"but it coordinates even better with deindustrialization and despair"
March 10, 2016 5:04 AM   Subscribe

Thomas Frank, perhaps most notable for using his home state of Kansas as a case study for the transformation of the United States by the Republican Party's embrace of the Southern strategy and the Reagan revolution, now draws out the difference between the treatment of Trump's appeal by the mainstream press versus what Trump seems to emphasize in his speeches.

Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here's why (SLGrauniad)

(Frank is also known for his work with The Wall Street Journal, Harper's, and the political and cultural gadfly, The Baffler. His latest book, Listen Liberal, due out next week, looks like it may offer a similar description for the appeal of the Democrat's populist, anti-establishment challenger, too.)
posted by one weird trick (267 comments total) 61 users marked this as a favorite
 
Shakesville responds by seeing trade, yes, but also race.
posted by doctornemo at 5:08 AM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


Finally, some empathy. Thanks for posting.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 5:29 AM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


tl;dr: An executive, a blue collar worker and an immigrant are all sitting in a room with 12 jobs. The executive ships 11 off to Mexico, turns to the blue collar worker, points at the immigrant and says "he's stealing your job".
posted by Talez at 5:31 AM on March 10, 2016 [219 favorites]


I finally got a chance to read this piece yesterday. He's definitely got something, but I also felt like he was a bit too invested in being vindicated himself with his argument. For instance, he doesn't do anything to analyze the appeal of racism even in relation to the potential objections to trade pacts. I don't think it's a minor thing that Trump is talking about Carrier moving to Mexico and talking about deportation of Mexicans (among others) in the same speeches.

Nor does Frank ever grapple with why these people are supporting T instead of Sanders.

Still, it's an important addition.
posted by OmieWise at 5:31 AM on March 10, 2016 [16 favorites]


So he's arguing that Trump is a protectionist nationalist socialist then, with supremacist racist ideas as part of that parcel. So a literal Nazi, then, just not if the German kind.
posted by Dysk at 5:32 AM on March 10, 2016 [41 favorites]


America is fundamentally racist. 500 years of slavery, Native genocide, Jim Crow, redlining, and on and on. It's just the way things is. Trump is just more open about it. Sanders' or Clinton's policies are probably going to end up better for non white folks, but the whole damn system is guilty as hell, and calling Trump racist is a convenient way for pundits to avoid talking about the realities of our economic system - just as racial scapegoating is a convenient ploy for the Donald to get support without actually having to think or talk about underlying issues.
posted by natteringnabob at 5:37 AM on March 10, 2016 [22 favorites]


Nor does Frank ever grapple with why these people are supporting T instead of Sanders.

Some of that could just be that Sanders is poisoned to them by virtue of running as a Democrat and/or calling himself a Socialist, even if they actually are in favor of "socialist" policies.

Some of it is probably also the "fuck you and fuck political correctness, I'm a rich narcissistic dickbag and I will say what I want" attitude. His overt racism and anti-Muslim bigotry are just demonstrations of that -- it's not like most of the GOP isn't already racist, they just use dogwhistles for the most part. Trump is willing to punch down, punch up, and pretty much just punch everybody to prove how "tough" and "great" he is. A bully, in other words.
posted by Foosnark at 5:40 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


and calling Trump racist is a convenient way for pundits to avoid talking about the realities of our economic system

On the flip side, nobody who follows Trump actually wants nuanced policy about trade otherwise they'd be demanding it at the rallies. They just want to blame someone and make them pay just as much as us liberals are willing to paint them with that brush.
posted by Talez at 5:41 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think this one and the authorian article are the best explainers I've read so far - mostly because they don't seem rely on the standard demographics. The Democratic party shouldn't savor the schadenfreude too long. They're going to have to reset their sails to this new wind blowin' too, and it's not going to be much easier for them than for the GOP.
posted by klarck at 5:43 AM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


A great many Republican voters seem to think the party "establishment" claims one thing and then does another - especially in areas like illegal immigration, trade, and so forth. That they prioritize getting new voters over their traditional base. Trump is appealing to the traditional base. Of course, he could do the same thing as the establishment and renege on his promises, but the unique thing is that he's actually speaking about issues that matter to the voting base.

I think we're seeing a significant realignment of the axis of political orientation from "right - left" to "nationalist - globalist". Trump, and to a lesser degree Sanders, are capitalizing on this increase in nationalist orientation in the US. (We also see this resurgence of nationalism happening in various European nations, but for somewhat different reasons.)
posted by theorique at 5:43 AM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


I bought and loved Thomas Frank's take on US voting patterns, "What's the matter with Kansas?". It made a lot of sense - the elites of the Right using revolutionary language, and sentiment, to use the natural theocratic backwardness of the working 'White' poor to get them to vote against their own interests. It is a fine, compelling book. But real scholars, notably Larry M. Bartels, demolished it mercilessly.It relied on lazy stereotypes and the notion 'class' is a monetary, not cultural phenomenon. In fact, reasonably affluent people have greater luxury to vote with a cultural, not economic conscience. Let me rip off a bit of Bartel here:
"It is true that American voters attach significantly more weight to social issues than they did 20 years ago. It is also true that church attendance has become a stronger predictor of voting behavior. But both of those changes are concentrated primarily among people who are affluent and well educated, not among the working class."
Frank now seems to have assimilated the Bartel finding that the less affluent tend to vote more economically in his rather incoherent take on Trump. His obsessive hatred of NAFTA and free trade - and very simple 'Liberal guilt' take on urban decay/deindustrialisation swamps his few interesting points. From what I can see, Trump is simply a far better Brand of Republican. He says what they have hinted at for seven years loud and proud. He fills gaps in their product offering - by protecting welfare, caring about healthcare, and ultimately having a radically redistributive tone (trade wars are a form of redistribution). He ticks all the boxes, with a bigger pencil. Frank is right to suggest moving beyond the obvious bigotry he attracts to understand his supporters more deeply. But 'Free Trade' hating is just part of the same 'The Other is doing us down' matrix that powers this US mutation of Berlusconi (Silvio would make a far better president) along. His people have fears and problems - many due to complex, unforeseen consequences of Government policy (The choice of CAFE regulations rather than higher fuel taxes rusted Flint harder than Roger Smith), lack of imagination and just changing times. He offers easy answers, pride and defiance. Like all fascists.
posted by The Salaryman at 5:47 AM on March 10, 2016 [20 favorites]


It seems difficult and disingenuous to make the argument that people support Trump because of his economic policies when nobody has any idea what his policies actually are. The swagger, unapologetic disdain of "elites," Mexicans, Muslims, women -- that much is clear and it seems like that is the principal driver of his appeal.

"Beneath all this is a larger historical current. There's often a strong need on the part of progressive people to believe that all ailments are essentially economic and that, therefore, if there is a political program that isn't economic in its emphasis it must be surreptitiously economic in its real purpose. It's a little like Freudian analysis: since all neuroses are sexual traumas, then a sexual trauma will always be found. But one of the fundamental and tragic lessons of the last century is that nationalism can exist on its own as a cause and faith and belief attached to the most meagre shreds of any kind of economic project."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:48 AM on March 10, 2016 [24 favorites]


It seems difficult and disingenuous to make the argument that people support Trump because of his economic policies when nobody has any idea what his policies actually are. The swagger, unapologetic disdain of "elites," Mexicans, Muslims, women -- that much is clear and it seems like that is the principal driver of his appeal.

So far his policies have been his estate planning. Lower taxes, estate tax loopholes for the rich.
posted by Talez at 5:50 AM on March 10, 2016


Definitely, theorique, I think the globalist - nationalist divide is what prompts people to say they're Sanders or bust, or that if Sanders doesn't get the nomination they'll cross to Trump. The SWPL commentariat's inability to understand this worldview is perhaps understandable given that they're in the belly of the beast.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 5:51 AM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Thank you, Oates. You said it better than me. Its easy to project a single cause analysis onto alien phenomena. Its a far more comforting myth that the Trumpies are just cross about 1990s trade deals, and are note an altogether more frightening species. Who cannot be bought off so easily. And have a rather more radical agenda.
posted by The Salaryman at 5:51 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Supporting Trump is a form of denial, specifically cognitive dissonance. The Republican party sold out middle-class America and didn't even propose a safety net, and so the true believers want to blame the "establishment" rather than switch parties to tax the rich for direct government spending on healthcare and education. Trump is basically tapping into anger that is justified, but which blames the wrong people. And his "great wall" is yet another supply-side policy that has the escape clause of requiring another country to pay for it, and when they don't, nobody will blame Trump or the lunacy of the idea. I note that those who have no illusions of their own exploitation, and who possess a personal awareness of race or gender in America, are already organized at some level, with long-term political goals. They know from experience that politics is survival and not some sudden, indignant reaction to a disappointment. Sincerity from politicians who speak directly to a disorganized electorate on a personal level is just another way of making promises they can't keep.
posted by Brian B. at 5:55 AM on March 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


America is fundamentally racist.

As far as I can tell, Humans are racist. No need to limit this to Americans. Or hell, even whites -- Look at the treatment by the Japanese of the Koreans and Ainu.

Culturally, we are all about Us vs. Them. Why are sports popular around the globe? Us vs. Them. Why is racism prevalent around the global? Us vs. Them.
posted by eriko at 5:59 AM on March 10, 2016 [58 favorites]


Also, the YouTube comments under the video Frank cites are very instructive indeed. A lot of demons circling there - and economic concerns are barely a tissue paper covering them. Semi-skilled labour and low value add forms of manufacturing have been in decline in the West since the 1950s for many reasons. The transition has been badly handled, and often too fast for one or two company towns to bounce back from. In some cases, imagination and the simple fact of cheap land and rent is the catalyst today, however. And the redundancy payments in many old line industries are pretty damn generous too. Seed money to do something new.
posted by The Salaryman at 5:59 AM on March 10, 2016


The video Frank refers to in his Guardian piece is quite something - An executive tells his staff they're making layoffs and moving the jobs to Mexico
posted by DanCall at 6:02 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


tl;dr: An executive, a blue collar worker and an immigrant are all sitting in a room with 12 jobs. The executive ships 11 off to Mexico, turns to the blue collar worker, points at the immigrant and says "he's stealing your job".

A bunch of executives, a crowd of blue collar workers, and a few immigrants sit in a room. One by one, the executives says that they're sorry about the jobs the blue collar workers used to have and which disappeared over the last few years. Some of the executives say that it's the fault of the other executives, some say it's the fault of the immigrants, or of "economic forces". What they all have in common is that everything they say sounds bland and polished. In fact, they all sound and look a lot like the executive who came to shut down their factory. He also liked to talk about economic forces and "re-alignment".

One of the executives is a lot less polished, he shouts that what happened to the blue collar workers is bullshit. That they've been sold down the river by a bunch of weak losers and liars. He tells them that he will bring those jobs back. Some of the blue collar workers don't really believe that he can do that, they're not fools, but at least he's talking about doing something.
posted by atrazine at 6:02 AM on March 10, 2016 [50 favorites]


It's almost as if all those low income whites the Left and Right agreed were human garbage immediately signed up with the first guy to say otherwise.
posted by mobunited at 6:04 AM on March 10, 2016 [81 favorites]


One of the executives is a lot less polished, he shouts that what happened to the blue collar workers is bullshit. That they've been sold down the river by a bunch of weak losers and liars. He tells them that he will bring those jobs back. Some of the blue collar workers don't really believe that he can do that, they're not fools, but at least he's talking about doing something.

And then he tells them that maybe they should think about taking out a loan in order to enroll in his new university, which will teach them the secrets of real estate investing.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:05 AM on March 10, 2016 [22 favorites]


The Democratic party shouldn't savor the schadenfreude too long. They're going to have to reset their sails to this new wind blowin' too, and it's not going to be much easier for them than for the GOP.

The 2014 disaster should have been the wakeup call. There are fewer Democrats in office than at any time since 1929. It apparently wasn't.

Now Michigan must be the wakeup call.

Sanders beat a 20-point deficit at the polls, and turned it into another victory, and this is after essentially splitting Iowa and taking New Hampshire outright. He's not even a Democrat! He spent his political career as a Socialist Democrat, outside any formal party, and became a Democrat simply to co-opt their machinery to win in the general election. Democrats can't win in their own primaries in major industrial states!

The Third Way has failed, mostly because the radical right has been in charge of Congress and the Supreme Court, and enlightened technocrats cannot stave off the depredations of the monied elite, they need an active and invested left wing to counterbalance the revanchist rightwingers and take the fight to the Big Business goons and unreconstructed Confederates infesting congress.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:05 AM on March 10, 2016 [47 favorites]


One of the executives is a lot less polished, he shouts that what happened to the blue collar workers is bullshit. That they've been sold down the river by a bunch of weak losers and liars. He tells them that he will bring those jobs back. Some of the blue collar workers don't really believe that he can do that, they're not fools, but at least he's talking about doing something.

Maybe because Trump is Hecho En Mexico just as much as the other assholes.
posted by Talez at 6:05 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


The GOP long ago figured out that if you can get someone angry about a particular thing you can then get them to support pretty anything, even if it's counter to their best interests. Just find a hot button issue, get them riled up, and sit back as they shoot themselves in the foot, repeatedly. It's a tactic the Dems haven't taken advantage of.

Trump isn't doing anything the GOP hasn't done before he's just doing it better.
posted by tommasz at 6:08 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I wish we could talk about the motivations of disenfranchised working class people without so much arrogant dismissive contempt. The tone of "clearly if you're a Trump supporter you're evil or weak or mentally ill" I get from some comments is disgusting. I'm not American and Trump himself seems to me a profoundly strange and slightly comic figure - tear him apart all you like - but unless you believe a huge chunk of America are subhuman morlocks then his supporters deserve at the least thoughtful engagement.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 6:11 AM on March 10, 2016 [58 favorites]


It's a tactic the Dems haven't taken advantage of.

Which is interesting, because angry populist appeals should have traction with at least part of the Dem base. Perhaps it is the more fractured and divided base that has prevented this from being a useful tactic?
posted by Dip Flash at 6:12 AM on March 10, 2016


The reason for this shitshow isn't appealing to base GOP interests. Every single candidate for that party does that.

The reason for this shitshow is a fundamental war in the GOP -- the Tea Party radicals vs. the Gingrich "establishment." The TP wanted Cruz. The Gingrites wanted Rubio or Bush. Neither would back down, so 11 other people joined in, and this started a year ago.

We we literally holding *multiple* debates more than one year out from the election.

And they were going nowhere, because it turned out that despite the 13 people running for the nomination, all of them sucked to the GOP votes. Every. Single. One. It was a massive clusterfuck, and the GOP voters -- vividly remembering Romney -- were pretty much lost.

Trump jumps in, call them all idiots, and gets 35% of the GOP vote.

That's why. If they'd not started the campaign early *last* year, if they'd had a quick talking to at least 10 of the idiots, if Jeb Bush wasn't so incompetent at running for president, any of that happens, and the door stays closed.

None of it did. This will go down as a more epic political own goal than Mike Dukakis or Michael Bilandic.

What you will have is a GOP nominee that half the GOP base hates. 25-30% love him, 10-5% are voting for him because they think he's a winner, but a large part of the GOP base hates him.

And that will depress turnout in November. And that's how you lose elections. When the Dems loves their candidate, like Bill Clinton or Barak Obama, they waltz in. When they don't, like Mike Dukakis or Al Gore, a fair number of them stay home or vote third party, and they lose.

It's just as true of the GOP. Ask George Bush Sr. Ask Romney -- the guy who was *certain* he'd won, and came nowhere near.

That's the setup here. Prediction time.

I'm glad that Trump is exposing the blatant racism in the GOP. I'm glad that he's made Ted Cruz electable. But mostly I'm glad because he's handing the White House to the Democrats. Sanders will beat him. Hilary Clinton will beat him. It won't even be close. Half the GOP hates him, and even if they would vote for him because he's not a fucking liberal, they won't work hard at getting out to vote. All you need is 3% more of your base to say "fuck it" and it's over.

Ask Al Gore. Ask George Bush.
posted by eriko at 6:14 AM on March 10, 2016 [13 favorites]



It's almost as if all those low income whites the Left and Right agreed were human garbage


Assuming facts not in evidence. The left doesn't hate low income whites, and in fact would like to do a lot of things that will directly help them, but they also want people in general to be less racist, sexist, and homophobic, and the right plays against that.

As for Frank, well, I liked WTMWK, but now I'm wondering how much of that is simply down to the stories that he tells about various fringe-y Kansans, particularly the ones who used to be more liberal but had some kind of conversion experience. That he can't seem to see that Trump's affected populism is intrinsically bound in with the racism and xenophobia (not to mention the hypocrisy--all those "Make America Great Again" hats that are made in China)--that it's not some random bad habit that Trump might be talked out of, but central to his message and his campaign--demonstrates Frank's limitations as a relevant commenter.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:23 AM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Trump primarily talks economics. Regardless of whether or not it makes any rational sense, it's addressing the prime issue that working class America is concerned with: jobs lost, standard of living declining, no hope for their kids. Being ignored has made them angry, and people who recognize that anger are followed - it's not out of a vacuum, it's desperation. The Democratic party ignores them, what are they supposed to do? Our stories about how well we're doing don't make it possible to find good work. They are desperate. That's why Bernie, and Trump, are surging, and why Bernie beats Trump, via the polls, much more handily. They want to be heard.
posted by emmet at 6:24 AM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


If you have zero power at work and your boss treats you like a meat robot who can be thrown away at any time, after a while you expect your government to treat you the same way too.
posted by miyabo at 6:26 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


unless you believe a huge chunk of America are subhuman morlocks then his supporters deserve at the least thoughtful engagement.

I get where you're coming from, but personally I think Trump and his supporters lost the right to any kind of thoughtful engagement or respect as soon as he started going full-blown racist facism.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:26 AM on March 10, 2016 [21 favorites]


Or as someone once put it:

"It's the economy, stupid"

And I find great amusement in the rest of Carville's instructions:

"Change over more of the same"

and

"Don't forget health care"

Still true.
posted by emmet at 6:27 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Its easy to project a single cause analysis onto alien phenomena.

Like how all Trump supporters are unrepentant racists.

The political left in this country has treated labor the same way the political right has treated evangelicals: pay them lip service to get elected, and ignore them once in office; where else are they going to go? Trump is rhetorically taking apart this bipartisan apparatus aggressively. The crude manner in which he's doing it is part of the appeal. In the process he's attracting a remarkable cross-section of Americans that defies the demographic assumptions of both left and right. Evangelicals. Nontheists. High-school educated. College educated. Post-graduate professionals. Minorities (!).

