Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Sunday, June 24, 2018

Reprinted with permission from US News.

Given that Donald Trump won the election on a surge of turnout from white working-class voters in Michigan, Ohio and other states that campaign strategists for President Barack Obama once called a “Midwest firewall,” you’d expect the Democrats to compete hard for those voters in the midterm elections of 2018.

That is not turning out to be the case. Instead, party leaders have identified dozens of House Republicans who they believe are vulnerable. These Republicans represent affluent, white and nominally conservative suburban districts outside big cities, like New York City and Philadelphia, and in blue states like California, all districts Hillary Clinton won by a mile.

This strategy is no doubt baffling to some, especially progressives who have demonstrated power through grassroots direct action and through intense lobbying of Democratic senators who are now emboldened to filibuster Judge Neil Gorsuch, the president’s nominee for the Supreme Court. No doubt Bernie Sanders is pulling out what’s left of his hair. This party, he memorably said, has forgotten how to talk to working people. Of course, they are courting Republicans!

The so-called left will see the Democrats’ strategy as another instance in which the working man’s party betrayed the working man, and they will use it to defend their indefensible attacks against the only candidate in November who could govern responsibly, lead competently and do so in everyone’s name.

The so-called left will see the Democrats’ pragmatic play for GOP voters lukewarm on Trump as yet more evidence that the Democratic Party is sucking up to the international neoliberal order. That’s not just wrong, it’s insane, and what we can expect from a so-called left whose views of politics is purely and perversely theoretical. Even so, there’s something to this.

While targeting suburban Republicans in the short-term is prudent, the Democrats must find, in the long term, a way to reach white working-class voters without abandoning their anti-racist and anti-sexist positions. Despite the Obama coalition’s grave apprehensions, the Democrats must compete for every vote, even those of a white working-class that empowered a lying, thieving, philandering sadist who is on course to betraying them. I believe the Democrats can do it and they can do it without returning to bigotry-blind centrism.

First, let’s remember why white working-class voters supported Donald Trump: resentment. Resentment of female empowerment. Resentment of minority achievement. Resentment of the language of female empowerment and minority achievement (aka “political correctness”). All of the above are well-known, but less well-known, because it’s hard to see it through the smog of bigotry and white identity politics, is the resentment of class. To many Trump voters, Hillary Clinton was the distillation of all of the above.

She was powerful, rich and successful, but most of all, she represented an elite caste, a mysterious group of political power-brokers whose interests will lead to working-class ruination. Liberals may find this hard to comprehend, but I’ve come to think that, to many working-class voters, there wasn’t much difference between Hillary Clinton and a “vulture capitalist” like Mitt Romney. In other words, just as Obama in 2012 ran a populist campaign against a rich man, Trump in 2016 ran a populist campaign against a rich women.

That white working-class voters chose a billionaire as their class warrior is not ironic, nor it is reason to think white identity politics is the only thing binding Trump to his supporters. In their view, his wealth is different from Romney’s. Romney made his name tearing apart manufacturing firms that were the backbone of working-class communities. Trump made his name in real estate. It made him politically independent. It freed him of party loyalties and special interests. It gave him the means to smash the Establishment. Wealth wasn’t a liability, as it was for Romney. It was a key asset.

 But there was always a stipulation: that Trump use his power to serve the working class. While the president has made broad gestures to that end, by meeting with the heads of major corporations and by gutting environmental regulations that he and every Republican for decades has said stifles job creation, it is not clear how long the ruse will last. Eventually, reality will set in, and when it does, Trump will cease to be a class warrior. He will be just another old fat rich guy. He will be no more immune to the resentments of the white working-class than Mitt Romney was.

The Democrats can hurry that along. They can remind voters that this White House is packed with millionaires and billionaires. They can highlight the growing gap between Trump’s words and his deeds. But they can do something else, and it’s here where I see the Democrats finding a practical solution to their political paradox.

On the one hand, they must serve a minority base, voters appalled by white nationalists rising to prominence inside and outside the administration. On the other, as I’ve argued, they must find ways to reach white working-class voters. Luckily, the white nationalists offer a solution. It turns out that very prominent white nationalists are also very rich.

