’t take away their prosperity, the market did. The Repugs, esp. the Ryan wing, believe in the god of their capitalist utopia, the market. It solves all problems and provides miracles. Wave a magic wand against EPA or WTO and let the good times roll again. But what will the miners get? They will get, for the benefit of the bosses’ yuge bonuses, a drastically reduction in mine safety laws and anti-pollution laws. Citizens of West Virginia will envy Flint when they see how badly their water supply will be polluted and the birth defects and deaths that will cause. Miners will die in accidents because they decided all those elites with college degrees that want them to have a modicum of safety in their jobs hate them and should be tarred-and-feathered and driven out. So while their life in the mines will get more dangerous and more damaging will they get those jobs or that pay increase back? No way. Coal is shrinking because of North Dakota (and Oklahoma). Fracking – you fools. Natural gas is technically and economically superior fuel for producing electricity (even disregarding any green considerations) and now a technology comes along and increases its supply and lowers its cost. My dad, in the final years of his job, working for a natural gas company (later to become Enron) concluded natural gas (of course with the then-existing extraction technology) couldn’t compete with coal. So did a lot of the rest of the energy sector so coal mining expanded. Then gas got cheap and plentiful – bye-bye to the engineering and economic analysis justifying coal. And guess what – your president’s energy secretary is a pioneer in fracking and a true believer. Do you believe Trump is going to ban natural gas or put some tax on it to allow coal to be competitive – dream on. Electricity companies exercise greed for their stockholders and will buy the fuel that maximizes their profits. And do you really think the drastic price decreases in solar and wind will be halted and by the stroke of the pen Trump can ban those. And, then, what’s happens to all those farmers in Iowa now making more from wind royalties than their corn will willingly give up that revenue so there can be a few more jobs. Once upon a time locomotives ran on coal. Countless jobs were erased when diesel eliminated the need for fireman and coal handlers. What about all those folks who lost their jobs? For us lefties once upon a time vast numbers of bookstores existed, friendly local places to go, now we have Amazon and all those jobs disappeared. This is the relentless force of technology then projecting into the marketplace which the people you elected worship. You really think they’re going to turn back the clock to your advantage? But they can turn back the clock to your disadvantage as they favor the bosses. So as you sustain injury and death due to eliminating those pesky regulations who are you going to blame then?
And my next door neighbors in Iowa voted overwhelming for Trump. He’s going to save them from the pesky elites. The same elites that pushed through the ethanol mandate. So Trump says he’s going to eliminate regulations (which I believe him, not an empty campaign promise). He’s going to abandon Paris climate change convention which Iowa probably supports (since it’s one of those things from science which is in a cage fight with god). But then think that through a bit, if you’re capable of logic. Why exactly is there ethanol in our fuel pipeline – because it’s a great fuel (nope, most cars produce less power with it), because it’s cheap (no it has to be subsidized to be competitive), because since we like to drink that means we also want to burn it? Grow up, get a brain, take your GED and try to figure this one out. Exactly what do you think is going to happen to corn prices when ethanol is no longer mandated for cars? And exactly who do you think is going to make that happen, those dirty elite Dems who want to cut CO2 emissions, or those looking out for you anti-regulation, anti-climate Repubs. Good luck with paying the costs of your farms when the oversupply of corn drops to a penny a bushel. And good luck selling any of it to China when your president gets in a trade war with them (if not a shooting war). So you get your Supreme Court to overturn Roe – can you eat that when you’re facing bankruptcy?
Or the brilliant immigrant-hating GEDs in Michigan. Yep, Trump is going to make your America great again. He’ll jawbone Ford into not moving jobs. But guess what folks, in case you can’t even see what’s happening in your own factory – the thing that took your job isn’t brown or black, it’s metallic. Far more jobs have been lost to robots than shipped to Mexico (or let’s not forget Canada, where Ontario builds more cars than Michigan does since health care there is cheaper to manufacturers). Today it takes 1/5th number of labor hours to produce a car than it took for your fathers to do. Those shiny machines with brains from Silicon Valley are your enemy, not other hard working darker skinned people. And just for sake of argument Trump halts all imports of cars or anything related to cars and requires they all get built here. Wow, what a bonanza! But it won’t be for you, it will be for Silicon Valley. Robots may or may not be cheaper than you (depends on how low your wages drop with the elimination of minimum wage) but: a) they don’t get drunk and work with a hangover, b) they’re not on oxy to compensate for the pains in their body, c) they don’t get tired and they don’t go on strike and they don’t take sick days, and, d) they do the job better than you do. If we force manufacturers to hire more expensive U.S. labor, all those college educated folks with CS and ME degrees will be energized to find ways to build even better and cheaper and faster robots. And your Repugs who worship the god of the market will buy them with their tax gimmicks and devious financial engineering you can’t begin to understand. You’ll be lucky if what you’ve started doesn’t end in an even more rapid move to automation. Too bad you didn’t get much education because maybe you’d have some critical reasoning skills and the ability to learn real true information, about technology and economics, instead of believing some circus clown with red hats and tweets. The voter analysis shows Michigan has gotten older and less educated since the 2012 election – I wonder why. Maybe anyone with a brain left the place and headed to Silicon Valley and is now being paid more sitting at a desk writing code than you can ever dream about. And next election when Michigan is even older and less educated who will you blame them – the out-of-office Dems, the coastal elites (who will probably do just fine under Trump because they’ll adapt to a changed world and find a way to make a buck from it), the rigged press, some other country – blame yourselves, chumps.
Your economic distress is not the product of the EPA or China or Mexicans or Muslims. You are the victim of changing times. Globalization won’t stop. Technology won’t stop. AI isn’t going to go away, it will just get better. You claim I don’t understand your world: well, guess what, you don’t understand mine. Lots of highly motivated and clever and well-educated people trying to invent new gadgets that will make your blood and sweat in a dank factory irrelevant. You’re actually right to hate the coastal elites with their college degrees – they are changing the world and you’re going to be swept out to sea. Hillary recognized this and offered to help you and you slapped her in the face; Trump gave you empty promises that the Repugs who worship the market will never do. There are fortunes to be made putting more of you out of work and when it comes to your money or Wall Streets huge profits from IPOs in new startups that are putting you out of work, guess who is going to win in your Repug Congress and Oval Office.
Yep, that’s right. You’re chumps. Trump played you. And he doesn’t give a damn about you. You’ve got more friends in the coastal elites and allies in the Dem party that you’ll ever have with the bosses and bankers. But you just go right on supporting the exact people who’ve brought you the distress you have and hating some of those who actually tried to help you. You loved lifelong union-buster Reagan – how did that work out for you! Just the preamble to what happens to you now.