donaldHillary Clinton could very well lose this election if she’s not careful.  Bernie supporters would say I’m jumping the gun and she’s not the Party’s nominee, yet.

Some of that is true—California and New Jersey have yet to cast their primary ballots and as they say in politics: anything can happen.

But, like it or not—Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee unless someone like Mitt Romney comes in at the last minute to stage a coup.

So, why is Trump so popular and how did he beat out the clown car?

If you watch some of Trump’s old YouTube videos, he tells you the answer if you pay attention.  He says things over and over again until it sinks in—he makes outrageous statements that over time starts sounding feasible.  Maybe we can build that wall?  Maybe he can get Mexico to pay for it.

More importantly, Trump is talking to a specific set of voters both the Republican and Democratic Parties have shoved to the wayside and virtually forgotten about: middle class white men, struggling to make ends meet.  Let’s face it: both parties have kowtowed to the rich and transactional donors for way too long.

In some ways, Trump has tapped into the old Jesse Helms (R-NC) ad when he ran against U.S. senatorial candidate Harvey Gantt .   The political ad was reminiscent of Lee Atwater’s “southern strategy” that used buzzwords to denote racism in the rural South.  See Jesse Helm’s “hands ad.”   

If Trump has tapped into this segment of the voting population, I think he’s done it by accident.  Despite his David Duke blunder—I really don’t think he is racist.  (Let’s wait a few seconds for my Democratic friends to recover from this.)

Trump seems to have tapped into a specific segment of what could actually be considered by some standards a minority population of white-middle class (blue and white collar workers) who are struggling like hell to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads.

They don’t understand the concept of “white privilege” as it applies in 2016.  They freely admit that the male white class dominated in the 50s, 60s and 70s—and maybe in the 80s—but they think the pendulum has swung way too far in a direction against them. 

The case:

The other day, I was talking to a while male in his 40s.  He makes about $45,000 a year and he’s been scared to death of losing his job for the past three years.  He’s a machinist.  But, he told me he can’t take out a second mortgage to finance the business and there are no grants or SBA loans out there for him to apply.

He says he’s researched.  In his opinion there are tons of grants for women, minority women, minorities in general—but when he checked off the “white male” boxes—there was precious little left for him.

He feels stuck.  And, he blames the government.

He’s scared.  But, Donald Trump didn’t create that fear—he’s just bringing it out in the open and talking about it. 

It doesn’t help that Hillary Clinton went to West Virginia and essentially told a group of mostly white blue collar coal miners she was going to do away with their jobs. 

It doesn’t help that Hillary Clinton talks about women making 78 cents on the dollar to what a man makes doing the same type of job, when she could be talking about a livable wage for all Americans.   And, to be honest—I’ve even read some liberals disputing how 78 cents on the dollar is calculated and what factors are used.

Don’t get me wrong—those issues are important.  But, every speech I’ve heard Hillary give mentions it over and over again. 

White men—and I would suspect most men—don’t care that Hillary is a woman.  The sound bites and talking points of “it’s her turn” and we should “elect the first woman” president isn’t playing well.  They’re looking to vote for someone who will make the game fair—or at least fairer than what they think it is now.

The North Carolina mix:

Most of the men I speak with are in North Carolina.  They’re not “redneck” rebel flag wavers.  They remember NAFTA and the effects it had on North Carolina and the textile industry.  Couple that with Obama’s TPP and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how the Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot over trade and jobs.

And, believe it or not—many men think George W. Bush got us into a war we couldn’t win and blame him for spending trillions of dollars.

Although the white male segment of the voting population isn’t the “end all and be all” of this election cycle; it is clear that Donald Trump has tapped into issues most politicians feel uncomfortable talking about.

That doesn’t make him dangerous (unless you happen to be Hillary) but it does make him a viable contender for the job of POTUS.

As one guy told me yesterday, “I don’t give a shit who it is …as long as it’s not a career politician shoving the same shit.”


About George Fisher

George is a freelance writer, an author and a former Democratic political consultant. He has worked as Deputy Communications Director for a Senatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for several NC House races and two congressional races. He previously worked as a news producer for a local television station.
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  1. Norman Smith says:

    Well said… I could not have said it any clearer than you have espoused!

    Norm Smith

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