Steve Bannon is Trump’s chief strategist and former head of Breitbart News, the house organ of white nationalism. He’s a multimillionaire. Richard Spencer is the hip young face of white nationalism. He lives off his parents’ fortune, a fortune enriched by government subsidies. Samuel Jared Taylor is Spencer’s mentor and editor of American Renaissance, a white nationalist journal. Taylor is a proud graduate of Yale College.

To be sure, many white working-class voters saw nothing wrong with Trump’s overt bigotry, but I’m certain none would raise racism to the level of political philosophy, partly because philosophy is not what working-class people do and partly because working-class people would find almost nothing in common with the likes of Spencer, who lives off mommy and daddy’s bank account.

Republican strategy is so effective because the Republicans always manage the find a boogie man. The socialists. The government. The gays. The whatever. It works, because the Republicans win by dividing, not uniting, the opposite of Democratic needs. But this time, the rise of an extreme political ideology, white nationalism, has created a rare opportunity for the party of the people. The Democrats don’t need to choose between fighting the rich or fighting the racists. In this administration, they are one and the same.

71 Responses to Against the Rich And Racist

    • I mean, I hate to break it to you, but there is absolutely no chance that White Working Class you lunatics are intent on will vote for the Democrats. Sanders’ bumber-sticker slogans – I can’t call them policies – are simply unpopular with them.

      Stop alienating minorities chasing votes that don’t exist.

      • King Leo, your response only exacerbates, not helps, the dilemma the nation and the world faces. Sooner or later, we all must realize that our energies should be focused primarily on the issues and the root causes—not on symptoms like personalities, political allegiances, and other labels.

        • This article contains TERRIBLE advice, and it’s the same unworkable advice that Sanders et al always give: focus on the white working class, which won’t work, and ignore the minorities. Not one person Sanders backed won. No voter supported initiatives he backed won. We have to stop listening to self-righteous white people.

          • You’re still focused on the inconsequential symptom called partisan politics. What you cite are merely symptoms—we all can see the symptoms you mentioned, but as you know, a good solution is one that looks foremost at the root, namely a divisive posture which thoroughly informs how we respond.
            As far as racism and the widening gulf between the extremely rich and the desperately poor, Russia has NOTHING to do with that.

            Before we look across the seas for an excuse, let’s learn to look in the mirror at ourselves; before we blame Trump, Hillary, Sanders, etc. for our problems, let’s once again look at ourselves.

            A painful thing to do at times, I admit, but it is the only option any mature person will recognize and accept.

          • You’re focused on the actually quite consequential idea of being an idiot Tomato Brain.

          • 1/3 Normal people don’t stalk other people.
            Normal people don’t keep track of the race of their enemies.
            Normal people don’t make up things other people said about their race, you. Freaking. Lunatic.

          • If you want to claim to be some different internet race today, that’s just fine with me. Go for it. You can change your internet race every day if you want. Knock yourself out.

            Although you’re nowhere remotely close to being important enough to fill the role, if you want to imagine yourself as being my special internet enemy…fine, fine. Just don’t brag to your friends and family about it. Don’t get too full of yourself. There’s only so much of this I can take.

          • 1/2 Hi crazy idiot! It’s not normal to claim someone is black based on your imagination, then stalk them for the thought-crime of Reverse Racism Against The Whites.

          • Sanders, and NOBODY else who supported him ever talked about focusing on one race or designing policy for one race. Bernie’s outstanding civil rights record can be looked up and his demand for action on the uneven arrest records and unequal treatment in the legal system of African-Americans can also be.

            You’re a racist. Whitesplainin’, self-righteous white people, racist white working class, — everything is a white pejorative with you. Some degree of racial resentment towards whites from minorities is understandable given the history of the United States, but you take it too far. In the end, Black racism towards whites isn’t a whole lot better. A little more understandable maybe, but not much better.

            You literally want the Democrats to write off an entire group of lower to middle-income working people, based entirely on their race, because trying to get their vote too might offend some other race. Talk about terrible advice.

