Conversations with friends keep returning to a question I’ve been unable to answer: who are the Trump voters? Who are the Americans who lived through the last four years and marched to the polls wanting more of the same?
The answer is emerging. Votes for Trump are almost all attributable to two things: racial resentment and the rightwing media ecosystem.
Right now–thanks to years of Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, Breitbart and literally thousands of internet sites–it is perfectly possible to reside in an alternate reality, to live in a world that confirms your every preferred bias. When that world is at odds with the reality the rest of us inhabit, it absolutely precludes rational discussion and debate.
As I often tell my students, if I say this piece of furniture is a table and you say, why no, it’s a chair–we are not going to agree on how to use it.
As Jennifer Rubin recently wrote at The Washington Post,
The greatest challenge to our democracy is not that we hold deeply polarized beliefs, but that one party refuses to operate in a fact-based world that might challenge its beliefs. Whether it is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) propounding Russian propaganda, or the Wall Street Journal editorial page fanning Hunter Biden laptop conspiracy theories, or right-wing websites circulating falsehoods about crime and immigrants, we are awash with conservatives seeking to exploit the fears, ignorance and prejudices of many Americans
Rubin attributes the right-wing hysteria over “socialism” to that media bubble–she suggests rightwing media is “marooned in a weird time warp in which the ‘other side’ is some Cold War-era Marxist caricature.” Until very recently, I would have agreed with her analysis–I’ve frequently engaged in efforts to point out that the things that usually get labeled “socialism” are simply elements of the (necessarily) mixed economies of all modern nations, the public goods that markets cannot provide.
What I have finally understood–it takes me a long time, I’m dense–is that when the typical Trump voter hears “socialism,” that voter doesn’t think of an economic system. (Most couldn’t define the term accurately if they were asked.) What today’s Republican hears when an opposing candidate is labeled a “socialist” is: “this candidate wants the government to take your hard-earned tax dollars and use them for the benefit of ‘those people.'” (And we all know who “those people” are.)
Fear of “socialism” is where rightwing media and racism intersect.
Recently, a friend sent me an essay that laid it all out. Its central thesis is that more than half a century of white hostility to any kind of social progress has taken the country to a place that is dangerously close to social collapse, culminating in Trumpism.
The author, Umair Haque, writes that “white Americans, as a group, have never, as a group, voted for a Democratic President. Never in modern history…. This trend goes back to JFK and perhaps before.”
Furthermore, Haque says that “Liberal, sane, thoughtful White Americans often overestimate how many of them there are,” and he backs that observation up with data showing that a majority of White Americans have approved of segregation, endless wars, inequality– and have made guns and religion primary social values. Majorities of White Americans have voted against most of what we think of as public goods–and against desegregation, civil rights laws, access to healthcare, retirement programs, and childcare.
The article is filled with depressing data. You really need to click through and read it in its entirety. (If you are White, you might want to pour a stiff drink first.)
I vaguely remember an old song titled “Two Different Worlds.” It ended, as I recall, with a promise that the “two different worlds” that the lovers inhabited would someday be one. Our task is a lot harder than the one in that sappy love song–we must somehow get a handle on the disinformation and propaganda and conspiracy theories–the media ecosystem that blocks out inconvenient realities and sustains White Supremacy. Then we have to have a White version of “the talk.”
Until we all see the same furniture, we aren’t going to agree on how to use it.
35 thoughts on “Two Problems, Inter-related”
Who ARE the Trump voters? In 2016, in my small neighborhood there were ELEVEN “Trump for President” yard signs where there had never been a political yard sign before. SIX of those signs were my closest (in proximity) neighbors; this spring ONE Trump sign appeared across the street, disappeared for a brief period, reappeared for about a week and has been gone since early summer. None of us had ever talked politics but I have always had Democratic yard signs. The one close friend who had a Trump sign in 2016 and avoided me since, returned to our past friendship level this spring. I welcomed it with no hesitation or questions. I can’t even figure out the answer to that question in my small neighborhood.
As inexplicable as those more than 71 MILLION voters are, I am more confused by WHERE they are now. Why are they not revolting (please keep that word in context) and why are they not protesting in large numbers in our streets? Why are they not publicly supporting him in the media; I have only seen his administration and Congressional supporters still standing by…as their Covid infected numbers increase. It stands at FORTY-FOUR of his maskless cronies as of this morning.
