Trump Began 2020 Reelection Campaign on Inauguration Day

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Trump Campaign Headquarters at Trump Tower (Wikimedia: Public Domain)

On Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, Donald Trump filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) his intent to run for President in 2020. This is highly unusual. In contrast, Barack Obama filed on April 4, 2011 for the 2012 election. That was a more typical 19 months ahead of the election instead of Trump’s 45 months.  Although Trump did not officially announce his candidacy for President, his notification to the FEC met the legal threshold to file for the 2020 election.

Many claim that Trump has sinister motives. Several liberal voices saw a nefarious scheme at play to legally silence criticism from nonprofits. A writer for the Daily Kos wrote, “These fascists are evil to the core.” The writer then proceeded to follow a line of tweets from The Resisterhood, which suggested that the true intent was to silence non-profits from criticizing candidate Trump.

The Resisterhood@resisterhood
First and foremost, it is NOT NORMAL. Obama filed for 2012 reelection in April 2011. Incumbent declaring before midterms is unheard of. /2

The Resisterhood@resisterhood
Several MAJOR implications. If officially a candidate, can use candidate status to curry favor with PACs, businesses, other organizations /3

The Resisterhood@resisterhood
Because he’s acting as Trump the candidate, not Trump the president. Different rules apply. /4

The Resisterhood@resisterhood
Even more importantly – completely changes how non profits can handle him. 501c3’s cannot “campaign” or risk losing nonprofit status. /5

The Resisterhood@resisterhood
It means they can’t speak negatively about him. Imagine @PPact having to convey risk to #PlannedParenthood w/ limits on how to address. /6

The Resisterhood@resisterhood
This throws nonprofits’ strategy for next few years into chaos. They must figure out how to work against Trump w/o “campaigning.” /7

If this was an avenue to silence critics, every incumbent would file on their Day 1 in office. As mentioned earlier, this action is extremely rare. While the argument is this gives Trump something of a free ride with nonprofits until November 2020, in reality, it doesn’t. It is rare for a nonprofit to lose its exempt status because of political activity.

Obama’s 19 month FEC filing period did not make him immune to criticism. When he filed in April 2011, it didn’t suddenly stop nonprofit anti-Obama reelection efforts. That is because there weren’t any. There were plenty of nonprofits who opposed Obama, but they never had the right to run a nonprofit political campaign before Obama’s filing or after. That doesn’t mean they couldn’t criticize Obama the President. It also means nothing is stopping today’s nonprofits from criticizing Trump the President. Nonprofits are not allowed to run anti-Trump ads or pro-Trump ads, just like nonprofits can’t do that for any candidate period.

If one buys into the Daily Kos and Resistorhood’s theory, then it would also apply to nonprofits that want to help a candidate. The law cuts both ways, pro and con, for a candidate. However, the real effect of the FEC filing on nonprofits is hardly noticeable. Nonprofits don’t keep tabs on which candidates have compiled FEC filings and then cross them off their political action list. They simply try to steer away from all overt political activities if they want to keep a tax exemption.

Nonprofits often take part in nonpartisan, educational activities that step across the line to some limited political activity. The Internal Revenue Service is rather lenient on these transgressions because they are almost always limited, and because we live in a world of perpetual political campaigning. The IRS allows criticism of officeholders as long as direct political campaigning is not done. In sum, there are no additional limitations placed on any non-profit that wants to criticize Trump because of his FEC filing. Essentially, it is the same rules before January 20 as after.

All this attention towards nonprofits does Trump a favor. The real reason that Trump filed immediately for reelection may not have anything to even do with his reelection. It overlooks the real reason at the core of most of his actions – money.  The early FEC filing is about enriching himself. Trump may not even run for office again, but he plans on leaving office a lot wealthier than when he came in.

As of January 9, 2017, Trump’s campaign had a surplus of $19 million. Politico claims that he has raised $11 million since the election. That’s a significant haul in a time when campaigns should be shutting down.

Trump is gearing up his 2020 campaign because he sees a cash cow in the making. By running a fundraising campaign at full speed the entire time of his Presidency, he can start sucking up contributions from supporters all around the country for the next four years. In other words, it is Trump University turned political. Instead of offering his genius as a real estate developer, Trump promises to use his political genius to make America great. Trump has even trademarked his new 2020 campaign slogan, “Keep America Great.”

So what are the personal benefits for Trump in starting his fundraising efforts so early?