Democrats and Republicans have both built shaky coalitions from very broad sometimes conflicting prerogatives (completely normal in a Democracy) and for a long time pretended they were homogeneous constituencies. Both "conservatives" and "liberals" have developed orthodoxies—policies, positions, attitudes, and postures—and their respective gatekeepers, along with the media, have spun a narrative to popularly define what it means to be one or the other. There's a tribalist view of political affiliation that says, to be a member of the group, you must believe or support x, y, z or you're No True Tribesperson. It’s logical fallacy, and a view of people utterly divorced from reality. Real people—not the partisan caricatures that are the bogymen of the left and right—have complex feelings, ideas, and motivations that vary from issue to issue. These may or may not be internally consistent. They may or may not spring from principled belief. Some may be utterly abhorrent.

Frank's right. Trump’s rise is the inevitable result of nearsightedness on the part of both conservatives and liberals. It's strange to watch progressive schadenfreude over the current Republican meltdown because what we're witnessing affects both parties and the entire nation, and pretending otherwise is ostriching.

Trump is a noxious man. But he's identified the weak spots in the American political apparatus and is banging away with precision. This may just be the year where all of the competing bogus narratives are finally exposed.
posted by echocollate at 6:27 AM on March 10, 2016 [50 favorites]


Yeah, let's not all start celebrating the demise of the GOP as it currently exists. If the next party realignment means that the right is opposing little-L liberalism (as in, neoliberalism and the ideals of market economics and free trade) rather than big-L Liberalism, then the right is going to become a very big tent indeed.

And if the left becomes a crusader for contemporary neoliberalism, and therefore complicit in most of the ensuing economic havoc being wreaked on the third world, it's going to be really hard to pick a side. Do you want to throw your lot in with the racist dickbags and theocrats on the right who want to deport the brown people and bring American manufacturing jobs back, or the plutocrats on the left who are tolerant of everyone living in the country, but are happy to export human suffering by starting wars of aggression and encouraging offshore manufacturing in places with no environmental or labor protections?
posted by Mayor West at 6:29 AM on March 10, 2016 [19 favorites]


And that will depress turnout in November. And that's how you lose elections. When the Dems loves their candidate, like Bill Clinton or Barak Obama, they waltz in. When they don't, like Mike Dukakis or Al Gore, a fair number of them stay home or vote third party, and they lose.

Kinda what may make this year so fascinating is the potential for having candidates on both sides who are significantly disliked by their own voters.
posted by snofoam at 6:32 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Wait, so are we all just going to agree that the economy is horrible and broken? That's the assumption we're all just going to run with? Cause, gee, I would hate to see the types of candidates we'd be making excuses for in an environment where unemployment isn't under 5%, where wages weren't increasing, where full-time employment wasn't on the uptick, where 20 million more people weren't covered by health insurance, where the annual deficit wasn't getting smaller and smaller. Of course the economy could be and should be stronger. But the argument that people are looking for someone to overturn the applecart because the economy is in dire straits just doesn't seem to square with the data, or with historical trends.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:35 AM on March 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


The Democratic party shouldn't savor the schadenfreude too long. They're going to have to reset their sails to this new wind blowin' too, and it's not going to be much easier for them than for the GOP.

It's been my hope for a while that the republican party will implode at some point and totally collapse. Since we're basically stuck with a two-party system my thinking is that the democrats will split into two parties, the Overton window will snap back to the left and we'll be left with one party that's a more conservative democratic party that aligns more with Hillary and a far more left leaning one that aligns with socialists like Sanders.

The rise of Trump might be the start of that sequence of events. I just worry that I'm twisting facts to suit my preferred narrative so I'm still plenty terrified about what it will mean if Trump wins the nomination but if he does and the republicans get their clocks cleaned in this election, I might start to think of Trump's rise as a good sign that the GOP's days are numbered.
posted by VTX at 6:39 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I finally understood Donald Trump when I realized he was Sacha Baron Cohen performing one of his characters. Great make-up.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:40 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


This is a thought-provoking essay and I'm glad it was posted. My question, I guess, is if Trump is really so concerned with, or concerned with connecting with, these traditionally left-wing causes, why isn't he running as a Democrat? If he's really worried about the state of the working classes, why isn't he talking about unions?

I'm sort of miffed about the uncritical parroting of the historical revisionism of NAFTA, as some kind of Democratic/left-wing cause. NAFTA was negotiated by the (Republican) first Bush administration and was supported by conservatives.
posted by Western Infidels at 6:41 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


the argument that people are looking for someone to overturn the applecart because the economy is in dire straits just doesn't seem to square with the data, or with historical trends.

Or maybe many people are genuinely struggling and have watched as things have gotten progressively worse for them over 3-4 decades? I feel like this argument really depends on what data one is looking at. I'm sure there are loads of people who experience police as consistently friendly and professional.
posted by snofoam at 6:46 AM on March 10, 2016 [42 favorites]


I get where you're coming from, but personally I think Trump and his supporters lost the right to any kind of thoughtful engagement or respect as soon as he started going full-blown racist facism.

"Full blown racist fascism" is hyperbole and exactly the kind of dismissive arrogance that I'm arguing against. Trump's more of a Peronist than anyone else on the scene at the moment, and that's a troubling development, but the media scrambling to paint him as Hitler 2.0 with weak vinegar like salutegate or the KKK nonsense is symptomatic of their Olympian disregard for common people.

If you've given up on engagement then you basically have a choice between alienated stalemate or resolving your political differences with violence.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 6:48 AM on March 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


My question, I guess, is if Trump is really so concerned with, or concerned with connecting with, these traditionally left-wing causes, why isn't he running as a Democrat? If he's really worried about the state of the working classes, why isn't he talking about unions?

Because Bernie already fills that role on the left, and because Trump's an opportunist who's been subtly (or not so subtly, depending on your perspective) positioning himself to play the role on the right for eight years. I don't for one minute believe Trump has any political convictions. He's a canny opportunist.

I'm sort of miffed about the uncritical parroting the historical revisionism of NAFTA, as some kind of Democratic/left-wing cause. NAFTA was negotiated by the (Republican) first Bush administration and was supported by conservatives.

And Clinton signed it. And the Democratic establishment embraced it as part of their pivot away from labor. Nobody questions why Republicans supported it, because they were never the labor party. Democrats were.
posted by echocollate at 6:49 AM on March 10, 2016 [28 favorites]


We've entered the Nolan-Joker phase of American presidential electoral politics.
posted by echocollate at 6:50 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Unemployment being at 5% doesn't tell the whole story, as has been said again and again and again. Labor force participation is at its lowest level in 36 years. In this most recent recession, unlike any previous in recent history, as unemployment fell, labor force participation fell too. And the jobs that are being replaced are not apples to apples - they are good manufacturing jobs with benefits and pensions to shitty service jobs with unstable hours and unstable benefits. Rural whites and Rust Belt whites are hurting. This is undeniable, and to refuse them their humanity and suffering because they care more about their own pain than the suffering of blacks or Hispanics or whatever is to miss the point. To paraphrase J.D. Vance, If we pulled out the Scots-Irish as a portion of "white people," their rates of drug overdose and poverty would astonish you.

However, all this aside, Trump's stance on immigration is pure bunkum. Building a wall and berating CEOs will not bring jobs back for humans. These good manufacturing jobs have, by and large, gone to machines, and the machines will not give them back. Machines are better and cheaper than any immigrant, anywhere in the world. You can hiss and jeer at "Mexicans stealing jobs" and try to scare them into leaving, but the machines have no fear. Automation is the hidden current in the break-up of our democracy, the silent killer.
posted by permiechickie at 6:56 AM on March 10, 2016 [60 favorites]


Cause, gee, I would hate to see the types of candidates we'd be making excuses for in an environment where unemployment isn't under 5%, where wages weren't increasing, where full-time employment wasn't on the uptick, where 20 million more people weren't covered by health insurance, where the annual deficit wasn't getting smaller and smaller. Of course the economy could be and should be stronger.

Treating 'the economy' as a general trend ignores pockets where there has not, in fact, been significant recovery. If the one factory that used to employ 80% of your town has closed up shop, why should you give a fuck what the annual deficit is?

Liberal policies would help people in these areas more than conservative ones, but that message isn't getting across in those areas, because as far as I can see, the Dems really haven't made much of an effort to get it across lately - because if a state's too Republican to easily flip, why bother?
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:56 AM on March 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


My question, I guess, is if Trump is really so concerned with, or concerned with connecting with, these traditionally left-wing causes, why isn't he running as a Democrat?

His tax plan is typical supply side economics drivel. Cut taxes on the rich and watch the magic happen! His only real apostasy is that he professes to love SS and Medicare. Everything else is right from the GOP playbook. Right down to defunding Planned Parenthood.
posted by Max Power at 6:57 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I wish I were as optimistic as all of the people here and elsewhere who are absolutely certain that Trump winning the Republican nomination will result in a Democratic landslide.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:01 AM on March 10, 2016 [22 favorites]


Okay, so, a lot of push back to the argument that the data says our economy is, historically speaking, not that bad. So, a question. Has there ever been another Presidential administration where unemployment fell by 4% and at the end of that President's administration, people said "actually, the economy is getting worse."?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:02 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Support your local union needs to be screamed in the streets. Mother Jones, come back
posted by angrycat at 7:03 AM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


I thought it was a rather good article. That the focus on racism is somewhat misleading, and that rather Trumps appeal for a lot of people is a particular protectionist mercantilist conception of economics.

Postings above that claim that Trump doesn't have "an economic policy" seem a bit misleading. Sure he doesn't really have a "policy" but he does have a lets say an, "economic vision" that a "country" is like a "business" (which is an immediately comprehensible notion to a lot of people) but also dictates a bunch 18th C mercantilist protectionist policies, (which are also easier to understand than Ricardo's Comparative Advantage).
posted by mary8nne at 7:06 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Okay, so, a lot of push back to the argument that the data says our economy is, historically speaking, not that bad. So, a question. Has there ever been another Presidential administration where unemployment fell by 4% and at the end of that President's administration, people said "actually, the economy is getting worse."?

Because one metric shows improvement people should ignore plainly apparent systemic rot? That's pretty disingenuous.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 7:06 AM on March 10, 2016 [22 favorites]


The left doesn't hate low income whites, and in fact would like to do a lot of things that will directly help them, but they also want people in general to be less racist, sexist, and homophobic, and the right plays against that.

Oh, I know liberals think about class, last. It's very important that it be last.
posted by mobunited at 7:06 AM on March 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


Because one metric shows improvement people should ignore plainly apparent systemic rot? That's pretty disingenuous.

I can provide lots of metrics if you'd like. The macro economy is in a lot better shape that it was a few years ago.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:07 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Yeah, sorry Trump supporters - and I know there are so many of you here - you are entirely right that the elites are screwing the hell out of you economically through globalization. I get that.

But as long as your solution is to beat up anybody who isn't white, I can't do anything to help you. In fact I have to do pretty much whatever I can do to crush you some more.

So maybe think about a better response.

Oh, also:
I'm sort of miffed about the uncritical parroting the historical revisionism of NAFTA, as some kind of Democratic/left-wing cause. NAFTA was negotiated by the (Republican) first Bush administration and was supported by conservatives.

Have you heard about something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership? If it weren't for the Republican freakout about the Affordable Care Act, that would be the major legacy of the Obama administration. He really, really likes it.
posted by Naberius at 7:09 AM on March 10, 2016


So, a question. Has there ever been another Presidential administration where unemployment fell by 4% and at the end of that President's administration, people said "actually, the economy is getting worse."?

People here aren't saying the economy is getting worse. They're saying that to focus on the overall numbers is to ignore quite large areas of the population for whom the recovery has meant zero. The recovery is a highly fractured thing, with many, many areas left far behind. And, in cases where employment may, in fact, be improved, those news jobs are typically lower-wage, lower-benefit service work.

You can stare at the macro view as much as you like, but it's the micro conditions that are about to bite both parties in the ass.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:11 AM on March 10, 2016 [34 favorites]


The macro economy is in a lot better shape that it was a few years ago.

This is exactly the problem. The macro economy is great. Elites and capital owners are happy - their investments are paying off. But the system that, through capitalism, used to spread the wealth a bit more when people had good wages from manufacturing jobs, is now broken beyond repair. Many people on Metafilter (myself included) and Bernie supporters would replace that system of wealth transfer with government wealth transfer. The people that support Trump (and most Republicans I think) see this as anathema to their world view (omg socialism) and are trying to find a way to get that old system back. But my point is that it's not coming back, because the high wages for people without college degrees are never, ever coming back.
posted by permiechickie at 7:14 AM on March 10, 2016 [60 favorites]


Also, it doesn't matter if you're an "unrepentant racist" or "subhuman morlock" or not. If you support the candidate of unrepentant racists and subhuman morlocks, then it amounts to the same thing.

You don't get to back Hitler and go, oh no, this holocaust thing is nothing to do with me! I just came along for the autobahns and the Volkswagen.
posted by Naberius at 7:18 AM on March 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


How is it that liberals understand perfectly well that crime and drug abuse and all kinds of other terrible social ills are magnified by poverty, yet when it comes to racism, it's "fuck these people, I refuse to help them"? They've been bombarded with racist propaganda for decades and some of them swallowed it. That's terrible, but it doesn't mean they are beyond convincing or unworthy of assistance.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:18 AM on March 10, 2016 [64 favorites]


I think you're all correct when you point out that certain populations have been left behind, that the inequality gap is growing, and that our economy is currently rewarding those at the top of the income ladder. The point I'm trying to get across is that the widespread belief that the American economy has deteriorated across the board is just not true. I'd encourage folks to question their assumptions on this matter, is all.

And this is important to this thread and this post because I don't buy the idea that Trump voters are particularly motivated by economic concerns. I think instead it's a subsidiary concern, one that masks other anxieties.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:24 AM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


"Full blown racist fascism" is hyperbole and exactly the kind of dismissive arrogance that I'm arguing against. Trump's more of a Peronist than anyone else on the scene at the moment, and that's a troubling development, but the media scrambling to paint him as Hitler 2.0 with weak vinegar like salutegate or the KKK nonsense is symptomatic of their Olympian disregard for common people.

"People who belong to a particular religion which is responsible for a significant percentage of all the evil in the world should be banned from entering the country" is somewhat stronger vinegar if you're painting a portrait of a Hitler 2.0.
posted by layceepee at 7:25 AM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


But as long as your solution is to beat up anybody who isn't white, I can't do anything to help you. In fact I have to do pretty much whatever I can do to crush you some more.

and so a whole class of people are crushed because of what you and others believe they support

except, of course, they're not bugs, they're fissionable material - and you crush them past a certain point, they'll go critical and explode

we ignore them or oppress them at great peril
posted by pyramid termite at 7:26 AM on March 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


If you genuinely think a Trump presidency would result in genocide then I would suggest you need a cup of tea, but I understand why you'd feel that engagement with Trump supporters would be tantamount to complicity. But if it's just a rhetorical flourish, then vide supra all the stuff I wrote about arrogant dismissal.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 7:26 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I happen to live in one of the best economically situated cities in the US. We're booming here in Denver. We've got buildings going up all over the place, we're a major vacation destination, everything is beautiful.

We'll unless you're not upper middle class & above. One of the amazing things about Denver's economic boom, and a symptom of the problem that attracts people to Trump, is that most of us middle class & below, can no longer afford to live in our city. We've been priced out. While the economy for the wealthy went boom our economy stagnated. Wages for non executive positions not only didn't rise, it fell, when you factor in costs for rent (or most of us aren't lucky enough to afford a home) and food.

So when you tell me the economy is great, it only makes me feel as if I'm living an Orwellian nightmare. I can see the signs all over the place of how great the economy is, people driving around in expensive cars, bulldozing 2 older more modest homes to put up McMansions, play places for the wealthy, and yet none of it makes it down here where I am. Thank you for the wonderful economy. I'm glad you're happy with it. Some of us would like a little bit slid our way. Oh I know, "Horrors! That would be Socialism!" Well you can change my name from evilDoug to RedDoug if it makes you feel better . I try to make the Hillary supporters I know understand this and they start screaming that I'm demanding bloody revolution. It's disheartening when the folks that are supposed to be my allies cover their ears and start humming "I can't hear you!"

My family, they're all christian conservatives. Many of them are for Trump, and yes for some of the same reasons I'm for Bernie. They would insist they're not xenophobic (well they are) but you'd never ever get them to cross the aisle and vote Democrat. So hide your head in the sands, tell me it's all bigotry and wrongheadedness. There needs to be a realignment. I suspect there will be. I hope it's in a positive way.
posted by evilDoug at 7:34 AM on March 10, 2016 [102 favorites]


I think you're all correct when you point out that certain populations have been left behind, that the inequality gap is growing, and that our economy is currently rewarding those at the top of the income ladder. The point I'm trying to get across is that the widespread belief that the American economy has deteriorated across the board is just not true. I'd encourage folks to question their assumptions on this matter, is all.

I totally agree that Trump's support from the 1% (who have accrued basically all economic benefits for recent decades) is not based on economic hardship. Now that we've got that out of the way, I think we can go back to discussing how the economy—as it is experienced by the vast majority of Americans—is playing a huge role in this election and Trump's success as a candidate.
posted by snofoam at 7:35 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you genuinely think a Trump presidency would result in genocide then I would suggest you need a cup of tea

I get that you think that we're overreacting, but this isn't some grand rhetorical gesture; the man actually incites violence against minorities at his own rallies, and a central portion of his platform involves deporting millions of people back to places where they're very likely to be murdered wholesale. And this has all happened before he has had even a whiff of executive power.
posted by Mayor West at 7:35 AM on March 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


Ha!

Carter is being vindicated as we speak. Of course, being a Cassandra on environmental / energy / Middle East relations wins you nothing at the time.

I still cannot get over Exxon's knowing the results of their behavior for so long.
posted by Strange_Robinson at 7:36 AM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


If you genuinely think a Trump presidency would result in genocide then I would suggest you need a cup of tea

Here's some non-PC realness for Trump supporters: If you sucker punch a black man at one of your rallies and call him a n****r while your friends cheer you on, and your candidate says people like him should be in a hospital, along with saying pretty much the same racist shit about anyone who is Mexican or Muslim, then, yeah, fuck it, you're a no-good, racist, fascist piece of human garbage, and the leader you're voting for should be allowed nowhere near a job that would give him nuclear weapons, for the good of humanity.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 7:38 AM on March 10, 2016 [42 favorites]


I'm beginning to wonder if Trump is actually hiring people of color to get beaten up at his rallies these days.

