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  #1  
Old 21 July 2018, 09:14 PM
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Default Liberal Blind Spots Are Hiding the Truth About ‘Trump Country’

A friend sent me this article; I thought it was worth posting here.

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Is the white working class an angry, backward monolith — some 90 million white Americans without college degrees, all standing around in factories and fields thumping their dirty hands with baseball bats? You might think so after two years of media fixation on this version of the aggrieved laborer: male, Caucasian, conservative, racist, sexist.

This account does white supremacy a great service in several ways: It ignores workers of color, along with humane, even progressive white workers. It allows college-educated white liberals to signal superior virtue while denying the sins of their own place and class. And it conceals well-informed, formally educated white conservatives — from middle-class suburbia to the highest ranks of influence — who voted for Donald Trump in legions.
[ . . . ]
The greatest con of 2016 was not persuading a white laborer to vote for a nasty billionaire with soft hands. Rather, it was persuading a watchdog press to cast every working-class American in the same mold. The resulting national conversation, which seeks to rename my home “Trump Country,” elevates a white supremacist agenda by undermining resistance and solidarity where it is most urgent and brave.
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Old 22 July 2018, 01:33 AM
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I read it expecting she’d eventually explain why people like her dad are voting for Trump against their interests. Instead, it seems like she’s saying "don’t blame people like my dad, plenty of Trmup supporters are well-off college educated white guys, as opposed to poor white guys."

It’s not even clear who her dad voted for, if at all. Kind of hard to comment beyond that, since she seems to be using anecdote to counter a stereotype. That’s not really super effective. Data, on the other hand, would be nice.

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The greatest con of 2016 was not persuading a white laborer to vote for a nasty billionaire with soft hands. Rather, it was persuading a watchdog press to cast every working-class American in the same mold
See, I don’t think that actually happened. I think there’s a fallacy of the form "the press claimed the majority of supporters of A are B, therefore they are claiming the majority of B are supporters of A" at the heart of this op-ed.
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Old 22 July 2018, 01:59 AM
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I have long been tired of the memes that circulate about the Working Class and Trump. First of all, the Working Class mostly went for Hillary, while Trump's demographic was slanted more towards the rich and white. Of the Working Class voters who did vote for Trump, they may have elected him for a lot of reasons, but they likely weren't economic ones.

Secondly, as I have said many times, Working Class is used as a codeword for White Men. I mean, women and PoC having jobs? Next you'll tell me the country is being ruled by thinned-skinned con artist. Then again, it always seems to be about White Men. In the wake of the election, there was endless discussions about how the Democratic Party has to change to appeal towards White Men, but no one seems to think that Women and PoC votes mattered at all.


Lately, I've wondered if the depiction of Trump's voters as consisting of the Working Class, is the Right setting up a dodge. It does go along with the GOP's long tradition of Sons of Privilege from long lines of Sons of Privilege, magically turning into Jes' Plain Folk, then proceed to screw over actual Jes' Plain Folks, but I've wondered if there's another aspect to it.

Maybe deep down, they know that Trump is a human dumpster fire, likely to destroy and burn everything down, either via a stupid accident or petty spite, so in setting up the Working Class dodge, they are striving to protect their reputations when all goes south. Rather than talk about the billionaires who flooded the Trump campaign with cash, they'll pin it on the Working Class, be all "Hey those poors sure are dumb and poor, am I right?"

The sad part is it would probably work because in a choice between blame a poor majority or the wealthy elite, society as a whole seems to favor blaming the poor majority. The Right claims to be Jes' Plain Folks, while being nothing of the kind. In fact, they look down on the people they're pretending to be. They may not use the word "Eugenics" but they probably still believe in some of its tenets, in that those who are on top, are there because they are naturally smarter and more moral than everyone else.
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Old 22 July 2018, 02:03 AM
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Very well said, Mouse. I do think that there is blame shifting going on, so that other Republicans can quickly shake off any responsibility for Trump if/when things go bad for him, while working hard to stay in his good graces now, when they actually could do something about him. Moral bravery is pretty scarce just now.
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Old 22 July 2018, 02:11 AM
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Very well said, Mouse.
You think? I think it’s more arguing with people who aren’t here and claiming to know what other people are thinking better than they do. With its emphasis on White Men Upper Case, it verges on a case in point for what the op-ed writer is arguing against, oddly enough.
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  #6  
Old 22 July 2018, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
I read it expecting she’d eventually explain why people like her dad are voting for Trump against their interests. Instead, it seems like she’s saying "don’t blame people like my dad, plenty of Trmup supporters are well-off college educated white guys, as opposed to poor white guys."

It’s not even clear who her dad voted for, if at all. Kind of hard to comment beyond that, since she seems to be using anecdote to counter a stereotype. That’s not really super effective. Data, on the other hand, would be nice.
It is the level of coherence I've come to expect from the New York Times op-ed page, though.
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Old 22 July 2018, 03:03 PM
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It’s not even clear who her dad voted for, if at all. .
Clinton, I'm pretty sure.

