Trump was elected by a group of Americans neglected by the elite. He offered job security to those same Americans impacted most by a crippling economy. The Paris Agreement epitomised the threats to job security faced by this portion of American society, says Jonathan B. DeVore.
Understanding why Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement requires an understanding of his voting base. It’s no secret that the election of President Trump was a shock that agitated the world. Trump was an outsider whom many felt unfit to lead the United States. The Trump phenomena can be explained through the coming together of a cohesive class of Americans known as the working class.
Angelo Codevilla, an international relations professor at Boston University, has written extensively on the ruling class in America which includes high ranking bureaucrats, leaders within the media, CEO’s, and academics. These are people of the professional world that have exerted a large amount of control over government and society. The rest of the country, the country class as Codevilla calls it, are blue collar workers or lower ranking professionals that are typically less active in government and politics. Concerning party politics and demographics, elites have a better chance of controlling government through the Democratic Party as they provide a larger amount of support for state welfare when compared to the Republicans. By supporting a large welfare state, Democrats can collect a higher voting base from citizens living on or below the poverty line.
When considering the demographics of the Democratic Party, where highly educated elites, blacks, Asians, atheists, and millennials are primarily represented, a majority of its composition is still Caucasian. Looking at party identification by race, 35 per cent of whites identified as Republican, 38 per cent as Independent, and 26 per cent as Democrat. From 2008 to 2012, there was a three per cent decrease in white voters supporting the Democratic Party which represents a crucial loss for the party. A 2012 analysis on demographics and party politics from the Gallup Poll shows that, “another path to growth for the Republican Party would be an increase in its penetration into the white sector of the population.” In the 2016 election, Republicans were able to seize many of the white voters that the Democratic Party left behind. The Democratic party neglected a large group of voters needed to win the election. Even within its own party, the Sanders sect was a rebellion against everything elitism stands for.
Trump was the curveball that no one saw coming. While the Democrats and elites loathed him, he was seen by the country class as a successful leader in society, that could relate to many Americans. Over 170 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that democracy in America espoused principles like duty, religiosity, and small government based on communal involvement from the private sector. Many in the country class still believe and practice these virtues, of which Trump gathered support based off of a campaign centered around these virtues. He was highly vocal about issues that Mrs. Clinton shied away from and not being politically correct, which aroused support from a large voting base. Codevilla wrote that, “Trump’s attraction lies less in his words’ grace or even precision than in the extent to which Americans are searching for someone, anyone, to lead against this ruling class, that is making America less prosperous, less free, and more dangerous.” The country class is not a group of people looking for a politically correct leader, like that of the elite, but one like Trump. Equally as important to virtues that many Americans supported was a promise of job protection. The issue of unemployment and job protection is one that scares people of the white working class. The elites do not fear unemployment, as they have plenty of resources. But the country class however, struggles daily to keep up with the high amounts of inflation that exist. As industries leave the United States every year, so do jobs and livelihoods. Trump saw how this effected citizens and made promises to the people on jobs. The white working class needed someone that would promise job protection for the crippling economy.
President Trump was elected by a group of Americans that felt neglected by elites within society. The Democratic Party lost a major voting base to Trump after the Clinton campaign failed to rally a majority of its traditional voters, the white working class. Trump represented the values and virtues that many Americans claim to support. More than that, he promised job security to those same Americans that have felt the effects of a crippling economy. The Paris Agreement was a treaty that threatened the livelihoods of his voting base, and Trump carried through on the notion of pulling out.