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Monday, November 13, 2017

THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER READ ON TRUMP VOTERS

Surfing the web, I just came on this old piece by Jason Johnson.  You must read it.

4 comments:

Jerry Brown said...

Jason Johnson probably has a lot of legitimate reasons to be angry with this country. But his article here reads like a rant against whites that dismisses the mistakes the Democratic party and the Clinton campaign made in the election.

People who voted for Obama and then for Trump are not racist. People who didn't come out to vote for Hillary because they found her uninspiring and untrustworthy are not racist. No one I know feels that “That black guy and his pretty wife and kids made me feel bad about myself, and Trump is my way of getting back at him.” I don't have to imagine I was a 35 year old white man in 1999- I was one. It is a ridiculous assertion to make.

I don't know why you find this essay to be the best thing you ever read about Trump supporters. Lumping all the people who voted for Trump into some group of racists might make some people feel better for some reason, but it also makes it impossible to focus on what mistakes might have been made by our side and what needs to change next time. And the same goes for blaming the results on the Russians.

Yeah there are racists in this country, and we have a racist past, and some people probably vote the way they do because of their racial prejudice, but don't stick everyone into that small subset of the population. If you do that you might as well admit defeat for the next time- and probably forever.

Brian Leiter said...

Surprised you recommended this, it was pretty thin gruel, telling us more about the author than Trump's mix of supporters.

Ed Barreras said...

Toward the end of his career (at the height of the W. Bush years) Gore Vidal put out a series of angry political pamphlets. These were vaguely embarrassing and tinged with conspiracy, but one of Vidal’s admirers hailed them as (to paraphrase) “valuable less for their cogent argument than for illuminating a state of mind.” I think writing that illuminates a state of mind has its place, as long as we recognize its worth lies more in pathos than logos.

A better article than this one that touches on the same themes was just published by Frank Rich in New York Magazine. Rich argues that Trumpism represents the triumph of the constiutency of George Wallace, a group whose rage and persistence was vastly underestimated by the political establishment. I did not know this myself, but Rich claims that in 1972 Wallace, had he not been hobbled by a failed assasination attempt, could concievably have won the nomination of his party — the Democratic Party.

Rich concludes that if we want to ward off a less vulgar and buffoonish (and therefore more effective) version of the current president, we must adopt a Bernie Sanders-style populism that matches the passion on the Right. Which is the hundredth time that column has been written, but still, its a message worth repeating.

By the way, the internet rumor mill has it that this will be another big week in the Russia scandal. Professor, please comment.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/11/frank-rich-trumpism-after-trump.html

LFC said...

I did not know this myself, but Rich claims that in 1972 Wallace, had he not been hobbled by a failed assassination attempt, could conceivably have won the nomination of ...the Democratic Party

Not sure what '72 primary campaign Frank Rich remembers, but it's not the one I remember (was a bit too young to vote but followed the campaign closely). Wallace made a surprisingly strong showing in some primaries but he never really had a chance to get the Dem nomination, imo.