The Great Revolt – by Salena Zito and Brad Todd – A Book Review – Part 3

In Part 2 of this review I said that the Great Revolt is divided into a number of chapters, each named after a particular group of Trump voters that because of their circumstances either flipped from the Democrats to Trump or stayed with Trump despite an ideological conflict with him.

For each of these categories there are several individuals who exemplify the profile but live in a different location.  These locations are rural, or towns and cities located in the ten counties in question in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In each of these categories and in each of these locations we are shown how the Democrats started out as the natural or default political party but ended up becoming the reason to vote for the unlikely personage of Donald J. Trump.  Although the list includes some individuals who are affluent and highly educated they all reside in areas of the country that have been taken for granted and at the same time abandoned by the Democratic Elite.  The people interviewed range from pillars of the community and entrepreneurs to folks who have barely survived hard economic times that coincided with personal tragedy and challenge.  But they all look to Donald Trump to correct problems.  Economic problems, cultural problems, moral problems.  Not all of these people are conservatives or even moderates.  Some are demonstrably old school Democrats.  But what they all are is self-described Americans.  None of them think of themselves as citizens of the world.  None of them have bought into the globalist perspective and many of them are obviously mourning for the death of their homes.  Places like Erie and Freeland Pennsylvania are for all intents and purposes dead.  There aren’t any growing industries and even the few employers left are slowly moving out to the sunbelt.  Young adults leave for opportunities elsewhere.  Parents and grandparents stay because they can’t sell their houses.  Who would buy them?  All they are left with is memories of happier times when they were part of a thriving community with a future and the dignity of earning a living and raising their families.  In these places voting for Donald Trump is almost a reflex.  A final self-defensive movement.

But other examples show communities that are still viable and even thriving but even in these places the inhabitants recognize that the Democrats don’t pretend to share the values that these communities still believe in.  Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio.  These are all places that are seeing themselves ignored because they are the areas where remnant blue collar communities are supposed to disappear and be replaced by the new constituencies that are earmarked for inclusion in the “coalition of the ascendant.”

So, speaking in broad generalities, who are the Trump voters that handed him Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Iowa?  For the most part, they are the union guys who stopped voting for Republicans after Ronald Reagan.  If we start in the worst hit spot in the Rust Belt we’re in Pennsylvania.  Places like Erie and Wilkes Barre have been deconstructed to the point that it’s remarkable anyone at all is left.  After all the industries from yesteryear shut down and off-shored to China Obama finished it off by outlawing coal.  Places like Wisconsin are comparatively healthy.  Many of the largest manufacturers are gone but entrepreneurial types have stepped in and started smaller companies in emerging industries that still employ many people and keep the areas as viable communities for families and young adults to remain in.  In between these extremes is the rest of the gradient.  What they all share was a dependence on large scale union employment in heavy industry.  And because of this history they typically voted Democrat.  And they thought of the Republicans as their class enemies.  What they didn’t see happening was the Democrats moving on from needing them or more specifically pretending to care about their votes.  Once the Democrats had built up the “Coalition of the Ascendant,” these mid-west white union workers were an embarrassment to the rest of the coalition.  They weren’t college educated and they didn’t eat the right foods or care about the right causes and they might even believe in God.  So, the best thing to do was quietly stop talking about them and wait until they dropped dead so they could be replaced with some Central Americans or Middle Easterners.  But somehow, they are still there so they are looking for a new political home.  Donald Trump provided that.  He was the first Republican since Ronald Reagan to acknowledge their plight and actually come up with a plan for helping them.  Finally, let’s sum it up.

Bottom Line

Boiling down all the cases and places it comes down to this.  Donald Trump was elected president by the Rust Belt blue collar working areas because he was willing to promise to save them.


In the last part of this review I’ll give my thoughts on where we go from here.