It Was the Economy That Got Trump Elected

I am not easily shocked by much anymore. Yet, I was by last week’s column by fellow columnist Bernie Kosberg. Kosberg, whose column runs regularly in Mahopac News and sometimes in Yorktown News, said in the first paragraph: “Several readers decried my conclusion that the overwhelming support of Putnam County voters for Trump was not due to economic anxiety or the unavailability of suitable jobs, but to the overarching fear that white dominance was at risk.” Just as the title said, “It wasn’t about the economy or jobs.” He believes it was racism. Not just racism, but as you read in the column, available on, it was rampant racism and one of its homes is in Putnam County.

You see, in the world in which Mr. Kosberg lives, “Barack Obama was leaving office as a relatively successful leader and the economy—including job growth—was rising for an eighth consecutive year. Street crime across the country continued to decrease to record lows, although there had been a marked increase in heroin and prescription opioid addiction.” So, with Hillary Clinton promising a continuation of Obama’s policies, there must have been a more nefarious reason why she lost. After all, she did get more votes than Trump.

Yet, all studies show a great deal of Hillary’s votes came from Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. His opening sentence states, “Soon after President Trump was ‘crowned’ by the Electoral College in November 2016,” as if to give his election an air of illegitimacy. As much as we would like our presidents to win the popular vote, that is not, nor has it ever been, the way we elect a president. As the office of the president is the only nationwide election covered by the Constitution, our founders believed that this office should be won by carrying the majority of states. They did not want the more populated states running roughshod over the rest of the country. Popular vote was left to the Congress. Therein lies one of the built-in “checks and balances.”

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A perfect example is the Senate vote last week to reinstate “net neutrality.” As regular readers of this column know, I covered this topic last November. Obama’s FCC instituted it by fiat after Congress refused to do so. Trump’s FCC eliminated it. So, led by our own Sen. Charles Schumer, a vote was finally held last week by the Senate to reinstate it by law, not fiat. So, for the sake of argument, let us say this also passes in the House (not a sure thing). It still has to go to the president, who most likely will veto it. At that point, the House and Senate will have to try to muster enough votes to override that veto. That is the way, according to the Constitution, it is supposed to work. So, knowing this, it is safe to say no one was “crowned” president. He was elected to the office fair and square and constitutionally. However, I digress.

Kosberg goes on to say, “What led me to that conclusion? Putnam County is predominately white—94 percent of the population (including 13 percent of Latinos) self-identify as white—and, for the most part, the county has not been considered welcoming of racial minorities.” I would love to see his proof that Putnam County is not “welcoming of racial minorities.” His logic is simple: “More than 28,000 Republicans, conservatives and independents (comprising more than 70 percent of the Putnam County electorate) voted for Donald Trump despite his reputation as a sexual predator, his lack of knowledge, and his outspoken contempt for racial, ethnic and religious diversity.” I know in the world that Mr. Kosberg lives in, this assessment of Trump is a fact. So, with this “fact” in hand, he figures that the more obvious reason for voting Trump is racism.

Here, according to his column, is proof: “In this neck of the woods, Trump voters were a well-educated and well-off lot. Yet, this ‘enlightened’ electorate voted not by principle, but by reaction. To what? Last month, the National Academy of Sciences published a study by Diana Mutz, a noted political scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, suggesting that a significant majority of white, Christian, mostly male voters voted for Donald Trump not because they felt left behind economically, but because they felt that their dominant status was at risk.

“According to Mutz, Trump voters were not primarily concerned about jobs or their financial well-being but believed that their American way of life was being threatened by immigration leading to increased racial and ethnic diversity and that American global dominance was being endangered by China and other countries. 

“For the first time in the history of America, whites were being told that they will soon be in the minority. Feeling marginalized and unappreciated in the face of this growing multiculturalism—their economic, cultural, political and military might threatened—whites identified with Donald Trump and a Republican Party eager to portray itself as unwelcoming to strangers of any kind.”

Mr. Kosberg actually believes, hiding behind someone else’s words, that when you went to polls, you thought to yourself, “Oh, my God, if I do not vote for Trump, I will soon become a minority!” You did not go to the polls worrying about our national security or an economy that was anemic at best and being told by Obama and Hillary that you should get used to it for this is the new normal. No! You were threatened by racial and ethnic diversity.

Though I do not live in Putnam County but did vote for Trump, I find this a noxious and damning indictment of my vote. Other than time of war, the common axiom is, “it is the economy, stupid,” to quote James Carville. According to Mr. Kosberg, not this time! People were more than happy to accept the new norm of an anemic economy. What they were not going to accept is racial diversity.

Trump won because 1) Hillary was a lousy candidate, 2) he out-worked her, campaigning in blue states until 1 a.m. Election Day, and 3) he offered a better vision of the future than did Hillary Clinton. No more, no less. For Mr. Kosberg to try to nullify and delegitimize me and others who voted for Trump as racist at heart is beyond contempt. He owes an apology.

This is what I say. What say you?

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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