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Monday, July 25, 2016

Impoverished Whites turn Right to Trump

There is a disturbing story in Salon that offers insight into why Donald Trump has gained traction with white males. It is because many white families and men find themselves to be impoverished.

"Growth in white poverty fuels Trump’s run: Largely ignoring the trend has consequences 
The GOP overlooked the poverty that's spread to white suburbs — those neglected Americans turned to Trump 

I have written about this growing circumstance without calling attention to race. The theme is the need for a sustainable economy that affords adequate opportunity and upward mobility for all citizens. Today's economic model that is capitalism fails to do that.

Republicans may argue that capitalism is the only answer. I have argued for making capitalism sustainable by addressing systemic deficiencies.

First, there must be a balance among three dimensions: economic performance, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility.

Second, there must be an immediate transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Third, there must be investment and support for genius entrepreneurs and inventors who address the needs and challenges to accomplishing the transformation to a new economic paradigm.

Government policy that supports optimizing return on national resources is essential.

"According to the Brookings Institute’s “The Growth and Spread of Concentrated Poverty” between 2008 and 2012 our urban poor population grew overall by 21 percent “while in suburbs it more than doubled, growing by 105 percent.” Almost every major metropolitan area in the country saw the number of suburban families living in high poverty and distressed neighborhoods go up. 
Over the same period the percentage of white households, living in census tracts where  at least 20 percent of the population is living below the poverty line, spiked from 30 percent to 37 percent. Concurrently the percentage of African-American and Latino households living in those depressed zip codes dropped by 4 percent. For foreign born families there was a 3 percent decline. 
“Lower-poverty neighborhoods became somewhat more diverse, although residents of those neighborhoods remain largely white,” according to the Brookings analysis, “In contrast, higher-poverty neighborhoods became more white.” 
“Although severely concentrated disadvantage remains a predominantly urban phenomenon, suburbs now have nearly as many poor residents in high-poverty neighborhoods as cities. If these communities are ignored, they could become areas of concentrated poverty over time,” concludes the Brookings report."

Following the baby boom, the bottom fell from opportunity beginning in the 1970s. There has been no adequate replacement. Wealthy persons succeeded leaving a vast number of poor people behind. Impoverished minorities could not awaken politicians. Now, the number of poor white people has increased to such an extent that their dissatisfaction is being leveraged by an ironic bedfellow that is Donald Trump.

Democrats under Hilliary or whomever, need to produce a plan for engineering opportunity that is a product of the public and private partnership. That is where the Clintons can apply their intellect and wealth to make a difference. They had better have an answer ready this week.

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