As a Marine Corps veteran who grew up in a struggling Rust Belt town, I liked Jeb Bush, but during an exchange about former president George W. Bush, Jeb said something that made me want to scream: “As it relates to my brother, there's one thing I know for sure: He kept us safe.”, I wanted to inquire whom, precisely, George W. Bush had kept safe.
My anger sprang, not from a difference over policy, but from somewhere more primal. I wanted, as Walt Whitman might say, to sound my “barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Whatever I thought about Jeb's education plan or record as governor, he had touched a raw cultural nerve. His defense of his brother ignored and insulted the experiences of people like me, and he was proud of it.
In an instant, I became Trump’s biggest fan, I understand why many adore him why I, if only briefly, cheered him on, he tells America’s rich and powerful precisely what we wish we could tell them ourselves, that many of the things they view as accomplishments suck for people like us.
What unites Trump’s voters is a sense of alienation from America’s wealthy and powerful. People with Ivy League degrees lord over our business and political institutions, yet literally zero graduates of my high school class attended an Ivy League undergraduate college.
Somewhere between the incompetence of George W. Bush and the indifference of Barack Obama, the region stopped listening to America.