Because it seems to have become an expected part of the entertainment.
posted by Naberius at 7:47 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The idea that Trump's appeal to lower and middle class Americans is based on his economic rhetoric makes no sense. Trump's actual economic policies (the ones his advisers have crafted and that he's posted to his website) include enormous tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporations. What has Trump proposed that will actually help lower and middle class Americans? None of his policies seem to actually redistribute wealth, shore up social services, establish a living wage, or relieve health insurance costs (unlike policies supported by both Democrats). His actual economic proposals are run of the mill standard conservative trickle-down boilerplate. A left-leaning voter saying they might vote for Trump because of his economic platform is like saying I only read Playboy for the articles. It's not fooling anybody. That's why people are asking "why are you *really* for Trump?"
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:54 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Many conservatives who identify as Christians, have never read the bible. Knowing this, you are surprised that many Trump supporters have never read his policies?
posted by evilDoug at 7:57 AM on March 10, 2016 [27 favorites]


If you genuinely think a Trump presidency would result in genocide then I would suggest you need a cup of tea

While David Duke is yesterday's news, you have the Traditionalist Workers' Party and other slickly produced fascist fronts at Trump rallies with the clear aim of inciting racists. The play here is that Trump becomes President, the fascists in his base have a power struggle, and he incorporates the synthetic result into the state apparatus through the mechanisms normally used to permit corporate influence.

The danger is quite real, and the level of planning is probably conspiratorial. I doubt Trump is directly involved, but he's indulging them like any other pressure group, and that's a signal he'd pay them back. Americans should not be under the illusion they're too virtuous to duplicate the SA.

But the thing is, it can all happen without the majority of his voters really caring much about race or immigration. When you see interviews with Trump supporters they may talk abstractly about these things, but they all focus on a perception of him not being connected to government, not being patronizing, having some kind of ring of truth and talking to all of his supporters -- even "the uneducated." (Him saying that? A masterstroke. His audience appreciated it, and it baited everyone else into looking like elitist assholes when they guffawed.) They are desperate enough to tolerate just a little more extremity than their everyday racism -- racism that in many cases may be more a matter of speech than concrete action, since as lower income whites, they interact with a more diverse set of people than the folks who are aghast at them -- and nobody else is talking to them. So unless someone thinks of a strategy other than "remind poor whites that they're contemptible" you will have actual fascism.
posted by mobunited at 7:59 AM on March 10, 2016 [20 favorites]


Many conservatives who identify as Christians, have never read the bible. Knowing this, you are surprised that many Trump supporters have never read his policies?

LOL! Honestly chuckled at that. I agree with you completely -- that's what's so frustrating!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:00 AM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


When I was young and immature, I believed that the world would be a better place if certain people could be removed from it, with violence if necessary. As I matured and grew wiser, I realized that I was endorsing the very same rhetoric as the people who have done the most damage throughout history, even if my specific targets of blame were different. Who am I to judge who is worthy to live or die? Nobody can be trusted with that much power.

This is why I now endorse complete and total universal elimination of the entire human race, with no exceptions.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:02 AM on March 10, 2016 [36 favorites]


What has Trump proposed that will actually help lower and middle class Americans?

Protectionist industrial policies, which matter for the sorts of people who have seen the insides of factories and warehouses.
posted by mobunited at 8:02 AM on March 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


A left-leaning voter saying they might vote for Trump because of his economic platform is like saying I only read Playboy for the articles.

...in a world where Playboy doesn't have articles.
posted by Dysk at 8:03 AM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


The Third Way has failed, mostly because the radical right has been in charge of Congress and the Supreme Court

HA. The Third Way "failed" in the sense it took 20 years for people to caught up with their "compassionate capitalism" bullshit. They sold every one us, on every country they put a rat-faced bastard with a grin saying how we should all be friends and everyone should greet our corporate overlords, for as long as they could.

Always beware those who speak of "compromise" before the deals are on the table. They are already willing to give everything away without a fight.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:05 AM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


What has Trump proposed that will actually help lower and middle class Americans?

You still aren't getting it. People are not going to his website and deciding to support him. They are watching or going to his rallies.

Watch a rally, in full. Then watch another. Then watch another.

You know what dominates 75-80% of the time he spends talking? Economics: trade policy, jobs and the sellout of the working class.

That's what people are hearing. You are covering your ears and going LA LA LA and insisting that these people should be using the same lens to examine what Trump is about that you do; that's myopic and a recipe for failure.

Go look at Trump how they do; go watch a few of his rally speeches on YouTube. It's the economy, jobs and trade all the way.
posted by turntraitor at 8:07 AM on March 10, 2016 [28 favorites]


As far as I can tell, Humans are racist. No need to limit this to Americans. Or hell, even whites -- Look at the treatment by the Japanese of the Koreans and Ainu.

I think you're wrong and this is the one area where America really is quite exceptional. Sure all human's are racist but no other country is as pervasively structurally racist against a single people as the United States is. I've lived in three countries now, Canada, England and the United States, and there is something very very different about race in the United States. Racism pervades in a way it just doesn't elsewhere. There also seem to be very weird denial about the sheer scale of it.
posted by srboisvert at 8:07 AM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


citation needed
posted by entropicamericana at 8:12 AM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


To build on my last post:

The insistence that the racism matters, and calling Trump out for a fraud is what will (IMHO) lead to his victory or near-victory in the general election against Clinton. I think that the political elite and the journalists who cover politics are completely in the bubble and have no clue what's actually going on in the electorate.

Just yesterday Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC acted shocked and aghast at the polling that indicates that Romney's recent anti-Trump speech and rhetoric has actually helped Trump. She asked, sincerely, who could have predicted that outcome. Well, anybody who's not completely blinkered, ma'am. Of course Romney's opposition to Trump will make Trump more popular; the base feels like the establishment has sold them out.

The populist anger and energy in this country is real, and nominating a figure like Clinton against Trump is, from a strategic perspective, a stunningly tone deaf gamble on the part of the DNC.
posted by turntraitor at 8:12 AM on March 10, 2016 [19 favorites]


I actually think that the ACA is an example of the Democrats enacting a policy that mostly helps the middle and upper income brackets while touting how it is for the working poor. If you have insurance provided by your employer, then no pre-existing conditions, keeping your kids on your policy to age 26, etc. are awesome. If you're, say, a white collar contractor--who can afford the premiums and the potential $6850 out of pocket expenses and for whom ruining your credit due to healthcare debt would be a bad thing--being able to get a policy on the exchanges is awesome.

However, I've personally heard a few low income working people say that there's little difference to them between crushing debt from healthcare when they don't have any insurance and paying premiums, copays and potential $6850 out of pocket expenses.
posted by tippiedog at 8:14 AM on March 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


Insisting that this can't be the real reason because Trump's proposed policies won't ACTUALLY help poor rural people is completely missing the point. The policies themselves aren't inportant, not to people with a very limited understanding of the vagaries of finance, which is most people. The point is, no one but Trump has even bothered to transparently pander to these guys with vague promises of change. And that's SOMETHING, when you've been ignored for this long.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:15 AM on March 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


tippiedog, are those people in states that didn't accept the Medicare expansion?
posted by nat at 8:17 AM on March 10, 2016


However, I've personally heard a few low income working people say that there's little difference to them between crushing debt from healthcare when they don't have any insurance and paying premiums, copays and potential $6850 out of pocket expenses.

I have heard similar testimonies from friends working in child care or part-time work. That the ACA has basically given them a monthly bill and protection against bankruptcy if they get a catastrophic illness or injury, but until that moment occurs, it's an albatross that is stretching already-thin budgets past the breaking point.

One friend in child care got a plan with a 5000 deductible, and has a job that requires yearly physicals, which no plan available to her within her budget covers. So she's got a new $300 a month bill, and protection if she's catastrophically injured. She does not see this as something she should be thankful for.
posted by turntraitor at 8:17 AM on March 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


Always beware those who speak of "compromise" before the deals are on the table. They are already willing to give everything away without a fight.

It means nothing of the sort. It simply means that they recognize that negotiation is how you get something that works for more than just the people who support you 100%. The Tea Party doesn't compromise, and you see how well that's worked for the country as a whole.
posted by OmieWise at 8:19 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Clearly there are a number of reasons for Trumpism triumphant. The focus upon trade is my concern here. There is the conflict of free trade versus bringing back our industry to our shores. Can the president and congress do this? And, if so, will things now made in the U.S. cost more to the people who want it brought home? And if we do manage to bring manufacturing back home, the potential unionization of workers will be strengthened since workers will not have the worry of jobs being sent out of the country
posted by Postroad at 8:24 AM on March 10, 2016


>nominating a figure like Clinton against Trump is, from a strategic perspective, a stunningly tone deaf gamble

It's only a matter of time before Trump attacks Clinton from the populist left as well as the right and I don't see how she survives that.
posted by anti social order at 8:29 AM on March 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


spoiler alert: she won't
posted by entropicamericana at 8:34 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Did Michigan Vote Against Trade? Data says: doesn't look like it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:43 AM on March 10, 2016


Has there ever been another Presidential administration where unemployment fell by 4% and at the end of that President's administration, people said "actually, the economy is getting worse."?

I imagine a lot of Trump supporters didn't see much benefit from either the tech-driven boom of the late-90s or the real estate-driven boom of the mid-2000s. "The economy" has been getting worse for some of these people for forty years, and the uptick of the last few years barely registers in comparison.
posted by Slothrup at 8:48 AM on March 10, 2016 [19 favorites]


I totally agree that Trump's support from the 1% (who have accrued basically all economic benefits for recent decades) is not based on economic hardship. Now that we've got that out of the way, I think we can go back to discussing how the economy—as it is experienced by the vast majority of Americans—is playing a huge role in this election and Trump's success as a candidate.

It's absolutely playing a role in Trump's success -- and in Bernie's success.

evilDoug's post is a fine anecdote of what's driving this. The Economy is separate from the people who contribute to it, and economic indicators can improve without the rank-and-file benefiting in any measurable way. The modern American economy is finely tuned to funnel money and influence to an increasingly small portion of the populace and away from everyone else, and people on both sides of the aisle are hopping mad for good reason.

The question is, whom do you blame? Bernie blames the upper 1%. The right-wing noise machine blames THEM where THEM includes the set of {immigrants | welfare queens | Mexicans | liberals | intellectuals | college professors | homosexuals | Muslims | ISIS | insufficiently patriotic Hollywood stars | non-Christians | not the RIGHT kind of Christians | George Soros | Communists | health care for the unworthy | overly brown people | countries who don't just give us their oil | The Mainstream Media | taking the Bible out of public schools | contrails | law enforcement above and beyond the office of County Sheriff | Jimmy Carter | anyone who fails to denounce all of the above strongly enough}.

Trump is a weird hybrid of this. As the OP article suggests, he IS bringing up trade and corporate interests-over-all in ways that the other candidates are not. But:

Here is the most salient supporting fact: when people talk to white, working-class Trump supporters, instead of simply imagining what they might say, they find that what most concerns these people is the economy and their place in it.

Trump is no dummy. He knows that his current voter base has been told for decades that the economy is rightfully theirs, the government is rightfully theirs, the courts are rightfully theirs, all the money is rightfully theirs but for THEM stealing it all away in defiance of Jesus's will. He also knows that an outsider candidate can rail against The Establishment and actually be perceived as not having helped cause this mess in the first place. So he's looking at this populace of low-information, blue-or-no-collar workers who've been fed THEY'VE STOLEN AMERICA FROM YOU for years and says "thanks for the decades of think tank propaganda setting them up, I'll take 'em from here." And when that starts bringing in the kind of people who say things like "It's wrong that black people can walk in my neighborhood without fear," he's rolling with it instead of calling them out.

So America goes.
posted by delfin at 8:53 AM on March 10, 2016 [25 favorites]


For Clinton and the DNC, beating Trump requires replacing his fictitious spiel as to being an "entrepreneur who began with a $1 million loan" with a narrative focused on the facts: Trump, at the tender age of 26 or 27, stepped into a position at the summit of New York real estate. More so than any loan (of $1 million plus) or inheritance (of a $200 million organization), his Dad's fat Rolodex of political contacts paved the way to wealth. Included therein were names like Roy Cohn, the famed lawyer from the Senator McCarthy hearings, or Bunny Lindenbaum, the wheeler-dealer real estate attorney, or Mayor Abraham Beame, with whom Trump's father was on extremely friendly terms, serving as a reliable source of campaign funds.

Using these names to lubricate the wheels of his real estate deals, Trump succeeded at first, only to squander his money and connects through over-leveraged investments in Atlantic City casinos, leading to severe cash problems, bankruptcy, and the embarrassment of loosing his yacht and helicopters due to personally guaranteed loans, and to being placed on a restrictive allowance by his creditors.

From that point on, the entrepreneurial, real-estate-oriented Trump has taken a backseat to the flailing, desperate Trump, as Stubby Fingers has bounced from one scam or pyramid deal to the next--Trump Mortgage, Trump Steaks, Trump Network (the nutrition-supplement company), and, most recently, Trump University--in a craven attempt to cash in on his name and increase cash flow. Most lists of the movers and shakers in New York real estate demote Trump to the bottom, or leave the digitally challenged businessman out of the picture altogether.

It's a Horatio Alger story in reverse, begging for exposure. Unfortunately, I'm fearful that Trump's mobs of supporters have decided to shut their eyes to the facts.
posted by Gordion Knott at 8:54 AM on March 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


America is fundamentally racist. 500 years of slavery...

I don't challenge your premise, but I do take issue with the math.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:55 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


The Tea Party doesn't compromise, and you see how well that's worked for the country as a whole.

You seem to have misunderstood something here - not compromising means that what they end up with should be better for them to the detriment of the rest of the country. So the country as a whole being worse off does not impugn being uncompromising.
posted by Dysk at 8:56 AM on March 10, 2016


For Clinton and the DNC, beating Trump requires replacing his fictitious spiel as to being an "entrepreneur who began with a $1 million loan" with a narrative focused on the facts

This is completely incorrect--the strategy, not the narrative you've laid out. This strategy will actually increase Trump's support.

Trump's supporters do not flock to him because of policy, or truth, or the record he's got as a business man.

I'm fearful that Trump's mobs of supporters have decided to shut their eyes to the facts.

They haven't, they just are paying attention to a set of facts you are insisting don't matter: the material conditions of their own lives and the economics of the communities they live in.
posted by turntraitor at 8:58 AM on March 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


It's almost as if all those low income whites the Left and Right agreed were human garbage immediately signed up with the first guy to say otherwise.

The funny thing is that anyone who has actually paid attention to Trump prior to the election (I used to watch The Apprentice) knows is that the one group he hates more than any other is losers. From the point of view of late capitalism, these low income whites? The biggest losers on the continent. You will never persuade me that Trump doesn't have the deepest contempt for that group. He'll say anything to get their votes, because he doesn't actually care what they think and he's not afraid of any ultimate consequences for lying to them.

When you tell me that low-income whites can sense the disdain directed at them from left and right alike (a not unfair point), but can't pick up what this guy whose catchphrase is a disgusted "You're fired!!!" actually thinks of them, you're telling me they're not listening very hard to that part of his message. "You're better than those Muslims and Mexicans, at least" seems to be what is reaching their brains.
posted by praemunire at 8:58 AM on March 10, 2016 [22 favorites]


It's been brought up before, but my primary reaction to the article is that it's a chicken and egg situation for economics and race.

Many of Trump’s followers are bigots, no doubt, but many more are probably excited by the prospect of a president who seems to mean it when he denounces our trade agreements and promises to bring the hammer down on the CEO that fired you and wrecked your town

However, importantly, there's a parenthetical statement attached to everything he says, "For whites." Trump can be seen as the product of the southern strategy running its course, and bucking the kleptocrats who've been riding it for decades. A major element of that southern strategy was positioning people of color as lazy, free-loading, and undeserving of benefits (thereby giving them leverage to dismantle the benefits wholesale).

Trump is appealing because he brings back the benefits, but only for his supporters. It's like someone else planted the crop, and Trump walks by a month later ready to harvest the fruit. The establishment republican party laid out race and cultural hatred as a way of framing talk about trade, social programs, and policy towards corporations. Practically, they only ever acted in a way that directly hurt the people that they were riling up, thereby allowing them to say, "see, it was the [insert group] here all along!" However, as the recession has dragged on for these people (working class, angry, whites) way past when intellectual white collar America has stopped talking about it, the above no longer works effectively. Exit polling for R. races has shown as much as 50% of R. voters being highly dissatisfied with their party. Trump is able to pivot in a way that no other establishment figure can, but he still has to keep speaking the same language, even if his message is different.

That is a dangerous, dangerous combination, because establishment R.s at least have to pay lip service to societal norms. Trump has no such obligations, and you're seeing the product of that in his normalization of white supremacy, and the way that minorities have been physically assaulted at his rallies. Therefore, if we're analyzing racial politics and economic politics we can't separate them, because the republican base doesn't separate them - the two are inextricably linked, and Trump's ability to realize and capitalize on this is the fulcrum of his success.

Trump's policies will likely be a disaster for these people, and for America as a whole. However, political discourse is so weakened and unmoored from reality, that a discussion of policy and economic fact is going to take a backseat to a showdown between two very pure figureheads of the neo-liberal, technocratic establishment, and the pissed off fatigue of the working class. I'm increasingly worried that far from even not being able to stop him, Clinton could actually drive voters into his arms - especially once they start showing down in debates, and Clinton mouths political speak about equal opportunity, and Trump brings up her very real, very poor record with regards to liberalization of trade.

Apart from all of that, and (god willing) Trump loses, we're dealing with a risky shift phenomenon. Trump has normalized trade-centered white supremacy in a way that no other massively public figure has for a generation. People who used to be (for lack of a better term) boringly racist, now have an avenue to be connected with influential people who are (for lack of a better term) actively racist. I predict that, regardless of a Trump win, we're going to see a massive upsurge in rightwing hate-groups in official positions, much like Europe has seen over the past five years amid the immigration crisis. This won't be fringe. This will be open hate groups with real, actionable policy power.
posted by codacorolla at 9:03 AM on March 10, 2016 [27 favorites]


For Clinton and the DNC, beating Trump requires replacing his fictitious spiel as to being an "entrepreneur who began with a $1 million loan" with a narrative focused on the facts: Trump, at the tender age of 26 or 27, stepped into a position at the summit of New York real estate.

It's all about image. Romney is much closer to a self made man than Trump (although that doesn't take much!) at least he didn't make his money from sitting on ever-appreciating real-estate. But Romney looks and talks like he's straight out senior executive central casting, he's the polished former governor and son of a governor. If you cut him he would bleed sterile, free-trade orthodoxy. He's literally someone who made it his business to buy businesses and cut costs by shedding jobs, even worse - he looks, sounds, and feels like it.

Of course, Donald Trump is a liar. Many of his branded products are made outside the US. The only reason he hasn't been involved with more outsourcing or job cutting is that real-estate is hyper-local and hotels/casinos are still labour intensive. All that matters is he doesn't look like one of the "them".
posted by atrazine at 9:05 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


They haven't, they just are paying attention to a set of facts you are insisting don't matter: the material conditions of their own lives and the economics of the communities they live in.

