Pennsylvania Democrats must consider the opinions of ‘unhyphenated Americans’

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AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Candidate campaign volunteer Brian Kennedy places his “I Voted” sticker next to his American flag pin as he greets voters outside a polling station on Tuesday in Evans City, Pennsylvania.

As the votes ended rolling at the end of Tuesday night, and it appeared that John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro won the elections, I bet many Democrats had the same thought — our victory means we can exclude Republican sentiments tied to antidemocratic, racist, sexist and homophobic ideals.

While Pennsylvania Democrats can celebrate that the state likely remains a haven for women and girls across the country receive abortion services and offer protection for LGBTQ+ people, Democrats cannot ignore all Republican positions. Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz many supporters not all share blatant hatred for bodily autonomy and expression of identity. Instead, many rightly feel that the Democratic Party has failed to recognize the struggles of rural Americans.

Many unhyphenated Americans – Americans who identify only as “Americans,” rather than being of American descent from another ethnicity, such as Irish-Americans, African-Americans, or Asian-Americans – live in the Appalachians. the region in Pennsylvania. The lack of a previous qualification Americans tend to indicate a strong sense of patriotism and American identity.

These Americans often live in rural or southern regions, are white and have less education. Over the past 30 years, Americans are not groove changed their support from Democrats — the traditional party of the working class — to Republicans. Now, they are what many of us think of when we picture the average Republican supporter.

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Nowadays, as more ideals of Republican candidates are derivatives of Trump, it is important to understand the history of the Appalachian region and its significance. Trumpism.

Before the Civil War, Native Americans mostly populate Appalachia. After the war, a large number of Irish immigrants establish in these cities. By working in coal mines, even without higher education, they could realize the American dream – start a family as well as buy a house and land.

In the early 1920s, people outside the region began a narrative about Appalaichains – that they are ignorant, lazy and love guns. Not only did this remove the Appalachians from urban dwellers, but it also helped the coal companies justified the exploitation of the workers and the land they survived on.

Politicians have neglected the needs of Appalachia – the region lacked funding for schools, infrastructure and repairs for destroyed public works. This frustration culminated in generational disillusionment with state and federal government support.

Once the coal companies exhausted all possible coal, they left the region, left many are unemployed and feel ill-equipped to adjust in the rapidly changing world. There was not an abundance of work that could support a family without higher education.

While the Democratic party preached diversity and inclusion of all people, many non-Sion Americans felt left out of this vision. On the other hand, Republicans realize the untapped vote potential to appeal to this group.

The 2016 election was both a accumulation and a worsening of this trend, which helped contribute to Donald Trump winning the presidency. His argument that we know all too well – bring back coal jobs “Make America Great Again” – appealed to non-Americans generally neglected in the political arena. Suddenly, instead of feeling like the world had passed them by, they were included in the vision for America’s future.

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Compared to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate refers to non-Sion Americans as “deplorable,” an apparently charismatic billionaire support concerns have attracted more of these voters – despite his propensity for racism, sexism and homophobia. The reality is that given the origins of non-American distaste for government, many of them accept Trumpism for different reasons than Democrats denounce it. Many people support his ideology, not because of his hateful ideals but rather in spite of it.

While not much has changed for non-Hispanic Americans during Trump’s presidency, the ideals of Trumpism they are still thriving. He exploited the history of exploits to gain support. Maybe non-Sion Americans realized that, maybe they didn’t. But maybe that didn’t matter because, for the first time in a long time, they felt supported. They felt that they had a place in American politics. Regardless of our identity — don’t we all want to feel that way?

Many of us think of these non-Sion Republican voters as uneducated white Americans, seemingly out of touch with reality. Instead they are voting for what they thought would help feed their families and keep them healthy and safe, the same things we all want. By accepting this commonality, we can begin to respect each other and solve problems that affect us all.

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As residents of Pittsburgh — bordering Appalachia — we especially have a responsibility to consider the concerns of non-Sion Americans in the policies and programs we support, because they are our neighbors and fellow Pennsylvanians.

So how do we move forward? How do we separate the hate from the just demand for change? We can start by improving the infrastructure that is often neglected. This appears to provide schools in Appalachia with adequate resources and invest in projects to rehabilitate roads and homes destroyed by natural disasters.

We have to start listening to the needs and desires of Appalachians rather than having people from outside the region infiltrate and dictate what they need. We cannot ignore their needs because sometimes they support politicians who raise racist sentiments but consider their circumstances and put their needs into a vision for the future.

And as society move away from fossil fuelsthat will leave the coal industry that Appalachia was built around, our leaders need to create a plan to get these people into the job market in a different way than just leaving them out.

If Democrats better understand the history of political isolation and neglect in Appalachia, they can begin to have some empathy and work to find common ground and establish better and more comprehensive solutions for all.

Talia Spillerman writes about anything and everything. Write it in [email protected]


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