Left behind people often live in houses like this.
"Left behind" people often live in houses like this. rSnapshotPhotos/shutterstock.com

There is now a lot of talk of whites voting for Trump because they have been "left behind." They have been left behind in the American Rustbelt, and they have been left behind (and are flown over) in rural America. There is one big problem with this kind of thinking: Blacks know all about being left behind in this society and yet it was clear to them that Donald Trump was in no way going to make their lot better. They knew that, with all her flaws, Hillary Clinton was the far better candidate on all of the major issues that concern people who are left behind: social services, wealth distribution, and the protection of consumer rights and the environment. Blacks were overwhelmingly rational in how they voted, and whites outside of cities—whites in the rural areas and suburbs—were not. Why? Are blacks smarter and more evolved than whites? Of course not. Indeed, the schools in their neighborhoods are grossly underfunded and only 19 percent of them have college degrees (it's 32 percent for whites). The answer is simple: They are not in the grip of racism in the way white voters are.

There was not one rational reason for a white person not in the upper classes to vote for Trump. In the last quarter, the economy was growing at nearly 3 percent, and not only was job growth solid but also wages are finally rising. But none of these economic facts could be appreciated because a candidate was pouring the crudest fuel on an old American flame, white supremacy.

Granted, there was a time when racism had its economic advantages for whites in the lower classes, but that was long ago. Today, racism is in the condition of spite. Now, recall the three ways a human can interact with others: altruistically, competitively, and spitefully. The first is to help another with some expense to yourself; the second is to succeed at the expense of someone else; the third is to harm yourself so you can harm another person. Racism today is all about the third, infernal condition.

It did not take a week for Trump to start stuffing the White House with people who will fleece these whites who feel so left behind. There will be no "derigging of the system." There will be a massive transference of wealth from those who have very little to those who already have too much. What ever ground was made in the Obama years is going to be lost. And there will be a severe economic crisis in the near future because that's what always happens when capitalists have no checks, no regulations. Anyone whose vision wasn't distorted by racism, could have seen this coming from a mile away.

The real danger of our moment will spring from any talk about how we need to consider, coddle, convince rural and suburban whites who feel they have been left behind. This feeling is an illusion. If we see a lamb running to a pack of wolves for protection, we conclude that it has gone mad; the same should be said about a working-class person who, in the hope of improving their lot, votes into power a billionaire and his club. We must not normalize Trump; we must keep pointing a finger at what got him elected and is driving millions of Americans into madness: racism.