The Clinton campaign actively abetted Trump at every stage of the primaries, even though it meant unleashing dangerous reactionary forces across the country, because he was the enemy they wanted. Whether he knows it or not, his function was to be so vulgar that an impotent public would unite around Clinton, to make America congratulate itself on the morning after Election Day for not having chosen the worst candidate imaginable. He’s there to make it look like everything is at stake, when the worst has already happened, and nothing is at stake whatsoever.
Sam Kriss again, delivering another kicking to lesser-evilism, this time via a skewering of the empty pseudo-activism of hashtag merchandising. You should read the whole thing, if only to enjoy his description of Marco Rubio as "the depthless hologram that still manages to leave a trail of slime in its wake" - well, I guess you just did, but reading the whole thing would allow you to enjoy it in context.
“Our first priority on every episode like that was to reverse-engineer the show to make it look like his judgment had some basis in reality. Sometimes it would be very hard to do, because the person he chose did nothing. We had to figure out how to edit the show to make it work, to show the people he chose to fire as looking bad — even if they had done a great job.”
Based on Trump’s campaign rhetoric and available data, it appears that most of his voters this November will be people who are getting by well enough but who think of themselves as victims.
One thing the media misses is that a great portion of the white working class would align with any sense before victimhood. Right now they are clocking in and out of work, sorting their grocery coupons, raising their children to respect others, and avoiding political news coverage.
To be sure, one discouraging distillation – the caricature of the hate-spewing white male Trump voter with grease on his jeans – is a real person of sorts. There were one or two in my town: the good ol’ boy who menaces those with less power than himself – running people of color out of town with the threat of violence, denigrating women, shooting BB guns at stray cats for fun. They are who Trump would be if he’d been born where I was.
Media fascination with the hateful white Trump voter fuels the theory, now in fashion, that bigotry is the only explanation for supporting him. Certainly, financial struggle does not predict a soft spot for Trump, as cash-strapped people of color – who face the threat of his racism and xenophobia, and who resoundingly reject him, by all available measures – can attest. However, one imagines that elite white liberals who maintain an air of ethical grandness this election season would have a harder time thinking globally about trade and immigration if it were their factory job that was lost and their community that was decimated.
Affluent analysts who oppose Trump, though, have a way of taking a systemic view when examining social woes but viewing their place on the political continuum as a triumph of individual character. Most of them presumably inherited their political bent, just like most of those in “red” America did. If you were handed liberalism, give yourself no pats on the back for your vote against Trump.
Spare, too, the condescending argument that disaffected Democrats who joined Republican ranks in recent decades are “voting against their own best interests,” undemocratic in its implication that a large swath of America isn’t mentally fit to cast a ballot.
Whoever remains on Trump’s side as stories concerning his treatment of women, racism and other dangers continue to unfurl gets no pass from me for any reason. They are capable of voting, and they own their decisions. Let’s be aware of our class biases, though, as we discern who “they” are.
I mention in passing this article cites a Gallup poll which, among other points, notes that "[p]eople living in zip codes with greater exposure to capital income sources rather than wage and salary income are less likely to support Trump", which counts, a bit, against my theory that Trump supporters are more likely to be petit bourgeois than working class.
If you enjoyed this twitterspasm and would like to know more about the siege of Fort McHenry and the war of 1812, why not go here or here if you can't find the giftshop.
Cockburn, delighted with his recruits, noted happily that they excited “the most general & undisguised alarm” among the populace. He was certainly correct. “Our negroes are flocking to the enemy from all quarters, which they convert into troops, vindictive and rapacious — with a most minute knowledge of every bye path,” wrote an American commander in early August. “They leave us as spies upon our posts and our strength, and they return upon us as guides and soldiers and incendiaries.”
- "Washington Is Burning: Two centuries of racial tribulation in the nation’s capital" by Andrew Cockburn, in Harper's.
Ironically, while Key was composing the line "O'er the land of the free," it is likely that black slaves were trying to reach British ships in Baltimore Harbor. They knew that they were far more likely to find freedom and liberty under the Union Jack than they were under the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
- "Where’s the Debate on Francis Scott Key’s Slave-Holding Legacy?" by Christopher Wilson, at Smithsonian Magazine.
The racism of the upper class is never, ever the focus of newspaper article or thumbsucker pieces. So much is it ignored that it is as if it doesn’t exist. If it does exist, then perhaps one should ask questions about that class – but to do that is to impugn, even tacitly, the owners of the media. So … look over there, some fat white woman who works at Walmart is showing a confederate flag!
But by far the greatest irony in all of this is that Democrats have now explicitly adopted the exact smears that were used by the Far Right for decades to demonize liberals and the left as disloyal Kremlin stooges. For the entire second half of the 20th Century, any Americans who opposed U.S. proxy wars with Russia, or advocated arms control deals with them, or generally desired less conflict, were branded as Useful Idiots of the Kremlin, loyal to Moscow, controlled by Russian leaders. Democrats have taken this script – one of the most shameful and destructive in American history – and have made it the centerpiece of their 2016 presidential campaign.
Of doubtful educative usefulness (as the fingers-in-the-ears-screaming-la-la-la self-delusion of decent neo-liberals this election season is off the scale), but a nice overview of the history of this bit of Americana nevertheless.