Regardless of your politics, you have to agree that Donald Trump remembered the “forgotten man” and woman. Yet that particular class of American still seems forgotten, frankly – or deliberately overlooked. And that doesn’t bode well for Flyover Country no matter what happens on Tuesday.
Shelve the fact that the coast-based media have rediscovered the importance of “battleground states” of Wisconsin, Michigan, and even Minnesota to presidential politics and electoral-college calculi, parachuting into the heartland during the weeks before Election Day to try to discern what we’re all about out here.
They also did that four years ago, which was when they discovered the forgotten man. And on the basis of a Trump victory four years ago that stunned the far-flung cognoscenti, they vowed never to forget us again, if only because the key to victory for a president every four years seemed to have shifted from the highly predictable coasts.
“There was a post-2016 awakening among those who realized they had ignored a big part of the country – the one that lives far from the corridors of power and the bright lights of cable television studios,” wrote Jason De Sena Trennert, an investment strategist, recently in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. “For a while, everyone seemed to understand the hidden pain of those in the so-called Rust Belt of the American Midwest who had paid the highest price for 50 years of social engineering at home and abroad.”
And, as Trennert recounted, “For a while the coastal elites made some attempt to empathize” with us.
But this attempt didn’t last long. Soon after the 2016 election and the wakeup call to the coasts that we issued out in Flyover Country, all the oxygen in the newsroom became sucked up with gases emanating from the swamp in Washington, D.C. Out here in the middle of the country, we became ignored once again, even as we were doing the manufacturing, building, harvesting and exporting that took the U.S. economy to new heights by early this year.
Here’s all you need to remember about how they’ve continued to ignore the forgotten man: Even Fox News, which by all logic would have been the first East Coast-based TV network to understand Flyover Country, has paid us no more account during the last four years than the previous four years. For “diversity” of perspective throughout its broadcast day, Fox News still simply leaves network parapets in D.C. and New York, electronically flies over the heartland, and taps into news anchors based in … Los Angeles!
Fox News has a Chicago bureau. But who would ever know that? And as for the rest of the mainstream news networks – don’t even bother.
Expect the same treatment by the national news media after Tuesday, except perhaps if they drop a reporter in to cover any urban unrest in Louisville or Chicago or wherever for a few days. Out here in Flyover Country, the rest of us will simply comprise the forgotten man or woman once more.
Why does this matter? Because to the extent that the coasts and the media powers residing there increasingly control all the major centers of power in this country – finance and marketing in New York, government in D.C., tech in Silicon Valley, popular culture in Hollywood and e-commerce in Seattle – they will dictate not only how we live in Flyover Country but also how we are viewed by everyone else in America, and the world.
And to the extent that we in the heartland are shut out of creating and communicating our own narratives, about the realities of who we are, how we live and what we think, we will continue to lose our influence on what happens in the coastal power centers whose elites still, unfortunately, dictate much of how we all live.
Or, as Andrew A. Michta put it recently in another Journal op-ed, “The politics of intolerance preached in nearly every realm of American life assumes that those in ‘flyover country’ are in effect no longer citizens, as they are incapable of grasping the shibboleths of the globalist international order.”
The dean of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, in Germany, continued. The forgotten man and woman “are irretrievably from somewhere, and once stripped of their community – say, because their job was shipped off to Asia – they become internally displaced, with neither their views nor their lifestyle deserving of elite respect. Those who speak on their behalf are dismissed as ‘populists,’ all but unfit to be heard in unfit society.”
That “they” is us. Feel forgotten yet? Just wait until next year.