"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,"
He's been widely accused of being out of touch, elitist and condescending, and thus unelectable.
Well, I guess I'm out of touch, elitist and condescending, too. These observations make perfect sense to me. If a sociologist or a writer, say even a writer from a small town, had made them, they would be too obvious to be notable.
But there are a lot of simple truths a politican is not allowed to speak. For one thing, you must always flatter the American voter like you're talking to your rich, ailing auntie. Every stump speech must reiterate your gushing belief that the American people are the most virtuous, hard-working, self-sacrificing populace in the history of the world.
That's the conventional wisdom, anyway. And there must be a lot of truth to it, because that's what every politican who gets elected does. But I think a lot of people are tired of the platitudes and blandishments. I know I am. I laugh with gratitude when I hear some kind of unpleasant reality leech through the wall of polished talking points. I would love to hear someone tell us that we have to pay more for gas, drive smaller cars, buy less crap, live in smaller homes and pay taxes for our wars. I don't mind being told that I'm hedonistic and don't do enough for my country, because it's true.
So I hope all the pooh-poohing and mockery backfires and Joe Voter says, "Big fuckin' deal." That would be a good sign to me.