Thing is, the fact of life being shit for low income whites isn't actually an argument in support of Trump. It has to be combined with a belief that Trump will address it somehow, and that's where all those other facts come in, the ones that strongly indicate that he'll do nothing of the sort.
posted by Dysk at 9:07 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Not addressed in TFA, but man listening to Trump casually call for the execution of Bowe Bergdahl gives me the fucking creeps for our future. On the other hand, if he does become president he appears to have fundamentally tainted Bergdahl's court-martial, so at least there's that.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:14 AM on March 10, 2016


Did Michigan Vote Against Trade? Data says: doesn't look like it.

I don't think it's that simple though. I grew up in a rural farming area and had to move, but you bet if some candidate talked about family farms I would listen to them. Part of the problem is that where the factories were, the people cannot be anymore so it's not as direct as the author of that article wants it to be. I didn't grow up on a farm either, so I guess you could say I wasn't directly affected by the rise in Growth Hormone and factory farms, but people I know were, and my hometown was, so that would factor into my analysis. My partner, similarly is from a dying/dead industrial town, saw what NAFTA etc did, wasn't raised by factory workers and lives in a new city now, but a candidate's talk about international trade agreements would resonate with him because of his background.
posted by goneill at 9:16 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Lest anyone think the reference above to sucker punching was rhetorical, see here. Supporting Trump requires an ability to overlook (at best) noxious racism and xenophobia. This trait is classic white privilege.

We're spending a lot of time talking about Trump's voters being sincerely motivated by economic hardship. If that's true, where's all his minority support? Surely no one thinks minority communities are living high on the hog compared to whites in this economy? There must be something else going on...I wonder what it is...
posted by sallybrown at 9:18 AM on March 10, 2016 [16 favorites]


We're spending a lot of time talking about Trump's voters being sincerely motivated by economic hardship. If that's true, where's all his minority support?

In the Democratic party. This is an intersectional race for the White House.

In the general, however, I believe Trump would pick up more minority votes than any other GOP candidate--still not many, but more than Cruz or Rubio.
posted by turntraitor at 9:21 AM on March 10, 2016


We're spending a lot of time talking about Trump's voters being sincerely motivated by economic hardship. If that's true, where's all his minority support? Surely no one thinks minority communities are living high on the hog compared to whites in this economy? There must be something else going on...I wonder what it is...

Oh, please, no one is saying "it's about the economy, so racism cannot possibly also be a factor."

But I DO see a lot of people saying "It's about racism, so the economy cannot possibly also be a factor."
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:22 AM on March 10, 2016 [16 favorites]


I'm beginning to wonder if Trump is actually hiring people of color to get beaten up at his rallies these days.

"And that's why black people love me! I care for these people. I give them jobs. I get them off the street. And you wouldn't BELIEVE how much I pay them. How many black people did Hillary Clinton have beaten up at her rallies? That's because she doesn't care about black people. She says she does, but she doesn't."
posted by sour cream at 9:23 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


You seem to have misunderstood something here - not compromising means that what they end up with should be better for them to the detriment of the rest of the country. So the country as a whole being worse off does not impugn being uncompromising.

I don't think I've misunderstood anything. The premise that compromising is the mark of someone who is willing to fight, and that NO COMPROMISE is the right thing because it leads to bigger benefits for the non-compromisers, is exactly what I am challenging. What I care about is the good of the country, not the good of the non-compromisers. There are a lot of ways to measure the good of the country, but I think that purity at the expense of working together does not usually lead to the best outcomes along more than one or two axes.
posted by OmieWise at 9:24 AM on March 10, 2016


They haven't, they just are paying attention to a set of facts you are insisting don't matter: the material conditions of their own lives and the economics of the communities they live in.

Sure. When it comes to sound economic principles, let's bring in a non-PC tough guy, whose wealth is built off of an odd mix of inheritance, casino mob ties, and Wall Street speculation, who has gone bankrupt four times, who uses cheap, undocumented workers to build and run his investment properties, and who hates unions. Trump sounds like a real winner, winner, chicken dinner for "working-class America" — white people who everyone desperately wants to remind you aren't racists, by the way, but who are clearly very concerned about sound economic principles by fronting a serious, Nobel Prize-winning economist like Trump, a guy who's just keeping it real.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:27 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Trump sounds like a real winner, winner, chicken dinner for "working-class America" — white people who everyone desperately wants to remind you aren't racists, by the way, but who are clearly very concerned about sound economic principles by fronting a serious, Nobel Prize-winning economist like Trump, a guy who's just keeping it real.

Race is absolutely a factor--an O'Reilly Factor, you might say! Ha hahahahsorry. Seriously though: even racial grievances are oftentimes the language people use to describe economic grievances. "They took our jobs!" has a racial component, but is at heart an economic complaint.

Nobody's insisting race isn't a factor. But you can't beat Trump on race: YOU WILL NOT DEFEAT TRUMP BY CALLING HIM A RACIST, THAT IS NOT A WORKABLE TACTIC.

The only way to defeat Trump is to get as pissed as he seems about the grievances of the working class and ignore his race baiting and bigotry. That's how you beat him.

The attacks that mainstream Republicans and Democrats launch at him only make him more popular. This isn't hard to figure out, but damn, people are much more invested in their opinion and much less invested in doing what it actually takes to make sure he doesn't get elected.
posted by turntraitor at 9:31 AM on March 10, 2016 [21 favorites]




Sure. When it comes to sound economic principles, let's bring in a non-PC tough guy, whose wealth is built off of an odd mix of inheritance, casino mob ties, and Wall Street speculation, who has gone bankrupt four times, who uses cheap, undocumented workers to build and run his investment properties, and who hates unions. Trump sounds like a real winner, winner, chicken dinner for "working-class America" — white people who everyone desperately wants to remind you aren't racists, by the way, but who are clearly very concerned about sound economic principles by fronting a serious, Nobel Prize-winning economist like Trump, a guy who's just keeping it real.

Do you honestly think that "this is the reason people are voting for Trump" is the same as saying "Trump is great and his policies are sound"?
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:32 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


"The public is exasperated by the political system to the point that it is enjoying a kind of catharsis, the indiscriminate smashing of things as performance art."

Marilynne Robinson: the grauniad

posted by Mister Bijou at 9:35 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think you're wrong and this is the one area where America really is quite exceptional. Sure all human's are racist but no other country is as pervasively structurally racist against a single people as the United States is. I've lived in three countries now, Canada, England and the United States,

So, three majority-white countries? The original example was of Japanese treatment of Koreans, which is structurally supported and extremely bigoted.

The US may be exceptional among white, Western countries (although I have my doubts on this as well), but it certainly does not stand out among the nations of the world.
posted by chainsofreedom at 9:37 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Racism pervades in a way it just doesn't elsewhere

Let me guess: spoken like someone who was never beaten up while the other kids shout "paki pile!!!" and a teacher looks on disinterestedly? Racism pervades a lot of places, just because you don't see it don't mean it ain't there and as vicious as any you have seen.
posted by aramaic at 9:43 AM on March 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


Do you honestly think that "this is the reason people are voting for Trump" is the same as saying "Trump is great and his policies are sound"?

No, but to the extent that Economics! seems to almost always seems to take over the discussion whenever anyone vaguely looks at the huge elephant in the room, I honestly think that thesis should be questioned with a massively skeptical eye.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:44 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think you're wrong and this is the one area where America really is quite exceptional. Sure all human's are racist but no other country is as pervasively structurally racist against a single people as the United States is. I've lived in three countries now, Canada, England and the United States, and there is something very very different about race in the United States. Racism pervades in a way it just doesn't elsewhere. There also seem to be very weird denial about the sheer scale of it.

Are you a part of a minority group? I am one and currently residing in the States. And I was one also in my country of origin. I have to respectfully disagree very strongly.
posted by 7life at 9:45 AM on March 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


"They took our jobs!" has a racial component, but is at heart an economic complaint

How do we know this for sure, though? It's an assumption, no? Racism leads to economically irrational choices all the damn time (such as voting for a candidate whose economic policies aren't a great fit for your economic concerns). It's hard to argue that racism is not at the very heart of the choice to support Trump when you have Sanders as a possibility - these voters are so stringently against voting for a "Democrat" or "socialist" that they won't overlook those traits even to vote for a candidate whose economic policies are a more rational match for their economic problems? And yet, when they line up behind a candidate with magnificently garbled and confusingly expressed economic policy that has more to do with the 1% than with them, racism is not the real complaint there?
posted by sallybrown at 9:47 AM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


And that will depress turnout in November. And that's how you lose elections. When the Dems loves their candidate, like Bill Clinton or Barak Obama, they waltz in. When they don't, like Mike Dukakis or Al Gore, a fair number of them stay home or vote third party, and they lose.

What about the undecided voters who are Sanders supporters but really just want to burn things down? That's the common thread between Sanders and Trump - a desire to see the system crash and to punish the people in the political establishment. It won't necessarily accomplish its goal - the system will continue to limp along, but Sanders and Trump are a signal that the political pundits are talking about things that are not of great interest to the majority of the population, and ignoring many things that are of great interest to the majority of the population.
posted by theorique at 9:53 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


How do we know this for sure, though? It's an assumption, no?

Yes, but I think it's a reasonable one to make. In the 80s, Reagan was able to pass immigration bills that would never be possible today--in a large part because the economic conditions of laborers weren't nearly as shitty as they are today. You don't have people motivated to complain about the loss of jobs to foreign workers without first having a loss of jobs. The loss of jobs is real; the reason they lost those jobs? Well, the same oligarchs who exported manufacturing to the developing world also managed, in parallel, to set up a massive propaganda operation to point the blame at immigrants and minorities.

Again: Trump voters are Republican voters, or would-be Republican voters. There is not going to be much Trump-Sanders crossover, unless one or the other is not nominated. They are not interchangeable, and I think this should be obvious. Trump voters are conservatives--why would they ever go for Sanders when Trump is an option?

these voters are so stringently against voting for a "Democrat" or "socialist" that they won't overlook those traits even to vote for a candidate whose economic policies are a more rational match for their economic problems?

You are also making the mistake that policy details matter to most voters. They do not. They absolutely don't matter to the majority of voters. The perceived effect a candidate will have, the candidate's personality, and the character of the movement they lead is much, much more influential on the average voter than policy details.

Look at it like a Trump voter does; examining Trump from your position as an informed voter is a fatal mistake for trying to understand his appeal.
posted by turntraitor at 9:53 AM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


That's not to say I think attacking Trump's racism is going to draw his supporters away (the opposite, in fact). Racists tend to racist even harder when feeling attacked. But I don't think attacking his economic policy or trying to court his voters using economic policy designed to appeal to them is going to have any effect at all unless it comes with the ability to attack non-white and/or non-male and/or non-Christian and/or non-American people.

Which means we aren't going to be able to peel off his current base, and need to focus on keeping those who don't yet support him from joining the crowd when Trump's stream of violent rhetoric slows down. Making clear and explicit that his supporters are very much racist may help cap his support, because that's a turn off for decent humans.
posted by sallybrown at 9:55 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


In Predatory Capitalism™, you're either predator or prey.

It's really not much more complex than that simple fact. Crump is a predator, and his followers want to believe they are as well, but of course, they're nothing but prey.
posted by dbiedny at 9:56 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Nobody's insisting race isn't a factor. But you can't beat Trump on race: YOU WILL NOT DEFEAT TRUMP BY CALLING HIM A RACIST, THAT IS NOT A WORKABLE TACTIC.

I'm honestly confused about what you are trying to say here. Are you saying that you can't pull away the people who now support Trump? I agree. Are you saying that you cannot seriously harm his ability to gain new supporters? If so, I disagree. I don't think anyone, least of all the Democratic nominee, is going to have a single issue Trump-is-a-racist campaign, but I think the notion that Trump's economic message (such as it is) will carry the day with all voters no matter how racist he is just doesn't seem plausible to me. I think there are a lot of places those messages will not fly well.

Will his racism alone doom him? I don't know, but I think it's a huge weakness, not just a small hiccup to be overcome with inchoate economic populism.
posted by OmieWise at 9:57 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Racism pervades in a way it just doesn't elsewhere.

I invite you to speak with the predominantly Tamil "foreign workers" of Singapore who are kept in fancy cages and get killed with impunity. The same foreign workers about whom a Singaporean cab driver once remarked, without irony: "So black. So ugly." He also explained that the derogatory term "Keling" (pronounced "KLANG") originated from the sound made by the chains around their feet and wrists.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:58 AM on March 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


It's hard to argue that racism is not at the very heart of the choice to support Trump when you have Sanders as a possibility

It's equal parts economic distress, racism, and distaste for the government. Here goes my best approximation of Trump-voter logic:

"What has the government done for me lately? All they seem to care about is helping everyone but me: free trade for the Chinese and the Mexicans, welfare for the blacks, amnesty for the illegals. Bigger government has never helped me, so why should I trust Sanders or Clinton? It's just another handout to everyone but us, the people who really deserve it."
posted by enjoymoreradio at 9:58 AM on March 10, 2016 [16 favorites]


Making clear and explicit that his supporters are very much racist may help cap his support, because that's a turn off for decent humans.

Believing that there's a natural cap for Trump's support that falls short of typical Republican support in the electorate is another mistake that establishment political figures and journalists have been making over and over again.

I'd argue that the "natural" cap for Trump is actually larger than what it was for GW Bush, being that he is activating a large number of disaffected conservatives to go out and vote.
posted by turntraitor at 9:59 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


but I think that purity at the expense of working together does not usually lead to the best outcomes along more than one or two axes.

That's good, if you assume Third-Wayers want what's best for the people... which I don't. To me, it was all about jumping over dangerous ideas such as "capitalism for the good of the people" right over to "people for the service of capitalism".

Also, there's a difference between, and I'll quote myself, "compromise" before the deals are on the table, and not being willing to concede a few points to gain others, which is the soul of the democratic process. I only find acceptable to take a no-compromise stance in core values and if the other side also isn't willing to move.

After all, one side can only compromise if the other side is also willing to. If not, the first is giving it away.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:01 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I've been re-reading a book--it's fiction, but it contains passages musing on the power demagogues have, and there's an excerpt (probably imitated from life) about how leaders sometimes become capable of inspiring fervent devotion by saying nothing much at all, as Trump seems to be doing--
"One of the embassy wives, clever, intelligent women, well educated. She was very anxious to go personally and hear the Führer speak. I am talking, of course, of a time immediately preceding the nineteen thirty-nine war. She was curious to know what oratory could do. Why was everyone so impressed? And so she went. She came back and said, ‘It’s extraordinary. I wouldn’t have believed it. Of course I don’t understand German very well, but I was carried away, too. And I see now why everyone is. I mean, his ideas were wonderful. . . . They inflamed you. The things he said. I mean, you just felt there was no other way of thinking, that a whole new world would happen if only one followed him. Oh, I can’t explain properly. I’m going to write down as much as I can remember, and then if I bring it to you to see, you’ll see better than my just trying to tell you the effect it had.’

I told her that was a very good idea. She came to me the next day and she said, ‘I don’t know if you’ll believe this. I started to write down the things I’d heard, the things Hitler had said. What they’d meant—but—it was frightening—there wasn’t anything to write down at all. I didn’t seem able to remember a single stimulating or exciting sentence. I have some of the words, but it doesn’t seem to mean the same things as when I wrote them down. They are just—oh, they are just meaningless. I don’t understand.’

That shows you one of the great dangers one doesn’t always remember, but it exists. There are people capable of communicating to others a wild enthusiasm, a kind of vision of life and of happening. They can do that though it is not really by what they say, it is not the words you hear, it is not even the idea described. It’s something else. It’s the magnetic power that a very few men have of starting something, of producing and creating a vision."
Most media critiques of Trump are focusing on his words, as if those have much to do with his movement--but they don't, really, because he's selling a vision of the future, where white people are well off and their kids aren't getting hooked on opioids, where minorities become properly invisible/absent again, where the banks aren't slowly taking back the houses of everyone you know, where AMERICAAAAAA is the best the best the best, where the lying smoothtalkers who have been tricking you for so long will finally get their comeuppance.

The words he actually says are largely irrelevant to his audiences. He's promising to give them all their vision of utopia, and they are starving for it. They are desperate to believe it. Even if most of them know what he's saying isn't really possible, they want to believe in it for as long as possible.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:02 AM on March 10, 2016 [20 favorites]


There seems to be this idea that Trump is growing his support over the past few months/weeks when that is clearly not true. He continues to win 35-40% of Republican primary voters, which is going to be enough for him to win the nomination. In the same period of time, as attacks against him have increased, his standing in the eyes of Americans has unequivocally gone down. I don't really care too much about your personal anecdote about how your uncle used to be a Democrat and now is going to vote for Trump. Show me data that says that Trump is increasing his overall support in swing states or nationally. It's not happening. Republicans are freaking out over Trump because it's very rare that somebody so virulently hated by such a large percentage of people in his own party is actually winning the nomination.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:04 AM on March 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


YOU WILL NOT DEFEAT TRUMP BY CALLING HIM A RACIST, THAT IS NOT A WORKABLE TACTIC.

Hrm. It's not a workable tactic with most of his supporters because most of his supporters are also racists and him being a racist is one of the defining things that they like about him. The racism. Because they are racists.

I think I agree that Trump should partly be attacked by appealing to the very real economic concerns that a lot of these people have, but I also think that not attacking him on his overt racism would be a significant mistake even if it further alienates a lot of his supporters. Could antiracism be better at reaching poor white people where they live? Yeah, it could. And we could generally be better at not treating poor people like shit. But I'm not sure a candidate who goes along with sweeping Trump's racism under the rug can win. Or deserves to, at any rate.
posted by brennen at 10:05 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


I also find it interesting that the moment when the GOP base finally fights back against the Establishment by choosing an outsider spouting racist garbage and threatening Mexico has come in a year featuring a prominent Cuban-American Establishment pick, an Establishment pick in a "blended family" whose wife is from Mexico and who speaks Spanish in his home, and an "outsider" pick who is Cuban-American(-Canadian).

Is that a coincidence?
posted by sallybrown at 10:10 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


So, my better half has been traveling the southeast for work occasionally these days, and she noticed how a lot of the things, such as government services, that we took for granted on the east coast and then on the west coast, just aren't there.

My understanding of the situation is that state governments in the US are very unequally capable or concerned about their constituents. This is hardly new, having been the case for upwards of 100 years.

I ask a simple question: If your only experience with government is that it's largely incapable of solving any real problems, why would you trust democrats, socialists, or liberals now when they say that they can? Never mind that that the precedent has been set by "conservatives" and republicans for the last 20-30 years. All you understand (because maybe you don't really understand exactly how government works, owing to your subpar state education) is that your government has been failing you. Your experience says that it fails. Why believe people who tell you it can solve problems? For the last 8 years, the president has been failing to solve your problems (You don't understand that he doesn't control your state's choices, or that your congressman is keeping him from accomplishing anything).

Given this history, they appear to be acting rationally. If you don't understand the nuances of government, how can you tell what would be effective government or not? You'd rather just pay less taxes because you already think it's a lost cause.