As of this morning Arizona has declared Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the winners; Electoral College numbers now at 290!
Two different Worlds – from 1963 🙂
Umair makes it real, and so have several of us here. When the old statesmen call for unity with their brothers on the right, they are beckoning to a day gone by – yesteryear.
When I heard Biden exclaim that we must unify, I questioned that too. Before the election, it meant that progressives needed to help him win to avoid a disastrous Trump reelection. Post-election, it means the DNC needs to unify with former Republicans who were never Trumpers.
Case in point, Elizabeth Warren, threw Bernie under the bus once again in the primary hoping to get rewarded for her loyalty to the DNC. She’s even getting looked over. The “We can never mention socialism ever again crowd.” exists in the DNC as well.
What’s hilarious is Joe Mnuchin already said regardless of the outcome in GA, he would never support “packing the courts or killing the filibuster.” LOL
Just a reminder for the still sleeping – 70% of ALL Americans support Universal Healthcare. It seems like a winning platform for a presidential candidate.
Yet, neither presidential candidate ran on Universal Healthcare. Both promised, “A version we would all love.”
Both political parties in this country are a giant con for the oligarchy. BOTH PARTIES!
And, it’s been that way for a very long time. Remember, the media is used to disinform and misinform in this country. And, 90% of media is owned by the oligarchy. The media is used to tell both sides what to believe. If you don’t think they are manipulating you through an echo chamber, guess what?
We need to acknowledge that most of the 72 million plus people who voted for 45 simply cannot be reached by any sort of logic. We should focus on recovering the young people whose brains haven’t yet atrophied.
Just yesterday I read an article by Xandi X. Kendi titled “A Battle Between the Two Souls of America”, where he debunks the notions of divisions based on Trumpist/Not-Trumpist, Republican Democrat. Rather, he suggests America’s division is at its very core, that is, its soul, and that in fact there are two souls battling for control of society and its political institutions. I found some comfort in his treatise because it confirmed a belief I’ve held for quite some time, that is, the reason the divisions in our country are so intractable is that the two groups simply don’t share the same values, as the American myth suggests. There IS no soul of America. There are two.
“There is a divide in America between the souls of injustice and justice: souls in opposition like fire and ice, like voters and voter subtraction, like Trump and truth.
The soul of injustice breathes genocide, enslavement, inequality, voter suppression, bigotry, cheating, lies, individualism, exploitation, denial, and indifference to it all. This is the soul that aggressively attacked climate science as forest fires raged; attacked anti-racism as police violence and COVID-19 disproportionately killed Black, Latino, and Native people; attacked coronavirus restrictions as the virus stole lives and livelihoods; and attacked voters as fraudulent while its suppression policies made it harder to vote.
The soul of justice breathes life, freedom, equality, democracy, human rights, fairness, science, community, opportunity, and empathy for all. This is the soul that aggressively defended people from climate change as hurricanes battered them; defended people from the scourge of police violence that killed Breonna Taylor and many others; defended people from the racial pandemic within the viral pandemic; defended people from voter-subtraction policies and the tyrants behind them”.
I highly recommend reading Dr. Kendi’s article and also his bestselling book “How to be an anti-racist”.
If you are interested in a book by social scientists, John R Hibbing, of the University of Nebraska, The Securitian Personality subtitled what really motivates Trump’s base and why it matters in the post Trump era might be a good starting point.
My take away from this book: the Hillbilly Elegy image of the typical Trump voter is misleading, that they represent a much wider, better educated, less economically challenged group than is often portrayed by their opponents.
They are social warriors, tea partiers, economically concerned, and those classified as enigmas, but the majority are concerned about security, focusing on immigration, national defense, guns, law and order, and lack of patriotism.
Hibbing is a social scientist, a behaviorist, so there are many charts and graphs, but his conclusions are research based.
He writes that Securitariam issues will outlast Trump.
And they represent a real threat to democracy in that they have a weak commitment to the democratic rules of the game, deny opponents legitimacy, tolerate or encourage violence, and are ready to curtail the civil liberties of their opponents and the media.
I don’t suggest that this is a bible for understanding Trumpism, but it’s a starting point.
