Politics & Policy

Why We Lined Up for Trump

Trump speaks to supporters in Mechanicsburg, Pa., in August. (Reuters photo: Eric Thayer)
He understood what the nation’s non-elites need and want.

It has been several days now, and the media elites are still in shock. They didn’t see it coming. And they are still trying to explain away Donald Trump’s epic victory on a host of outside factors: It was the third-party candidates. It was the last-minute reopening of the FBI case. It was low voter turnout.

That’s the thing about the media elites. They don’t understand that this election wasn’t just about the economy, immigration, and national security. It was about them. This election was an outright rejection of their condescending ways — their smug indifference and outright hostility towards anyone who holds a differing opinion or world view.

That’s why Americans lined up for Trump. Because he was speaking for so many Americans who were tired of hearing the elites — including elites in the Republican and Democrat parties — tell them they’re stupid for believing what they believe. Or worse, bigots and racists.

When the media elites attacked Trump, the group they were attacking was anyone who was thinking what Trump was thinking. They were attacking vast numbers of decent, hard-working Americans. Or, as Hillary Clinton likes to call us, the deplorables.

When Donald Trump talked about immigration from Syria and urged caution until we could figure out what was going on — and remember, that was just after another attack against American innocents by radical Islamic terrorists on our own soil — he was quickly charged with being anti-Muslim. For being a bigot and a racist.

But what he was saying was rational. Reasonable. At the very least, worthy of a decent discussion. Because what he was saying was what millions of us were thinking. That the most important aspect of any immigration-policy decision must be the safety of the American people.

When Donald Trump insisted that borders matter, and that enforcing borders matters, he was vilified, and called those same names. But once again, he was speaking for millions of Americans — all of us descendants of immigrants — who believe the exact same thing. That borders matter. Boundaries matter. Laws matter.

Did Trump sometimes choose his words poorly? Of course. Do all of us agree about the precise answers to these tough immigration questions? Of course not. Not even Trump agreed with himself throughout the campaign season.

But watching the elites pounce on his every stumble and impute to him a racist heart only strengthened his connection to his followers. Because what the media elites were doing every time they used those words was calling us racists and bigots.

Watching the elites pounce on Trump’s every stumble and impute to him a racist heart only strengthened his connection to his followers.

The media elites toss those words around not just because they believe them, or because it makes them feel morally superior to anyone holding a differing viewpoint. They choose to use those words to shame those who disagree with them. Shame them into submission. Into silence.

Trump refused to cower when he was called those names. Millions of Americans admired his fearlessness.

Indeed, his refusal to bow to the false charges of the elites may have attracted some voters who may not have agreed with him entirely, but appreciated his courage under fire. And his fierce determination to not submit to the orthodoxies of political correctness.

We lined up for Trump because he didn’t ask pollsters or advisers what to think or say about these matters. He said what he thought. He said what he believed.

We lined up because he fought for the average working-class guy and gal at every turn. Because he wanted to renegotiate trade deals and protect American workers from unfair competition.

We lined up because he stood up for the seniors in this country who’d spent their lives working hard and saving their money only to have those savings destroyed by the Federal Reserve’s free-money policy.

We lined up because he stood firm with our nation’s cops when cops were under attack by media elites, and yet he did not hesitate to call out individual cases of police misconduct when they happened.

All of those groups I’ve just described add up to a whole lot of Americans the elites just dismiss. Or don’t seem to think matter. Americans that they spend none of their airtime, ink, or website shelf space talking about.

We never heard the end of the Black Lives Matter movement, even though the group’s narrative – that cops are what black people should fear most in urban America – is utterly specious.

That non-story was covered ad nauseam by the elites in the media, while we heard nothing about the suffering in large swaths of Main Street and rural America. Nothing from the elites about the coal miners and steelworkers whose lives were destroyed by an administration more concerned with global climate change than with American workers.

But that’s the thing about the elites. If it isn’t happening to them, or in their hip urban coastal enclaves, it must not be happening at all.

It was the brash, sometimes bombastic, billionaire real-estate developer from New York who understood the heartbeat of America. Of the Rust Belt and Main Street America. Perhaps it was because he’s spent a lifetime among the working class. Working with them. Building buildings and golf courses all over this great country.

#related#One thing was certain as Tuesday evening turned into Wednesday morning. As those votes kept pouring in from those thinly populated counties in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, the media elites got increasingly anxious.

By 1:00 a.m. Eastern, they looked positively shell shocked. Like an invading army had just taken over their sets.

By 2:30 a.m., they’d learned an important math lesson: There are a whole lot more people out there in America not living in cities than they knew. And they vote too. And their votes can add up to more votes than those city votes.

Hopefully, the media elites might have learned an additional lesson: that there are a whole lot more stories they need to start covering than the ones involving their provincial big-city lives.

If they do, they might just learn a bit more about their own country. And maybe even attract some additional readers, viewers, and followers.

Lee Habeeb — Lee Habeeb is an American talk-radio executive and producer. He has written columns for USA Today and the Washington Examiner, and is a columnist for Townhall.com and National Review.