The election is over, and thank God. No, I’m not thrilled by the outcome, but it’s no time to take to the streets. The guy won.
No, not the popular vote. But he won the election. Let’s all take a breath.
All along, the idea that Donald Trump was appealing only to poor rednecks was simplistic. I grew up and baptized all four of my kids in sections of Staten Island that ended up voting about 75 percent for the guy. Those folks are many things but they ain’t rednecks, unless they happen to have spilled a little Chianti down their chins.
In the build-up to the election, as I walked or drove through those streets with their many Trump signs, I knew there was an urban white ethnic Trump vote. The Irish still make up a healthy chunk of that.
Just look at a voting breakdowns in New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
Yes, Hillary Clinton crushed Trump in New York City. But not in Irish enclaves like Breezy Point or Broad Channel, Queens, where in some districts Trump got up to 75 percent of the vote, according to dnainfo.com.
He had similar showings in heavily white Catholic enclaves in Brooklyn, such as Mill Basin, Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park.
Things were a little tighter in traditionally Irish Queens neighborhoods like Maspeth and Middle Village, but Trump still pulled in 55 percent of the vote there. He even won at least one district in the Bronx’s famously Irish Woodlawn.
The story was no different outside city centers in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. The cities went for Clinton, but when you go out into the nearby suburbs and towns, where many Irish and other ethnic Catholics have migrated, the map turns a Trumpian red.
In New York and Massachusetts this didn’t impact the overall election results. But this was much more significant in Pennsylvania, which is worth 20 electoral votes and sealed Trump’s victory. Trump won those electoral votes by little more than 50,000 votes, out of nearly six million cast.
In Pennsylvania, too, the cities were blue but they were ringed by red suburbs and towns. Look no further than Scranton, birthplace of our current Irish Catholic Vice President Joe Biden. Located in Lackawanna County, this has long been a Democratic stronghold.
President Obama won nearly 65 percent of Lackawanna’s vote in 2012. But Trump nearly beat Clinton there last week.
In Pennsylvania’s Elk County, which is about 70 percent Catholic, Trump won 70 percent of the vote.
Overall, national exit polls show that Trump won the Catholic vote 52 percent to 45 percent. This New York Times analysis of religion is not broken down by race, but since Hispanics generally went heavier for Clinton, we can assume that white Catholics -- including Irish Americans -- were even more heavily in favor of Trump.
And so, we set off on an interesting four-year ride. This is not necessarily a new phenomenon. Irish Catholics were a big part of the conservative Reagan, and even Nixon, coalitions.
There are questions, though, that must be posed, especially to Trump’s Irish Catholic voters.
Trump actually performed better among more affluent voters, so the idea that Trump’s revolution was class-based is also flawed. Many of his supporters, instead, believe America is headed in the “wrong direction.” Immigration is often cited as part of that.
It was Irish Catholics -- and Italians and Jews and other immigrants -- who were ruining America 100 years ago, in the eyes of worried WASPs. Yet we assimilated and became not only Americans but particularly patriotic. So patriotic that the majority of us now seem to believe only Trump can “save” this country.
Are we, now, the worried WASPs? Why do so many grandchildren of immigrants believe today’s immigrants will not assimilate just as our ancestors did and become equally patriotic? Isn’t the patriotism and success of Trump’s Catholic voters proof that the American Dream is real?
Should we deny today’s immigrants and their children access to the dream that came true for the vast majority of our own parents and grandparents?
Take a breath. Then discuss.
(Contact “Sidewalks” at tdeignan.blogspot.com)