Donald Trump may well be the next president of the United States in spite of two major factors that would otherwise be indicators he cannot win.
The first is demographics that are disadvantageous to his campaign. His support among Republican voters, at 87 percent, is lower than the last two GOP nominees, who attained 90 percent and 94 percent. But it should be noted that Clinton’s support among Democrats is only at 84 percent at the time of this writing. Further, no GOP nominee has won with less than 35 percent of the Latino vote, and Trump is far below that figure. His single-digit support among African-Americans is the least support ever given a Republican nominee.
Second, Trump already has survived numerous remarks that would have eliminated any other presidential candidate in our electoral history. Folks, this is simply not a typical election year.
I categorize Trump supporters into four groups that may at times overlap. There are the GOP loyalists who would not vote for Jesus Christ if he were on the Democratic ballot. You may think that is hyperbole, but I have heard that exact statement from more than one local Republican. These are people who always put party above all else. These voters are not concerned that Donald Trump is not really a Republican, but he is on their party’s ballot, so vote for him they will. Before reminding me that I am a staunch Democrat, please note I do not vote straight-party ballots.
Then you have the tea-party brand of conservatives, who could care less that Trump is neither a true conservative nor that he is no enemy of big government. These voters are supporting Trump because they fear Clinton would nominate to the Supreme Court a liberal or a centrist, neither of which is acceptable to their ilk.
The third and fourth groups share the distinction of being angry voters. These folks are so angry at the political system that they ignore the multitude of Trump’s bald-faced lies that make Hillary comparable to George “I cannot tell a lie” Washington.
The smaller of these two groups, despite Hillary’s ill-advised comment, fall under her label of deplorables. These are the thousands, but certainly not millions, of racist white supremacists who openly support Trump. Their enthusiastic support for Trump and his refusal to rebuke them says far more about the candidate than it does about the vast majority of Trump supporters.
That leaves us with the fourth category, the supporters who may yet turn the tide for Trump. These are angry whites, troubled over lost jobs and low wages. These are people who believe the false picture Trump paints of a failing nation. They rally when Trump says he will bring back manufacturing jobs corporate America sent abroad. They believe, as does Trump, that America’s trade policies cost us jobs. They believe that immigrants are taking our jobs and are a drain on our economy. Their anger is understandable but misguided.
America, despite Trump’s rhetoric, remains the leading manufacturing nation in the world, and we are manufacturing more goods than ever. We are doing it with far fewer workers because of advanced technology. Anyone who thinks Trump will replace robotics with displaced workers is dead wrong.
Statistics reveal that our trade policies have actually increased rather than decreased the number of jobs here. We are increasing exports and cutting into the trade deficit. As for the immigration issue, Trump supporters need to know that Latinos are creating new businesses at a faster clip than any other segment of our population, and they account for a quarter of new car sales.
My point is that Trump supporters are angry but not stupid. They are troubled but misinformed. They may want a president who will take a ball bat to Washington insiders, but they will be greatly disappointed with the aftermath.
Michael Adkins is the former chair of the Hancock County Democratic Party. He lives in Greenfield. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.