Trump dumped $66.1 million into his campaign last year. That is a sizable amount by any standards. It probably pained Trump greatly too because he was forced to cancel the loans to his campaign when it reached the $50 million mark. However, that didn’t impair his plans to bill his campaign for services and products from numerous Trump businesses. Midway through last year, Trump’s businesses had been reimbursed $6 million by his campaign. By the end of last year, that number stood at $12.8 million.

Trump has reimbursed himself for a wide range of costs as Politico reported:

The FEC reports show that Trump’s campaign paid his businesses for everything from office suites and hotel stays to payroll, security and office supplies, revealing an integrated business and political operation that was without precedent in modern American presidential politics.

Trump Tower received over $2 million for rent and payroll reimbursement to staff who helped the campaign. His campaign is still based there. A wide assortment of Trump and Trump family businesses also received campaign payments. Those include his Palm Beach resort Mar-A-Logo, Eric Trump’s Virginia vineyard, golf courses and restaurants received tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even an entity called Trump Ice was reimbursed $3,400.

Federal law requires that political services and goods be paid a fair market value. This was designed so that supporters don’t give enormous amounts to a campaign and low ball those contributions on campaign reports. It was never imagined that a candidate would enrich himself as Trump is beginning to do. If there is one thing that Trump is a genius at, it is squeezing a dollar out of every ethical and unethical opportunity.

This is not to say that Trump is not engaging in legitimate campaign activities. Millions have been spent since the election to organize databases and supply Trump paraphernalia.

Trump has a history of questionable activities to raise money and turn a profit. He refused to pay businesses for their work. He used his nonprofits for his personal benefit. He developed a questionable “university” to solicit funds. He used bankruptcy as a business tool. That Trump plans on turning his campaign activities and the Presidency into an opportunity to line his pockets even more, should not be a surprise.

Trump’s decision to file an early FEC declaration is not a political tactic to suppress criticism, but rather a legal opportunity to enrich himself in the next four years as a candidate. That is where the attention should be focused and not redirected toward an imaginary attempt to suppress the political speech of nonprofits. Focusing on the wrong reasons for the FEC filing, gives Trump the cover to use his campaign for further enrichment. His political opponents shouldn’t give him that satisfaction.

How Donald Trump Won the Election He Lost

Below is a speech that I gave on January 7, 2017 at the Monterey County Skeptics Skepticamp near Monterey.

It is filled with numerous statistical bits that I gleamed from the official election results. In sum, Donald Trump won because:

  • The Electoral College misfires between 36% of the time that the national popular vote is within 3%. That means a candidate who didn’t even get a plurality of the vote becomes elected as President. This is the 5th time in 64 elections that has happened.
  • Voter turnout was up noticeably from 2012 by 6% and reached an all-time high of 138 million voters.
  • Third party candidates increased their vote share from 2 million to 8 million, In addition another 2 million plus skipped the Presidential ticket and voted for other offices. That is about 1 million more than normally would be expected.
  • Hillary Clinton received almost the exact number of votes as Barack Obama.
  • Donald Trump received about 2 million more votes than Mitt Romney.
  • While vote totals were way up in most states, several states had a decline. These included Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio. These are generally Democratic-leaning states that Donald Trump carried. Michigan had one of the smallest voter increases with just 1%. It was also carried by Trump.
  • Trump won the election by a combined 78,000 votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan for a total of 46 electoral votes. That was his margin of victory.
  • Trump increased his share of white, non-college educated voters, generally referred to as the white working class, by 14% over Mitt Romney in 2012. Trump defeated Clinton by a margin of 39% among this group. It appears that they may have turned out in higher numbers than usual, but I do not have hard facts on that to prove it.
  • Clinton increased her share of white, college educated voters, by 10% over Obama 2012 performance. She lost to Trump by just 4%. No Democratic has ever carried this demographic since polling began in the 1950s on it.
  • The belief that white working class voters swept Trump to victory is incorrect. Trump only carried white voters by 1% more than Romney did over Obama. Trump received a boost from non-college educated whites, while Clinton had almost the same proportion among college-educated whites.
  • Clinton lost the election because minority voters did not turnout. Clinton did 7% worse than Obama on African-American voters and 8% worse with Hispanic voters.
  • Clinton also lost because in the places that she expanded on Obama’s margin, such as California, were not competitive states where extra votes helped her. On the other hand, in states like Texas, where she strongly outperformed Obama by narrowing the GOP victory from 1.3 million in 2012 to 800,000 in 2016, her extra voters did not help because those states were also not competitive.
  • The states where Clinton fell below Obama’s 2012 numbers were competitive states. It wasn’t necessarily that Trump brought new voters to the polls, but that Clinton failed to motivate regular voters. Case in point: Trump carried Wisconsin but received fewer votes than Romney, but Clinton received far fewer than Obama making Trump the winner.

