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Tougaw: Why the Republicans won the whole goddamn election

If you’re like me, your social media has exploded with hate and vitriol towards the new president-elect, Donald Trump. The hatred spewed towards ‘white men’ and Republicans in general is enough to make you want to delete Facebook for four years. This widespread discontent is a result of one man, as if he is the one with the power to change what many people think is going to change. But here’s what all of the social media keyboard warriors are forgetting: Trump didn’t just win. The Republican party won. In an election where literally the entire political system was up for grabs, the Republican party took every single branch of government. This doesn’t just happen by accident. These votes are a cry — no, a scream — by rural, conservative voters for help. A lot of people think that the vote for Trump was a vote against a certain group of people, mainly minorities and LGBT people. This may be, in a very small sense, true. This vote was definitely a protest vote. But this vote wasn’t just against something. It was also for something. The conservative way of life is disappearing, and it’s taking with it a massive swath of the country. If you don’t listen to this scream, then you truly do not care about this nation.

Go Google search a picture of the 2016 electoral map by county. Once you do, you’ll see that our election map looks like someone gave a toddler a red paint brush and a bottle of Adderall. The vast, overwhelming landmass of America votes Republican. “But Taylor, Hillary won the popular vote, idiot!” I know this. The reason Hillary still lost the election is because Democrats are so intensely smashed together into the cities in America that they live in their own little bubble, completely separated from the rest of the world. Suburban city America has literally no clue about how the ‘other side’ lives. Liberals live in a city, where their policies and intentions feed off of one another and eventually grow into a massive snow globe that completely shuts off influence from the rest of the country. This is what creates the ‘us vs. them mentality.’

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It is easy for some to say that rural folk are equally as oblivious to the lives of more urban people, but this is absolutely false. Think about where our pop culture comes from. Want to be a singer or an actor? I bet your local bar or tavern in Montana is going to help you get there. Where is your favorite movie actor from? I bet it isn’t Wyoming. Meanwhile, Hillary’s campaign tried to use these pop media icons to sell the election to those plebeians living out in the sticks. If Miley Cyrus goes knocking on doors for Hillary, that means I should vote for her, right? Wrong. These pop icons aren’t role models to everyone, but especially not people like Miley Cyrus and Madonna, who are seen as everything that’s wrong with modern pop culture.

Even aside from the massive influx of pop culture, career and industry opportunities are extremely limited outside of the city. If you want to be a doctor for your local community, either move to a city hospital, or wait for your current doctor to literally die. Cities can keep up with a loss of workers. Smaller, more rural areas simply can’t.

Take Kentucky, for example. Kentucky used to be the heart of coal mining country. Now, its Appalachian area is one of the most destitute and unemployed areas in the entire country. We’re talking almost 50% unemployment and communities that don’t have running water or electricity. But who cares, right? They’re just dumb, inbred hillbillies.

These are the people that are screaming for help.

Again, its easy to say that inner cities are also struggling with this. Except that they’re not. Almost the entirety of the recession recovery went smack dab right into the cities. If you look at a map of where businesses opened coming out of the recession years, its almost entirely in large cities. With little in the way of jobs, economic help, or cultural relevance, many of these people either leave entirely, or fall into another, much worse category.

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The suicide rate among adults and teens in rural areas doubles compared to suburban areas. Let me say this again for emphasis: The suicide rate doubles in rural areas. The hopelessness in areas of the country is so soul crushing that the suicide and drug rates bloom exponentially. In fact, according to an article in The Atlantic titled “Why Are so Many Middle-Aged Americans Dying?, they write that “In seven southern states—West Virginia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Arkansas—the gap between actual and expected mortality in 2014 exceeded 200 deaths per 100,000 people. In West Virginia, mortality rates were higher than at any time since 1980.” While drug arrests over marijuana in the city are oppressive and keep poor people subjugated, according to the left, methamphetamine usage in rural America has absolutely skyrocketed, leading to tons of deaths and arrests. But again, who cares, right? Yet these are the people that need help. These are the ones that have been completely forgotten.

Source: El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), U.S. DEA

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I don’t mean to make these people all seem like inbred, poor subsistence living people. The vast majority are middle class workers that send their kids to school and go to work in a factory. The problem for them is that their factory jobs are fleeing the country at a rate that’s unprecedented, and the core values that their communities hold are eroding faster than the ozone layer. For them, watching the direction America is going is like being buried in sand up to your neck and watching the high tide roll in.

