As a registered Democrat, Hillary supporter and an avid follower of politics I have been asking myself every day why does Trump continue his hold on front runner status of the Republican Party? To find the answer I only had to look at my life over the past 50 years or so and then apply a concept called empathy.
Empathy may not be what you would think it is. It is not necessarily agreeing with the other person, it is understanding where they are coming from. Empathy is key to understanding Trump’s poll numbers.
Here’s a look at my life. My dad was a pastor who held positions in small churches throughout the Midwest and the West. My mother always worked at various jobs to keep food on the table. From a cultural perspective we were middle/upper middle class. From an income perspective we were lower/middle middle class.
Following high school I landed a job as an apprentice meat cutter for A & P. In the 1960’s it was a different environment for semiskilled labor. I was drafted in 1967 and when I came out of the service I used the GI Bill to go to college while continuing part time as a meat cutter. In 1970 I was making $5.05 per hour, which in today’s world is $31.45 per hour or over $64,000 per year on a full time basis. With a little over time that’s over 72,000 per year.
In today’s world meat cutters are making less then half that. The skill sets and the jobs have changed. Meat cutting has become almost completely mechanized in packinghouses, with much of it done by immigrant labor. Those declining salary numbers have roared through the white male / no college group of Americans and through many factories and blue-collar occupations across America.
I actually liked being a meat cutter but if events had not come about which altered my life, gave me three college degrees and good to great jobs that followed, things would have been much different. I could have easily been a part of what is becoming a class of Americans scared about their future and see the ruling class of politicians in both parties catering to the wealthy and not caring a damn about me.
Trump supporters blame immigration, the decline in American spirit and values, plus a host of other societal changes for what’s happening in our country. When they are at an ATM and are asked if they would like Spanish or English they believe events are going to hell. When Trump claims the wealthy, including him, has bought politicians for years, they believe he is right. If he says inappropriate things, which he does every day, it only adds to his appeal.
So, to the press and other politicians, if you want to know why he is were he is, it’s not complicated –I just gave you a very personal answer. Supporters of Democratic candidates also are very aware of the trend in America that is destroying the middle class. It’s just that the Trump supporters are quite angry about it and are expressing that anger by throwing their support behind him.