This morning I got my one dollar’s worth when buying The Buffalo News at Topps in Loehman’s Plaza in Brighton.
Throughout the year, you’ve seen George Payne’s photographs and read his reflections on a myriad of topics: political, social, spiritual, environmental and personal. Today, The Buffalo News published George’s letter, “Trump doesn’t understand why America’s already great.”
George raises a point that will become increasingly discussed when President-elect Trump becomes President Trump. Given that Trump lost the popular vote, George says: “It is important to remember that the majority does not support or condone Trump’s policies.”
How much will Trump’s lack of a popular mandate impact the acceptance or resistance to his policies? In 2000, Bush lost the popular vote but quickly and successfully pursued his agenda in a Republican-held congress. If we go back to 1888, however, Benjamin Harrison’s popular vote loss to then-President Grover Cleveland dogged Harrison throughout his term — so much so that American voters chose Cleveland in his 1892 rematch with Harrison.
President-elect Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by more than 2 million ballots. A mandate does not exist when over half of the country does not support your agenda. Those between the ages of 18 and 29 voted 55 percent to 37 percent in favor of Clinton. Women voted for her by a margin of 12 percent. African-Americans voted 88 percent to 8 percent for Clinton. Hispanics favored her 65 percent to 29 percent, and Asians voted for her 65 percent to 29 percent.
Furthermore, Trump was assured victories in swing states such as North Carolina because of efforts to disenfranchise minority communities. Long lines, confusing directions and voter ID laws made it difficult for people on the margins to cast their ballot. According to the Sentencing Project, more than 1.6 million Floridians could not vote because they are felons. If every American of voting age had an equal opportunity to be recognized, then Clinton would have won soundly. It is important to remember that the majority does not support or condone Trump’s policies.
It should also be noted that the economy has now gained nearly five times more jobs under President Obama than it did under George W. Bush, and the unemployment rate has dropped to just below the historical average.
We are not a nation under siege. We are a nation of profound freedoms. We are not a nation going broke. We are driving the economy of the world in unprecedented ways. And we are not weak because of cultural diversity.
Trump does not understand that America is great because it allowed a man like him to have a voice. Despite his insatiable discourtesy, strange compulsions and even fascist rhetoric, he was given a platform to espouse his ideas. The very country that he routinely dismissed as garbage, is the one that made him a billionaire. The same system that he accused of being rigged is the one that propelled him to temporary victory.
George “Casey” Payne, M.A., M.T.S.
Visiting adjunct professor, NCCC
Founder, Gandhi Earth Keepers International