            I don’t even know what self righteous means in your context. Wanting health care for all, liveable wages, affordable housing, affordable education, etc… makes you a self-righteous white a$$hole? So, we should only listen to non-white conservative Democrats who presumably don’t care about any of those things?

          • Yes, I get that you’re heavily invested in a juvenile narrative where you’re a HERO for helping Nazis win power. If you weren’t a dumb bigot, I’d probably even feel like helping.

          • Also, it’s great that a white person is calling me a racist. That makes my goddam day. Go back to inventing that “outstanding” civil rights record, you sad sack of garbage.

          • In the early to mid 60’s when John Lewis was getting arrested in the south for civil rights protests and Bernie was getting arrested in the north for the exact same thing, where was Hillary? I can tell you where she was. She was a self-described proud Goldwater girl who HAD to have overlooked the presence of the KKK at some Goldwater rallies and his later SF convention. That was reported on at the time.

            When Bernie was one of the very few to cross racial lines and support Jesse Jackson for President in 1988, where was the Governor and first lady of Arkansas at the time (Bill & Hillary)? They were supporting the establishment white candidate, Michael Dukakis.

            Bernie denounced institutional racism and called for criminal justice reform to reduce the number of people in prison. He has advocated a crackdown on police brutality, and supports abolishing private, for-profit prisons and the death penalty. Bernie strongly supports Black Lives Matter. He supports legalizing marijuana at the federal level and has been rated 100% by the NAACP for his civil rights voting record. In 1988, Sanders worked for Jesse Jackson’s Presidential campaign. [from Wikipedia]

            Here’s some more reading for you, you sack of racist crap.

            http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/20-examples-bernie-sanders-powerful-record-civil-and-human-rights-1950s

            http://www.salon.com/2015/07/22/20_examples_of_bernie_sanders_powerful_record_on_civil_and_human_rights_partner/

          • OK thanks for blacksplaining why you only support establishment conservative blue-dog Democrats, Reagan lover.

          • You once revealed it.

            That’s okay. Doesn’t matter. Yes, I am white. None of this matters though.

          • This is the third of five separate posts where you’re stalking me, guy who is outright making up stuff to excuse his bizarre racist tirades

          • 2/3 Normal people don’t stalk other people.
            Normal people don’t keep track of the race of their enemies.
            Normal people don’t make up things other people said about their race, you. Freaking. Lunatic.

          • Here’s my last post, King Tomato Brain. It was from 3 days ago on this same thread, but it’s even more applicable now than it was then.

            dtgraham ♚ King Leo ♚ • 3 days ago
            You’re a nut, plain and simple. Or as others call you, a loon.
            1 • Edit• Reply•Share ›

          • 2/2 Hi crazy idiot! It’s not normal to claim someone is black based on your imagination, then stalk them for the thought-crime of Reverse Racism Against The Whites.

          • I love this reply – it so perfectly illustrates what’s wrong with you. Everyone who doesn’t support Sanders is black and loves Ronald Reagan. Jesus Christ.

            Every post you make illustrates why I’ve hated you since well before the primary finished.

          • If you don’t want people to have health care based on need and not ability to pay, and you don’t really want liveable wages, and you don’t like unions, and you don’t want working people to have affordable day care and child support and post secondary education, and you don’t care about working people (any race) getting a fair shot, … just say so.

            Don’t hide your conservative values behind race. Just be honest. I’ll strongly disagree with you but I’ll at least respect your honesty. Me, and a whole bunch of other Black progressives just like me.

          • We’re all useful idiots until we align with the Koch brothers and do what they say. Right, King Tomato Brain?

            You’re aware that the term “useful idiots” is an irrelevant Leninist phrase (to the modern world) that the American political right has glommed onto to put down the left. You know that, right?

            Then again, you’re part of that right.

          • This is the fifth of five separate posts where you’re stalking me, crazy racist dude

          • When people reply back and forth to each others’ posts, which simulates some kind of internet conversation, I don’t think that constitutes stalking. Actually, I’m sure it doesn’t.

            Here’s a test. Don’t give me your usual Java Script, “see previous post”, and we’ll see how much further this goes. That always ends it because your arguments always run dry at that point.

