Friday, April 07, 2017

Are The Democratic Party Elites In DC Playing Right Into Trump's Little Fascist Hands?


Writing at the Intercept yesterday, Mehdi Hasan asserted that "it isn't only Republicans, it seems, who traffic in alternative facts. Since Donald Trump’s shock election victory, leading Democrats have worked hard to convince themselves, and the rest of us, that his triumph had less to do with racism and much more to do with economic anxiety-- despite almost all of the available evidence suggesting otherwise." He singles out Bernie and Elizabeth Warren for particular abuse who, he claims "seem much keener to lay the blame at the door of the dysfunctional Democratic Party and an ailing economy than at the feet of racist Republican voters."

The latest data from the American National Election Studies, he says shows clear evidence that attitudes about blacks, immigrants, and Muslims were a key component of Trump’s appeal. "The new ANES data only confirms what a plethora of studies have told us since the start of the presidential campaign: the race was about race."
Other surveys and polls of Trump voters found “a strong relationship between anti-black attitudes and support for Trump”; Trump supporters being “more likely to describe African Americans as ‘criminal,’ ‘unintelligent,’ ‘lazy’ and ‘violent’”; more likely to believe “people of color are taking white jobs”; and a “majority” of them rating blacks “as less evolved than whites.” Sorry, but how can any of these prejudices be blamed on free trade or low wages?

For Sanders, Warren and others on the left, the economy is what matters most and class is everything. Yet the empirical evidence just isn’t there to support them. Yes Trump won a (big) majority of non-college-educated whites, but he also won a majority of college-educated whites, too. He won more young white voters than Clinton did and also a majority of white women; he managed to win white votes regardless of age, gender, income or education.
And that brings us right to Nick Kristof's Thursday column, Be Nice to Trump Voters. Be began by pointing out that when he writes "about people struggling with addictions or homelessness, liberals exude sympathy while conservatives respond with snarling hostility to losers who make 'bad choices.' When I write about voters who supported President Trump, it’s the reverse: Now it’s liberals who respond with venom, hoping that Trump voters suffer for their bad choice." Perfect example-- how many people felt a sense of schadenfreude about the Trump voter in Granger, Indiana whose husband was deported Tuesday? I always contend that in these individual cases of one person voting for Trump and bringing misery on their own head-- rather than on the head of a whole class of people-- glee is entirely appropriate. Kristof doesn't agree.

One problem with the Democratic anger is that it stereotypes a vast and contradictory group of 63 million people. Sure, there were racists and misogynists in their ranks, but that doesn’t mean that every Trump voter was a white supremacist. While it wasn’t apparent from reading the column, one of the Trump voters I quoted was black, and another was Latino. Of course, millions of Trump voters were members of minorities or had previously voted for Barack Obama.

“Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and just deplorable folks,” Senator Bernie Sanders, who has emerged as a surprising defender of Trump voters, said the other day. “I don’t agree.”

The blunt truth is that if we care about a progressive agenda, we simply can’t write off 46 percent of the electorate. If there is to be movement on mass incarceration, on electoral reform, on women’s health, on child care, on inequality, on access to good education, on climate change, then progressives need to win more congressional and legislative seats around the country. To win over Trump voters isn’t normalizing extremism, but a strategy to combat it.

...Nothing I’ve written since the election has engendered more anger from people who usually agree with me than my periodic assertions that Trump voters are human, too. But I grew up in Trump country, in rural Oregon, and many of my childhood friends supported Trump. They’re not the hateful caricatures that some liberals expect, any more than New York liberals are the effete paper cutouts that my old friends assume.

Maybe we need more junior year “abroad” programs that send liberals to Kansas and conservatives to Massachusetts.

Hatred for Trump voters also leaves the Democratic Party more removed from working-class pain. For people in their 50s, mortality rates for poorly educated whites have soared since 2000 and are now higher than for blacks at all education levels. Professors Angus Deaton and Anne Case of Princeton University say the reason is “deaths of despair” arising from suicide, drugs and alcohol.

...Democrats didn’t do enough do address this suffering, so Trump won working-class voters-- because he at least faked empathy for struggling workers. He sold these voters a clunker, and now he’s already beginning to betray them. His assault on Obamacare would devastate many working-class families by reducing availability of treatment for substance abuse. As I see it, Trump rode to the White House on a distress that his policies will magnify.

