How Class Struggle Determined the Election

Brooke Landry HB

Since the beginning of time, the bourgeois and proletariats have participated in a class struggle, a war between the people in power and the masses. The bourgeoisie, “the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production”[1] indirectly controls all aspects of the middle class, defining them as commodity and only valuing them if their work ethic increases capital. Revolutionary Karl Marx explains, “The cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race”.[2] Because of the immense numbers of the proletariat class, bourgeoisie group them into a distant mass of population, rather than humans who have homes, families, and feelings.

As the world continues to industrializes, bourgeois advances their power, determining wages and working conditions and also the future of workers. Highlighting the middle class’ oppression, Marx notices that “not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class… they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine”.[3] Although speaking about the Industrial Revolution in his Manifesto, Marx’s observations connect to today. With technology advancing, robots and computers control the fate of the middle class and could swoop up an entire field in a moment. Even if a proletariat’s job is safe from innovation, they quickly place their in the hands of the bourgeois once again, for companies in other industries are controlled by the same upper class, and the working man must spend to live.

This control, although existing for centuries, has become most prominent in recently, seeing that the wealthy are getting wealthier while the middle class sits in its current financial position. While middle class workers resent the wealthy taking all profit for themselves, they do not aim to turn into an upper class rich man, but to live in a state of comfort while managing themselves. As much as money drives man, those who work blue-collar jobs aim to take back control of their own decisions, whether that entails becoming wealthy or not. [4] Trump’s spur of success in the election occurred by focusing on the rustbelt, the 4 democratic states predominantly populated with blue-collar workers, and promising to keep manufacturing plants open and localize jobs, putting money and success in the path of the middle class.[5] NBC News reports Trump winning 93% of counties with a strong decrease in average annual pay and an astounding 100% of counties with residents least likely to have a high school degree[6], both major characteristics of a middle class worker, drawing them in by threatening 35% tariffs on Mexican-built cars and encouraging localization of companies.[7]

With such a controversial election experienced this past year, the middle class took it as an opportunity to move towards progress. As mentioned before, the proletariats are not an oppressed minority, but oppressed majority, waiting for the opportunity to use their numbers as leverage to progress. During the 2016 Election, instead of voting Democratic “for the people” just because that’s what their parents did, the middle class listened to candidates’ promises and ran with Trump’s bold promises to reform class interaction, giving more power and benefits to the masses. Although maybe just talk, Trump’s words convinced enough of the substantial middle class of America and spoke his way to presidency.

[1] Karl Marx, Manifesto of the Communist Party (London, England: 1848), Chapter I.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Joan Williams, “What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class,” Harvard Business Review, November 10, 2016,

[5] Michael Moore, “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win,” Michael Moore,

[6] Benjy Sarlin, “United States of Trump: An Inside Look at the Voters Who Took Over the Republican Party,” NBC News, June 20, 2016,

[7] Michael Moore, “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win”

Photograph: Proletariat. Digital Image. Philosophy and Philosophers. April 5, 2012.


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