          • 3/3 Normal people don’t stalk other people.
            Normal people don’t keep track of the race of their enemies.
            Normal people don’t make up things other people said about their race, you. Freaking. Lunatic.

          • I do love that you fascists always bring her teenage actions up, but at the same time whitewash (WHITEwash, get it) Sander’s disgusting comments about rape. “She’s not PURE because of a teenage opinion she had! He loves rape but that’s not bad!”

            You. Are. A. Cartoon. (And not a good cartoon, one of those racist ones from the 60s).

          • This caricature is all you’ve got?

            It was a college paper where Bernie went on to explain his ideas about gender roles and eventually got to a sharper point — that traditional gender roles help create troubling dynamics in men’s and women’s sex lives.

            Bernie described it as a dumb attempt at dark satire in an alternative publication, in an interview with CNN, adding that it “in no way reflects my views or record on women.” He added, “It was intended to attack gender stereotypes of the ’70s, but it looks as stupid today as it was then.”

            Looking at his political life, you can see that Bernie’s record shows an ongoing concern for women’s rights. Katie McDonough at Salon.com, for example, compiled a list of measures that Bernie has supported or sponsored to protect women from violence and sexual assault.

            Strike three, King Tomato Brain.

          • Sorry, I don’t really care what racists think – especially when it’s rape apologism.

          • No imaginary rape apologism conspiracy theories here. Made up conspiracy theories are the purview of the political right. Isn’t that right, King Conservative Tomato Brain?

          • This is the fourth of five separate posts where you’re stalking me, guy who just flat-out lied

          • Also Sanders wasn’t in college in his 40s, but hey – you feel free to make up more facts.

            You. goddam. liar.

          • You’re talking about a 1972 essay that Bernie Sanders wrote for the Vermont Freeman, an alternative newspaper. The article, called, “Man-and-Woman,” is a commentary on gender roles.

            It’s often been generically described as a college paper but it was published when he was 30; not in his 40’s.

            You. goddam. stupid.

          • Sorry, where is the part where he is in his 40s? Oh right. You made that up.

            You’re only describing part of that essay, which is standard practice for the political right. Bernie imagined male and female sexual fantasies in his paper, in order to illustrate how both sexes have internalized gender stereotypes, which he then went on to write were self-defeating.

            What’s wrong with that?

            That’s a long way from Hillary purposely and conveniently ignoring the KKK at some of her beloved Barry Goldwater rallies and ’64 convention.

            King Tomato Brain strikes out again.

          • What do you imagine this creepy stalking is accomplishing, other than confirming everything I’ve ever said about Bernie Bros?

          • Also, sorry you couldn’t think of a single thing he’s done in the last 40+ years. That’s because the vanity candidate you put on a pedestal has accomplished nothing in the last 40+ years (unless you count grifting a holiday house from Whitey while helping Putin out).

            Sorry! Better luck next personality cult!

          • “We must pursue policies to transform this country into a nation that affirms the value of its people of color. That starts with addressing the five central types of violence waged against black, brown and indigenous Americans: physical, political, legal, economic and environmental” — Bernie Sanders.

            When Hillary and Barack went light on the police brutality epidemic in Chicago, Bernie openly stated that all police and public officials who’ve been involved in covering up for the police should not only be fired, but prosecuted.

            “Bernie Sanders declares America was founded on racist principles — and tells students at evangelical university that Obama’s election was a step toward redemption.”

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3234253/Bernie-Sanders-declares-America-founded-racist-principles-tells-students-evangelical-university-Obama-s-election-step-redemption.html#ixzz4ddcmaALz
            Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook.

            http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/20-examples-bernie-sanders-powerful-record-civil-and-human-rights-1950s

            That’s just a small part of what he’s done over 40 years. A single thing? Too many to mention.

            So what’s the Hillmeister done over the last 40 years? 1972 in the south doesn’t count. That was 45 years ago. Calling Black youths super predators 21 years ago ain’t makin’ it.

          • OK thanks for telling me why you support Nazis over liberals. Bigotry, of course.