I could go more into this, but this seems to be what the article is getting at. Your experience with state government is going to be a better predictor of your thoughts on government. A LOT of states, especially in the south, are hilariously corrupt and ineffective. And I'm originally from New Jersey. You know, the state where corruption is so bad that they have lots of laws just to address it. And yet, districts that the state considered total failures educationally, delivered vastly better outcomes than several whole states in the south.

I'm not saying that this is the whole story. Just that it's part of the puzzle. The story is never so simple that you can explain it with one pithy article. But don't reduce it to "just the economy" or "just racism". Contributing factors.
posted by Strudel at 10:10 AM on March 10, 2016 [32 favorites]


Believing that there's a natural cap for Trump's support that falls short of typical Republican support in the electorate is another mistake that establishment political figures and journalists have been making over and over again.

No it isn't. They may have made errors about where the CAP is, but it's clear from the voting and the polling that Republican voter =/= Trump supporter. Trump is receiving the majority of GOP support in the states where he wins, but there are several other candidates pulling support away from each other. Many of those people have said they do not support Trump.

Things will inevitably change in the general election, but I don't think you can both claim to be following this issue closely and conclude that Trump's cap is basically unlimited, even among the GOP.
posted by OmieWise at 10:24 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Things will inevitably change in the general election, but I don't think you can both claim to be following this issue closely and conclude that Trump's cap is basically unlimited, even among the GOP.

I don't think his cap is unlimited--I think that in the general, his cap is potentially above what GW Bush garnered, depending on who the Democrats nominate. I think nominating Clinton to run against Trump is a strategic blunder. Failing to capitalize on populist sentiment and pivot towards policies that help the working class is a mistake.

The populist anger we're seeing isn't going to go away after the election. People won't magically get un-mad that their fortunes are falling and that both parties seem more interested in serving corporate donors rather than actual constituencies of voters. Both parties would be better served in getting on board now to save their parties, but I don't think it will happen. I think the fealty to monied interests will end up destroying the credibility of both the DNC and GOP.

2020 will be even crazier as elections go. I wouldn't be surprised to see electoral violence of some sort in this cycle, but if an establishment candidate wins in '16, I'll be surprised not to see it in '20.
posted by turntraitor at 10:28 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


@nat: tippiedog, are those people in states that didn't accept the Medicare expansion?

Yes, Texas.
posted by tippiedog at 10:32 AM on March 10, 2016


I didn't get through the whole article so maybe he covers this, but one of the reasons that the union protections of white people in the US were so easily weakened was racism inside the unions themselves; their refusal to let in nonwhite members in some cases, in others a refusal to band together to take action.

So you could argue that instead of NAFTA leading to embrace of racism, it's more like racism helped weaken unions, weak unions enabled NAFTA, and now here we are.
posted by emjaybee at 10:37 AM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


If your only experience with government is that it's largely incapable of solving any real problems, why would you trust democrats, socialists, or liberals now when they say that they can?

i'm pretty sure that's been the playbook, viz. kynect, cf. elizabeth warren

also btw...
What makes a bureaucracy effective?* "Governments play a central role in facilitating economic development. Yet while economists have long emphasized the importance of government quality, historically they have paid less attention to the internal workings of the state and the individuals who provide the public services. This paper reviews a nascent but growing body of field experiments that explores the personnel economics of the state." (via)

Racism pervades in a way it just doesn't elsewhere.

Meet the most persecuted people in the world (via)
posted by kliuless at 10:43 AM on March 10, 2016


I also find it interesting that the moment when the GOP base finally fights back against the Establishment by choosing an outsider spouting racist garbage and threatening Mexico has come in a year featuring a prominent Cuban-American Establishment pick, an Establishment pick in a "blended family" whose wife is from Mexico and who speaks Spanish in his home, and an "outsider" pick who is Cuban-American(-Canadian).

Is that a coincidence?


To a degree. I mean, David Duke is talking about "vote Trump or you're betraying your white heritage" but even among Teahadis, that's a sideshow more than a showstopper. Rubio and Jeb!'s biggest problem isn't their Spanish fluency or background but their flailing helplessly every time the cameras turned on, and there isn't a race or creed anywhere that'd claim Ted Cruz without supporting DNA evidence forcing him on them. He's from the planet of Sour Milk Poured Into Slacks.

To put it another way, Teahadis have heard GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM at 220 decibels for forty-plus years. This has evolved to where they're claiming Republican as well as Democrat scalps in the name of establishing do-nothing government. Is there anything about Jeb!, Rubio, Graham, Kasich, Christie, Fiorina et al. that leaps out and says "this is a whole new world, they'll run things completely differently, with zero compromise and zero tolerance for the left?" Not really. Carson was a political Ponzi scheme, and Cruz talks the talk but is slimy enough and one-note enough that only the hardest-core Teahadis can stomach him.
posted by delfin at 10:45 AM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Unions declining hardly due to racism. Racism rampant throughout the nation. The unions I know and those I belonged to were not racist. Oddly, anti union people badmouth and blame union bosses as corrupt and thieves, but somehow never glance ever at Wall Street or banking people as insiders, corrupt, manipulative. Unions bad; corporations and hedge fund managers, and big banks good?
posted by Postroad at 10:48 AM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


I've lived in three countries now, Canada, England and the United States, and there is something very very different about race in the United States. Racism pervades in a way it just doesn't elsewhere. There also seem to be very weird denial about the sheer scale of it.

If you mean "racism specifically against people of subsaharan ancestry," maybe. But ask white Brits about Roma or Travellers, or ask white Canadians about indigenous people, or ask anglophone white Canadians about Quebecois.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:54 AM on March 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Your experience with state government is going to be a better predictor of your thoughts on government. A LOT of states, especially in the south, are hilariously corrupt and ineffective.

That's a nice attempt to place things outside if context, especially if one doesn't ask WHY those states are so corrupt and ineffective. But it's not just a case of "well, it just happened."

The root cause boils down to racism and a legacy of racism. And the white populace supported and still support those corrupt and inefficient policies because the inherent racism was advantageous to them.
posted by happyroach at 10:58 AM on March 10, 2016


Supporting Trump requires an ability to overlook (at best) noxious racism and xenophobia. This trait is classic white privilege.

More than one MetaFilter thread has bemoaned Republican voters, mostly poor and working class whites, who don't vote their interest because of racial politics. Now a critical mass of these people finally are voting their interests, and the liberal Internet intelligentsia bashes them as explicit racists or de facto racists for supporting a candidate who is arguably racist but whose message of economic populism (regardless of his stated policy proposals, which, as others have noted are irrelevant compared to his stump message) is what draws these people to begin with. They either aren't going to vote for Bernie out of reflexive distrust for Democrats OR they openly admit to liking both Bernie and Trump, but like Trump better for whatever reason. If their priority was race, they wouldn't openly prefer the Socialist old Jewish guy to every other Republican candidate. This is predominantly about economic populism. If it were any conservative other than Trump, liberals would be thrilled to admit as much.

Look, race is an important issue that deserves attention, but perhaps it shouldn't be the only lens through which we view the complex motives of people who aren't us. When all you have is a hammer, etc.
posted by echocollate at 11:10 AM on March 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


The root cause boils down to racism and a legacy of racism. And the white populace supported and still support those corrupt and inefficient policies because the inherent racism was advantageous to them.

How does that square with states that are and always have been 95% white or more? To be clear, I'm not saying you're wrong, or even that racism doesn't have a lot to do with it. Vermont is pretty effective and is pretty thoroughly white, but there are states that are very white and also not very effective or are destroying themselves through poor policy choices.

The racism is there, it's a large part of things, but controlling the narrative and poor education and terrible economic decisions also exist (semi)independently of the more obvious explicit racism and are also factors.

Again, to reiterate strongly: Racism is a large component, is omnipresent, is not the only component. If you boil everything down to just that, you risk misunderstanding some of the issues.

I don't think the article stipulates that strongly enough, but it raises the point, which is where its value lies.
posted by Strudel at 11:20 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


This has been mentioned above, but I don't think it's necessary to win over Trump supporters. They are a small percentage of the voting population.

Whats necessary is to win over independents and Republicans who don't support Trump (and even MOST REPUBLICANS are not happy with him as the nominee according to polls, unlike Clinton or Sanders both of whom 70%ish plus of Democrats are happy with). Now, obviously many Republicans will hold their nose and vote for him, or maybe stay home.

supporting a candidate who is arguably racist

Arguably? He is explicitly and overtly racist. I don't see any way you could possibly frame him as not racist.

Now, I agree that his appeal is more than JUST racism. But its absolutely part of it, and anyone supporting him is either also enthusiastically racist or is willing to overlook overt racism in support of other goals.

Neither of those groups would ever vote for a Democrat, as far as I can tell. His actual supporters (not people who will reluctantly vote for him, but supporters) are comfortable with a level of racism that will easily be turned against a Jewish or woman candidate.
posted by thefoxgod at 11:20 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The simple fact of the matter is both parties have been ignoring poverty for decades. They both bought into supply-side/rising tide/piss on the commoner economics and anyone whose anxieties are not being addressed by that system is going to look outside of it. Is there a lot of racism involved as well? Of course. A lot of people have been told for decades that the reason they're in poverty is because $personoutsideyourgroup has taken the job/benefits/etc. that should be going to you. It's a cheap political ploy that plays on the worst human instincts of us vs. them, but it absolutely does work. People that see that racism for what it is should try to fight against/educate people against that sort of thinking wherever possible, but you can't just say "You support this person. You're racist. I don't like you. Go away." That's just trying to be morally superior and doesn't help anyone (although you may feel better about yourself).

Ultimately, however, you can't just explain why that behavior/thinking is bad and things will be all hunky dory. You've done nothing about the economic problems. Until those are addressed people are going to keep looking for someone (anyone!) who says they will fix it. We can either address it in a positive way or we can wait for the next demagogue who says "I know who you should blame".
posted by downtohisturtles at 11:26 AM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


The consistently excellent Kaleb Horton at MTV.com: "Hell's Been Empty: Welcome to Donald Trump's America. It's been waiting for you for quite a while."
I grew up in one of those places the news only covers when it catches fire, one of those blue-collar towns where liberals were scarce enough to constitute exotica. If anyone ever saw a Bill Clinton or Al Gore bumper sticker — and that’s all politics was, was bumper stickers — it’d get pointed out, every single time, usually with a nihilistic laugh, as if to say “that person’s life must have taken every wrong turn imaginable.” Moderates did not exist; politics was a game of how loudly you could agree with your neighbor, and who could get over to the right first and fastest.

[...]

There are towns like mine in every corner of this country, and all over in between. Towns where conservative ideology evolves without natural predators, where the government is definitely coming any minute now to take all of our guns away and homosexuals are definitely going to create tax penalties for straights. Donald Trump has crushed his opponents in towns like those.

For the most part, those responsible for conducting our national conversation like to pretend there’s something strange about all this. Like there’s no precedent for Trump’s rise and rhetoric, apart from pro wrestlers or fascist regimes. Like Trump metastasized out of nowhere, a newly discovered disease.

But he didn’t. Sure, he’s got his wrestler and fascist tendencies, and they’re both deeply tempting comparisons to make, but they don’t tell the story. They mythologize a man who doesn’t need mythologizing, because he’s right there. Trump’s rhetoric is not absurd. It’s been around; there are precedents. Working-class conservatives have been drawn to entertaining and fear-based shows of strength for a while now. The best recent reference point for this is right-wing talk radio, and the man most emblematic of its effects is Michael Savage.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:28 AM on March 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


More than one MetaFilter thread has bemoaned Republican voters, mostly poor and working class whites, who don't vote their interest because of racial politics. Now a critical mass of these people finally are voting their interests, and the liberal Internet intelligentsia bashes them as explicit racists or de facto racists

It's not as if these things are mutually exclusive. People's racial politics can make them vote against their interests in certain ways and for their interests in other ways.

a candidate who is arguably racist

I don't know what's so "arguable" about his racism. Either he's actually racist, or he's using racism as a tool. Like the "ironic racism" of trolls (which also seems to be part of his demographic), it doesn't matter if you mean it, it matters what tangible effect it has on its targets.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:32 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Why I support Trump — and resent the elites trying to destroy him
Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate who seems to have any inclination to act strictly in America’s interest. More importantly, he is the only Republican candidate who is willing to even address the problem. Trump may not have been right to say that we need to stop letting more Muslims into the country or, at least, examine the issue, but he wasn’t crazy to suggest it either. And like when he said the obvious about Iraq, the first people to condemn him and deny the obvious were conservatives. Somehow, being conservative now means denying the obvious and saying idiotic fantasies like “Islam is always peaceful” or “Our war is not with a radical strain of Islam.” Uh, sorry, but no it is not, and yes it is. And if getting a president who at least understands that means voting for Trump, then I guess I am not a conservative.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:35 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Arguably? He is explicitly and overtly racist. I don't see any way you could possibly frame him as not racist.

I said arguably because I don't think he believes any of the shit he's spouting. I think he's a sociopath and an opportunist. But Vonnegut's admonition that we are (functionally) what we pretend to be holds. So, yea, arguably. Lettuce not derail over semantics. I'm not a Trump apologist.
posted by echocollate at 11:35 AM on March 10, 2016


> The tone of "clearly if you're a Trump supporter you're evil or weak or mentally ill" I get from some comments is disgusting.

Generally, I'm Mr. Squishy when it comes to defending people, particularly people who have been treated badly by society like many of Trump's supporters.

But there's a limit to how much I'm going to forgive people. Tens of millions of Americans are supporting a candidate who enthusiastically talks about racism; about deliberately committing war crimes and atrocities to deter our "enemies"; about passing laws making Muslims into literally second-class citizens; a man who thinks making fun of women and handicapped people and talking about his genitalia are perfectly reasonable things to do in a public forum.

And if I say anything critical, or even just my tone, then I'm disgusting?

This isn't just R vs. D. I detested Bush, but Bush at least made an attempt to be presentable in public and make some sort of rational if bad case for his viewpoints. If you supported Bush, yes, I can make an excellent case that you were wrong, and objectively it worked out badly, but it's perfectly reasonable that you were a decent person who was fooled or simply ignorant.

But Trump has made it absolutely clear that he's a sociopath. Whether it's just a role or he really is this way is irrelevant - the psychopathy isn't just a detail, it is the central feature of his campaign.

NO. If you support Trump, you are WRONG. Supporting Trump makes you a BAD PERSON. There might be reasons why you're a bad person, but you are still bad. You could recover from being bad, but as long as you support that Mussolini wanna-be, you're still doing something wrong.

I don't say this to people's faces, because what good would it do? I agree it's poor strategy to tell these evil losers that they are, in fact, evil losers - but I'm very tolerant when people lose their tempers and say the truth.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:37 AM on March 10, 2016 [17 favorites]


Ooooh if we're going to post "Why I Support Trump" articles, how about this one.
I’m a liberal-left college professor in the social sciences. I’m going to vote for Trump but I won’t tell hardly anybody.

My main reason is anger at the two-party system and the horrible presidencies of Obama and Bush. But I’m also furious at political correctness on campus and in the media.

I’m angry at forced diversity and constant, frequently unjustified complaints about racism/sexism/homophobia/lack of trans rights. I’m particularly angry at social justice warriors and my main reason to vote Trump is to see the looks on your faces when he wins.

It’s not that I like Trump. It’s that I hate those who can’t stand him. I want them to suffer the shock of knowing all their torrents of blog posts and Tumblr bitch-fests and “I just can’t ...” and accusations of mansplaining didn’t actually matter. That they’re still losing. And that things are not getting better for them. They’re getting worse.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:39 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I’m particularly angry at social justice warriors and my main reason to vote Trump is to see the looks on your faces when he wins.

maybe you should piss your pants and puke into them and really see what disgusted facial expressions are all about
posted by pyramid termite at 11:44 AM on March 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


It's not as if these things are mutually exclusive. People's racial politics can make them vote against their interests in certain ways and for their interests in other ways.

So for 40 years, poor and working class whites voted for people who explicitly worked against their economic interests while dog whistling at them because: racism. Now poor working class whites are voting their economic interests by supporting a populist demagogue who speaks directly to their economic circumstances, which have only worsened with time, and the obvious simple explanation is: racism.
posted by echocollate at 11:45 AM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


...This isn't just R vs. D....

...NO. If you support Trump, you are WRONG. Supporting Trump makes you a BAD PERSON. There might be reasons why you're a bad person, but you are still bad. You could recover from being bad, but as long as you support that Mussolini wanna-be, you're still doing something wrong.


And yet, for so many people, it really is R vs. D, which is why our political dichotomy is bad for us.

I can think millions of people are deluded. I can write them off as bad, or I can try to understand them. If I was campaigning in the general, I sure as hell would want to try and understand them before writing them off.

I already worry that I fundamentally fail to understand most of my fellow citizens because I cannot be bothered to care, at all, or feel any emotions, about professional sports. Despite knowing intellectually why people are invested in them, I can't really understand it. It's lazy to write them off entirely.

Maybe the Trump voters don't deserve your pity, maybe they don't deserve your empathy. I can't make a judgement about that one way or the other, because I don't personally know them. But they exist, and they will vote and otherwise make themselves heard. Giving up and labeling them bad because they're uneducated or make poor decisions is uncomfortably close to the kind of racism that was justified because "they all steal" or "they don't know what's good for them".

I'm not quite ready to give up.

Also, Arsenio, that article you linked is an excellent example of various delusions at work. Some of them actually make sense, in a I-can't-see-beyond-the-tip-of-my-nose or have never bothered to research Sanders way.

Understanding where these people are coming from - not agreeing, understanding doesn't make you a lesser person.

Reject obvious simple explanations. People react to more than one thing. Sometimes it's just that one thing. But maybe people don't make decisions as coherently as you might imagine, either.
posted by Strudel at 11:50 AM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Eriko,

I'd be careful with predictions there. What if, for instance, we go into recession this summer? Then, Iran is shown to have substantially violated the terms of the nuclear deal, the "snapback" activates, but China and Russia deem the violation minor and refuse to comply, and then a dirty bomb is detonated in Chicago a week before the election?

I mean, if things go more or less the way they have been going ecomomically, and the middle east muddles along, and Iran more or less complies with the deal, which is in their best interest, yeah, the democrat be it Clinton or Sanders has a good shot. But you never know.

