The predominant narrative coming out of the 2016 presidential post-election analysis is: The flyover states have spoken.
A flyover state is the huge region between the coasts. As opposed to the eastern seaboard, northern post-industrial states and Pacific Ocean states. They’re overwhelmingly Republican, stanchly conservative, regressive right wing, evangelical Christian and working class, well, the loudest, most ill-informed of them are. The term wasn’t commonly used in a political manner until recently with the emergence of the Tea Party and the election of Obama.
Forsetti’s Justice writes:
The more entrenched the flyover voting bloc becomes in their voting habits, the further they fall behind economically, by voting against their own interests, the more they blame Washington, D.C. and coastal "liberal elites" for their issues.
They’re not silent or a majority
This is a voter demographic fond of describing themselves as hard-working middle-class Americans. Which they are. They’re overwhelmingly middle-aged to senior, white, semi-rural, increasingly suburban and indignant. They seem to be perpetually enraged every election cycle, and after, according to the results.
They either want their country back or they’re tired of being ignored. They regularly blurt the latter as justification for electing right-wing theocrat/closed minds, austerity minded, cultural fascists to office. These are people that use more government subsidy than any segment of the country, but they hate "handouts" to anyone else. They are the largest consumers of SNAP benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
The flyover states are the main reason Congress is irreparably broken.
In the presidential election of 1968, Richard Nixon won 301 Electoral College votes, despite only receiving 43 percent of the popular vote. Third-party candidate George Wallace siphoned off 13 percent of the southern Democrats, which split from the Democratic Party altogether in 1972, via Nixon’s southern strategy. Virtually the same dynamic propelled Bill ClintonBill ClintonMoulitsas: Trump’s warped sense of reality Syrian safe zones: Trump's best bet for refugee relief, regional stability Chelsea Clinton attends Muslim solidarity rally in NYC MORE to office in 1992, albeit through different electoral politics. Clinton’s election was due less to racial/cultural issues, more economic.
Since the inception of the term silent majority almost 50 years ago, and all of its iterations since, this block of voters was hardly a majority and never silent. This group has been exceedingly adept at dominating the narrative in virtually every election cycle. They’re proficient at dog-whistle propaganda, and since the mid-1980s, they’ve created their own media echo-chamber which exponentially multiplies the sound of their own voices, with no interference from outside sources. This was accomplished mainly with coast to coast a.m. radio stations broadcasting 24/7 right-wing indoctrination, to conservative patriot and alt-right conspiracy theory websites of the last 15 years which disseminate tragic half-truths and whole fake news.
The alleged silent majority is deafening and easily provoked. They reside in their own echo-chamber bubble of indignation about everything from "New York values" (urban, ethnic rights, LGBT, social justice), to the war on Christmas and Black Lives Matter. They mocked and derided all people’s protests from Occupy to #NoDAPL. Their old standbys are opposing a woman’s right to choose, reinstituting school prayer and eradicating "big government." They hate progress. Their idea of American values is straight from circa 1870.
Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonPerez and Ellison agree on DNC playing neutral role in primary John Legend not ruling out talking politics at Oscars Clinton taunts GOP lawmakers for dodging town halls MORE garnered more votes than Trump, 2 million more votes. However, that doesn’t preclude flyover state Trump voters from claiming a landslide and mandate. In 2012 and 2008, Mitt Romney and John McCainJohn McCainPentagon mulling split of NSA, Cyber Command McCain made secret trip to Syria A guide to the committees: Senate MORE received more votes while losing than Trump did in 2016. Yet American-values Trump voters still proclaim a “make America great again” Trump-style mandate. They’re delusional in their belief that their views are more important, more valid, more ethical, and more patriotic than any other groups. They claim American Christian values, home, God and country. White values. Any dissenting viewpoints are taken as literal acts of war.
Anyone who questions the narrow vision of Middle America Christian values, being forced on 325 million people of multiple cultures, religions, no religion, and a mosaic of ethnicities, is deemed ungodly and un-American.
It’s clear cultural fascism.
American cultural progress has gone regressive
The United States is in social and cultural check. The poor will get no practical relief. Living wages will remain a distant dream. Healthcare costs will remain the major source of bankruptcy. Environmental issues will intensify to unknown crisis proportions. Women’s reproductive rights will be under constant attack and eroded. Race relations will devolve to tribal levels of disdain and mistrust.
The American melting pot will become a cauldron boiling over with contempt.
There is a cultural war happening in America, it’s in the cold propaganda phase, going back to the 1990s. The election of Trump signals this cultural conflagration will heat up.
Yes, the country has been critically divided for two decades, I don’t know how we find treaty and consensus, while truth is so dishonored and mocked.
To Trump voters: You allowed your bigotry and anger at the system to be cynically exploited yet again, by regressive, wealthy demagogues. I have little sympathy for you. I for one will not be contorting myself to "give Trump a chance" or seek common ground with you.
You need healing, not allies.
Duane Townsend is life-long resident of Detroit, Mich., and an experienced observer of the American social/political landscape.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.