More details in the speech.

 

Cyber Warfare is the New Battleground

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US Air Force Cyber operations (Wikimedia: Public Domain)

Russia’s attempt to influence the Presidential election is a dangerous and foreboding act. However, it is not completely unprecedented. The 2016 Presidential election is not the first time that a foreign power has interfered in the American electoral process. It has been a concern since the founding of the nation. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton warned of foreign interference in American politics in the early days of the republic.

“Foreign powers will intermeddle in our affairs, and spare no expense to influence them. Persons having foreign attachments will be sent among us, and insinuated into our councils, in order to be made instruments for their purposes,” James Madison is reported to have said.

While many instances involving foreign powers influencing American internal affairs in the nineteenth century are limited or sketchy, Britain and France meddled in the Civil War and would have welcomed a Lincoln defeat. However, there is little of consequence that was overtly done by foreign powers to influence American elections until the twentieth century.

In 1940, Adolf Hitler feared that Franklin Roosevelt was guiding the United States toward entering the war in Europe. Hitler funded isolationist supporters in both the Republican and Democratic parties in an attempt to thwart a third Roosevelt term. Conversely, Winston Churchill used British intelligence services to fund interventionist supporters and provide information for that cause.

In 1968, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu delayed  participating in peace talks in an attempt to boost Richard Nixon’s chances in the election. Thieu, in coordination with Nixon, maneuvered to deflate a surging Hubert Humphrey rally in the polls.

For years, the Soviet Union funded the American Communist Party with millions of dollars and encouraged party members to engage in espionage. These results had little effect. Electorally, the best that the communists ever did was a quarter of one percent of the vote in 1932. Vladimir Putin’s recent attempt to influence the American elections is simply a continuation of this policy through more sophisticated means.

Indeed, the Kremlin’s work was one of the most sophisticated propaganda campaigns in history.  The Russians hacked information from both the Democratic and Republican Parties. They then released damaging information about Hillary Clinton at opportune times. They also funded sites that spread fake news about Clinton. That a mere 77,000 votes in three states made the difference between a Trump or Clinton Presidency means that even a small influence on the election could have altered it.

While the other attempts to influence elections involved small groups and limited success, except for the 1968 election, the 2016 election was a widespread effort to control debate in the social media. This is a threat that is not going to go away. The successes of the 2016 election will be built upon for the future. These future elections will find more sophisticated techniques by the Russians and from other players, such as the Chinese.

Success will be heightened by American supporters of these foreign sources. The alt-right has already been identified as being pro-Russia. In the past, these foreign-funded small groups have done little but be a small thorn for the United States. Social media and the instantaneous news of the Internet have changed that.

It is highly ironic that the information age of computers and the Internet, which helped bring down the Soviet Union because the Soviets refused to share information to keep their economy expanding, is now the tool that threatens the integrity of  United States’ elections. It isn’t information causing the upheaval this time, but misinformation. It isn’t just the United States at risk either. Democratic nations around the world are vulnerable to the same pressures. Fear is growing that the coming European elections in France and Germany will be the next target.

A failure to respond to this unprecedented act will seriously fracture the health of any democratic political system that is targeted. While an offensive cyber war could prevent future attacks, it also may lead to an all-out cyber war or even direct military conflict. Unlike nuclear weapons deterrence, which guarantees the mutual destruction of everything, a cyber conflict leaves people unharmed. That makes a cyber war much more likely to occur.

Cyber defenses could be beefed up, but every Internet wall will eventually be breached by relentless, insidious hackers. A defensive game is not a winning game in this area.

All this turns to another option, which is a dangerous step. Restricting, tagging or redirecting fake or enhanced news stories is a clear threat to the First Amendment. Yet, without combating misinformation with information the minds of voters are going to be an easy target.