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Among the 30 states tidily declared “red” after the 2016 election, in two-thirds of them Mrs. Clinton received 35 to 48 percent of the vote. My white working-class family was part of that large minority, rendered invisible by the Electoral College and graphics that paint each state red or blue.

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she seems to be using anecdote to counter a stereotype. That’s not really super effective. Data, on the other hand, would be nice.
I think that depends on the person. Not everyone's best convinced by the same type of argument.

And I think those who easily swallow stereotypes may be less likely to be better convinced by data than by stories about specific people.

I will admit, however, to not having any data to prove either part of that, one way or the other.

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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
I read it expecting she’d eventually explain why people like her dad are voting for Trump against their interests. Instead, it seems like she’s saying "don’t blame people like my dad, plenty of Trmup supporters are well-off college educated white guys, as opposed to poor white guys."
Why should this particular article have to explain why people like her dad voted for Trump? I'm pretty sure that what she's trying to do is to point out exactly that very many people like her dad didn't do so; and that the ones who didn't ought to be acknowledged and encouraged, instead of so often focusing on the ones who did.

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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
See, I don’t think that actually happened. I think there’s a fallacy of the form "the press claimed the majority of supporters of A are B, therefore they are claiming the majority of B are supporters of A" at the heart of this op-ed.
I think the subtlety involved in making that distinction very often doesn't come through in articles or in discussions of the subject. And I've certainly read things that sounded a whole lot more like the second half of that.
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Old 22 July 2018, 03:51 PM
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You may be right. It honestly never occurred to me that there was this popular image of a "white working class ... angry, backward monolith" consisting of almost uniformly "male, Caucasian, conservative, racist, [and] sexist" personalities. But then seeing a couple other replies in this thread, it occurs to me I may have been guilty of the sort of blindness to this White Men Upper Case stereotype that the op-ed writer cautions against.
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  #9  
Old 22 July 2018, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
this popular image of a "white working class ... angry, backward monolith" consisting of almost uniformly "male, Caucasian, conservative, racist, [and] sexist" personalities.
Most of the versions of that which I've seen would add "rural" to it; and some of them include women as well as men.
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  #10  
Old 23 July 2018, 02:44 PM
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The other thing one has to bear in mind is that the states are not monolithic. In 2016, for instance, Trump received 30% or more of the vote in every state except the District of Columbia (where he got only 4%), and got 40% or more of the vote in 10 states that went "blue" (including New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Minnesota). Similarly, Clinton got 40% or more of the vote in at least 9 states that went "red," including Georgia, Arizona, Texas, and Mississippi. (I suspect that a lot of that would break down on racial lines, with Trump winning the white vote in those states by wide margins, while blacks and Hispanics largely voted for Clinton.) So, while Trump did tend to win in southern and midwestern states while Clinton took the west and northeast, there are large minorities in all areas that voted the other way in each case. (The way the electoral college gives disproportionate weight to states with lower populations obviously worked in Trump's favor.)

So the odds are good that, unless you live in DC, at least a third of the people in your state voted against the majority. So most states are a lot more 'purple' than they may seem.
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Old 25 July 2018, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Most of the versions of that which I've seen would add "rural" to it; and some of them include women as well as men.
I keep pointing out that the Working Class went predominately for Hillary. Again, Trump's voters leaned more to the affluent side of the spectrum than the Working Class. But then again, they keep trying desperately to cling to the myth that his voters were acting out of economic concerns.

But I remain dubious of any of Trump's Supporters who claim they totally voted for him for non-racist reasons. Trump's entire platform was Racism. He proposed no other policies or ideas outside of the One Idea he had, which can be politely summed up as: Certain people qualify as citizens and thus deserving of the Rights due to them as a result, and Certain people qualify as humans and thus deserving of the Rights due to them as a result.

Even if you claim you voted for him because of, I don't know, maybe you thought those red hats were nifty, and you totally have nothing in common with his base's more repugnant beliefs, you are still saying that the Racism wasn't a deal-breaker and again, one of my rules of Life is, even if you are claimer more nobler, more enlightened reasons for charging with a raging, stinking mob full of assholes, you're still charging with a raging, stinking mob full of assholes.

Though in general, a large reason I dislike all these discussions about the Working Class is unlike many of the pundits and politicians who invoke them, I have actually lived in several, rural small towns. Since I live in the reddest part of a red state, it goes without saying that the vast majority voted for Trump.

I've sat and had meals with them, gone to Sunday School, and sat in the pews with them. I do know about the struggles they are going through and on some level, I sympathize with them. They have legitimate grievances/problems and they are getting screwed over so badly by Trump and co. Though my sympathy only goes so far. In voting for Trump, they clearly demonstrated that they were more than willing sacrifice the lives of minorities, throw them under the bus, in the off-chance that it would improve their lives. Polish that turd all you like, but that's pretty damn despicable.

Though why they decided a guy who got his start with a million-dollar loan from daddy and can barely mask his contempt towards anyone who doesn't make six figures, is a populist champion on behalf of the Working Class, I'll never know.
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Old 25 July 2018, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
I keep pointing out that the Working Class went predominately for Hillary. Again, Trump's voters leaned more to the affluent side of the spectrum than the Working Class. But then again, they keep trying desperately to cling to the myth that his voters were acting out of economic concerns.
Just because someone is in a more affluent group doesn't mean they can't have valid economic concerns.