          • I support those who are oppressed; racially and/or economically. There are plenty of affluent well-to-do African-Americans who are still oppressed racially, and Bernie recognized that.

            I wouldn’t have supported him if
            he didn’t.

          • I did? Then be proud of it, my Black brother.

            I don’t care about your race. I just disagree with your political beliefs.

          • Yes I get that you think you can pretend you’re not exactly what I’ve always said you are. You can’t.

            Bigot.

          • In your own often repeated words, you don’t get to decide what’s in my heart. My own words will reveal that.

            As do yours. You’re an obvious Black racist.

          • This is the second of five separate posts where you’re stalking me, guy who is insisting that 1) I am black and 2) reverse racism is real

        • As for the root cause: it remains Russia, and probably nearly as many people on the left (Jill Stein, Tad Devine, etc) were working for them as in the GOP.

      • Did it ever occur to your teeny tiny tomato brain that Hillary lost because she did poorly with the middle and lower middle-income so-called white working class voters in the mid-west rust belt states who voted for Obama twice? That’s now known.

        That so many of those Trump voters also voted twice for Obama, is indicative of two things: i) that taking up racism probably isn’t high on their bucket list…and ii) they could easily vote Democrat again under the right circumstances.

        https://www.usatoday.com/pages/interactives/2016-trump-flipped-counties/

        • Yes, I get that you’re willing to “compromise” as long as you’re in charge and everyone does what you say. Like I always point out, you’re not a progressive in any sense, and you never will be.

  1. As we can see from the article above, from the numerous comments from certain entities on-line, from commentaries on TV by extremists, from numerous politicians, etc., the problem is a divisiveness borne out of need to put “space” between “our” group and “their” group—an innate quality that has assumed a primacy out of proportion with normality and which drives us in a constant struggle to be on top.
    This innate quality is embedded in all living creatures, sentient or otherwise. Stemming from the false assumption that humans are fundamentally different, without any linkage, physical or spiritual, our strategy over eons is one where we feel we can only survive by engaging in a perpetual zero-sum game—make a gain at the expense of the “other”, rather than attaining a stage of maturity(as anticipated and expected by Baha’u’llah for this Day and Age). This is a stage of our evolution which all the Messengers of the Past have been patiently guiding humanity towards in a gradual manner.

    Once humans across America apprehend this necessity and reality of what it means to be “human” in the highest sense, and begin to put it in action, daily, we will look back on the last several decades incredulously, wondering what the hell possessed to want to remain like juveniles, when the expectation as of 1844 was for humans to start emerging into an era of “Maturity”. Events in our election, the drama in the Middle East, Russian intrigues, Chinese posturing, “Brexit”, “Trumpism”, GOP versus Democrats, etc., will be seen as unnecessary childish antics of a 2-year old refusing to eat her/his Spinach, in the same way as a teen-ager refusing to become an adult once the age of responsibility kicks in, and decides to remain petulant and rebellious.

    Every nation on the planet is in turmoil as a result of the fear of taking on the mantle of “Adulthood”.

  2. John, unless something is done about the GOP rigging of elections, be it voter suppression of all sorts, gerrymandering, outright elections fraud both outside and inside the voting places even to the point of hacking voting computers, you can line up all the Democrat supporters you want and all the great candidates and the GOP will still win via cheating.

    The Dems are pushing hard for Jon Ossoff in Georgia, a red state, and spending a lot of money to try and win – Even if the polls show him winning, I’ll be very surprised if he does end up winning because it’s my feeling the GOP in Georgia will rig the election even to the extent of hacking the voting computers.