There was a time when the media controlled the news by appearing legitimate. Not everyone could put on a television show, print a newspaper or news magazine. The size, presence and availability of the old media proved that they weren’t someone operating out of a basement in suburbia. Today, the Internet controls the news. A website from a single blogger can look as legitimate as one from a major media company. Junk news appears as valid as real news. In addition, “news” is sometimes simply opinion. This makes for a  propagandist’s paradise. The Russians know this and so does every adversarial power to the world’s democratic nations. That includes, China, North  Korea and Iran.

The threat to the basic principle of democratic self-rule may be facing one of it’s most critical tests. The right to freely choose one’s leaders is based on information. The information may not always be the best, but it is a guide from which an informed opinion can be made. That information is now in doubt, and so are the opinions made from it.

Donald Trump is Right — The Election Was Rigged

Population per Electoral Vote (CC: Fzxboy)

The 2016 Presidential election was rigged. So was the 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996….All of them have been rigged since the first election that put George Washington in office in 1789. The rigging is not as Donald Trump proclaimed over the years. The ballot boxes are not stuffed. The dead do not rise from the grave to vote. Computers are not hacked to change votes nor are voting machines rigged to cast votes for the other candidate. Undocumented aliens do not flock to the voting booths. Voters are not bused around polling sites to vote at multiple locations. None of that is true, except for the occasional fraudster who forges a couple of registrations and votes.

Even then, the handful of minor election abnormalities don’t change elections, certainly not for the Presidency which encompasses 125 million or more voters. The fifty states have their own voting procedures and systems. The electoral process is further decentralized because the counties run the nuts and bolts of the elections. All this decentralization makes an organized voter fraud effort impossibly difficult.

That is not to say voter fraud has not happened in the past. Jim Crow voting laws suppressed the black vote for years in the south. The Chicago machine of Richard Daley and New York’s Tammany Hall under Boss Tweed were outrageous acts of voter fraud. Nothing like that would be tolerated today because the state or federal justice departments would be all over it. Even under Daley and Tweed, or any of the others that have existed, the fraud was limited to a locality. It wasn’t done on the scale to alter much more than part of an occasional swing state. There was nothing secret about it either. To achieve that level of accomplishment would require an overt presence. It was a horrible injustice then, but it doesn’t happen now. If it did, then we would know. No one ever comes up with credible voter fraud that includes more than a handful of voters. If voter fraud was significant, then the parties would be shifting power back and forth.

Nevertheless,, there is another rigging that does affect the fifty states. It has changed the outcome in five Presidential elections. In 1824, it elected John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson. In 1876, it elected Rutherford Hayes over Samuel Tilden. In 1888, it defeated sitting President Grover Cleveland in favor of Benjamin Harrison. In 2000, it elected George W. Bush over Al Gore. Now, in 2016, it has elected Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Yes, it is the Electoral College. It is rigged. It is institutionally rigged to give some people’s votes greater influence than others. It turns the concept of one person, one vote on top of its head. It is legal and constitutional because it is in the Constitution.

Hillary Clinton is going to win the popular vote by one-and-a-half-million votes or more. That is more than John Kennedy or Richard Nixon won the Presidency, not just in popular vote but by percentage. Clinton may even surpass Jimmy Carter in the popular vote margin. In the eleven Presidential contests decided by less than 3% of the popular vote, the Electoral College has selected the loser of the popular vote as the electoral winner four of those times. That doesn’t count the 1824 election when Adams defeated Jackson despite getting over 10% fewer popular votes.

Proponents of the Electoral College claim that it allows small states not to be overrun by the influence of bigger states. Others claim that it exaggerates the difference in the popular vote so a candidate who wins by several percentage points can amass an out-of-proportion Electoral College landslide and mandate. Similarly, another argument goes that if the popular vote solely elected the President, then a close popular vote margin could lead to endless recounts. With the electoral college, the election results are more decisive. Another argument is that no one region can elect a President by itself.  Yet still another argument is that it protects rural states and areas.

For the Founding Fathers, the Electoral College, along with the Senate’s two senators from each state, were designed to entice the small states and slave-holding states into the union. It was also supposed to be a check against the passions of the people. If the people elected an unqualified, buffoonish, crude individual as President, the electors were expected as wise men to cast independent votes for a more qualified candidate. So much for that concept in 2016. Electors are now often selected by the political parties as gratitude for contributions or other forms of support. Over half the states have binding, although probably unconstitutional, requirements that the electors vote as the majority in the state did.