Kevin
posted by JKevinKing at 11:55 AM on March 10, 2016


More than one MetaFilter thread has bemoaned Republican voters, mostly poor and working class whites, who don't vote their interest because of racial politics. Now a critical mass of these people finally are voting their interests, and the liberal Internet intelligentsia bashes them as explicit racists or de facto racists for supporting a candidate who is arguably racist but whose message of economic populism (regardless of his stated policy proposals, which, as others have noted are irrelevant compared to his stump message) is what draws these people to begin with

The people who have made up their minds to vote for Trump have pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that the urban SWPL classes have already written them off as hopelessly racist, hopelessly flyover, hopelessly uncool. It doesn't sting when you already know how people who think they are better than you are going to insult you.
posted by theorique at 11:56 AM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


So for 40 years, poor and working class whites voted for people who explicitly worked against their economic interests while dog whistling at them because: racism. Now poor working class whites are voting their economic interests by supporting a populist demagogue who speaks directly to their economic circumstances, which have only worsened with time, and the obvious simple explanation is: racism.

It's not an either/or as you keep representing it. That was my whole point, that these are simultaneous impulses, not a switch.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:56 AM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Strudel, I agree that the justifications are delusions (that's a good way to put it) but the reasoning of each is also almost universally punitive. Trump voters want someone to pay -- either Mexicans, or Muslims, or "elites," or college kids.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:57 AM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


But ask white Brits about Roma or Travellers, or ask white Canadians about indigenous people, or ask anglophone white Canadians about Quebecois.

Yeah you get shitty generalizations but you don't get an attempt to sustain the widespread society-wide institutional racism like you get in the US. All white countries have clusterfucks and collective colonialist shame over the past thousand years. The US has by far the most animosity about fixing their shit followed closely by Australia when the Liberal party is in power.
posted by Talez at 12:00 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


and so a whole class of people are crushed because of what you and others believe they support

except, of course, they're not bugs, they're fissionable material - and you crush them past a certain point, they'll go critical and explode

we ignore them or oppress them at great peril


Are we talking about racist white folk or pretty much every other fucking minority here?
posted by qcubed at 12:05 PM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Arsenio: Excellent point about being punitive. There's also a hefty component of "but I don't like this thing about modern society, and I will protest vote" and that they're all keeping it a secret: I would guess that they may lack the emotional maturity to take a stand on their positions publicly and defend them logically or seriously examine their place in them (like the one person with their "burn it all down! mentality).

But they would probably call me uppity or accuse me of looking down on them.

I've also noticed a tendency of people to accuse "the government" of many things they don't like.

Well, it's us! It's made of people! I fundamentally agree that there are many things the government does poorly or wrong. But I also understand that it's us. If we're mistreating our veterans, it's because we don't care enough about them. If our politicians are corrupt, it's often due to the choices we're making or failing to make. Even calling your representative's office every day at least gets your voice out there. Going to court to watch cases you're interested in.

I'm as guilty as everybody else; back when I lived in PA I tried to engage with my (awful) representative and found myself surrounded by people more caustically conservative than he by far and just walked away.

The fact is, every day I'm not working to try to make things better, it's a choice I'm making. And I have to accept my responsibility for that too.
posted by Strudel at 12:06 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I’m a liberal-left college professor in the social sciences. I’m going to vote for Trump but I won’t tell hardly anybody...

Yeah, sorry The Guardian, but this letter strikes me as being about as authentic as a letter to Penthouse Forum.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:11 PM on March 10, 2016 [23 favorites]


If you genuinely think a Trump presidency would result in genocide then I would suggest you need a cup of tea, but I understand why you'd feel that engagement with Trump supporters would be tantamount to complicity. But if it's just a rhetorical flourish, then vide supra all the stuff I wrote about arrogant dismissal.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 7:26 AM on March 10 [3 favorites +] [!]


Hi Nicolas,

I read this and hesitated. I don't know definitely whether Trump's presidency would lead to a genocide. But the hesitation told me everything I need to know.

Remember that Trump really can't handle the job, and he will be at the head of a chain of command in charge of several thousand nuclear warheads. Think further of the instability on the Korean Peninsula, amongst myriad examples.

Yes, it is not unreasonable to fear a substantial even if unlikely chance of a genocide.

Kevin
posted by JKevinKing at 12:13 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The idea that Trump's appeal to lower and middle class Americans is based on his economic rhetoric makes no sense. Trump's actual economic policies (the ones his advisers have crafted and that he's posted to his website) include enormous tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporations. What has Trump proposed that will actually help lower and middle class Americans? None of his policies seem to actually redistribute wealth, shore up social services, establish a living wage, or relieve health insurance costs (unlike policies supported by both Democrats). His actual economic proposals are run of the mill standard conservative trickle-down boilerplate. A left-leaning voter saying they might vote for Trump because of his economic platform is like saying I only read Playboy for the articles. It's not fooling anybody. That's why people are asking "why are you *really* for Trump?"
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:54 AM on March 10 [4 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


This. There's something more going on here than just economic justice. We need to step back and realize the current American political environment is much more complicated, interesting, and sad than a pat, simple answer will have you believe. It's economics and culture and a kaleidoscope of different interests and histories and pressures, interacting. It's hard to tell what's going on without a little more perspective.
posted by JKevinKing at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


"They took our jobs!" has a racial component, but is at heart an economic complaint

How do we know this for sure, though? It's an assumption, no? Racism leads to economically irrational choices all the damn time (such as voting for a candidate whose economic policies aren't a great fit for your economic concerns). It's hard to argue that racism is not at the very heart of the choice to support Trump when you have Sanders as a possibility - these voters are so stringently against voting for a "Democrat" or "socialist" that they won't overlook those traits even to vote for a candidate whose economic policies are a more rational match for their economic problems? And yet, when they line up behind a candidate with magnificently garbled and confusingly expressed economic policy that has more to do with the 1% than with them, racism is not the real complaint there?
posted by sallybrown at 9:47 AM on March 10 [5 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Sally,

My feeling is that economic policy is hard and, like a lot of the results of a scientific method, counterintuitive. A couple for instances, the paradox of thrift during deflationary times, and the fact that the benefits of trade are attenuated and difficult to tease out while the harm is localized and intense. It's very easy to muddy the waters, even aside from racial matters. And then when you add race into the mix, that makes it even easier to demagogue the economic issues when there is that little extra push to see it a particular way.

In fact, I think the shunning of racists is counterproductive, especially in the political context. I don't think we should back down from them and violence is not to be tolerated, but all things considered it's better to engage them, in my opinion. Be the adult in the room, even when they inevitably break down to name calling. I actually think President Obama has provided an excellent example on this score.

But even aside from that, as has been pointed out, simply ignoring a potentially potent political force is not wise.

Kevin
posted by JKevinKing at 12:50 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I’m a liberal-left college professor in the social sciences. I’m going to vote for Trump but I won’t tell hardly anybody.

My main reason is anger at the two-party system and the horrible presidencies of Obama and Bush. But I’m also furious at political correctness on campus and in the media.

I’m angry at forced diversity and constant, frequently unjustified complaints about racism/sexism/homophobia/lack of trans rights. I’m particularly angry at social justice warriors and my main reason to vote Trump is to see the looks on your faces when he wins.

It’s not that I like Trump. It’s that I hate those who can’t stand him. I want them to suffer the shock of knowing all their torrents of blog posts and Tumblr bitch-fests and “I just can’t ...” and accusations of mansplaining didn’t actually matter. That they’re still losing. And that things are not getting better for them. They’re getting worse.


/Conor Friedersdorf

The past couple years have provided excellent, depressing real-time examples for me of how liberal-minded young white men turn into Republican base voters as they age.
posted by sallybrown at 1:06 PM on March 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


I didn't get through the whole article so maybe he covers this, but one of the reasons that the union protections of white people in the US were so easily weakened was racism inside the unions themselves; their refusal to let in nonwhite members in some cases, in others a refusal to band together to take action.

So you could argue that instead of NAFTA leading to embrace of racism, it's more like racism helped weaken unions, weak unions enabled NAFTA, and now here we are.
posted by emjaybee at 10:37 AM on March 10 [3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Indeed. It was with great fanfare that the "Reagan Democrats" abandoned the Democrats for Ronald Reagan, who proceeded to break the backs of the unions with the air controllers strike in 1981, and who stacked the NLRB with pro corporate members, and whose judiciary, filled for 12 years with pro business ideologues. It was no mistake that Reagan whistled so hard. Insofar as some union members allowed race to infect their opinions of the unions themselves, the economic left has at least part of the blame itself for its decline.

Kevin
posted by JKevinKing at 1:10 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Postroad, I'm talking historically, where there is indeed evidence that unions had trouble with racism among their members. I never said "unions bad;" my dad and grandpa were union men.

Racism weakens and undermines many things, and unions is one of them, ironically, hurting the racists themselves, then and now.
posted by emjaybee at 1:22 PM on March 10, 2016


/Conor Friedersdorf

Yea, because this resembles this so closely.

Just another disaffected white guy concern trolling, clearly.
posted by echocollate at 1:25 PM on March 10, 2016


Giving up and labeling them bad because they're uneducated or make poor decisions is uncomfortably close to the kind of racism that was justified because "they all steal" or "they don't know what's good for them".

Either you have moral responsibility for your electoral choices or there's no freaking point in having a democracy. The exercise of power without consequence burns the world down.

there is indeed evidence that unions had trouble with racism among their members. I never said "unions bad;" my dad and grandpa were union men.

Unfortunately, this was the case (my own grampa was a union man). I suspect that there is a correlation between the long-term decline of the union as an institution and its increasing integration. (I'm sure this is not a novel theory, but I don't have a cite.)
posted by praemunire at 1:43 PM on March 10, 2016


I’m particularly angry at social justice warriors and my main reason to vote Trump is to see the looks on your faces when he wins.

It's funny, the inverse of this is one of the reasons I'm voting for Clinton.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:46 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


From my experience unions had a racist element to them, until recently you had to know someone to get in. Union membership ran in families. There has been a deliberate outreach to people of color in the last twenty years to diversify membership (I am talking the trades, Chicago area), this has coincided with less opportunities for union members due to economic realities. A generation ago union membership meant you could count on a living wage for life. More recently jobs can be few and far between. The lucky (or connected) latch on to something and stick, others will spend part of each year laid off. They may choose to see that diversification of membership as causation, rather than seeing larger market forces at play.

I rarely use Facebook but needed to look up something that's only on a Facebook page and saw that some old friends were spouting just this kind of Trumpism. They're not ignorant, but life has hit them hard, financially and in other ways. They've had some tough luck in the past decade, and I really feel for them. I think it's human nature to look for some reason why your aspirations are all now impossible.

I think this could be all simplified by chanting 'Make America Great Again!! right?
posted by readery at 1:49 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I remember this black comedian once saying, "White people hate being called racists--it makes them so sad." So, okay, what do I do to convince my white brethren to not vote for Donald J. Trump. Apologize for the society that have turned them into vapid numbfucks? I mean, at a certain point, maybe it was a few beat-up protestors ago, I stopped giving a good goddamn why people were supporting the man. They want more benefits, they can vote for Sanders. Other than that it's just eat your goddamned nachos and go to bed.

Sorry.
posted by angrycat at 1:53 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I’m particularly angry at social justice warriors and my main reason to vote Trump is to see the looks on your faces when he wins.

I'm pretty sure that anyone who uses the term "social justice warrior" in a non-ironic sense about anyone but themselves was already going to be a Trump supporter before Trump was Trump. So if this guy says he was a liberal before, he's either lying or confused. (I don't get it, either: if you say you're against people fighting for social justice, you're basically saying, "I'm against justice, I'd prefer unfair and unjust conditions prevail. I like bad things". Like, wtf?)
posted by dis_integration at 1:54 PM on March 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


I know it's like, I hate puppies
posted by angrycat at 1:56 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The funny thing about people who go on about "Social Justice Warriors" or whatever is that I remember the exact same arguments about "PC Police" 20 years ago. The exact same arguments. The only differences are the faces who complain.
posted by downtohisturtles at 1:57 PM on March 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


Ugh that article also has a couple people who are pushing the "lets elect him so things get so bad the people will wake up and have a revolution!" angle. Which is (a) not going to happen even if he does get elected, and (b) just ridiculously callous to the suffering that WILL happen (even if by some incredibly unlikely scenario there was a 'revolution').

Especially since those people would make up a minority of Trump voters, and if Trump wins that means a lot of people support his actual ideas. Why would that lead to a revolution? Blah.
posted by thefoxgod at 2:07 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


According to the Detroit Free Press, Sanders shocked Clinton in Michigan because of free trade:
Clinton had tried to hit Sanders for what she claimed was a vote against the 2009 auto rescue, a charge he fervently denied as misrepresenting his support. But in the end, it was his claim — that Clinton had supported trade deals that hurt U.S. employment — that resonated with voters.
He turned around a 20-point polling deficit in a single debate - one of the greatest upsets in modern political history - when voters in Michigan said, "Huh, so that's the guy who's against free trade."

If you think that Trump supporters could never come over to Sanders, it's because you're missing the fact that a whole lot of people are angrier about free trade than they are about anything else. That is what they blame their misery on.

Free trade is the welfare queen of 2016: Right or wrong, it's what working-class whites are blaming their woes on. Trump and Sanders have both caught that lightning.
posted by clawsoon at 2:15 PM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


I’m a liberal-left college professor in the social sciences

I’m particularly angry at social justice warriors and my main reason to vote Trump is to see the looks on your faces when he wins.
Those two are completely incompatible statements. It's as if some Goobergraper himself wrote it.
posted by Talez at 2:29 PM on March 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Those two are completely incompatible statements. It's as if some Goobergraper himself wrote it.

Sounds like a self-described "liberal progressive" on reddit, not only gators.
posted by qcubed at 2:38 PM on March 10, 2016


I took Sociology 101 from an older guy who described himself as liberal and then went on to angrily denounce critics of The Bell Curve as "deluded" and "PC." It's like his view of himself as liberal froze sometime in the 80s and social progress and understanding had just kind of slid right past him while he wasn't looking. See also my older relative who identifies as a Democrat but voted for GWB twice and wonders aloud why there's no White History Month.
posted by sallybrown at 2:41 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think this could be all simplified by chanting 'Make America Great Again!! right?

Don't underestimate the power of the slogan. If "Hope" was a great slogan after the Bush years, "MAGA" plays well into the people who are out of work, luck and hope, and wish they could go back a couple of decades back when things looked less grim.

Trump is connecting to these people and their problems, and the slogan is like a gateway drug to that. The rest of the jabronis that have been dropping like flies were more interested in going in circles around repealing Obamacare, unleash the army somewhere, going on about states rights re: abortion/LGBT rights/guns and so on and so. on. Trump is about Making America Great Again. It's all empty bullshit and racist rhetoric, but so is what his opponents have been saying. Maybe if the GOP fielded candidates that actually had a clue on speaking about people's problems instead of tacking on the same subjects that I'm guessing very few people care if they're constantly one month from homelessness, they wouldn't have to come up with increasingly sad strategies to defeat The Donald. Instead, they paid lip service to numbers on a spreadsheet and were surprised when actual people vote.

Curiosity: I couldn't recall even what Ted Cruz slogan is. go to his page, and his latest tweet read "Don’t settle for slogans that can fit on a bumper sticker. It’s time to elect Ted Cruz." Yeah. Rubio has "A New American Century" that... is a record label? clothing line? car model? The number of years before he's electable again?
posted by lmfsilva at 2:44 PM on March 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure "New American Century" is the think-tank which was wishing for a Pearl Harbor-style attack back in September 2000 in order to justify invading Iraq.
posted by clawsoon at 2:50 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


my older relative who identifies as a Democrat but voted for GWB twice

I hope someone has a campaign for "Clinton Republicans" in case she gets the nom. Hard lift, but sell on 'getting Osama', professionalism, the memory of the Bill Clinton economy?
posted by clew at 3:12 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Slogans, you ask?

Let Marco Rubio Into Your Life

I'm also partial to Ted Cruz's visual symbolism.
posted by Existential Dread at 3:14 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I hope someone has a campaign for "Clinton Republicans" in case she gets the nom. Hard lift, but sell on 'getting Osama', professionalism, the memory of the Bill Clinton economy?

Don't worry, those ads will be easy to make and are most certainly on the horizon.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 3:16 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm also partial to Ted Cruz's visual symbolism

Ted Cruz didn't make complete sense to me until now. He's a Death-Metal Christian.
posted by dis_integration at 3:23 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


It betrays so much about how the Democratic party has marginalized labor that when people mention "union workers defecting to Trump" everyone just assumes it's shorthand for white machinist dudes in the Rust Belt and fail to understand that many of the strongest current pockets of unionization are among women and POC who work in public service (and increasingly within the service industry - if your idea of who is a union member today looks more like the UAW than the SEIU, you might want to get up to speed).

So when people are like "blah blah blah union folks voting for Trump" this is a total failure to grasp what unionization looks like in America in 2015:

Highlights from the 2015 BLS data:

• Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (35.2 percent) more
than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.7 percent).


• Workers in protective service occupations and in education, training,
and library occupations had the highest unionization rates (36.3 percent
and 35.5 percent, respectively).

• Men continued to have a slightly higher union membership rate (11.5
percent) than women (10.6 percent).

• Black workers were more likely to be union members than were White,
Asian, or Hispanic workers.

posted by mostly vowels at 3:24 PM on March 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


Free trade is the welfare queen of 2016: Right or wrong, it's what working-class whites are blaming their woes on.

injecting this comparison into my damn veins rn
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:40 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hi from former Ford Nation. Trump is doing what Rob Ford did in Totonto and it's highly effective. He's not trying to get everyone's vote. He's identified the people who will vote for him -- people who are fed up with politicians and identify with Trump's dislike for the political class combined with Trump's image as a regular Joe who happens to have made millions. Rob Ford also inherited his wealth but claimed to be on the side of the little guy, scrappy, classless (in both senses of the term) and refreshingly "honest" which basically means a diction that doesn't equivocate. We're so used to politicians speaking vaguely that listening to a Ford or a Trump is shocking. Did he say that??!! Isn't he lying??!! No there is not going to be a subway to my neighbourhood, it makes zero sense, but Ford promised it /and/ to give roads back to drivers!

I spoke to neighbors after Rob Ford had clearly been using drugs and we all agreed he had embarrassed Toronto but they were still going to vote for him because at least he wasn't a politician.

It worked because the Ford supporters came out on Election Day, and other people did not -- because they couldn't stomach the alternatives or just because they figured Ford couldn't win. And the Ford machine drove people to the polls. I think the Democrats would be wise to focus hard on getting the vote out -- wish is going to be hard after the relative heartbreak of the Obama years from the perspective of people who voted for him for deep change.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:46 PM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Some salient points in the OP.

Whenever this comes up, I think back to an argument I got into with one of my friends back in 2003/2004. He was making the case that it was racist to support anything other than unfettered free trade. I was trying to put across the idea that, although (for example) Chinese workers are as skilled as American workers, you may still want those jobs to stay in America. His argument was that it was racist and offensively nationalist (I think he even compared me to Pat Buchanan at one point) to value the economic well-being of your country over that of the rest of the world. And here is where the shit broke down. This is the kind of argument that can break a friendship, and truth be told, we were never the same afterward. Ultimately, I'm not sure there is an easy answer here. Is it selfish to value your country's economic well-being over that of the rest of world? Maybe ...? Is it racist? No.

