Friday, November 18, 2016

One Week Later: Working Class Whites and the Way Forward | Commonweal Magazine

This is a critique that bases itself on John Judis's new book The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.  essentially it says that the neo-liberal order of the past twenty or thirty years has bred the Brixt vote, French anti-immigrant politics, and now Trump.
What are its features?  "market solutions", welfare reform, globalizaton, etc.  Every one of them has a right wing tilt.  Welfare reform played very well with white workers who resented any efforts to lift up the poor - especially the non-white poor.  It prevented Hillary Clinton from credibly critiquing rising inequality.  And limiting his rhetoric to attacks on "the billionaire class" made Bernie Sanders campaign a one trick pony.  - gwc
One Week Later: Working Class Whites and the Way Forward | Commonweal Magazine
by Matthew Sitman

****One of the least helpful responses to Trump’s win would be to conflate understanding Trump voters with excusing them. The former is a prerequisite for moving forward constructively. People’s anger and frustrations can be understandable, at least in part, even if what they do with that anger is alarming. There is no need to psychoanalyze Trump voters too deeply in any of this: it’s only necessary to imagine why some would take an opportunity to reject the status quo.

The central moral fact of Trump’s ascendancy is this: a man who appealed to white nationalism will be in the White House. If we lament the ways so many have been left behind economically, we must never indulge their racism, or their support for a racist candidate. A renewed working class-centered Democratic Party must be uncompromisingly a party of racial justice. In a decade or two, the working class will be about half comprised of people of color. Any working-class movement that is not multiracial and does not connect economic injustice to other forms of oppression deserves to fail.

It wouldn’t have taken many working-class white votes for Hillary Clinton to be our president-elect. A few hundred thousand in a handful of Rust Belt states would have tipped the election her way. Think of it as a wager: that offering a populist alternative to the economic status quo—which is the right thing to do anyway—can energize workers of all races; that it might blunt at least some of the appeal of white nationalist demagoguery; and that, for some voters, the promise of a better life can outweigh their racial resentments. As a bet, it surely is no worse than the last one the party made.

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