The anxious middle

The article “ How To Talk About Immigration” speaks to the views of the English on immigration, yet it can be applicable to the situation in the United States in many ways. In Britain, the public is broken down into three distinct sociological ‘tribes’ based on their views on immigration. The first being the rejectionists, who make up roughly 25% of the population, who lean far to the right in terms of immigration. They are often older, white, and males, a majority which are not highly educated and do low wage work, a trend that is seen among Trump supporters, although the white female Trump voters cannot be ignored. The Tea Partiers also advocate extreme far right anti-government views. The second being the ‘migration liberals’, making up another 25% of the population, lean to the left to varying degrees. They tend to be younger and have a higher level of education. They view immigration positively, with some being extreme enough to want to destroy all borders (an unrealistic and small minority supporters). In general they feel migration has been good for the country and the economy. This is all not much of a surprise, as the trends in the US follow a similar path. However, together they make up only half the country… the rest stand in the middle. The forgotten and anxious middle.

The anxious middle are concerned but thoughtful, seeing the benefits of immigration but can see both sides. They are the ones not being appealed to by politicians. They have become distrustful of politicians, as many have in the US. We have many who are in the middle, many Americans continue to stay in the middle as our politicians continue to go further to the right and left. In the past election they were distrustful of both candidates, many deciding not to vote at all. They are concerned about immigration among many things, which for many comes down to whether it is good for them economically. It is not the GDP or government statistics that concern most people, it is having money in their pockets, access to jobs, healthcare, etc. There are economic concerns along with cultural concerns, worry about the changing country. An interesting point that was stressed in the reading was keeping racial prejudices out of discussions, focusing on cultural concerns. Something the US has troubling doing, as seen in the past election. Instead racial prejudices are masked with cultural concerns… in a self proclaimed melting pot.

The statistics are not convincing, they are just numbers thrown out on all sides. Statistics about the benefits of immigration are not enough to convince someone who sees jobs drying up and their bank accounts with it. Immigration is a big debate in this country, especially now as Trump wants to use taxpayer money to build a wall despite studies showing that it would be ineffective. It was a major part of his platform, he spoke to those in the middle that are struggling financially. Despite the work Obama did to bring the economy back from the crippling recession, Americans are still concerned about the economy. They are concerned about jobs, despite the unemployment rate below 5%. Obama created 10 million jobs in his 8 years. This has done little to change Americans concerns over job security, as fear of jobs moving abroad has continued to grow over the years. There is a lot of anxiety over the economy, statistics do not calm people’s anxiety. Just as the British distrust the government statistics, 25% of Americans do not trust government economic data. Those people happen to overlap with Trump supporters, 48% of Trump voters distrust government data. His campaign has encouraged it, only furthering the distrust of facts that has now continued into the White house. A distrust of the economy on a larger scale has only grown as Trump continues to claim the economy is rigged. While it is true that the rich politicians benefit from it, he himself is one of them.


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