Over at Mahablog, the proprietor does an in depth and painfully thought-provoking roundup of the question of “how we ended up with Trump.” I don’t always agree with the poster, but she’s got good points.
Going through several conflicting opinions, here conclusions are rather painful:
- Elites in both parties don’t get the Angry White (mostly male) voters.
- The parties are now split (ala Zach Carter) between a sneering Republican aristocracy and a smirking Liberal meritocracy.
- The Angry White Male is sort of a trope we drag around without exploring it.
- The media (and a lot of us) haven’t done a thing to solve these problems in a long time. Try, decades.
I can easily agree on #1, #3, and #4. But I also agree on #2 more than I’m comfortable with, as I’ve touched on on my previous essay on Trump. It seems the elites of both parties, and indeed a lot of said parties who are non-elites, aren’t exactly fond of the Angry White (mostly-male) demographic.
A painful dynamic has been at work here. Republicans have swept in and taken advantage of the Angry White (mostly-male) demographic for years, from crude Southern Strategy tactics to the modern Fox news propaganda festivals. We’ve seen everything from Willie Horton to Kenyan Muslim President Obama conspiracies – with Trump it’s just been completely cut loose from any ties to reality.
But with Liberals, who’ve borne the brunt of this directed anger, I think they’re not exactly feeling charitable towards the Angry White (mostly-male) audience. It’s a little hard to care when people actively hate you because of what some schlub on talk radio said, and it’s certainly harder now that they’ve got a demagogue to follow like Trump.
So as a Liberal, I really have to wonder what we’re going to do for these people. However we may feel about them, rightly or wrongly, a lot of these folks have been just plain screwed by the economy and politics. Yes, they often voted against their own interests, but we don’t seem exactly charitable about it – and it’s hard after decades of Vince Foster conspiracies, blatant racist propaganda, and now the bizarre antics of Trump.
Unfortunately, I think we Liberals are about the only people even inclined to do anything to help. Conservatives and their elite are permanently stuck in a mixture of pandering bias and pseudo-libertarian politics to actually do anything. States with Republican governors are smoking economic ruins, yet they can’t help themselves.
I’d like to think we’ll do something. Sanders gives me some hope, though his campaign does not. Clinton has gone left (doubtlessly in pat due to Sanders’ influence) and knows how to work the system. There’s talk of raising minimum wage around the country which may help some.
But I feel like there’s not enough confronting the elephant in the room, that there’s a vanishing middle class that’s incredibly obvious, reported on constantly, and often left to rot. The Republicans don’t care at all, but we Liberals need to ask what we’re going to do.
Or what we can do. Maybe we’re afraid of either answer. Or that there isn’t one.