Dear Trump supporter
He’s no Obama. But it was a good speech. I’ll give you that. Or maybe I should say, it was the speech that you needed to hear.
I can see the hope in your faces. The hope that in Donald Trump, you’ve finally found a Fixer-in-Chief. That he will be able to bring back American jobs. That he will restore America’s standing in the world. That he will make America feared and loved, and Great, once more.
I get why you’ve put your faith in him. I see what he inspires. There is some truth mixed in with the drivel. On corruption. On political correctness. On losing your status in society. I feel your rage because the system feels unfair and unjust to me too. I know that slow-burning anger that has been building up over decades. Because, let’s face it, you have been betrayed by your political leaders, on the left and the right. Your Congress and your politics is so broken that you’re desperate to try anything. I get it.
Trump feels like your last chance- your best hope at turning back time to an era when there was certainty that if you did what you were supposed to do, you’d be able to buy your own house, live in a safe neighborhood, and send your kids to a decent school. That promise of the American dream is dying.
It used to be that if you were smart and worked hard, you could slowly climb your way to the top. These days, the chances of that happening are unlikely. Kids who were born in the poorest 20% of US households have a 7.5% chance of making it into the richest 20%. In Canada, if you are born in the bottom 20%, you have a 13% chance of moving into the richest 20%. The American myth that anyone can make it…. well, it just doesn’t apply anymore. That part of the social contract has been broken.
Those who have been in charge of your government- including Democrats, especially Democrats- should be kicking themselves today. Because it was our politicians who let this happen. But they didn’t do it by themselves. We, the voters, also let this happen.
But I want to tell you something else. Something that politicians of all stripes are too scared to tell you.
The truth is that those jobs aren’t coming back to the US, the UK, or any rich OECD country. And it’s not all because of China either. Globalization, automation, and now artificial intelligence– these factors are as much to blame as China’s WTO ascension and their economic espionage.
The forces that created that cheap and powerful iPhone in our pockets are the same ones that are vastly increasing inequality within the US. You can’t have your iPhone and eat it too. But that’s what Donald Trump is promising you.
I hope we can at least agree that Donald Trump discriminates against women and minorities. Maybe you recognized this, and voted for him anyway.
But what you may not realize is that his divide-and-conquer strategy will harm the foundations of American democracy. Because the thing that makes America truly great- its openness and embrace of newcomers from all over the world- is slowly being replaced by fear and paranoia about those who are different in any way.
For the past 6 months, I’ve been watching President Trump destroy his opposition piece-by-piece using this strategy.
So far, he has co-opted his strongest opponents by pretending to placate them- witness one Mitt Romney who was wined and dined by candlelight at Trump Tower. And every single one of his opponents has fallen for it. Masterful.
Inside the Democratic Party, he has created rancor and division without doing a thing- What to do? Resist, fight back, co-operate where possible? He is also destroying the credibility of all opposition in the mainstream media- which has done itself no favors by idiotically hanging on his every tweet. CNN now has #fakenews as part of its byline thanks to President Trump.
Maybe you think that they, all of them, deserved it. But trust me- this isn’t what you want. Because one day, he will break his promises and turn on you too, and there will be no one left to speak up for you and your family.