A note from the editors: To say many of us were taken aback by the election results would be an understatement. We believe understanding and progress comes with exposure to a number of ideas, thoughts and arguments and with that in mind The Stansbury Forum is breaking with it’s once weekly postings schedule (at least our efforts to do so) and posting the following by Bill Fletcher, Garrett Brown and Mike Miller in quick secession. We encourage readers to read all three and to post their thoughts.
There has been and will be a flood of analysis as to how Donald Trump won the electoral vote and what that means about the American electorate. The lessons that left and labor organizations and activists draw from this experience will be key to whether an effective response to the impending Republican onslaught is developed and successfully launched.
I think it is important to avoid jumping to conclusions – as some already have, suggesting American working people are hopelessly bigoted and sexist. A deliberate assessment of the polling numbers is in order before drawing conclusions that will impact how we proceed in defending truth, justice and the other values we hold dear.
The articles listed below – hardly an exhaustive list – include some interesting facts that run counter to the “it’s all racism and sexism” analysis:
• Donald Trump actually LOST the election – Clinton received more votes and, in any other country but the US, would be president-elect. That is not the case because of a 18th century mechanism developed by white male property owners (including human slaves) to maintain their control and prevent popular power.
• The media is reporting that Trump received the votes of 53% of white woman who voted;
• The media is reporting the 33% of Latino men and 25% of Latino women voted for Trump;
• The media is reporting that the people who decided the election in Trump’s favor were voters who had voted for Obama in previous elections, some of these voting for Obama twice;
• The media is reporting that 21% of people who voted for Trump did so while at the same time agreeing that he is “unfit to do the job.”
Clearly a significant section of Trump voters are racists and sexists. But not all of them. The rush by some to blame voters rather than the political system that produce a deeply flawed Democratic Party candidate who epitomized for millions everything they hate about the 1% and their rule is a mistake, in my view.
It appears that many Trump voters were so intent on shouting “FUCK YOU” to the political/economic elites that they were willing to vote for Trump despite believing he is “unfit” and a racist bigot, a misogynist, a serial liar, and a vicious bully.
One can only imagine what the results might have been if the Democratic Party candidate was Bernie Sanders – a genuine opponent of the billionaire class for decades. That did not happen, of course, because the Democratic Party is owned lock, stock & barrel by the same 1% that has caused so much misery and anguish to millions of Americans.
Obviously the fact that significant sections of key groups – blue-collar workers, women, Latinos, previous Obama voters – are willing to overlook all the racism, misogyny, bullying that was wrapped around Trump’s “core anti-establishment message” is sobering, and needs to be carefully analyzed.
I think one reason why many Trump voters of all colors and genders were able to ignore the unforgiveable is that their real-life experience has taught them that no matter what, they are always screwed, always abandoned, whether it is by Democratic elite liberalism or Republican social conservatism. Millions of Americans over the last decade – middle class as well as working class – have seen their lives, and the lives of their children, turn very dark with no light on the horizon. If the political and economic systems are rigged against them – as they are – then they can at least have the satisfaction of giving the elites the middle finger. They will, of course, get screwed once again by Trump, or whoever actually runs his administration.
But in a weird sort of way, the fact that so many working class people now want to say “fuck you” to a system that has survived so long not by force of arms but by force of illusion, is a positive thing. This is a point of departure for all of us to have a discussion. They are not all “beyond redemption,” assuming we learn how to see the world from their perspective, and that they learn from their mistakes and we learn from our own mistakes.
A selection of useful articles:
“Politics is the solution,” Jacobin magazine, November 9, 2016
“Democrats, Trump, and the ongoing dangerous refusal to learn the lesson of Brexit,” Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, November 9, 2016
“It was the rise of the Davos class that sealed America’s fate” Naomi Klein, The Guardian, November 9, 2016
“Revenge of the forgotten class” Alex MacGillis, Pro Publica, November 10, 2016
“What I learned after 100,000 miles on the road talking to Trump supporters” Chris Arnade, The Guardian, November 3, 2016
“How Democrats killed their Populist soul” Matt Stoller, The Atlantic, Oct 24, 2016
“You can dress him up, but Trump will always be Trump” Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post, October 21, 2016
“Why the media blitz on Trump isn’t working” Charles Lane, The Washington Post, September 21, 2016