Great reality checking today by (mostly) all. Yes, the Trumpians (or whatever – I kind of like thinking his only “brand” legacy will be racist) are here to stay…for a few generations, at least. While it appears that a majority of folks under 40 are not that way, there are plenty still and the Trumpians seem to do a decent job of “teach your children well”.
So what happens to America…”fun” to theorize…Becomes two or three countries (“confederated” or not? Mass movements out of the country (or to parts whose beliefs are yours)?
Sadly, I blame a certain politician from Vermont for the “socialist” specter and all the press coverage he got.
Sadly, I think he was a very negative influence on how the Democratic Party is perceived.
I recently wrote to the DNC suggesting that the word be excised from the vocabulary of ALL Democrats.
Instead, we need to utilize the word PUBLIC and COMMUNITY when discussing issues, proposals and programs.
Such as: the Public Good, Public Service(s), Public benefit…..
Democrats MUST make this shift and get much more specific about how policies they want to accomplish will HELP everyone in urban and rural communities.
Democrats MUST begin talking to rural America and understanding and legislating for their needs.
Urban and rural America depend on each other and we need to talk about those interconnections !!!
Todd’s quote; “When the old statesmen call for unity with their brothers on the right, they are beckoning to a day gone by – yesteryear.” In those “days gone by” or a “return to those thrilling days of yesteryear” (quote from intro to The Lone Ranger); both sides sat at the bargaining table to reach solutions to problems local, domestic and foreign. The meeting of minds of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin come to mind; they unified to end WWII. It was the meeting -of-minds to save nations and save lives; it was the meaning of President Obama’s book “The Audacity Of Hope” which hope I continue to maintain. It does NOT mean to give up all to the other side.
The Trump Republicans have stayed unified under his dangerous mentally unstable rants, Tweets, decisions, actions, destroying diplomatic relations with all of our allies while this country became a foreign, hostile place to wake up to every morning. That reign of terror has not yet ended because the Trump Republicans refuse to see the reasoning behind democracy, Rule of Law and the Constitution. Or admit the loss of the presidential election. This transition from Trump administration to Biden administration should be a time to unify during the changeover between parties; for the sake of – as Joe Biden wisely stated- for the soul of this country. There are those in the Democratic party who are still refusing to “unify” within the party; this has aided the Trump administration and continues to do so because it weakens the party. Where there is continued dissension, there can be no unity and to paraphrase President Abraham Lincoln’s words, “A party or a country divided against itself cannot stand.”
If we do not unify; we have won nothing with this election.
Sheila, if you don’t listen to “Stay Tuned with Preet”, the podcast hosted by former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, you probably should, and listen to his latest (Thursday, 11/12/20) interview with Ian Bremmer. Bremmer has a very different view of the Trump voters, which you could take into consideration.
Paradoxically, both capitalism and Democracy just may not be sustainable in the face of modern entertainment and social media advertising, covert and overt. The trouble is nobody has yet invented a replacement for either that works as well.
Nancy – I just happen to be reading Preet’s book, “Doing Justice”, right now. It is fascinating!
Like the corporations who fund them, Republicans decided decades ago that investing in advertising would allow them to sell inferior product.
Any and all of these attempts at reason have little to do with the psychopath leading a death cult. The elected Republicans buy into this cultishness because they want to retain their power. Their employers, corporate/banking America, have dictated to them that they MUST maintain the fringe base Trump has in order to get re-elected in two years. Power? The power over our money. The unfettered capitalists that Marx warned us about are hard at work destroying our socialist democracy for the sake of short-term gain. Why else are they not recognizing Biden’s win? They’re hoping for a hail Mary from the courts McConnell stacked. Let that sink in.
It should be clear to everyone not in that club of cultists that Republicans have NO intention of governing. All the “unity” talk is pure B.S. to these folks. Republicans only want unity among themselves because they think they are doing God’s work, aka, making Wall St. happy. JoAnn is quite correct in her analysis of Trump Republicans. They will happily stand by and watch our country dissolve into anarchy as long as their employers can make an extra buck.
Until we all see the same furniture, we aren’t going to agree on how to use it.
I read the referenced article. Astounding.
