“Why the fuck do these people keeping voting against their own self-interest?”
I’ll never forget my father asking me this question the night that George W. Bush won re-election. What had George W. Bush offered the people of my hometown of Stewartstown, Pa.? The emerging financial collapse would finish off any factory jobs that had survived union busting and outsourcing. The War in Iraq was killing a native son or two every month, and gas prices were still going up despite this being an “oil war.” It was hard to argue that the world was much safer, since no 9/11 hijackers had been from Iraq. The tax cuts for the rich came along as promised, but all that stuff about helping the middle class? Well, ol’ George never got around to it and it didn’t matter.
Eight years later, America decided to give the Republicans another chance. The promise of jobs returning, tax breaks, and a border wall have resonated. The promise of an increased minimum wage, improved healthcare, and help with student loans didn’t.
Donald Trump is going to be president. This is a fact that many of us flying back to the fly-over states that birthed us are still grappling with. Some people who are hurt by their parents voting for Trump have decided not to go home for Thanksgiving. If that’s where you’re at: dope. You don’t owe anyone your pain, and you don’t owe anything to people who don’t respect your pain.
If you decide to go back home for Thanksgiving, you may want to try something different this year. Often, partisan conversations devolve into name-calling and resentment. Maybe they don’t have to this year. There is a time and a place to discuss the bigotry and sexism of Trump’s campaign. Maybe that time will be at the dinner table on Thursday. But, it may also be a time for discussing what the Trump supporters in your life think the Left is missing. Though you might still be hurting from what Trump’s win will deny others, you might find the time to talk about what the Left can offer Trump voters four years from now, when all Trump gave the was a pile of broken promises and an eliminated estate tax.