    See these articles:

     Here’s How the 2018 Midterm Elections Could Be Fatally Undermined
    https://www.thenation.com/article/heres-how-the-2018-midterm-elections-could-be-fatally-undermined/

    How would computer hackers have rigged the US election against Hillary Clinton? A computer scientists explainshttp://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/us-election-rigged-hillary-clinton-hacked-donald-trump-russia-edward-snowden-a7437181.html

    US elections still vulnerable to rigging, disruption
    https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2016-12-26/recounts-or-no-us-elections-are-still-vulnerable-to-hacking

    The “Shocking” Truth About Election Rigging in the United States
    http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/37486-the-shocking-truth-about-election-rigging-in-america

    Can We Count on the Election Results? Exit Poll Discrepancies and Voter Suppression Are Serious Issues
    http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/can-we-count-election-results-exit-poll-discrepancies-and-voter-suppression-are

    My concern is, if all Democrats do is spend big money lining up what they think are excellent candidates and do not work hard at exposing all the GOP’s elections cheating practices, including the hacking of vote counting computers, the 2018 could turn into another debacle for the Democrats.

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    • I share your concerns. I suspect the DNC strategy is designed to get control of the Senate to stop the carte blanche support that Trump is enjoying. The problem with that strategy is that it ignores vulnerable Democrats from red states, where gerrymandering, brainwashing, and ideological leanings are pervasive that a “D” after the name of a politician spells defeat. With the GOP in control of 33 states, including governorships, state legislatures, and the entire Federal government, what we need is a YUGE failure or scandal, such as verifiable proof of treason, to change the minds of those who may be disturbed by some of the things that Trump says and does, but continue to support him unconditionally.

      • Given that Trump’s popularity has not truly exceeded 50% since his election except from polls which are right-wing biased (making it very suspicious that a very disliked person across America actually won an election). And given that Hillary won the popular vote by a large margin (5%), even what’s been the normal voter suppression and elections fraud efforts from the GOP which includes giving out misleading voting information in red states across the country to reduced Democrat voting; along with numerous proven incidences of outright elections fraud in a number of states. And given that the vote counts in at least 13 red/purple/battleground states were way out of whack with CNN’s exit polling projections while CNN’s exit polling has never been so far out of whack in all the time they’ve been doing exit polls (and the out of whack only happened in these 13 GOP governed states); I don’t think Democrats really need to be concerned about ideological problems (thinking that the majority of Americans disagree with how they want to lead the country); I think if the Dems can reduce the GOP voter suppression/gerrymandering efforts and ensure that vote counting machines are not being tampered with, that Democrats would start winning elections in a landslide. (I think that’s evidenced by the numerous demonstrations that have been held across the nation since Trump’s election which have been attended by hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been willing to even travel long distances to be part of one demonstration after another that are still going on and being planned.)

        I’m personally very suspicious of virtually every GOP election win that’s taken place since Newt Gingrich and the henchmen he developed in the party since taking over and corrupting the GOP in the mid 1990s. At the time I was supportive of the GOP so I was getting letters from Gingrich outlining his proposals for working to take over control of Congress and the government. Even at that time, a lot of what Gingrich was proposing bordered in my mind on being illegal and treasonous; which is a big reasons I’m so dead set today against what’s become in my mind nothing more than a bunch of gangsters akin to the Mafia running our government under the banner of the GOP. One clear event in my mind that supports how gangster like the GOP has become was the actions of the Republicans in the North Carolina legislature when a Democrat won the governorship in 2016. These faux politicians clearly violated any semblance of being willing to function via a democracy by voting to hobble the new governors authority to in any way control their ability to continue to corrupt elections via gerrymandering or whatever other evil methods may enter their gangster-like minds. If GOP legislators are willing to act like gangsters in usurping a Dem governors powers, why would any American not believe that they are also willing to steal elections by rigging the vote counting computers?

        And there’s clear evidence that the GOP tampered with the 2000 and 2004 and 2016 elections; and I think because of the debacle of the Bush Administration and the fact that even many Republicans either didn’t vote or crossed the line in 2008 allowed Obama to win that year; and I think the terrible polling done in 2012 lulled the Republicans into not using their full cheating methods in 2012 which allowed Obama to win that year. And I’m not 100% convinced that even in the off years of 2010 and 14 that the GOP wins in those years weren’t the result of cheating also; given that it’s been a known fact that Dems seem to be complacent in off years, it wouldn’t have taken much added voter suppression/election fraud efforts to win in those years via cheating.

        • Complacency, the belief that we can’t possibly lose, and those who oppose our nominees because they would have preferred someone else, are major contributors to our inability to win elections.

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