“get a handle on the disinformation and propaganda and conspiracy theories” —
The most widespread and longest-lived disseminator of this stuff is RELIGION!!! I just finished a book called “The God Presumption” by Caroline Fairless, the premise of which is that mankind severed its relationship with Nature when it concluded “God” was somewhere “out there” and not a part of EVERYTHING. When human beings believe that “their” god is the “right” one and that god put humans at the “top” of “His” list , things really get out of kilter. Racism, misogyny, colonialism, and ecocide all have as their basis “the other” and fail to acknowledge that EVERYTHING is connected and shares a common genesis. I think the era of Trump has brought into clearer focus just how many people in this country are attracted to autocratic and separatist thinking. They WANT a leader who sees them as special as “their god” does and wants “those people” to shut up and do what they are told .
It’s going t be a long row to hoe.
A major part of the problem is that our public educational systems no longer teach civics, governmental systems, etc. Brainwashed grandparents of the ’50s still remember the ”evils of communism” and can’t differentiate that from democratic socialism, as practiced in more sensible, compassionate European nations.
Hopefully, Biden will rebuild budgets for public schools and help them develop curricula which benefit everyone’s children, as opposed to encouraging private schools for the wealthy.
Shelia’s essay link had the following wording:
Here are some things white Americans have been for, as a group, in their majority. Segregation. Endless war. Inequality. Billionaires. Capital. Guns and religion as primary social values. That is what the voting pattern above means.
Conversely, here are some thing white Americans have been against, as a group, in their majority. Desegregation. Civil rights. Womens’ rights. Their own healthcare, retirement, and childcare. Public goods of any kind whatsoever.
That is what the “voting pattern” above means in the real world. Need I go on? America’s problem is that white Americans as a social group, its majority social group, want America to be a failed state. They don’t want to live in a modern, civilized democracy, and never have.
This is selfishness on a Grand Scale any excuse to not share in America’s prosperity will do. It is simply not enough to have the most – They want to deny others the right to have Any Share.
The Trumpet is the King of Excess of conspicuous consumption as brags about his wealth. The Trumpet’s flagrant insults and demeaning of people have become the norn for The Trump Cult.
The Trumpet has given them a free rein to not only despise others but it is OK to Hate.
Don’t be hoodwinked by rumors that there is no difference between the two major political parties. And don’t be fooled by the GOP that they have no published statement of purpose (Platform). Instead read the last Republican Platform of 2016 approved at their Convention. Having published that disaster, and not having rescind or replaced it doesn’t mean they have no Platform; it means to me that for political reason (losing elections) they wish to keep it under wraps “for internal use only”.
A thinking voter will read both platforms and compare them, GOP 2016 or Dem 2020. Which are you able to support?
One more batch of interesting data to consider:
Yes, we Americans see different kinds of furniture, from lamps to tables to chairs to dressers when other Americans looking at the same items see beds, rugs, desks, and mirrors. But I fear we can decide what to do with them — burn them.
Sheila: What I have finally understood…is that when the typical Trump voter hears “socialism,” that voter doesn’t think of an economic system…What today’s Republican hears when an opposing candidate is labeled a “socialist” is: “this candidate wants the government to take your hard-earned tax dollars and use them for the benefit of ‘those people.’”
I wrote to each of the Democratic presidential candidates pleading with them to explain to voters that “socialism” is an epithet used by Republicans to discredit any policy, proposal, or piece of legislation that works to help all Americans as opposed to rich people exclusively. This was my attempt to get across to Trumpers how they are excluding themselves from the kind of government assistance that is coveted by the wealthy. It is so adored that in each election they buy a sufficient number of congressmen to assure their interests will not be harmed.
Since time immemorial the two greatest problems faced by the human race have been ignorance and greed. America has survived because the ignorant majority allowed the educated minority to run the country on their behalf (even then it was often dicey). Today Republicans have mastered exploitation of the ignorant, and the greed part of their philosophy appeals to many who can’t claim ignorance (Pompeo?). And I’m wondering if their isn’t another thought pattern at work here. Americans, regardless of their political stripe, adore the notion of rugged individualism, especially when applied to themselves. Some become adults, examine the truth of how things work in a diverse and complex society, and put that nonsense behind them. Others cling to the solace it gives them to see themselves as rugged individualists. That makes them targets for the con men who recognize this tendency and know how to work it for their own purposes.
