Rather than seeking to understand the constituency behind Donald Trump’s popularity, then-candidate Hillary Clinton instead dismissed them as the “deplorables.”
But her husband, who–whatever one says about Bill Clinton–is probably the most astute politician today, was not so dismissive, and blamed Obama for ignoring the “white working class for eight years.”
Amazingly, given academia’s far left reputation, a professor wants to understand rather than castigate the white voters without college degrees who put Trump into office.
John Banzhaf, a professor at George Washington University Law School, wants to add a new program to college studies that will examine the “white middle class.” This proposed discipline, which Banzhaf calls “blue collar studies,” would be designed to “understand the very strong feelings of despair and hopelessness which caused so many of them to vote for Trump.”
Of the “intelligentsia [who] were surprised when Trump won the election,” Banzhaf pulls no punches regarding their refusal to understand this constituency:
“The abject failure of academics and other key members of the knowledge society to predict, much less to understand, the views of the six-in-ten Americans without college degrees who provided Trump’s primary support in the U.S. presidential election dramatically illustrates the urgent need for at least one new direction for critical studies: Blue Collar (or non-degree) Studies.”
He adds, “America’s intelligentsia…were surprised when Trump won the election, especially in view of the many things which he said and did which were widely believed to turn off major groups of prospective voters.”
But the white middle class was clearly not “turned off.”
Instead of dismissing them as hicks, racists or “deplorables,” Banzhaf believes that this constituency has real problems, which causes them “despair and hopelessness.”
Banzhaf cites their “decrease in life expectancy in recent years,” and attributes this factor to how they cope with their “overwhelming despair” via alcohol and drugs and even suicide.
Such addictions affect the population as a whole in that this constituency’s addictions represent “very expensive medical problems.” This decline should shame the country as well because it is “a startling and embarrassing development for an economically advanced nation.”
Banzhaf believes the implementation of his new academic study proposal would aid the government in how to address “blue-collar” problems:
“Such studies would also help governments to better tailor programs aimed at this population to more effectively address the problems which they face.”
For him, this constituency deserves the same attention as other groups currently being studied in academic programs:
“Such new studies are needed for exactly the same reasons we have Black Studies, LGBT Studies, and others: that we urgently need to understand more about these subcultures, even though the interaction and knowledge gaps between cultures are greater regarding people without degrees than with these other groups. Truly comprehending their concerns and views would help politicians and society generally to better address and respect them, and enhance the all-important element of predictability regarding public policy, both in the U.S. and in other major countries where the same sheepskin divisions seem to exist and create similar problems.”