The Trump siren captivating America’s working class

by Guido Bolaffi - 2016.03.11
The Trump siren captivating America’s working class
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There is a quasi-revolution taking place among the US electorate and Donald Trump is its loudest and most explosive litmus test. The uncertain, brutal battle for the nomination to run as successor to Barack Obama in 2017 is sign of a profound change in the political mood and preferences among two important sections of American society.

One group consists of public sector employees and workers in the US's huge manufacturing industry, although it's no longer as invincible as it once seemed. Spooked by the financial crisis and the inexorable globalisation of the economy, this section of society has decided to switch en masse, for the first time since the Second World War, from supporting the Democrats to the Republicans. This sea change was confirmed in the latest unequivocal success obtained by the New York billionaire in the traditionally Democratic 'workers' state' of Michigan.

On the other hand, although many still don't seem to have grasped the full implications of this change, there is the fact that immigrants and ethnic minorities in general are abandoning the Republicans. For decades they constituted not only a political, ideological and electoral bulwark for the American right, but also a kind of social balance of the historically pro-democratic constituency represented by the trade unions and the powerful black community. One indicator of this is the fact that Clinton, rather than focusing on building support among the old alliance of blue collar workers, is taking her chance with the new Latino population. We therefore see a kind of double movement: the workers transferring their allegiance from Left to Right, while immigrants move in the opposite direction.

Published in Citizenship.
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