My other explanation for how so many get so comfortable with such steep piles of B.S. is that they are conditioned by religion to be obedient and to believe what they are told by authorities. Once you accept the notion of ghosts and a universe that was created by one, you will buy into any sort of fiction a charismatic con man is peddling (for $2 I’ll let you have some o my magic snake oil). While there have been some very intelligent believers (I love the writings of Thomas Merton), is religion in any way compatible with critical thinking? More importantly, is democracy possible without critical thinking?
Jan I totally agree that we need to address the needs of people in rural communities. They have, in my opinion, been harmed by what I see as an oligarchy of agribusiness. One of the public goods we need to give them is public health services, community health centers so that they don’t have to travel so far to get medical care. We need to find a way to motivate doctors and nurse practitioners to serve rural communities more.
And yes we need to gain control over the narrative so that all understand that we need to work for the “public good, greater good” to offset the term socialism. We need to inspire people to move beyond their own selfish wants and to extend themselves for their neighbors. We need to call people who extend themselves for the greater good patriots. We need detailed descriptions of what services our governments could provide to support its people ie health care as mentioned above, innovations in farming to support sustainable practices that are also more profitable. We need to ensure that when addressing poverty we include people of all races. We need for example to focus on communities that do not have access to clean water and have no indoor plumbing.
There is actually much we can do to change the narrative. I would suggest we stop using words like battle and fight because they are militant words that fuel division. I would also suggest that we make people aware that the “lust for power” is extremely dangerous to our democracy. Those who use militant language and have been possessed by lust for power, are, in my opinion, serving Ares, the god of war.
We need to create policies that empower people at the grass roots level to improve the economic life of their communities. We need to empower social entrepenuers like “Dig Deep” who are, in fact, working to enlarge people’s access to public goods.
Robert Reich had a lecture on YouTube in which he asserted that anytime there is great inequality in wealth their is intense divisiveness in our nation. I would guess as well that this inequality also fuels racial division. He did not , however, make any suggestions for making the distribution of wealth more just and equitable.
Biden will have much to do when he becomes POTUS. I can only hope that he will have a democratic Senate to help move his vision forward. If he doesn’t, the GOP senators will obstruct him just as they did with Obama.
Democrats need to invest some twenty years pounding into citizens’ heads the difference between socialism and communism. Right now millions of individuals, educated and not so educated, hear the word socialism but register the concept of communism, a terrible and ignorant habit that serves to defeat every policy having promise to ease the life of the unwealthy.
We need to demonstrate how communism — in every communist experiment — took a decent, useful thing like socialism and tainted it with dictatorship, and we need to show how the eventual failure of communism came out of the SINS OF DICTATORSHIP not socialism.
Negating the true meaning of words is as harmful as negating science and reality. All three injuries are curable with reeducation, propaganda, brainwashing. As John says, There is a time for everything.
Thus, I am for a stiff penalty for anyone, any in-group, or any institution that deliberately foments new meanings for old words. The teen who says something is bad when he means it is good. The politician who advocates conservatism when he or she really means the opposite: wasting resources — minds, commodities, respect, forests, water, and air — for the sake of profit.
Is it too much to ask that when a new word is needed to coin it, create it, rather than flip the meaning of old words? But then maybe creativity is gone for good in America.
It is also time to realize — I’m speaking to most of you — that it is insufficient to merely correct the public once or twice of its misuse and missunderstanding of crucial concepts; the public must be corrected, even embarrassed, thousands of times, repeatedly, year after year, for generations in order to break those habits of misuse. When it comes to turning minds, the pedanticists among us have much to learn from the propagandists, which is another way of saying Democrats have much to learn from Republicans.
To my mind, the biggest mistake Dems make, and continue to make, is allow themselves to be branded with the “S” word, Socialism, and not hit back with the “F” word, Fascism. People need to be schooled on the differences between Socialism and Social programs (Social Security, Medicare, FDIC, Farm subsidies, etc.) They need to understand that ANTIFA means Anti-Fascism. Black Lives Matter is the antithesis of Black Lives DON’T Matter.
Now, I know mom used to say “If you can’t say something nice about somebody, don’t say anything.” Maybe Democrats are just too polite.
Republican leaders know what these words mean. But they’ll keep using them as long it helps their cause.
Civics needs to be taught in every classroom, from elementary school through college, and every elected official must be able to pass a basic citizenship test.
Larry is so right. