Nope, the real reasons Trump won have been real in America for at least the last 40 or so years. They are all the same reasons I finally recognized five-plus months ago when I first realized he was headed to victory. It's simple: The largest single economic group in our country has been sold out and ignored by the leaders of both parties for more than a generation. They are the hourly wage-earning Americans who have been bounced around from good manufacturing jobs, to service jobs, to seasonal work without the rest of us noticing that much. And that's even though there are a lot more of them than the college-educated white collar office workers out there. You know the financial uncertainty you felt last night when you saw the Dow futures crash down by 750 points? That's the kind of emotion millions of your fellow Americans have been feeling every night for years even though they're not "poor" or even necessarily unemployed.
These are the people who have been the acceptable sacrifices for our trade and wage-deflating immigration policies that do boost our economy overall ... just not for them. These are the people who have been scoffed at for not choosing to go to college, even though doing so has become an exercise in playing a game of "economic chicken" with student loans and irrelevant skills.
And it goes beyond economics. This is a divide that truly began in America during the Vietnam War, which was protested and defended by the rich and upper middle class while the lower middle class and poor actually did the fighting in country. That divide and the wounds from it have never really healed. I doubt we'll ever see an exit poll this specific, but I'd be willing to bet that Trump won 60 percent plus of the Vietnam veterans' vote because he spoke to their past and current pain in a way actual Vietnam vets like John Kerry and John McCain — guys who actually served in the war — never could.
Since Trump can't affect positive changes for this group of long-ignored Americans without help, it's imperative that Democrats and Republicans get acquainted, really acquainted, with the people who elected him.
Hillary Clinton and the 16 Republicans who lost to Trump in the primaries failed because they really have thought of this group of people as "deplorables." Clinton was just the unlucky one who got caught saying so.
The good news is that this is not a segment of the population that relies on welfare or needs new government handouts. In fact, just knowing that someone in Washington is finally listening to them and not writing them off as racists or Neanderthals will be an amazing start. And the politicians and other establishment types who do the most and best listening over the next four years will be the ones who move this country the most forward and reap the most rewards.
Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com senior columnist. Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.
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