Charting ways forward from the events earlier this month November 24, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
This is quite a good piece, I think, by William Saletan in Slate. It’s too kind to Clnton – he notes her ‘basket of deplorables’ comment wasn’t what it was made out to be, but he doesn’t critique or criticise her for not following through on what it actually was in her campaign. But in relation to support for Trump he takes the idea of a basket and breaks down the support and I think he makes some extremely solid points as regards how to engage with those who can be engaged – the vast majority of Trump support as he sees it.
When we talk about Trump’s voters, we’re really talking about five baskets. The first basket is the deplorables: people who love to hate. These are the folks who paint swastikas and write racial slurs on Twitter. The second basket is people who liked Trump’s vilification of immigrants or agreed with him that Clinton didn’t “look like a president.” They’re easily manipulated. The third basket is people who don’t see racism or sexism anywhere. The fourth basket is people who don’t think it’s a big deal. They shrug off Trump’s taped comments about grabbing women as “locker room talk.” And the fifth basket is people who were genuinely troubled by the way Trump treated women, or the way he talked about a Mexican American judge or the mother of a Muslim American soldier, but who voted for him anyway, or stayed home, because they couldn’t stand Clinton.
This is particularly important:
If you talk about all these people as though they’re the same thing—if you call them all racists or sexists or bigots or haters—you’ll lose more elections. And you’ll deserve to lose, because by lumping them all together and dismissing them, you’re doing to them what the worst of them have done to you.
Absolutely correct. As is this:
Instead, separate the baskets. Ignore the first one. You’re not going to win over these people, and you shouldn’t try to be the kind of party that would.
That cannot be stressed sufficiently. Remember directly after the Brexit referendum, all those Blairites suddenly pitching towards immigration ‘control’ positions? Sure, part of that was expedience and calculation and no better for it being so. But it also betrays the very fundamentals that the left is about.
Set the second basket aside and come back to those folks later. They’re educable, but it’ll take a while. Focus on the last three baskets. Try to help these people recognize bias and structural inequality and why those problems matter. If the issue moves them, great. But if it doesn’t, connect with them in other ways. Inspire them with a vision of opportunity. Explain how you can improve their lives. Appeal to values that transcend identity.
I don’t agree with him on the next…
That’s what Clinton wanted to do. It’s what Barack Obama did. It’s careful, respectful, and politically smart.
Or at the least the jury is well out on Clinton. I’m not sure she simply wasn’t too detached from those she claimed to represent to be able to represent them in any meaningful way let alone make inroads into those who were shifting towards Trump.
And Saletan is spot on in the following:
Everything Clinton talked about in the first paragraph of her “deplorables” speech—racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamaphobia—is real. Trump exploited these prejudices, and I spent most of the election writing about them. As a country, we have a lot of work to do on them. But they can’t be the central message of the Democratic Party. And they can’t be the guiding explanation of why we lost.
Though I would remove the word Democrat and leave some placeholder there, perhaps a new formation, perhaps a neo-Sanders-like insurgency in the Democratic Party from the left. Who knows? And this too is correct:
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about race, gender, religion, or homophobia. We should. But we’ve just seen, in the cruelest way, that these issues aren’t enough. Even when the Republican nominee exploits bigotry of all kinds, and even when his opponent would be the first woman president, they aren’t enough. Too many voters—white, male, Christian, or otherwise—don’t care enough about those issues. We can’t afford to lose all these people. We certainly can’t afford to alienate them.
I’ve read some stuff, on Slate too, arguing that – for example, white woman should be written off, or this group or that group, as if the 53% who voted for Trump define all white women or as if that 53% didn’t contain within it people who – as Saletan notes, would hold a range of opinions, some terrible, some not great, some misguided, others simply unable to vote for Clinton. And to react to generalisations with generalisations, to see everyone as beyond the pale is to make a grievous error. Bill Clinton once said it… it’s the economy, stupid. That’s the basis.
Now, as to the vehicle and means by which we start out. Well many of us would see the Democratic Party as hardly the one we’d want to go near, let alone get into. That’s another discussion entirely.