They never saw it coming.
Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 11/11/16
The denizens of the Acela Corridor are in shock. If you’re unfamiliar, the Acela Corridor is that stretch of railroad track from Washington D.C. to Boston passing through New York over which runs the Acela Express, Amtrak’s only profitable train.
Many of those who make their livings in the power circles of New York and Washington ride the Acela frequently. For many in the political class, the view out the Acela train window is the only non-urbanized part of America they ever see.
When Barack Obama talks about the “one percent,” he wants you to picture a stingy Republican who has no regard for the trials and troubles of the other 99 percent. That’s the mythology.
But the truth is that the actual “one percent” is comprised disproportionately of Hollywood celebrities on the west coast and well-connected Acela-train-riding mostly liberal political insiders on the east coast.
The political-class Ivy Leaguers who train back and forth between New York and Washington live in an alternate universe that most ordinary Americans don’t even know exists. Typically, they have on their résumés a suitable period of time spent working in government, such as on Capitol Hill or in a federal agency. Thus credentialed, they move on to lobbying and consulting firms selling to big banks, big companies and big campaigns the access and insider knowledge that the contacts developed during government employment afford.
The other career path for this cohort is to be sufficiently attractive and articulate so as to work one’s way to a job in the New York or Washington media.
Their lives contained entirely in this alternate universe, they have exactly no idea (or no recollection) of what life is like for people in Wichita, Kansas, Knoxville, Tennessee or Tyler, Texas.
To the minds of the 21st century political class, people live in such unsophisticated backwaters because, given their deficits in education, connection and sophistication, it’s the best they can do.
It arose from such condescension that the political class simply could not imagine losing an election to an uncouth outsider like Donald Trump. Their disdain for Trump was palpable. Trump’s genius lay in not giving a damn.
While the elites were lecturing the country about climate change, gender-neutral restrooms and gay marriage – as if those things matter to ordinary Americans trying to pay the bills and raise the kids — Trump was spending every day for 18 months talking about jobs, the economy, illegal immigration and Islamic terrorism.
Billionaire though he is, Trump understands the angst of a 50-year old married couple trying to maintain a middle class standard of living and educate the kids on an income that never grows. Trump connected with that couple and the connection was reciprocated.
Hillary, for her part, called them deplorable.
Those deplorables – what you and I call the middle class – had finally had enough. And thus the middle class all at once hoisted the middle finger.
Looking out the window of the Acela train, the political class never saw it coming.