For the rest, I agree with you about what it means when someone accepts racism in a candidate because of other factors. Lie down with dogs...
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Old 25 July 2018, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Mouse View Post

Though why they decided a guy who got his start with a million-dollar loan from daddy and can barely mask his contempt towards anyone who doesn't make six figures, is a populist champion on behalf of the Working Class, I'll never know.
Not that dissimilar to to what happened with Bush II. I was always hearing comments like "he's the kind of guy you could sit down and have a beer with". As if rich Republicans are just plain folks while rich Democrats are snooty elite white wine drinking snobs.
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Old 25 July 2018, 03:11 PM
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Just because someone is in a more affluent group doesn't mean they can't have valid economic concerns.
Right. Except I think that the Republicans like to spin their message to say that they are for the small business owner, the farmer, the independent contractor, etc... That's usually the focus of their message. That and reducing taxes. Except the tax reduction usually has a minimal- or detrimental- impact on the less affluent folk overall.

Their message is almost always about the little guy and their work is almost always geared towards the ivory tower share holders and CEO's. Those people have economic concerns. I assume those individuals consider their concerns valid. I think I might disagree.

So yes, many of the affluent probably voted for him out of valid economic concerns (if making more money is a valid economic concern) and they probably were right to do so in the short term at least. He and the Republicans likely will try to make decisions that make the wealthy wealthier if they choose to play along.
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Old 25 July 2018, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
I remain dubious of any of Trump's Supporters who claim they totally voted for him [URL]for non-racist reasons.Trump's entire platform was Racism. He proposed no other policies or ideas outside of the One Idea he had, which can be politely summed up as: Certain people qualify as citizens and thus deserving of the Rights due to them as a result, and Certain people qualify as humans and thus deserving of the Rights due to them as a result.

Even if you claim you voted for him because of, I don't know, maybe you thought those red hats were nifty, and you totally have nothing in common with his base's more repugnant beliefs, you are still saying that the Racism wasn't a deal-breaker
Not actually true that he proposed no other policies or ideas. He also talked a good deal about getting the USA out of what he (and a lot of other people) thought were bad trade treaties, and about removing regulations which he said were stifling the economy. I think what he's trying to do about trade is even worse, and that most at least of those regulations were doing important things and an economy adjusted to them would likely be better in the long run, but he really didn't talk only about immigration issues during the campaign.

And, while I agree that there was a good bit of racism during the campaign and has been more since he got elected, and I also agree that some voted for Trump specifially because of it: he was pretty careful, especially during the campaign, to keep the racism deniable for those running on a certain type of knowlege base. The reason they're called dog whistles is because a lot of people genuinely can't hear them.

And speaking of knowledge base: a) many voters had been hearing a steady drumroll of demonization of Hillary Clinton for thirty years; and many of them had been hearing very little else and b) there seem to be a lot of people genuinely convinced that it's easily possible to get into the USA legally, and therefore that people coming in without prior approval must be behaving improperly in general; because, if they weren't up to something, why wouldn't they use the proper procedures? The idea that those procedures are in effect not available doesn't seem to sink through -- but I think that, while this is often deliberate refusal to mention that bit, it's also often a genuine knowledge problem; because many people are only reading/hearing those who deliberately leave it out.
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Old 25 July 2018, 05:10 PM
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When you say things that the Republican Speaker of the House calls a textbook example of racism, I don't think you are keeping things deniable. For that matter, I think it is a huge stretch to say that the speech he gave to kick off his campaign was not openly, undeniably racist.
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Old 25 July 2018, 05:32 PM
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Not to mention all the times he retweeted something from known white supremacists.
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Old 25 July 2018, 06:07 PM
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Darth, was he called out by the Speaker before or after the election? I've lost track.

And he said plenty of things before the election that I agree were racist, yes. I'm saying that we're starting from a different knowledge base.

crocoduck_hunter, he said IIRC that he didn't know they were white supremacists, and that he didn't recognize the racist imagery in the tweets as being such. I thought he was lying. But there are plenty of people who do tweet and/or email forward things without checking where they come from or what might be underlying them; and some of those people probably did believe him.

I think we actually have quite a few people who genuinely think that This Is The USA And Nazism Can't Happen Here. And when people start pointing out, entirely accurately, that Trump's encouraging Nazis, they think those people are so far out of line that they shut down and don't hear anything else they're saying. I don't know a good way around that problem; I think it's a real problem, but I also think that pretending No It Can't Happen Here is a huge danger that increases the likelihood of its occuring.
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Old 25 July 2018, 06:50 PM
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It was June of 2016 when the judge business went down.
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Old 25 July 2018, 07:01 PM
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crocoduck_hunter, he said IIRC that he didn't know they were white supremacists, and that he didn't recognize the racist imagery in the tweets as being such. I thought he was lying. But there are plenty of people who do tweet and/or email forward things without checking where they come from or what might be underlying them; and some of those people probably did believe him.
That would be believable once, but multiple times? That doesn't fly nearly as well.
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