The lie of white “economic insecurity”: Race, class and the rise of Donald Trump

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Concerns of race and class have actually cast a heavy shadow over a governmental campaign where” economic insecurity “has actually been consistently identified (quite improperly) by the mainstream news media as the driving force behind the rise of Donald Trump. In response, there has been a flurry of current posts and essays exploring how matters of race and class are influencing the decision by “white working class” citizens to support Donald Trump’s fascist, racist and nativist project for the White House.

Composing at The Guardian, sociologist Arlie Hochschild offers a terrible critique of how race and class intersect for white working-class American citizens. In “How the Great Paradox of American Politics Holds the Secret to Trump’s Success,” Hochschild explores how white citizens in the South and elsewhere justify their support for a Republican politician Party and a “small government” principles that has actually devastated their lives and communities. She informs this story by focusing on one individual, Lee Sherman, and his journey from pipefitter at a petrochemical plant to environmental activist and whistleblower to eventual Tea Party activist. Hochschild writes:

Yet over the course of his lifetime, Sherman had moved from the left to the right. When he lived as a young guy in Washington State, he stated happily, “I ran the campaign of the first lady to run for Congress in the state.” But when he moved from Seattle to Dallas for work in the 1950s, he moved from conservative Democrat to Republican, and after 2009, to the Tea ceremony. So while his central life experience had been betrayal at the hands of industry, he now felt– as his politics reflected– most betrayed by the federal government. He believed that PPG and many other local petrochemical business at the time had done wrong, which cleaning the screw up was right. He thought industry would not “do the right order” by itself. However still he turned down the federal government. Undoubtedly, Sherman welcomed candidates who wanted to get rid of almost all the guardrails on industry and cut the EPA. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration had actually greatly enhanced life for workers such as Sherman– and he appreciated those reforms– but he felt the task was mostly done.Lee Sherman’s

story is all too common. Because of political socialization by the right-wing media, the Christian evangelical movement, and closed individual and social media networks, lots of white conservative citizens are not able to practice the systems level thinking needed to connect their day-to-day struggles with the policies put in place by the Republican Party.While in this manner of seeing and comprehending the social and political world (what Walt Whitman influentially explained as”the pictures within individuals’s heads”)might be at chances with the type of important thinking and evidence-based reasoning that liberals and progressives take for given, it still applies a powerful hold over many millions of conservatives. This alternate truth is, not surprisingly, anchored in location by the right-wing disinformation device and Fox News.Hochschild’s essay is further evidence of what I recommended in an earlier piece here at Salon: Republican politicians and the broader right-wing movement make money from a Machiavellian relationship where the more economic discomfort and suffering they cause on red-state America, the more popular and powerful they end up being with those citizens. This is political sadism as a campaign strategy.Politico’s “Exactly what’s Happening with America’s White People?” functions commentary by leading scholars and reporters such as Anne Case, Angus Denton, Nancy Isenberg, Carol Anderson and J.D. Vance, whose cumulative work analyzes the relationships between race, class and white America. The piece highlights how death stress and anxieties considerably affect the political calculations and decision-making of white conservatives in red-state America. These individuals use their own broken neighborhoods– locations that are awash in prescription drug dependencies, have high rates of out-of-wedlock births and divorce, and see deaths of misery(suicide by guns and alcohol; chronic untreated health problems) rule– to draw inaccurate conclusions about America as a whole. These stress and anxieties have actually integrated with increasing levels of authoritarianism, racial bitterness and old-fashioned racism amongst white conservatives and right-leaning independents to fuel extreme political polarization and make the introduction of a demagogue such as Donald Trump a near inevitability. If the fever swamps that birthed Donald Trump are to be drained, there requires to be a restored concentrate on the dynamics of race and class for white(conservative

)citizens throughout this 2016 presidential election. But these analyses ought to also be accompanied by several qualifiers.First, liberals and progressives are often easily seduced by a story, popularized by Thomas Frank and others, in which white working-class and poor Americans are depicted as having been hoodwinked into choosing the Republican politician Party. In this argument, white poor and working-class red-state citizens chose “culture war “issues over financial policies. Nevertheless, as compellingly demonstrated by political researcher Larry Bartels(and matched by fellow political scientist Andrew Gelman ), bad and other lower-income citizens have the tendency to choose the Democratic Celebration while middle -and upper-income citizens tend to vote for the Republican politician Party. Poor and lower-income (white)citizens take part in formal politics less regularly than middle-and upper-income citizens. Moreover,”culture war “problems did not drive a mass defection of white working-class voters from the Democratic Party to the GOP. In overall, it is white financial and political elites and not the white poor and working classes who are mainly accountable for the political and social dysfunction that plagues American politics today.Second, considering that its very founding America has actually been battling with 2 effective impulses. On one hand, there is a truly progressive and left-wing kind of pluralism that seeks to work throughout lines of race and class in order to develop an inclusive democracy where status seeking and the fruits of full citizenship are similarly achievable for all people. This kind of pluralism is embodied by Bernie Sanders– and to a lesser degree Hillary Clinton and the wider Democratic Party. Juxtaposed versus this is a right-wing and reactionary type of pluralism that is unique and not inclusive, stokes the fires of racial and ethnic division, and provides a vision of America where white people stand on the necks of non-whites in order to elevate themselves. This is embodied by Donald Trump and a Republican Party that functions as the United States ‘biggest de facto white identity organization. Most notably, the white”working-class “and bad citizens featured in the current pieces by Politico and The Guardian possess company. It has actually long been fashionable for liberals and progressives to recommend that the white poor and working classes are puzzled by”incorrect consciousness

“as demonstrated by their allegiance to America’s racial hierarchy and an economic system that frequently disadvantages individuals like them. In reality, the white bad and working class are keenly knowledgeable about the psychological and material benefits that come with brightness and white privilege.Whiteness is a type of home in the United States. For centuries, white individuals, throughout lines of class and gender, have yearned for and increasingly protected it. The white working class and bad are not victims in this system; they have benefited considerably from it at the expense of non-whites. Eventually, as Americans aim to puzzle through their existing political morass, a renewed focus on race and class is vital because it works as a pointer of how easy binaries(one must select between discussing either “race “or”class”) and unrefined essentialism( “a concentrate on class inequality will do more good than challenging bigotry!”) typically disguises and puzzles more than it exposes.

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