I was surprised when Trump won. The economy was doing well, Trump had charisma but was erratic and made what seemed like many missteps (like disparaging people in the military) that it didn’t seem plausible he could win. Yet, he plowed through the Republican primaries and gathered such a large and powerful base of support that people like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, who have good reasons to hate his guts, even they kowtowed. I don’t want to revisit the debates about why Trump won but one of the reasons was that his base felt disrespected by coastal and media elites–their religion, their guns, their political incorrectness, their patriotism, their education, their jobs–all disrespected.
And now maybe it is happening again. From the point of view of the non-elites, the elites with their models and data and projections have shut the economy down. The news is full of pleas for New York, which always seemed like a suspicious den of urban iniquity, but their hometown is doing fine. The church is closed, the bar is closed, the local plant is closed. Money is tight. Meanwhile the elites are laughing about binging Tiger King on Netflix. It doesn’t feel right. I can understand that or feel that I must try to understand that.
Here’s a picture from a protest in Ohio. It wasn’t a large protest, about 100 people, but they look pretty angry. They want to reopen the economy.
Photo: Joshua Bickel.
Columbus Dispatch: Kevin Farmer of Cincinnati climbed to the top of the Statehouse steps with his bullhorn to lead the protesters in a series of chants.
“Some say that we’re actually causing havoc or putting lives in danger right now — but actually they’re putting my livelihood in danger and others because we’re laid off during this pandemic,” Farmer said to the crowd.
Farmer told The Dispatch that he has been laid off from his job at Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing, and said his employer will contact him when it is OK to return to work.
Farmer said he hoped DeWine would see the dissent caused by the demonstration, and allow Ohioans to get back to their jobs.
“Don’t Mike DeWine supposed to be a Republican (sic)? Don’t he believe in less government? Small government?” Farmer said.
“He has an obligated right to get us back to work, because if not, what do you think Americans are gonna go through?”
Farmer also led the demonstrators in a series of “When I say tyrant, you say Mike DeWine” chants, among others.
Another demonstrator, John Jenkins of Pleasantville, was bearing an upside down American flag, traditionally a distress signal.
“Ohio is currently under distress,” Jenkins said. “The United States is generally under distress.”
…Joe Marshall, who did not identify where he was from, said he was representing Anonymous Columbus Ohio.
Marshall said he chose to demonstrate against DeWine because he believes DeWine and Acton are being led astray by the World Health Organization, which he said is corrupt and peddling false information to local governments.
“Their numbers here are what these clowns are going by,” Marshall said. “Even if they are right, they don’t justify” enforcing a stay-at-home order.
“These are common sense things,” Marshall said. “The problem is, Mr. DeWine doesn’t want to do common sense things, he wants to listen to Amy [Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, AT], and Amy gets her orders from the World Health Organization.”
Another protestor from a follow-up:
Columbus Dispatch: “We have children to feed, businesses to run, employees to pay, and Ohio must end this shutdown now. Those with high-risk categories and compromised immune systems can shelter safely at home while the rest of us can exercise our constitutional liberties to work and take care of our businesses and children.
“Patriots who love and respect our liberties and the Constitution are sick and tired of the fear-mongering while the governor and (state Health Director) Dr. (Amy) Acton continue to hide the numbers from the public.”
As Tyler put it yesterday, “America is a democracy, and the median voter will not die of coronavirus.” Solve for the equilibrium.
Addendum: In an excellent historical piece, Jesse Walker at Reason notes that cholera riots were common in Europe in the 19th century. Respect also played a role:
The more high-handed the ruling classes were, the more likely they were to be targeted by rumors and revolt. The riots persisted longest, Cohn writes, “where elites continued to belittle the supposed ‘superstitions’ of villagers, minorities, and the poor, violated their burial customs and religious beliefs, and imposed stringent anti-cholera regulations even after most of them had been proven to be ineffectual. Moreover, ruling elites in these places addressed popular resistance with military force and brutal repression.