None of these arguments are particularly convincing. Big states aren’t the threat they were 200 years ago to the small states. A lot of that has to do with changing attitudes. Back then, people thought of themselves as a Virginian or a Georgian. Now, we think of ourselves as Americans. Today, Rhode Islanders aren’t afraid of Texas nor are Idahoans fearful that California will dominate them.

These days candidates only put an effort into 10-12 swing states. It doesn’t matter if they are small or large. Candidates visit only states that they feel that they have a chance to win. In the 1960, Presidential election, Richard Nixon promised to visit every state. That sent him to Alaska on the last weekend of the campaign when his time could have been better utilized in a larger state. The visit may have helped Nixon carry Alaska, but he needed a larger state to carry than Alaska’s three electoral votes. Campaign blunders like that don’t happen anymore. If a state is a lock, it doesn’t get a visit. If the Electoral College was gone, then voters everywhere would be prized. The candidates still may not visit the rural areas, but that is because the populations are low compared to cities. Candidates aggregate toward the population centers whether there is an Electoral College or not.

The claim that the Electoral College creates a mandate may work when the winning candidate wins the popular vote as Ronald Reagan did in 1980 with 51% along with 91% of the Electoral College. However, it loses its appeal and raises issues of legitimacy when the winning candidate loses the popular vote by a sizable margin.

The region argument is irrelevant as well. As far back as the pre and post-Civil War days, the country was divided by region. The Republicans carried the north overwhelmingly and the Democrats carried the south. In many cases,winning Presidential candidates weren’t even on the ballot in all states. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln wasn’t on the ballot in nine southern states out of the union’s thirty-two that used the popular vote to select electors (South Carolina appointed them by the legislature). In three other states, Lincoln received less than 2.5%. In the past, Presidents were elected by region. Today, a candidate has to have some support outside of one region because there aren’t enough voters to swing the election from just one region.

Yet, at the core of argument against the Electoral College is legitimacy. To win the popular vote and lose the election undermines the principle that all votes are equal. If the Electoral College was a great idea for selecting office holders, then it would be used for Senators, Governors, legislators and many other races. It isn’t.

None of this gets to the critical point that the Electoral College is a rigged system against one person, one vote.

What many people don’t realize is that the votes are weighted differently in each state. Wyoming has 580,000 people and three electoral votes. California has 38.8 million people and 55 electoral votes. California’s population is 67 times that of Wyoming, but its electoral votes are only a bit over 18 times. That means a voter in Wyoming has almost four times the influence as a voter in California when choosing the President. That is the reason that in close elections, the Electoral College misfires almost half the time.

Small states have far greater influence than large states. They also tend to be more conservative. This gives a built-in edge for the Republican Party in Presidential elections. In the past, it benefited the Democratic Party when it was strong in the south and west.

The same bias, but to a larger degree, can be found in the Senate. Wyoming has one senator for every 300,000 voters. California has one senator for nearly every 20 million. The Senate is even more biased than Presidential elections. This allows for small states to filibuster or combine to vote down ideas popular to a majority of the voters nationally. It is one of the causes of legislative gridlock.

Changing the Electoral College requires a Constitutional amendment. That means three-quarters of the states must approve that. As reviled as the Electoral College is, the chance of a Constitutional amendment is nil. First, small states that benefit from it would have to give up their benefit. Second, the only time doing away with the Electoral College gains support is when it misfires. However, one side wins when it misfires and has no motivation to make a change.

Fortunately, there is an effort afloat to beat the Electoral College without a Constitutional amendment. The National Popular Vote bill has been passed in 11 states with 165 electoral votes. When that number reaches 270 electoral votes, then it becomes law in all states that have passed it. That means whoever wins the national popular vote gets the electoral votes of the states that have passed the bill and over 270 electoral votes. No more Electoral College misfires. It does not matter who won an individual state because those electoral votes go in one big lump sum to the popular vote winner and guarantees that person will be the electoral vote winner as well.

Although the 11 states that have passed the National Popular Vote bill are generally Democratic leaning, many conservative states from Arizona to Oklahoma have passed the bill in one or both legislative branches. It may take many years for the bill to become law in enough states to undermine the Electoral College’s quirks, or maybe it never will. It is a viable alternative to the far less likely alternative of a Constitutional Amendment. Until something changes, the threat is very real that the next President could also be elected despite failing to win the popular vote. That would be another blow to democratic legitimacy and another blow to faith in the American political system.