So by all means stand up to Trump, point out that he’s a charlatan and resist his initiatives. But remember that social progress means winning over voters in flyover country, and that it’s difficult to recruit voters whom you’re simultaneously castigating as despicable, bigoted imbeciles.
One of my oldest friends just got back from a trip to Barcelona and Amsterdam yesterday and dove right into Kristof's column. She doesn't agree with his perspective at all. "To me it is b.s. to keep talking about sympathy for Trump supporters," she wrote me. "If the Dems really care, they can institute progressive policies that would help them with their economic plight, though I doubt this would attract them one bit as they are so stupid and unaware. Trying to understand them and be kind and sympathetic is fruitless, naive and dangerous. To try to attract them is a huge waste of time as they are set on their support of Trump, defying common sense. They are ignorant and dangerous to this country, perhaps without realizing it, although the does not excuse them. They do not deserve sympathy for whom they chose and have brought upon us and the world. Would more sympathy for the Germans have had any effect on their glorious unwavering love for Hitler? A big NO."

She knows something about what she's talking about. In 2012 Obama won her swingy upstate New York district 52.1% to 45.9%. Last November, though, this well off suburban district swung to Trump, 50.8% to 44.0%. Wednesday, William Wan, writing from Youngstown, Ohio for the Washington Post took on the topic in terms of how Ohio Democrats are trying to move forward after the electoral debacle in their state, in which Trump not only flipped the state but also won by the largest margin of any presidential candidate since 1988. Local Democratic leaders feel the DC Dems "have no idea what voters in middle America care about... [and] have fallen completely out of touch with America’s blue-collar voters."
“It doesn’t matter how much we scream and holler about jobs and the economy at the local level. Our national leaders still don’t get it,” said David Betras, the county’s party chair. “While Trump is talking about trade and jobs, they’re still obsessing about which bathrooms people should be allowed to go into.”

...[F]ew are talking about issues that really matter to people in places such as Youngstown: Stagnant wages, vanishing jobs and sputtering economies. Even the Democrats’ recent success in blocking Trump’s attempt to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act matters little in the face of those core interests, local party leaders said. And unless the party begins addressing those blue-collar issues, they said, there will be real and dire consequences in states like theirs.

...In Mahoning County-- a Democratic stronghold decimated by the manufacturing industry’s decline-- [Democratic Party chairman, David] Betras was seeing GOP yard signs suddenly popping up. During the primaries, he learned that 18 of his own Democratic precinct captains had crossed party lines to vote for Trump. Some areas had to print extra Republican primary ballots just to keep up with the demand.

“That’s when I knew something was wrong,” he said.

He warned Clinton that she had lost all credibility with working-class voters by waffling on trade and offering tepid solutions. He urged in his memo that she talk about infrastructure instead.

“The workers we’re talking about don’t want to run computers, they want to run back hoes, dig ditches, sling concrete block,” he wrote. “They’re not embarrassed about the fact that they get their hands dirty... They love it and they want to be respected and honored for it.”

He sent his memo to Clinton’s top campaign adviser in Ohio and other senior party officials. But Betras never heard back.

Months later, he said he thinks his party leaders still haven’t gotten the message.
I just want to add one thing-- a kind of word of warning. Do NOT equate dissing Trump with progressivism. I had more than a little push-back over the Kristen Gillibrand post the other day, push-back premised on her (largely ritual) opposition to Trump. Yes, it's nice that Gillibrand has opposed Trump's nominations but that doesn't make her less a corporate lackey from her mega-donors. Bernie and Elizabeth do have it right. Party elitists don't.

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At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO. Bernie and Elizabeth also got it wrong, if partially.

Bernie and Elizabeth lost their credibility to dissect the result when they utterly betrayed their advocacies by endorsing and campaigning for the lying corrupt neocon neolib bank whore -- the anti-Bernie/Elizabeth. If you are so clueless you endorse someone who is opposed to everything you say you are for, your credibility is permanently lost.

The "win" by the orange-utang was part racism, part stupidity and part default.
Default because $hillbillary is an odious monster who is so unappealing to sentient nonracists that $he could not be voted for. In this delusionally binary system, if you cannot vote FOR one, you must then vote for the other by default.

How many drumpf votes were "protest" votes because $hillbillary is an odious monster, and considered a safe protest because all polling showed $hillbillary would waltz into the WH to serve the banks and war? Nobody asks this question.

