Working class and Dems
by Peter Dorman (originally published at Econospeak)
The Intersectionality that Dare Not Speak Its Name
The New York Times ran a Nate Cohn piece today that epitomizes the way conventional liberals spin American politics. On the one hand we have the turnout and voting preferences of people of color—blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans. On the other we have whites and, in particular, the white working class. Not much happened in the 2016 presidential election on the POC side, says Cohn; nearly all the movement was among working class whites.
I suppose it’s good that political discourse can now acknowledge the presence of a working class, at least where white people are concerned. Wouldn’t it be nice if they allowed people of other hues to be workers too?
Seriously, what’s the basis for dichotomizing the political terrain into race versus class? Why not examine not just white workers, but workers?
The issue is not simply how many nonwhite workers switched their vote to Trump or waited out the election altogether. The starting point should be that Trump ran the most openly racist presidential campaign since George Wallace, and this should have cost him big time among all the groups he disparaged—but it didn’t. So let’s do a class breakdown for nonwhite voters the way it’s now becoming fashionable to do for whites. How did Clinton do with working class black and Hispanic voters compared to more affluent POC? How does adding the nonwhite slices of the electorate change how we assess the role of the working class as a whole in electing Trump, if at all?
The working class is multiracial, and it is also a working class. There’s nothing either/or about it.
I agree. This is part of the blindness that afflicts us all. We aren’t just one-dimensional identities although we tend to coalesce around one or two identities that seem most important to us (race and gender usually) which blinds us to our commonality. To do a working class analysis would be most enlightening. I read an article in the Colorado Independent about Hispanic Trump voters, all working class, and it was most enlightening that the real commonality was the feeling of marginalization of the working class, not the ethnic/racial dimension.
Well, when yo u can come up with an explanation as to why Dems have not won the white vote since the civil rights act was passed I will pay more attention.
Not to say that there are not many workers who actual do vote for their own economic interests, but in terms of the white working class, the results are always the same.
The other part of the story is turnout. People are discouraged or encouraged to vote. Personally, I think an awful lot of trump voters were people who never had a candidate that was racist enough to vote for until trump came along. He got them all.
Personally, if the Dems ever put a ticket together that does not have a POC on it, they are looking at the same problem.
Sure, race is a prime factor, but the role it plays is not as, er… black and white, as the whitelash narrative suggests. White workers in the rust belt voted for Obama is sufficient numbers to carry these states; why then did their racism only express itself in a race between two white geriatrics? Some white workers are racist, but are white workers more racist than they were in 2008 and 2012? There isn’t a lot of evidence presented to make this case. And they anger and revulsion directed against white workers by the Democratic Party seems to me to be as much a cultural statement as a political one.
Yes, Trump is a racist, but “openly”? I’m not so sure about.
Trump said a lot of things that would trigger Liberals and “people of color” to think “racist!!”, but I can’t remember any “openly racist” remarks.
He was convicted of it decades ago. Twice.
And if you think a muslim ban and building a wall to keep out mexican rapists and murderers is not racist.. We”ll wait until he holds a lynching.
“but are white workers more racist than they were in 2008 and 2012?”
Of course not.
They are the same.
Obama topped out at 43% running against a ticket that had Sarah Palin on it in the midst of the great recession and after the great lie of the iraq war.
Ya’ think these people are not racist?
some people have trouble with decimal points, and some people have trouble with adjectives.
i SAID “Trump is a racist.” my doubt was about the word “overt.”
“overt” should have been “openly”
I am not a stats guy, but I think part of the problem is sample size.
You start with exit poll data, which is bad enough. When you take 13% of total population and start slicing by education, all you get is noise.
Normally I’d agree w/ outlook of OP.
There is a reason people separate out white working class people from the working class as a whole. It is because the two have different cultures voting patterns and habits.
Welcome to Angry Bear. First comments are moderated.
OakChairBC — so have you figured out yet why
“…white working class people [and]…the working class as a whole… have different cultures voting patterns and habits.”?
Let me help. The white working class constitute in the range of 80% of the working class, and then the other part of the working class are all People of Color (POC), which constitute in the range of 20% of the working class.
So why do the 20% POC working class have different “cultures, voting habits, and patterns” than the white working class?
Do you mean that it’s because the white culture & habits is different that those of the POC working class? Or do you mean it’s because POC working class are disadvantaged in wage descrimination, educational discrimination, voting restrictions descrimination by the white working class?
EMichael, Muslim is not a race. Neither is Hispanic.
when i went to college they weren’t even sure “black” was a race.
so do you want the “genetic” definition of “race” or the common one?
you may not see how this relates, but i happened to be looking at an old Angry Bear thread on Social Securtiy It struck me that you said some true things at that time and were criticized by people who are “on my side.” I apologize for that, but that is what happens when people choose sides: they stop thinking. It even happens to me sometimes.
there is no question that SOME members of the white working class discriminate against people of color. But “the white working class” does not and cannot.
and in any case it dosen’t matter so much that working class people may discriminate… as long as the boss class does not.
my lack of logical consistency as re the working class vs the boss class as being a kind of thing that can discriminate does not bother me so much because the point in each case is both valid and necessary.
actually there isn’t a hope in hell that you will understand this. i cannot even get the working class or the boss class to understand why raising the payroll tax one dollar per week per year is the only sane solution to the Social Security crisis ™.
What proportion of the non-working class.. you refer to as the “boss class” are white & what proportion are POC? And if the ratio is still 80:20 (or 95:5?) then what’s your point?
My question to OakChairBC remains unanswered:
“So why do the 20% POC working class have different “cultures, voting habits, and patterns” than the white working class? ”
Seems you’ve also avoided addressing the question… UNLESS I can infer that you’re saying it doesn’t matter that the 20% POC working class have different “cultures, voting habits, and patterns” .. in which case you haven’t supported the inference in your response to me.
my point is this: a “class” does not do or think anything.” people do.
that could be merely pedantic, but in the case of “the white working class,” there is no corporate identity. some wwc people are racists. some are not. saying “the white working class is racist” is exactly like saying “negroes are inferior” or some version of that, which is exactly racist thinking on your part.
however, the “boss class” does indeed have a corporate structure. it is a semi-military organization and it does have opinions and does deeds as a “person.”
not only is it sloppy thinking to say “the white working class” thinks or does something, it is really bad politics, and bad for the country. you alienate white persons who do not think of themselves as bigots, and you teach persons of color to think of themselves as victims. there is an element of “truth” in each proposition, but it is not a useful truth.
your inferences would be wrong. i do not think of people in percents.
but be of good cheer. your way of thinking is hardly unusual. probably the norm. it’s what is called racism. or patriotism. according to who is doing the calling and for what purpose. it is also what makes those problems impossible to solve.