And then you've got this parade of policymakers and economists who will show you this study and that study about how free trade is great for everybody, yadda yadda yadda, and it's all very unsatisfying to anybody whose job may actually be threatened by free trade. Economists, editors, politicians, and executives certainly seem fond of free trade, though.

At the national level, we're still having the same argument, although the ground has shifted a bit. The Neoliberals have been less openly rah-rah since the Great Recession. Few these days would argue (publicly) that it's racist to oppose free trade. However, it's really hard to separate an argument from the person making it. Trump is racist, so his anti-free-trade arguments take on a racist tone. Sanders is democratic socialist, so his arguments take on a social democrat tone.

I don't know how this is gonna shake out, but either way, I hope our current era spells the death of Neoliberal economics. It's really no more sensible than blind protectionism.
posted by panama joe at 3:52 PM on March 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


It betrays so much about how the Democratic party has marginalized labor that when people mention "union workers defecting to Trump" everyone just assumes it's shorthand for white machinist dudes in the Rust Belt and fail to understand that many of the strongest current pockets of unionization are among women and POC who work in public service (and increasingly within the service industry - if your idea of who is a union member today looks more like the UAW than the SEIU, you might want to get up to speed).

But who isn't up to speed, the commentators or their audience. Is there strong evidence that, eg African American Union members are "defecting" to Trump? I certainly know about current Union membership but I've assumed that it's the commentators who don't and are using it as shorthand for white rust belt machinists.
posted by OmieWise at 4:03 PM on March 10, 2016


Please, DC journalists, drive down to Stafford and go drink at a bar or something before you write about those ideal Trump supporters you've never met. None of them ever talk about fucking NAFTA.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:22 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


David A Graham for The Atlantic: The Lurking Menace of a Trump Rally.
posted by koeselitz at 4:29 PM on March 10, 2016


I'm pretty sure that anyone who uses the term "social justice warrior" in a non-ironic sense about anyone but themselves was already going to be a Trump supporter before Trump was Trump. So if this guy says he was a liberal before, he's either lying or confused. (I don't get it, either: if you say you're against people fighting for social justice, you're basically saying, "I'm against justice, I'd prefer unfair and unjust conditions prevail. I like bad things". Like, wtf?)

A majority of gamergaters identify themselves as left leaning.

It's not so bonkers that a lot of left leaning people are frustrated with the behavior of some among activists on the left who can be overly judgmental, combative, militant, self-aggrandizing, and ridiculous. It's not about disliking social justice, it's about disliking the tactics and personalities of the people purporting to fight for it.

I imagine that if the Republican party does realign it could end up in a form that is very appealing to younger people fed up with some things about the left. You would have to dump a lot of the social conservatism, but create a party that is about conserving society/culture as it is in 2016 rather than trying to bring it back to the 1950s and you have potential for the Republicans to be a party much more in touch with reality again.

Anyway, I've linked this before, it's the best thing I have read on Trump and class.

Donald Trump and the Politics of Resentment


Notice also how many of Trump’s unacceptable-to-the-pundits comments have focused with laser precision on the issue of immigration. That’s a well-chosen opening wedge, as cutting off illegal immigration is something that the GOP has claimed to support for a while now. As Trump broadens his lead, in turn, he’s started to talk about the other side of the equation—the offshoring of jobs—as his recent jab at Apple’s overseas sweatshops shows. The mainstream media’s response to that jab does a fine job of proving the case argued above: “If smartphones were made in the US, we’d have to pay more for them!” And of course that’s true: the salary class will have to pay more for its toys if the wage class is going to have decent jobs that pay enough to support a family. That this is unthinkable for so many people in the salary class—that they’re perfectly happy allowing their electronics to be made for starvation wages in an assortment of overseas hellholes, so long as this keeps the price down—may help explain the boiling cauldron of resentment into which Trump is so efficiently tapping.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:36 PM on March 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


We we literally holding *multiple* debates more than one year out from the election.

Oui Oui.

Speaking of debates, it looks like tonight's GOP dick measuring & booger eating extravaganza will be in the same thread as last time.
posted by homunculus at 4:45 PM on March 10, 2016


R. Crumb on Trump. (There's actually a whole strip that goes with this, but it's not online and I'd say this panel is the highlight.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:52 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


A majority of gamergaters identify themselves as left leaning.

It's not so bonkers that a lot of left leaning people are frustrated with the behavior of some among activists on the left who can be overly judgmental, combative, militant, self-aggrandizing, and ridiculous. It's not about disliking social justice, it's about disliking the tactics and personalities of the people purporting to fight for it.


Gamergaters may say they don't like the "tactics and personalities" (or "ethics in gaming journalism") but their actions say they just hate women (or at least women who have opinions online).

And I've never really seen anyone ranting about "SJW" who is actually a proponent of social justice but just "doesn't like the tone". They are almost all like the gamergaters, actively hostile to anything remotely related to what you could call social justice. Maybe the GG crowd identify as leftists, like the supposedly left-liberal prof quoted above, but that doesn't mean they are in any meaningful sense. Their actions are completely inconsistent with any notion of social justice that I am aware of.
posted by thefoxgod at 5:09 PM on March 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


A majority of gamergaters identify themselves as left leaning.

One can identify themselves as anything. Proof, however, is in the pudding. To claim to be left-leaning and then oppose progressive and liberal movements while openly supporting and backing right-leaning and extreme-right leaning publications and movements...

You can claim to be a liberal and support Trump. Doesn't mean you're living up to your ostensible ideals or goals.

Trump can deny being a racist. But using racist dogwhistles and accepting racists' supports... does it really matter then how he chooses to view himself?
posted by qcubed at 5:14 PM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


It's not about disliking social justice, it's about disliking the tactics and personalities of the people purporting to fight for it.

It requires an incredible amount of privilege to be comfortable prioritizing your dislike for the personalities of straw people over the daily struggles faced by people around you. Then again, I suppose I'm an SJW.
posted by theraflu at 5:18 PM on March 10, 2016 [16 favorites]


A majority of gamergaters identify themselves as left leaning.

It's not so bonkers that a lot of left leaning people are frustrated with the behavior of some among activists on the left who can be overly judgmental, combative, militant, self-aggrandizing, and ridiculous. It's not about disliking social justice, it's about disliking the tactics and personalities of the people purporting to fight for it.


Yes, GamerGate is people upset at the terrible tactics of social justice warriors. That's why their own tactics don't reproduce and distill the very worst outliers or anything remotely like it.
posted by Dysk at 5:19 PM on March 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


If you turn against an idea because of the language or tactics of the people struggling to advance it, you never really gave a shit about the idea in the first place. And somehow those supposedly liberal people are always able to find something to criticize - poor them, they can't help but abandon the underlying idea! If those pesky protesters just did X, Y, and Z...and you can be sure if they did X, Y, and Z, it would become "well I don't like the way they did X, Y, and Z, and also why didn't they do 1, 2, and 3! And they should be grateful I even deigned to consider supporting them, because this isn't something I have to do!" aka "I have the privilege to ignore this issue completely if I get my ego bruised even the teensiest bit!" And then the story becomes "oh look the protesters have pissed off Important Guy and now they are to blame for the death of the idea! what idiots! they deserve their oppression!" Just another day in the world of respectability politics.
posted by sallybrown at 5:30 PM on March 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


>Yes, GamerGate is people upset at the terrible tactics of social justice warriors.

No, that was not my point. My point was being anti "sjw" does not mean one isn't leftist. It's just a No True Scotsman. Yes, Gamergaters are mostly Obama voters. They are mostly young people and are not socially conservative. Assholes can be leftists. There is zero correlation with not being an asshole and being leftist. But still, give them a conservative like Milo and he becomes their hero. They are the sort of person who could end up a Republican if Republicans weren't obviously even worse than Democrats even to them.

My further paragraph was not meant to be describing gamergaters, just the wider group of people fed up with some elements of the social justice movement. It's not illogical to oppose the toxic elements in the social justice movement and still support social justice. The reason for the opposition is that the toxicity is counterproductive to social justice.

I don't know why this should even be controversial. Many people who support animal rights aren't huge fans of PETA because they perceive many of their tactics as counterproductive. I've never seen anyone suggests this means someone doesn't support animal rights. It's about wanting a more effective messenger for them.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:37 PM on March 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


You characterization of Gamergate doesn't even remotely approach reality.
posted by codacorolla at 6:07 PM on March 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Okay well here is what I am basing my suggestion that they aren't right wingers on. If anybody has better data I would take a look at it.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:16 PM on March 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


In my observations, Gamergate is just one of the more extreme conceptions of what millennial conservatism looks like. In my view they are socially conservative, but it doesn't quite look like classic social conservatism. Generally, it seems like the gamergate set is apathetic towards gays and gay marriage, and generally pro-marijuana. On the other hand, they're fairly racist and extremely hostile to feminism.

So it's hard to place them on the traditional socially liberal/conservative spectrum. Even harder to place them on the fiscal liberal/conservative scale, since none of them really have any money.

Still, I think that most Gamergators are likely Trump voters, and that Trump plays very well into that version of conservatism. The whole idea that "free speech means that I can say anything offensive without being criticized for it is a common thread.
posted by benimoto at 7:43 PM on March 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


In my observations, Gamergate is just one of the more extreme conceptions of what millennial conservatism looks like.

Yeah, I don't really disagree with calling them conservatives when you put it in those terms. That's what I was trying to get at with how they could be Republicans if the party realigned. They are too socially libertarian and non-religious to blend in with the social authoritarianism and social conservatism of Republicans. They may be the type of "bros" who are ambivalent about gays or homophobic, but they aren't the bible thumping gay haters of the Religious Right. Long before gamergate, there were a lot of moral panics about video games from the religious right. They didn't like that either.

Probably Trump supporters? At this point yeah. If you look at the conclusions in the link I posted there is a total loss of faith in the left despite the left views they hold. And yes, they hate the whole PC culture. Recipe for a Trump supporter voting against their own interests out of spite.

It's hard to place them in political context because they aren't a political movement, just a hate group.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:59 PM on March 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Trump Supporters Aren’t Stupid - "America incentivizes racism in working class white people, and if we fail to understand this, we will fail to fix it."
We are depriving the white working classes of their means to give. As we export manufacturing jobs internationally and as we streamline labor with technology, we start moving people to the sidelines. It’s not just that they have less money, it’s that their identity as providers is being threatened. This is why they are often so against welfare. Even if it would fix their financial situation, it would not fix their identity problems. It would hurt their dignity. While the working class is undoubtedly worried about the economy, we already know many will not vote in their economic best interests. They vote for the candidate who promises a return to dignity, and it’s not because they’re dumb. It’s because they care about their dignity more than they care about their finances.
Which, by the way, directly ties in to how they are racist. Not all Trump supporters are necessarily racist, but a fair number of them explicitly are. Normally, when liberals talk about racism, they use “racist” as an end point. “Trump is racist” is, by itself, a reason not to vote for him, and “being racist” is an indicator of a person who is morally deficient.
But, if you don’t take this as an end point — if you instead ask “what do people get out of being racist?” — you’ll start to unravel the emotional motivations behind it. One of the best unpacking of this I have read is Matt Bruenig’s piece Last Place Avoidance and Poor White Racism.
Last Place Avoidance and Poor White Racism
Presently, poor whites are in the lowest economic class alongside poor blacks, but they aren’t in the lowest social caste. In a society with white supremacist structures, poor whites avoid being in last place. They aren’t up with the rich whites, many of whom regard poor whites as inferior trash. But they aren’t all the way down with the poor blacks. They occupy a social rank that is near the bottom, but not at it.

If you blow up the racial caste component of social ranking such that only economic class remains, poor blacks would rise to the level of poor whites, creating a new last place where both poor blacks and poor whites reside. But people are last place averse, meaning they really don’t like to be at the bottom of anything. Those who are near the bottom, but not at it, are especially prone to oppose things which might help those at the very bottom rise to their level:
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:48 PM on March 10, 2016 [23 favorites]


the man of twists and turns: "Those who are near the bottom, but not at it, are especially prone to oppose things which might help those at the very bottom rise to their level"

I believe Chris Rock put it as something like, "Ain't nothing that a white man with a penny hates more than a black man with a nickel."
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:24 PM on March 10, 2016 [19 favorites]


It's not so bonkers that a lot of left leaning people are frustrated with the behavior of some among activists on the left who can be overly judgmental, combative, militant, self-aggrandizing, and ridiculous. It's not about disliking social justice, it's about disliking the tactics and personalities of the people purporting to fight for it.

Also see: self-described "left-libertarians" (!), as well as the not-so-elusive "I'm socially liberal and fiscally conservative".

Part of the issue is that the major parties and other political groups aggregate together political stances that aren't "automatically" compatible. As well as neglect (or ignore, or distort) stances that many people seem to hold.
posted by theorique at 2:19 AM on March 11, 2016


Not far from my home, there's a house that waves of crazy just roll off of. It's an ugly building, surrounded by a tall ugly wooden fence that looks like it's been painted with 93 coats of white paint, with an ugly rock garden. There are always multiple signs -- usually hand-lettered and sloppy -- that say PRIVATE NO TRESPASSING and BRICKS ARE PRIVATE PROPERTY (referring to the bricks that line the space between the sidewalk and the road, where there used to be grass, but apparently these people hate plants). The mailbox has PARENTS RESPONSIBLE FOR CHILDREN'S BEHAVIOR written on it it permanent marker. In 2008 there was a series of signs claiming HIPAA is Obama's plot to turn us all into animal-robot hybrids, and there have been anti-UN signs occasionally.

Today there's a Trump campaign sign on their fence, but it's plain black on white, just like all the other signs and the fence and the house itself and the rock garden.
posted by Foosnark at 5:40 AM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Comparing the Trump candidacy with Schwarzenegger's time as California governor:
Make no mistake, that would most likely be Trump’s trajectory, too. Like the Austrian bodybuilder, Trump is a wealthy, high-profile loudmouth with no plan to govern and no principles to guide him. The major difference between the campaigns of the two egotistical publicity whores is that in 2003, leftist cries of “he’s a racist Nazi fascist” were met with a resounding “no he isn’t” from Schwarzenegger supporters. Today, those same charges are met by Trump fans with “so what if he is?” I’m not defending that response, but I’ll freely admit I find it fascinating.
Many voters, especially those on the political Right, are weary of the abundant deployment of "that's racist", and no longer care to defend themselves against such attacks from political opponents any more. Such attacks are going to happen regardless of what they do, so why waste energy saying "no, I'm not" to people who have already made their minds up.
posted by theorique at 5:49 AM on March 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Trump campaign sign on their fence, but it's plain black on white
I don't think that's waves of crazy as much as a tsunami.


written on it it permanent marker
Reminds me of a house nearby with "NO POSTERS" (well, "NÃO COLAR CARTAZES", to make it worse) written on the wall facing a side street with a very broad brush.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:54 AM on March 11, 2016


@Foosnark: photos???
posted by tippiedog at 7:15 AM on March 11, 2016


I don't have any myself, but here it is in Google Street View from a few years ago. IIRC, that pink, pointless footbridge is painted white now. (I tried to get pictures of the "animal-robot hybrid" signs when those were up, but they didn't come out, and I didn't want to get too stalker-y or risk getting shot or something.)

According to Zillow it's a two bedroom, 3 bath house; according to a label on Google Earth it is "The Institute of Christian Metaphysics", under the category "Psychic." That figures.
posted by Foosnark at 8:25 AM on March 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Such attacks are going to happen regardless of what they do, so why waste energy saying "no, I'm not" to people who have already made their minds up.

Well, they could stop doing/saying/supporting racist shit...

But while I'm asking for unicorns shitting rainbows...
posted by qcubed at 12:59 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


R. Crumb on Trump. (There's actually a whole strip that goes with this, but it's not online and I'd say this panel is the highlight.)


Here's the (full?) Crumb v. Trump comic from 1989.
posted by dgaicun at 7:42 PM on March 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


theorique, that whole article appears to be saying that voters on the Right (including the author) are weary of restraining themselves from overt displays of open racism, and weary of candidates not campaigning and legislating in an overtly racist fashion. All of that seems to be true, as far as it goes, though I question just how restrained they've been on this shit anyway. But I guess "I'm a racist and I don't care if you know it" seems like an importantly different position from "you're gonna call me a racist no matter how much I protest".

Also a scarier one.
posted by brennen at 3:43 AM on March 12, 2016 [4 favorites]



Yeah, I think it's safe to say Thomas Frank is not saying he is weary of restraining himself from overt displays of racism.

It disturbs me to see so many take this article as support for Trump. It's doing the work so many of us who laughed and expected this clown would dry up and blow away haven't been doing: Trying to figure out how the hell this guy managed to get a seat at the table like this. Trump dropping out was the fusion power of the early campaign: Always just a few weeks away. Well, that's all over now. He's won enough that it is obvious to everyone that he isn't just going to go away.

Trying to counter that requires understanding it. There is a broad difference between understanding something and excusing it. Perhaps this is why the disease model is so attractive for talking about other kinds of problem behavior: No one thinks you're taking the germ's side when you study pathogens, or cancer's side when giving a PSA test.

The Shakesville article gets it right, I think: It's racism and economics, but the economic part of it isn't getting the press. It seems to me to be the one set of issues it would be ... acceptable, I guess? ... to treat with Trump supporters, if not for their sake, but for the sake of the common good. We can say "fuck those guys" all we want, but fat good that does us when their vote for the likes of Trump drag us all down. And, well, there's this question of how to achieve anti-racist goals, given that ignoring racism doesn't help?

Friends assure me that, whatever Trump's appeal to white racist men, the demographics are against him in any general election scenario, that there just aren't enough white men, racist or no, to put Trump in the White House.

Maybe so, but I'm not counting on it. These are the same friends who make the kind of rationalist arguments about other things that are not borne out by what is happening on the ground (cf, discussion above about people voting against "their interests").

I shudder to think what Trump would be doing to the would-be centrist candidate's positions without Sanders holding down the other side of the Overton window.
posted by one weird trick at 11:54 AM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, my bad. You meant the Cole article, not the Frank article.
posted by one weird trick at 12:00 PM on March 12, 2016


Yeah, the Cole article. Which, while I hadn't been super familiar with Taki's Mag beyond maybe recognizing the header from some other bullshit, turns out to be in a thoroughly white supremacist and antisemitic venue.
posted by brennen at 9:29 PM on March 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


But I guess "I'm a racist and I don't care if you know it" seems like an importantly different position from "you're gonna call me a racist no matter how much I protest”.

They are somewhat distinct positions - the former holds “racist” as part of his identity and doesn’t think it’s a bad thing (or perhaps thinks it’s a “necessary evil”); the latter does not hold “racist” as part of his identity, thinks it’s a bad thing to be, and is frustrated that so many people call him a racist for positions that (in his view) he holds for entirely non-racist reasons.

