Michigan didn’t flip for George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” or for Mitt Romney’s “makers vs. takers.” Michigan sure flipped for Donald Trump’s “America First,” though, going red in a presidential election for the first time in 28 years.
Now, with three years of experience, we can see why President Trump is going to pull off the first Republican repeat in Michigan since Ronald Reagan: he’s delivered the blue collar boom that voters here were waiting for. No amount of scandal mongering; no bogus, failed impeachment; and no empty socialist rhetoric about “millionaires and billionaires” can take that away or change the facts.
Workers in the Heartland had been told for decades that America’s days as the industrial envy of the world were over. We were told that the “jobs weren’t coming back,” and that we should just accept the status quo of good-paying manufacturing jobs in America being replaced by low-wage sweatshop jobs in China thanks to grossly unfair trade arrangements.
Behind closed doors, Hillary Clinton laid out the vision blue collar workers were expected to accept: “open trade and open borders.” In other words, open season on their very livelihoods.
Luckily for Michigan — and luckily for the country — voters didn’t buy it. Over the past three years, Michigan has not only stopped the bleeding in our manufacturing sector, we’ve added more than 12,000 net manufacturing jobs. The value of our state’s manufacturing exports has increased by more than $3 billion, and total manufacturing output has increased by nearly $10 billion. The bread and butter of Michigan’s industry, auto manufacturing and auto parts, have increased by 9 percent and 21 percent, respectively, under President Trump’s leadership.
Better than the raw numbers are the real world results. The Democrat candidates hoping to run against the President can employ the same tired Occupy Wall Street rhetoric about “the one percent,” but the fact is, they’re now the party of the one percent and the Wall Street elite. They decry the very America First policies that made the Blue Collar Boom possible.
Meanwhile, under President Trump, low-wage earners are enjoying the fastest gains in this strong and growing economy. The industrial middle class is making historic strides, with the average manufacturing wage up $1.86/hr to an average $28.15/hr. A typical middle-income household is now pulling in about $5,000 more — pre-tax — than when President Trump took office. Families are also saving almost $1,900 on their federal tax bill under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act he signed in 2017.
Every indication is that once-struggling American workers are finally able to save assets. Today, the bottom half of wage earners are adding to their net worth at a much faster rate than the top one percent, who gobbled up nearly all the gains of Barack Obama’s tepid “recovery.”
This is what the 2016 election was about: the direction of America. Would America be run by and for the elites, or would it be run to maximize the opportunities for all Americans?
That’s what the 2020 election is going to be about, as well. Michigan rendered its verdict in 2016, and we’ll render the same one on November 3, 2020: We’ll take President Trump’s Blue Collar Boom the Democrats’ empty promises any day.
Meshawn Maddock was a Michigan delegate for Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention. She is also the Co-founder of Michigan Trump Republicans and the wife of Michigan State Representative Matt Maddock