May 15, 2017
Manufacturing, once nearly a third of U.S. gross domestic product, has dwindled to around 12 percent, a punch to the gut for the American working class. Indeed, the sufferings of that sector’s former workers—and of those who live in once-thriving factory towns—may be responsible for Donald Trump’s extraordinary and catastrophic victory over Hillary Clinton in November.
A billionaire fixing to wage a horrific war on the working class now that he is president—by gutting its healthcare and labor rights—Trump nonetheless seemed to be listening to these forgotten people during his campaign. He went to their towns. He spoke with compassion about opioid addiction. He promised to “Make America Great Again,” a racist slogan, to be sure, but also a seductive one, implying that under Trump, American workers would enjoy the prosperity of bygone manufacturing days. We would make things again and feel proud of ourselves.
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