Vice President Joe Biden in his trademark level of candor spoke late last week on why the Democratic Party lost the 2016 presidential election. While much of the focus in the mainstream media has been on “white nationalists,” Biden said it wasn’t racists who won Trump the presidency, but voters the Democratic Party had long overlooked — namely rural, working-class Americans.
“We lost because of awful lot of hard-working Americans who live in areas where we did not pay much attention to,” he said at a reception celebrating a Hindu festival. “Barack Obama won these people. They are not racist. They did not vote for the Democrats this time.”
IVN reported the day after Election Day that in their post-mortem analyses, media outlets ignored their own exit polls that showed exactly why Trump won and it had nothing to do with race, which the media continues to focus on. Trump won a majority of independent voters, who made up a third of the electorate in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania (the three states Trump flipped) in key rural areas.
We lost because of awful lot of hard-working Americans who live in areas where we did not pay much attention to.Vice President Joe Biden
Who are these voters? Well, look at these three states. They are likely blue-collar workers or members of middle income families who are either struggling to find work or to pay for health insurance because costs have skyrocketed. These are people who have witnessed manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs vanish during the Great Recession (and before) and then never return.
These are voters who are looking beyond the political establishments of the major parties and want change. They are fed up with being ignored and largely misunderstood by the partisan insiders and pundits. They voted for Barack Obama on promises of change in 2008 and they voted for Trump in 2016 for the same reason.
Yet the mainstream media, specifically channels like CNN, are focusing on the race angle, further treating Trump voters like a monolith. Jon Stewart noted this hypocrisy by liberal pundits, commentators, and other members of the “Left” in an interview with CBS’ Charlie Rose on Thursday:
“Like, there are guys in my neighborhood that I love, that I respect, that I think have incredible qualities who are not afraid of Mexicans, and not afraid of Muslims, and not afraid of blacks. They’re afraid of their insurance premiums. In the liberal community, you hate this idea of creating people as a monolith. Don’t look as Muslims as a monolith. They are the individuals and it would be ignorance. But everybody who voted for Trump is a monolith, is a racist. That hypocrisy is also real in our country.”
The role that these independent, working-class Americans have on elections is often underscored, but these voters understand more than most that there are real systemic problems that is not being addressed by the political status quo, and until real change happens, they will continue to vote for the anti-establishment candidate.