If I had to guess, I’d say that there’s a tiny group of “I’m racist and I know it” people who support Trump because they think it will help their goals; I suspect the vast majority of Trump’s supporters genuinely do not believe themselves to be racist and are probably offended by the suggestion that they might be. (Trump himself almost certainly falls into the latter category.)

I would consider Taki's to be paleocon, but apparently they consider themselves Libertarian. I can't recall reading any antisemitic content there, but their articles generally fall on the non-PC side of the line in discussion of racial issues. (Jim Goad and Gavin McInnes write for them, so perhaps that's a given.)
posted by theorique at 5:31 PM on March 13, 2016


America's Middle-class Meltdown - "America's middle class has shrunk to just half the population for the first time in at least four decades as the forces of technological change and globalisation drive a wedge between the winners and losers in a splintering US society."

The End of the GOP - "The modern GOP as a political construct has principally been an alliance between two interest groups: urban economic elites and rural social conservatives. The reason the party is disintegrating is that it has over-delivered to the former, and completely failed the latter... embracing a new economic narrative that actually delivers the goods to regular folks is what it will take to compete in a meaningful way again... Prosperity does not end racism—but it is one hell of a distraction. When most citizens feel like they are winning, it's not so important to them that others lose. Shared prosperity creates the conditions whereby few reasonable people are angry enough to take a clown like Trump seriously."
posted by kliuless at 7:42 PM on March 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


If I had to guess, I’d say that there’s a tiny group of “I’m racist and I know it” people who support Trump because they think it will help their goals; I suspect the vast majority of Trump’s supporters genuinely do not believe themselves to be racist and are probably offended by the suggestion that they might be. (Trump himself almost certainly falls into the latter category.)

This is reasonable, and I suppose I don't disagree overmuch.

I would consider Taki's to be paleocon, but apparently they consider themselves Libertarian. I can't recall reading any antisemitic content there, but their articles generally fall on the non-PC side of the line in discussion of racial issues. (Jim Goad and Gavin McInnes write for them, so perhaps that's a given.)

I may be conflating articles with the comments, particularly on the specific front of antisemitism, but I'm fairly comfortable saying the publication is overtly racist as hell. Its readers certainly don't leave much to the imagination. I get a real VDARE kinda vibe. I dunno. Probably by now this is getting kind of derail-ish.
posted by brennen at 11:24 PM on March 13, 2016


I may be conflating articles with the comments, particularly on the specific front of antisemitism, but I'm fairly comfortable saying the publication is overtly racist as hell. Its readers certainly don't leave much to the imagination. I get a real VDARE kinda vibe. I dunno. Probably by now this is getting kind of derail-ish.

You're right about that, the comments are pretty extreme in their anti-Semitism. I generally browse with Disqus shut off so I tend to forget that part (for which I am thankful).

The modern GOP as a political construct has principally been an alliance between two interest groups: urban economic elites and rural social conservatives. The reason the party is disintegrating is that it has over-delivered to the former, and completely failed the latter... embracing a new economic narrative that actually delivers the goods to regular folks is what it will take to compete in a meaningful way again...

This is a great summary of what is going on. Everything was "fine" until the (American) urban economic elites took the opportunity to embrace globalism, and sold out their rural supporters for profit. Now, right vs left has transformed into nationalist vs globalist - average people look for political representation and leadership who will work in their local interest rather than in the interest of stock traders in New York or bond traders in London or Shanghai.
posted by theorique at 3:09 AM on March 14, 2016


Taki's Mag is undeniably overt in its racism. As for its anti-Semitism, well, David Cole himself, previously.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:41 AM on March 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I get a real VDARE kinda vibe. I dunno.

Taki's Mag has shared writers with VDARE before, so it's not just a vibe.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:50 AM on March 14, 2016


re: Last Place Avoidance and Poor White Racism

corey robin connects george wallace to edmund burke:
The right has a task: against a revolutionary or reformist left’s claims of freedom and equality, it must reinforce the ramparts of privilege. From the French Revolution to the New Deal to the Civil Rights Movement and women’s liberation, conservatives have always defended social hierarchies, doling out rights to the few and obligations to the many.

What Burke learned on his way to the counterrevolution was that the greatest enemy to the established elite was... the established elite. Most elites were timid, inept, unimaginative, rule-bound. “Creatures of the desk” was how he described them. Pencil-sharpeners and paper-pushers, they lacked “the generous wildness of Quixotism.” They were weak and spineless, too cozy in their comfort to crush their enemies.

To defend the established hierarchy, the counterrevolution would have to be as energetic and immoderate, as wild and unpredictable, as the revolution it sought to overthrow. “To destroy that enemy,” Burke wrote of the Jacobins, “the force opposed to it should bear some analogy and resemblance to the force and spirit which that system exerts.” Zealotry, daring (“every little measure is a great errour”), and intemperateness: these were the qualities that were needed. “The madness of the wise,” Burke reminded his comrades on the right, “is better than the sobriety of fools.”

Though Burke believed in aristocratic leadership and spoke to and for a mostly aristocratic polity, he understood that conservatism had to appeal to the commoner. Otherwise, the lower orders would defect to the other side. In a liberal democracy, where the lower and middling orders have the vote and often bridle at their burdens, that is a difficult task. To make privilege popular, Burke’s successors have had to conscript these lower and middling orders into their armies of inequality.

Since the 19th century, nativism, nationalism and racism have been been ideal recruitment devices. “With us the two great divisions of society are not the rich and the poor, but white and black” declared the slaveholder statesman John C. Calhoun; “and all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.” Men and women at the near bottom of society have little money and even less power. But no matter how low they are, they always can lord their status and standing over those even lower than they. As John Adams so brilliantly recognized in his “Discourses on Davila”: “Not only the poorest mechanic, but the man who lives upon common charity, nay the common beggars in the streets... plume themselves on that superiority which they have, or fancy they have, over some others.”

For Nixon and Reagan, these others were blacks (sometimes coded as criminals or welfare cheats). For Trump, they’re Muslims and Mexicans.
also btw, edward luce on some...
Troubling warnings for the US from the 1930s
On both sides of the Atlantic, people have lost faith in their public institutions. They are also losing trust in their neighbours. Co-operation is fraying and open borders are in question. We can no longer be sure the centre will hold — or even that it deserves to.

The most insidious trend is vanishing optimism about the future. Contrary to what is widely believed, the majority’s pessimism pre-dates the 2008 financial collapse. At the height of the last property bubble in 2005, Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve, said society could not long tolerate a situation where most people were suffering from declining standards of living. “This is not the sort of thing that a democratic society — a capitalist democratic society — can readily accept without addressing,” he said. This came after several years of falling median income.

For most Americans and Europeans the situation is worse today than it was then. Many have since had their homes repossessed. Median incomes were lower in 2015 than when Mr Greenspan issued his warning. A majority on both sides of the Atlantic believe their children will be worse off than they are.

They may be right. Economists debate whether the sharp decline in productivity growth during the past 15 years is the result of mismeasurement. Polls suggest there is nothing wrong with the yardstick. Most people feel worse off, which is what matters in politics...

The second disturbing trend is a growing sense of unfairness — the feeling that elites are continually lining their pockets... Despite the US economy’s recovery, 2015 saw the sharpest rise in US wage inequality since the end of the Great Recession...

The third is a rising culture of nihilism. When people think their concerns are being ignored — and worse, that they are also being belittled — they lash out. Hell hath no fury like an angry electorate. It is easy to poke fun at the likes of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump... But the ease with which they can be lampooned should not obscure what is driving their success. The puzzle is not that such figures are finding an audience, but that they did not emerge sooner...

The final echo from the 1930s is in the declining global order. In a widely cited interview with the Atlantic last week, Mr Obama complained about “free riders” among America’s allies, including David Cameron’s Britain. He also expressed disdain for the US establishment’s obsession with “credibility” as the measure of American power, and force as their perennial solution.

Mr Obama’s words have elicited outrage in both London and Washington. Yet he gave a good summary of US public opinion. Indeed, what Mr Obama said is not wildly different from what Mr Trump has been arguing. Americans are tired of paying for Pax Americana.

Unlike Britain in the 1930s, the US can still bear the burden. But it does not want to... Western democracy is on trial. Autocrats in Russia and China will be watching keenly.
posted by kliuless at 1:59 PM on March 14, 2016 [4 favorites]




Tod Kelly: "The Race at Pooh Corner" (in the same vein as Mallory Ortberg’s Children’s Stories Made Horrific)
Tigger wasn’t supposed to still be in the race at this point of the election, let alone the frontrunner. When he’d thrown his name in the hat, everyone had assumed it was just some sort of his high jinks. “Classic Tigger,” everyone had said at the time, shaking their heads and rolling their eyes. They all assumed he was probably drunk when he entered the race, and common wisdom at the time held he would quit within a week or so.

Another thing folks assumed back then was that Tigger would apologize for besmirching Rabbit’s many friends and relations in his first campaign speech. Rabbit’s kind were “pouring into the Hundred Acres Wood,” Tigger had declared to the other animals. They were all gnashgabs, mumblecrusts, and fustylugs, he’d insisted. Tigger promised to chase them all out of the forest. Better still, he’d mused one night after an especially spirited rally, he might just go hunt them for sport where they lived and hang their pelts on the trees of the the Hundred Acre Woods. Not, he was quick to note at the time, that he would hang them in a tacky way. Tigger assured the crowd he would hang the pelts in a totally classy way, a way that all the great art experts and interior decorators would agree would be amazing and beautiful, and everyone would agree that those trees would then be the best trees in the world. It was all too much for Pooh, who, when he heard about it, called for everyone to please settle down and remember that they were all friends.
posted by Rangi at 6:57 PM on March 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Voter anger explained—in one chart... with the housing/credit bubble as 'interbellum'?

Return of the Undeserving Poor
If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.

Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. ...

The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. ... The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul.
"The National Review's inevitable pivot to accepting Trump has come about quicker than anyone expected."

They Had It Coming...
posted by kliuless at 10:10 AM on March 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets.

So do you think if Trump starts running the government he'll start by selling off the underperforming states to China?
posted by happyroach at 9:53 PM on March 16, 2016


That National Review article lambasting poor white communities for being poor (and, I suppose, white) is pretty offensive and bigoted. A torrent of victim blaming and stereotyping that would be deemed beyond the pale if it were aimed at any other group.
posted by theorique at 6:31 AM on March 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Can't believe the would-be flagship magazine of the conservative movement hates poor people. This was highly unexpected, to me.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:37 AM on March 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


deleted FPP has more on the NR...

in other news: "It seems that Donald Trump performed the best in places where middle-aged whites are dying the fastest." cf. case & deaton, viz. Rising morbidity and mortality in midlife among white non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st century (pdf)
posted by kliuless at 10:21 AM on March 17, 2016 [2 favorites]




The birds have spoken.
posted by homunculus at 7:41 PM on March 26, 2016


I was reading American Rage: The Esquire/NBC News Survey
Are you disappointed? Do you feel stifled and shortchanged and sold a bill of goods? Then you're probably pretty angry. Consider the white men and women in our survey: From their views on the state of the American dream (dead) and America's role in the world (not what it used to be) to how their life is working out for them (not quite what they'd had in mind), a plurality of whites tends to view life through a veil of disappointment. When we cross-tabulate these feelings with reports of daily anger (which are higher among whites than nonwhites), we see the anger of perceived disenfranchisement—a sense that the majority has become a persecuted minority, the bitterness of a promise that didn't pan out—rather than actual hardship.
Then I was reading Twitter, and: Political Perceptions in the Obama Era: Diverse Opinions of the Great Recession and Its Aftermath among Whites, Latinos, and Blacks
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:36 PM on March 28, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here's an excerpt from Frank's new book: The Blue State Model: How the Democrats Created a "Liberalism of the Rich"
posted by homunculus at 4:44 PM on March 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Okay, I don't think I see these upthread.

Thomas Frank: How Democrats Created Liberalism of the Rich

Nor a Lender Be Hillary Clinton, liberal virtue, and the cult of the microloan
posted by Trochanter at 6:56 AM on March 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


This Obama Endorsement Is a Sign Pro-Corporate Democrats Are Getting Nervous

Interesting quote : "More recently, Wasserman Schultz sponsored a bill that would severely hamper the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed regulations for payday lenders."
posted by jeffburdges at 9:54 AM on March 30, 2016




"More recently, Wasserman Schultz sponsored a bill that would severely hamper the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s proposed regulations for payday lenders."

This is why I'm not surprised and completely understand Elizabeth Warren's reluctance to endorse Sanders (as many even dreamed a Sanders/Warren or Warren/Sanders ticket a couple years back). If she endorsed Hillary, she could lose the progressive wing of the party, while at the other end, endorse Sanders and the upper echelons of the Democratic Party would certainly find a way to undermine her work, because it's certainly making a lot of people concerned.

If there's any hope for the Democrats, it passes by having Warren making the establishment/progressive wings unifying speech at the DNC. But in reality, I wouldn't be at all surprised if would be used as the kickstarter for Chelsea Clinton's political career.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:32 AM on March 30, 2016


But in reality, I wouldn't be at all surprised if would be used as the kickstarter for Chelsea Clinton's political career.

Wha?
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:56 AM on March 30, 2016


Heh, it's just a feeling. I wouldn't be surprised if she ran for public office in the next few years, and a speech at the DNC would be a fine way to establish her aspirations.
posted by lmfsilva at 11:19 AM on March 30, 2016




Heh, it's just a feeling. I wouldn't be surprised if she ran for public office in the next few years, and a speech at the DNC would be a fine way to establish her aspirations.

So I'm a lIttle behind on my talking points: what narrative will we be using to say why THIS women shouldn't be in public office?
posted by happyroach at 3:36 PM on March 30, 2016


Chelsea Clinton? She can do whatever she wants. It's not like she's a political nobody with loadsa money that thought "maybe I should give this politics thing a go". What I do hope is that if/when she starts her political career, it won't be at the expense of progressives. And that is what I'm fearing.

Expanding on, the Democrats should start putting some distance from them to Finance because there's a substancial number of people concerned about that, for both right and wrong reasons (and who also take their own right or wrong conclusions). These moves by DWS, now with Obama backing her re-election, suggests me they're not interested in that one bit, and I wouldn't put it behind them to use the DNC to consolidate the power of the status quo of the party as opposed give a platform to people that first Warren and now Sanders attracted to the party.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:10 PM on March 30, 2016


So I'm a lIttle behind on my talking points: what narrative will we be using to say why THIS women shouldn't be in public office?

That people don't earn political power because of the privilege granted by their name. I mean exactly how many decades of Clinton rule do you folks want?
posted by Drinky Die at 3:58 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


I mean, can you not find ANYBODY out of 300 million people who might potentially do a better job or are we just gonna stick with a legacy admissions policy forever?
posted by Drinky Die at 4:03 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Poor fucking Chelsea Clinton has not ever expressed a shred of interest in running for office.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:14 AM on March 31, 2016


Poor fucking Chelsea Clinton has not ever expressed a shred of interest in running for office.

Poor Chelsea is pretty rich, and has basically the most elite existence imaginable. Also, she has talked about running for office. I fully expect to see her running for office at some point in the future. Maybe she can help out those poor fucking hedge funds.
posted by dis_integration at 7:19 AM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


I would definitely trade an elite existence for a slightly less elite existence if it meant I didn't have to be a victim of the horrible media shit that family has been through. Bill and Hillary chose politics, Chelsea grew up with it.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:21 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Susan Sarandon, a Bernie "surrogate," suggests that Trump would bring the revolution, maybe a better choice than Clinton.
posted by Brian B. at 7:44 AM on March 31, 2016


But revolutions are shitty. They usually just end with a lot of people dying and some autocratic dictator taking control.
posted by koeselitz at 7:56 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


They usually just end with a lot of people dying

Yeah, but they're usually poor and probably some shade of brown, so it doesn't matter much. As long as my local fair-trade coffee place stays open, it's cool.
posted by aramaic at 8:50 AM on March 31, 2016


Appears Chelsea Clinton does not really pay attention :
“I’m ... grateful to live in a city and a state and a country where I really believe in my elected officials, and their ethos and their competencies.”
posted by jeffburdges at 9:41 AM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hasn't Chelsea gotten slagged on enough for making the poor choice to be born into the incomparably corrupt Clinton dynasty?
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:47 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Chelsea had a tough childhood. But she's made the decision as an adult to stay in the public eye and craft an image that is clearly aimed at a future political career: Clinton foundation, books, media gigs, campaigning for her mother, etc. As recently as last October she hinted at a future Senate run in New York.

I think that's on her, and it's not unreasonable to oppose yet another rich political scion in office.
posted by crazy with stars at 10:26 AM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


“I’m really lucky to live in a city and a state and a country where I support the people representing me. I have a couple fantastic senators and I have a great representative in New York City if at some point that weren’t true I’d have to ask and answer that question, but Ellen I’d hope you’d ask and answer that question too.”

yeah, get the knives out
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:39 AM on March 31, 2016


As of 2014 Chelsea Clinton had a 59-16 favorable/unfavorable rating. I'm a little surprised how high that is but I guess it helps she hasn't been a formal political figure.
posted by crazy with stars at 2:21 PM on March 31, 2016


As of 2014 Chelsea Clinton had a 59-16 favorable/unfavorable rating. I'm a little surprised how high that is but I guess it helps she hasn't been a formal political figure.

I'm more than a little surprised that she even has a favorable/unfavorable rating, considering that she's never been a formal political figure.
posted by cjelli at 2:44 PM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thomas Frank, perhaps most notable for using his home state of Kansas as a case study for the transformation of the United States by the Republican Party's embrace of the Southern strategy and the Reagan revolution

Speaking of Kansas: Kansas Lawmakers Ignore Separation Of Powers, Look To Impeach Supreme Court Justices
posted by homunculus at 2:53 PM on April 1, 2016




I'm loving this idea that neoconservatives might back Clinton in the general election because it makes me wonder where their particularly assassin ideology will live longer term.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:28 PM on April 2, 2016


That people don't earn political power because of the privilege granted by their name.

Which is why of course, you believe that Franklin Delano Roosevelt should have lost the election to Hoover, right?
posted by happyroach at 2:39 PM on April 2, 2016


I can list a ton of great Kings and Queens if you want, doesn't mean I want monarchy.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:49 PM on April 2, 2016


How Hillary Clinton Bought the Loyalty of 33 State Democratic Parties

This idea of Hillary Clinton needing to buy loyalty from her own party is at odds with Bernie's fundraising independence from the Democratic Party, and basically using it to cast himself as non-corrupt. Seems like Bernie has spun his disloyalty to Democrats as integrity, but now wants them to back him anyway.
posted by Brian B. at 4:42 PM on April 2, 2016


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