The reason my wife and I moved abroad in 2009 was because we were having trouble surviving economically in the Great Recession. For us, for several years running, the American Dream was out of reach. And so we have pursued the American Dream abroad, with a lot more success.
Most Americans couldn’t do what we did. And they didn’t see that Obama was helping significantly to make their lives easier, or that Hillary would either. “Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart,” the poet William Butler Yeats wrote in Easter, 1916, a quote often cited by Bill Clinton during the 2016 campaign to explain public anger.
I think when you lose a job, you have less money and you get scared. But when you lose work, which has happened to many of Donald Trump’s supporters – or they fear is going to happen to them – you lose your dignity. Maybe you’re nobody. Maybe you don’t matter.
I think that Trump supporters have really been worried about their sense of not belonging anymore. If I blame Trump supporters for anything, it’s that if they’ve been feeling undervalued, denigrated, ignored, that’s not a new feeling. It’s just new to them, you know? Black people in America have felt that way for a long time. So have Latinos.