The other candidate called them Deplorables, even if she herself was a card-carrying Despicable. Well, never mind her, as she lost and will never darken the halls of power again. Perhaps a more fair term for Trump’s key demographic, more accurate than what she coined, would be the Pitifuls. Pitiful they are.
Nothing is going right for them, with them being the white underclass. They face a host of problems, from the loss of the pricing power of their largely unskilled labor, to a more equitable society that has greatly increased competition by opening up opportunity for women and minorities.
The Nobel Economist Angus Deaton recently produced a study showing that since 1999, the life span of white underclass in America has declined, with males particularly hard hit. Death rates have jumped. In 1999, the death rates for white American males and German males were equal; today the death rate for American white males is 44% higher than for German white males. Equally compelling is that the life span for non-white females and minority Americans—plus highly educated white males—has increased over the same period to record highs. Poorly educated American white males, and to a lesser extent poorly educated white females, are alone on Earth in seeing their life spans decline.
The deaths result from a number of causes, including drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide, and obesity. Angus Deaton has labelled this trend Death by Despair.
The root cause of this despair is the key question. Obviously some of it is a result of labor’s loss of pricing power as outsourcing was merely a way station on the way to obsolescence via technology. Increased competition from within society is also part of it, with low skill white males now sharing the market with women and minorities. Re-training is a false hope, both because all labor—skilled and unskilled—is increasingly under pressure from technological progress, and also because this demographic simply lacks the intellect to move up the knowledge scale. Not everyone is capable of being a rocket scientist. Trump might say “I love the poorly educated”, as he did during the campaign, but the ever-competitive job market does not love them, because they have next to no use in the modern world.
Part of the despair is self-inflicted. The death spiral of white males is coincident with the rise of the internet’s legion of Despair Bloggers, to which much of the underachieving white male demo is drawn. Everybody knows what Despair Blogger means. Hundreds of websites have sprung into existence which not only offer excuses for failure, but provide daily doses of anger and bitterness that the Deplorables seem to need. People whose lives did not turn out as expected, but who seem to believe they have an entitlement to something beyond ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, can easily find sites where they can learn everything is some other person’s, group’s, or policy’s fault. If not for the repeal of the gold standard, or fractional reserve banking, or the Fed, or Bilderbergers, or that amorphous entity called the Deep State, all of those Deplorables would surely be bathed in material glory, tops in their field, and the object of lust by the hottest babes! (Hat tip Ras)
The anger and bitterness fostered by the Despair Bloggers eventually becomes a need. It is an addiction, requiring even more bizarre tales over time, moving into endless convoluted conspiracy theories constructed Goldberg-esque style, but finding a ravenous audience. Despair Bloggers rely on three primary sources for their work: their own fertile imaginations, other Despair Bloggers to whom they LINK and Crosslink (Internet Age Law: three LINKS turns a lie into a fact), and State Actor trolls such as those championed by the FSB and their cut-outs like RT. People who either are incapable of accepting personal responsibility, or else are simply below the mean in terms of Darwinian ‘fitness’, embrace each new excuse or conspiracy as if it is nectar from the gods.
Despair becomes the steady state. It becomes home. Should a bright day sneak in somehow, those prone to despair know how to find the way back home to misery. The Deplorables cannot escape, and do not even seem to want to escape. Excuses are cold comfort, but still comfort. The Bloggers know it, feed it, and make a living off of it. Sure it’s cynical, but so was Trump University or just about any diet book ever written. The bottom line is the bottom line: profit.
Despair Blogging, though catching on in other parts of the world, began in the US and is more common in the US than anywhere. Its ascension exactly dovetails with the declining life span of poorly educated white males. It is their Black Plague. That may be a coincidence, but it might well be a contributing factor. Despair breeds despair (read any Comments Section).
Trump, either with malice aforethought or just serendipity, went after this demographic with both of his small hands. He gives voice and hope to society’s loser demographic. As a populist, he had to find hooks into some under-marketed demographic in order to get elected. He found it in the forlorn, the left behind, the unsuccessful, the Eleanor Rigbys of America. He tells them they can be part of greatness, even if he has no real plan to achieve it, but so desperate are they that they buy into his empty words. He says it’s okay to hate those ‘responsible’ for the demo’s failure in life, and they love him for it. They need that excuse; they embrace it with a passion born from desperation, even if hope itself is a delusion. They can’t see that, just as they can’t see their Messiah is not only selling bottles that say Snake Oil in bold script, but also that the bottles are just sugar water. It satisfies the sweet tooth, but ultimately is bad for those who consume it.
There is always, in any society and at any time in human history, a segment of the populace that can’t win for losing. Call it the dark underbelly of Darwin. Call it losing the Birth Lottery. There never has been, and never will be, a Lake Wobegon where ‘everyone is above average’. Democracy, in a noble attempt to be fairer than anybody’s God, and holding itself to a higher standard than anybody’s God, grants even the Darwinian Unfit the same one vote given to those who won, in a relative sense, the Birth Lottery, and who were born with the minimum level of skill, intellect, drive, or dumb luck to succeed. One man, one vote is democracy’s Achilles Heel.
This concept is the great unspoken truth of existence. It’s treated as a secret, classified material whose disclosure may not be cause for imprisonment, but just societal censure. Those who dare speak it are arrogant, cold, or heartless, but anyone who landed in this Universe on the uptown side of the mean knows it is an undeniable truth.
The Founding Fathers knew of this great secret. The Romans knew of it, too, hence the term panem et circenses. (If Trump has any skill, it is knowing that even the silliest of songs by the most cartoonish of sirens, will find an audience. He found enough of an audience to take the Electoral College.) People such as H. L. Mencken and Winston Churchill also spoke of it, noting that someday, in some democracy, a Trump would be elected. Mencken said:
“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their hearts desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”
Trump cannot help but eventually disappoint even those who still support him. He isn’t skilled enough to deal with simple problems, much less problems that may well be intractable, such as labor’s loss of pricing power, or religious fanaticism of all creeds. He is also his own worst enemy, childish and impulsive clown that he is, which is best exemplified in that one infamous silly Tweet…the cover-up and damage control of which now occupies most all of his non-golfing and Fake News-reading time. He can blow smoke out his ass or redirect the attention of those easily fooled, but even that has an expiration date. The jobs are not coming back. Losers are not going to miraculously become winners. The life many Deplorables think is their birthright will never be. What will they do when reality hits them?
All might be equal under the law, but all are not equal. Nobody’s God is truly fair. The Universe still survives. Democracy, flawed as it is, has survived so far. It may not survive Trump, for H. L. Mencken’s moron has arrived.