Trumpism Isn’t Going Away

Since the early 1990s, American politics has seen an America first, nativist rise in both state and national politics. In 1994, California Governor Pete Wilson pushed for the passage of Proposition 187 to halt undocumented immigrants from using state services. Two years earlier, Pat Buchanan made a significant challenge against sitting President George H.W. Bush while pushing nativist issues. Preceding both of these was David Duke’s brief electoral success on even a more extreme message in Louisiana starting in 1989. Talk radio and the developing Internet began to create a culture of blame.Since then, increasingly partisan national and state legislatures, coinciding with the rise of the Tea Party, has brought a conservative fringe viewpoint, known as the alt-right, into a leadership role in the Republican Party. The rise of Donald Trump is simply the culmination of decades of xenophobic chest pounding.

The 2016 election will be gone, but it is unlikely that the forces that caused Trump to rise will recede. It isn’t merely sexism, racism or nativism that has brought Trump to the forefront. It is easy to dismiss these revulsions as the worst of human nature. However, they are more the symptoms than the cause of the Trump movement.

The economic changes that began to sweep the United States in the 1970s are at the heart of the problem. The simple version is that imports began to cut into good-paying American jobs. Instead of bad trade deals, the real culprits are higher wages and a standard of living by Americans over foreign workers who can do the same task at lower cost. Add in that productivity has risen in dramatic steps over 50 years so that employers don’t need the same number of workers and that is the recipe of economic upheaval.

United States Nonfarm Labour Productivity

It is a relatively straight line of improved productivity for 65 years, which helped to contribute to a stable level of around 18 million manufacturing jobs for decades. There was a slight uptick in productivity in the 1990s. Since then, manufacturing jobs have fallen to the current 12 million. Part of that has to do with the Great Recession, but the trend was already in place by then. Increased imports have played a role through the rise of an export-rich China and regional trade deals, but the more efficient American worker is the backbone of this change.

The Trump campaign is embedded by the belief that the United States doesn’t manufacture things anymore. It is a common belief shared by many non-Trump supporters as well. It is also wrong. United States manufacturing produces twice as much as it did as recently as 1984. It just takes far fewer workers.

Since 1840, the manufacturing workforce in this country has had up and downs, but it is nothing compared to the other two main labor force components: agriculture and services. We have become a service-oriented economy not so much because productivity and trade have eliminated manufacturing jobs but because far fewer people work in agriculture. The trend is that as the economy changes, then manufacturing is going the way of agriculture. It is not disappearing. It is expanding but needs far fewer workers than before. The service jobs are then left. That doesn’t mean only flipping burgers, but also jobs in medicine, computer software, financial services and similar positions that require a more advanced educational background. More and more, the service jobs appear to be either low-paying or great paying. There aren’t as many of the middle-income jobs that manufacturing once provided.

chart of distribution of output by sector from 1840-2010

The point here is that a lot of things have a role in the loss of manufacturing jobs: trade, productivity, labor trends, etc. All this is difficult to explain in the politically terse language of our campaigns. People who lost manufacturing or similar good working class jobs want an answer. The same to those who never had one of these jobs, and can’t find one’s like their father’s had. Without college educations, they are left behind economically. Assembling autos is replaced by flipping burgers because that worker doesn’t have the experience to be an accountant. It becomes an easy, appealing answer to blame the job losses on bad trade deals or “illegals” stealing jobs. Trump, backed by the nativist alt-right, stoked a twenty-five-year indoctrination blaming the weakening of the manufacturing sector on foreigners. People who were down in their luck were told that their tough times were caused by foreigners. Blaming someone else for one’s hard times is human nature. It is made easier when it is encouraged as Trump and the alt-right have done. It is all an attempt to stir the fires of racism. It worked.

Trump may go away, but the anger and misinformation remains. To dismiss many Trump supporters as simply racist won’t work. That’s because it is only part of the problem. Yes, there are racists backing Trump. They will only change if their minds change. However, for most of these people, they simply want an opportunity for a better life. Grant a better life, and the anger and nativism will pass away.

The high cost of a college education and lack of vocational training programs stymies many from moving into a better life. Until a national effort creates opportunities for those left behind, not unlike the situation that exists for many minorities denied good educations, the economic displacement is going to bubble into racism and nothing will be resolved but another round of Trumpism in 2020.