Blue-Collar Workers, Max Boot Just Figured Out They’ve Been Conned. What Took You?

Image for post
Image for post
Trump supporters (Gage Skidmore)

few weeks ago, FOX News Steve Hilton commentator was a guest on Bill Maher’s “Real Time.” One of Hilton’s arguments was that it’s elitist to call Trump supporters dumb. Liberal talk show host Thom Hartmann said Hilton was using a right-wing view of the word elitist, which essentially means someone who reads books.

I’m not going to call Trump supporters dumb, but they’re not too quick on the uptake, especially the blue-collar ones. Whatever made them think that Trump cared about them? He’s spent his entire life ripping off working people. During the campaign, there were several media stories about Trump’s history of low-balling workers or simply refusing to pay people for work they had performed. There was even a Democratic attack ad about this subject. The ad featured the owner of a small business who did some work for Trump. It was a large contract and when Trump refused to pay, the business owner had to shutter his company.

Trump’s usual tactic is he sees the bill, decides it’s too much and then threatens to tie the creditor up in court for years if he challenges it. Usually, the creditor gives up.

Another case of Trump ripping off working people was Trump University. Trump U promised to turn people into investment geniuses. But if people had done some research, they would have known it was fraudulent. Trump has bankrupted six businesses and inherited $400 million from his father, who also regularly bailed him out from failed enterprises. That’s how he got rich. (This information was widely available in 2016 too.)

An affidavit from Ronald Schnackenberg, a former Trump University salesman, stated, “Based upon my personal experience and employment, I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme, and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”

A court ruled that Trump defrauded Trump University students and he was forced to pay a $25 million settlement. But this story seemed to be glossed over by the media and Trump supporters.

My brother told me one of his business partners had a run in with Trump. Apparently, the business partner owned a firm that refurbished boats. He did a job for Trump and when the bill came due, Trump, as he always does, refused to pay. So the business owner refused to release the keys to the yacht.

Trump responded by hurling abuse at him. He even called him the n-word, even though the business owner is white. The business owner calmly told Trump that he could resolve the situation by paying the bill. Trump eventually paid and reclaimed his boat. When my brother told me this story I said, “That’s his modus operandi.”

But the tide is slowly turning. Several working-class Trump supporters, including a Rene Elliot, a woman who worked at the Carrier plant which Trump failed to save, were featured in a video declaring they had been conned.

However, It’s not just blue-collar Trump supporters who are turning on the Republican Party. Max Boot, a neo-conservative and longtime Republican, has denounced his party and urged Americans to vote straight-ticket Democrat. In his upcoming book “The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right,” Boot says the GOP has nurtured ignorance and white nationalism.

“Upon closer examination, it’s obvious that the history of modern conservative is permeated with racism, extremism, conspiracy-mongering, isolationism and know-nothingism …But there has always been a dark underside to conservatism that I chose for most of my life to ignore. It’s amazing how little you can see when your eyes are closed!” said Boot in a Washington Post column.

My response to Boot and disillusioned blue-collar Trump supporters is, “What took you?”

The stories of Trump’s fraud, his conspiracy with Russia and his inheritance are not new to me. They were widely reported in liberal arms of the media such as “Background Briefing,” “Democracy Now!” and Alternet. But it seems the inability of the American public to process information is a long-standing problem. This is a point raised by Christopher Hedges in his 2009 book “Empire of Illusion.” Hedges says that some Americans are so poorly educated they can’t tell the difference between fact and fiction. In 2015, I wrote an article saying that Americans might be dumb enough to vote for Trump. I wish I had been wrong.

When millions of people say the same thing, you might want to listen to them. As Stephen Colbert said, “Truth has a liberal bias.”

Written by

Manny Otiko writes about race, politics and sports. He has been published in Salon and LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @mannyotiko.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store