The worst part about this is that these people aren’t allowed to complain about it. In his article “How Half of America Lost its F**king Mind,” David Wong sums this up more eloquently than I can ever hope to do. I highly recommend giving it a read, but to sum it up, conservatives are upset because their jobs are fleeing the country and soldiers are dying to suicide bombers while liberals sit in their ivory tower complaining about which bathroom people can piss in and telling them that gluten causes cancer.

As I said before, the conservative way of life, and literally its people, are dying. Rural conservatism is generally founded on the values of faith, hard work, and independence. In their eyes, these things are all disappearing. Everyone — the media, the polls, the elites shouting form their ivory tower — told them that Trump wouldn’t win. They said he couldn’t do it. And thus, 60 million people walked right out their front door to prove them wrong.

While many people have said that Trump is a reaction vote to spite liberals, you aren’t wrong. These people are tired of being called privileged racists. But this vote was so much more than that. You cannot forget that it wasn’t just Trump that won, but the entirety of the Republican party. It wasn’t just against the condescension of the left, it was also a vote for something. It was a vote for help. A vote to turn things back to the way they used to be. As much as you want all those Trump voters to be racists, they have better things to vote for. They want to know if their values and morals will be saved. They want to know if jobs will come back and keep their town from drying up into nonexistence. They want to have hope, and it isn’t the Democrats that are going to give that to them.

This needs to be a wake-up call to everyone protesting his election. There are people out there that not only aren’t being helped, but aren’t even being acknowledged. You now have two options: You can stick your head in the sand and pretend that all Trump supporters are racist assholes, or you can open your ears and listen to people that desperately want to be heard.

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  • Y

    You're InsightfulDec 1, 2016 at 7:15 am

    You are right. However I have little to no faith that the jobs are coming back and what I’ve seen thus far seems like a band aid approach (Carrier). We have seen this approach to bringing back jobs and it has simply not been proven to be sustainable. It gets hopes up and to some degree that is manipulative. The way in which work is carried out has changed and will continue to do so. If people want jobs they are going to have to make some changes. Expecting that things will go back to how they used to be in any sustainable manner is short sighted. I agree with you that this was a vote both for and against many things. But the outcome is not the answer.

    Reply
  • K

    KennyNov 28, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    My main argument against your and every other conservative’s point regarding why the Republicans won the election is that it is ironic, and many conservatives don’t seem to realize this. The argument is that rural Americans won the vote because they finally spoke out against a political and economic system that didn’t work for them. They felt left out of the growth, perceived or real, and also felt like many of their long-held values and beliefs were under attack. They are 1000% correct.
    The reason I say it is ironic is because it is exactly the same message that racial minorities, LGBTQ, differently-abled people, and women have been crying – no screaming out for a VERY long time! Yes the political, economic, and social systems we have created in this country benefit only a few… why is this news to anyone?? More importantly, why is it only now that it has affected a larger share of white able-bodied heterosexual males that we should be empathetic to their screams?
    You are absolutely right – the Trump vote was not only a vote based on race (although it would be foolish to believe that race did not play a significant role in it). The Trump vote was a vote based on fear and privilege, or rather the fear of losing that privilege:
    – Non-white people, whether immigrants or US citizens, are getting jobs that white people felt they were entitled to
    – The LGBTQ community has been given rights, such as marriage and families, that the Christian religious majority felt they were entitled to
    – More women are in positions of power that men felt they were entitled to, and so on.
    Unfortunately, many of my liberal comrades are unfortunately quick to throw unnecessary vitriol (as are many on the right), but I hope that this comment would at least shed some light on how some of the more perceptive liberals truly feel about the results and the backlash of this election. Our systems work only for a few, and white, male, heterosexual, Christian America only seems to be realizing this now.

    Reply
  • D

    DavidNov 19, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I have read a lot about this year’s election results and as you can imagine the tone of the author’s analysis and conclusions were largely driven by their preferred outcome, full of vitriol and either doom and gloom or crass gloating.

    None compared to this well crafted opinion by Mr. Tougaw. He is fact based, neutral in tone, and explains the rationale behind what most Democrats viewed as a horribly irrational outcome. He identifies key factors affecting the election concisely and clearly. Kudos to Mr. Tougaw. I assume he is a journalism student at the school. I would hope upon graduation he will find a position that will enable his excellent reporting to reach a wider audience. Perhaps he can even land a spot at the New York Times now that they have pledged to report the news without bias!! (I’ll believe it when I see it.)

    I have shared this column with my wife and friends. I would post it on Facebook if I could.

    Either way, please make sure Mr. Tougaw knows that at least one reader was very impressed with his work. Please give him a huge raise!

    Reply