Van Jones explains why some Obama voters went for Trump
CNN analyst and former Obama advisor Van Jones recently journeyed through flyover country for a special program called “The Messy Truth,” as in, “the messy truth about why Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.” On “Late Night With Seth Meyers” Monday, Jones shared some of that knowledge.
Rejecting the simplistic explanation that it was purely racism that drove people to vote for Trump, Jones brought up the small but crucial group of people who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 but went for Trump this time around:
“I went to Ohio, and I talked to two-time Obama voters who voted for Trump. And I said, ‘Why?’ And they said, ‘Well, we voted for change, and then we voted for change again.’ Because they felt left out.”
As it turned out, these people were critical of Trump’s offensive rhetoric but ultimately prioritized their own material needs — needs to which Trump spoke over and over, and which Clinton largely ignored:
“Listen, were there some voters who really loved all the inflammatory, racial stuff that Trump said? Yes, they were out there and they voted. But for that family, that was a white union family that voted for Democrats all the way down, but they didn’t feel that the Clinton campaign really was speaking to them. They had three, I think, factories close in their county in the middle of the campaign. Trump went to that county. Clinton never went. And so they felt like, ‘You know what, nobody cares about us. We don’t like that stuff, but we gotta vote for our jobs.’”
When asked whether the Democratic Party is doing a good enough job at introspection versus blaming external factors, Jones had a mic drop moment destined for the meme pile:
“She was running against an orange nightmare. She should have won 50 states. I don’t wanna hear about the Russians right now.”
On the oft-ignored topic of the role black voters played in the election, Jones shared about how Clinton lost Michigan by 10,000 votes, and 100,000 people who’d voted for Obama in 2012 went missing this time around. Jones spends some of the program investigating what happened there.
Okay, Van Jones, I will watch this. “The Messy Truth” airs Tuesday at 9pm on CNN.