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November in a Presidential season…as good a time as any to gauge the political climate in this country. Well, the state of the Union is divided. Most people say that it is probably as divided, or more, than any time in the last 50 years.

I believe that’s too simple an analysis. I believe that the majority of the country’s citizens are more alike than they are different. The fact that we have a two party political system forces us to choose between just two candidates, two parties and two completely different political agendas. I think that most Americans this year were more like me – not happy with either candidate or with the complete platform of either party. Most of us voted by choosing the least frightening of the two.

I think that most voters concentrated on one or two issues and voted for the candidate who supported their stand on these. For this reason neither the Republicans nor the Democrats should get too comfortable with the results of this election. Both parties should reexamine their policies and the demographic that they court in pursuit of elections.

For this reason I have come away from this election cycle with a tiny ray of hope for our future, the future of working Americans. The blueprint that these parties have forged for themselves over the last 50 years or so, and particularly over the last twenty, has failed to give either a mandate. They will have to reinvent themselves for future elections – federal, state and local.

There will always be staunch conservatives and ultra liberals who will vote for their respective parties no matter what. The swing vote, those who may lean in one direction or the other but can be swayed by the current issues, will always make the ultimate difference in who gets elected and who goes home as a loser. These are the voters that each party should be targeting.

Trump played on the fears of Americans regarding the influx of illegal immigrants taking away our jobs and the possibility of Muslim extremists being welcomed to this country with open arms. It’s funny that his promises on these particular issues are ones that he’s already begun to soften in his post election speeches.

Hillary attempted to allay the fears of working Americans that believe she and other liberals will give away the store in government entitlements to those who don’t want to work, as well as those refugees she promised to welcome with open arms and open coffers. Unfortunately for her, most Americans did not believe her denials as her previous speeches and actions told a different story.

Many people such as us, union workers struggling with our own budgets, turned away from the traditional party of labor – the Democrats. We see the Democratic Party as having been hijacked by every social special interest group looking for handouts and special treatment for their members. While this may sound all warm and fuzzy to some the truth is that not everyone can be special, or more to the point, treated as special. We’re all supposed to be in this together.

In our specialized interests, those of public safety employees and retirees, it is easy to understand why many voted for Trump. When the violence against police officers on the street is downplayed and the support for rioters and demonstrators so freely given by the present administration and by Clinton those of us in public safety cannot support their stance. Trump has showed his support to the police and his disdain for the violence perpetrated against them. This in itself is enough to sway many American voters.

When I see union workers’ benefits and wages and contracts attacked and lessened by Democrats in order to finance their socially progressive agenda (and their pandering for votes) I am truly afraid of the direction this country is headed. Republicans have always scared me (0n labor and union issues) but I’d rather have an opponent who is heading this country in the right direction as opposed to a so-called ally who is watching out for those with their hands out.

This brings me back to that ray of hope I mentioned earlier… I hope that the Democratic Party, federally and locally, finally realizes that it can’t expect to win future elections while ignoring the important issues of labor and unions. Let’s face it, none of the people who receive government handouts or those that support the ultra liberal social agendas espoused by the Democratic Party would vote for a Republican at any cost. The Democrats had all their support in this election and lost. They need to once again become the party of working Americans.

If this happens the Republicans will be forced to court us as well and we’ll be the winners in the long run.

Until next month, stay safe & healthy!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the monthly commentary “The Way I See It” are Tom Kenney’s and not necessarily those of The Providence Police & Firefighters Retirement Association.

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