White men largely voted on racism. White women maybe split on racism and stupidity. All nonwhites and college educated (not already racist) who voted drumpf are imbeciles and should lose their right to vote.

And you should consider ulterior motives among those who offer up opinions about the election. Are they covering their own asses? The asses of their so-called party? distracting from real issues and motives? plowing the field for 2018? Plowing how?

I've not seen a single democrat or democrap saying that $hillbillary was a horrible mistake; that $he is in the top 3 reasons $he lost (and the orange-utang won, by default); that $he would have been a disaster in the WH... and on and on. nothing.

Are they covering and preparing for something or are they just plain clueless?


At 7:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 7:08:

I'm so tired of you. You're so boring.

At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 7:08 - I completely agree. The drumpf, $hillbillary, democraps is boring everyone and needs to go somewhere else.

At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having been raised in the south while a member of an agnostic FDR-loving Jewish family I find this analysis ahistorical.

My father, after helping liberate a WWII concentration camp, had a resultant fear of ghettos, so we lived in xtian neighborhoods. No one was allowed to play w/ me; I was a "negra trying to pass."

I'm a person who has experienced Southern racism altogether too personally. Yet I have nothing but sympathy for the poor whites who were encouraged to be racist at the end of slavery. They were offered shit for wages & the political message: You might be poor, but at least you ain't an N-word.

Poor whites were also encouraged to be proud, to "protect" women w/ violence, to not accept "hand-outs", & in general to be assholes. A culture arose from this & we still suffer from it, as a nation, to this day.

I'm also old enough to have seen that each time the economy tanks, people are encouraged to blame immigrants & people of color for "taking jobs that belong to white Americans." Ooops, more history.

Something else: While we progressives snarked & laughed at the followers of George, while we cracked ourselves up making jokes at the expense of those we deemed stupid - those fuckers were running for school boards, getting elected, choosing fahrstunkina textbooks, etc.

So please don't offer me the same salvo Southern workers were given:

"Trump may be my president, but at least I'm not racist."

Cuz, y'know what - it still divides us, encourages contempt, still makes solidarity on the important issues (Medicare for all, ending opportunistic wars, the income inequality, climate change) impossible, & makes political change that much more difficult.

If the Republicans allow/encourage their base to hate all those unlike them & the Dems allow/encourage their base to hate the "deplorables," then we're just going in circles, folks.

I'm w/ Bernie n this one.

At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the Democorrupts to admit that maybe economic distress played a role in voters choosing to back Drumpf over $hillary would mean they would have to acknowledge that Chuckie-$chmuckie $chumer was grossly misinformed when he declared that “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

Somehow, that didn't work out so well, did it? But since Chuckie-$chmuckie $chumer remains a Party leader, and also remains on the Wall $treet Payola Roll, one can't have the truth, because Democorrupt Party leaders Can't Handle The Truth! Of the two possible rewards, it's very clear to those of us who work for a living that the Democorrupt leaders would rather collect Wall $treet Payola than win power back and have to actually rule again.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Anon said...

Another agreement here. Hidden among the juvenile insults are elements of structural and strategic stuff I agree with, but the repetition of the stupid name-calling wins out

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gee folks... I'm awfully sorry my truth telling is boring you all. DWT uses "blue dogs" and "new dems", which are inoffensive but also sub-optimally descriptive. Both "nice" terms refer to corrupt fascists with other flaws. I use offensive terms to make sure the meaning isn't lost in the niceness.

Challenge the truth if you want and prove I'm wrong. I'm fine with that. but if the ACCURATE names offend/bore... maybe you should look inward. You all SHOULD be offended and mad and livid... at what is happening. My choice of nouns should be the least of your issues.

At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The actual question is: did the Dem elites get little fascist Herr Hair elected ...
by nominating their candidate who, WHEN able to surpass Herr Hair in preconvention polls, did so only within the polls' margin of error.

This, in contrast to the Dems' other candidate who, in the same polls, consistently beat Herr Hair by double digits.

John Puma

At 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

democraps are playing into the tiny hands of the money who owns them. it's that simple.

In times where their numbers are irrelevant, they may pretend to be the party of FDR, but just put them back in the lead and watch them do the same as they did in 2009.

OR, we could euthanize them once and for all and start over with real leftys and real principles.

keep the democraps... nothing changes. start over with real leftys and there's a chance for progress.

democraps. never again.


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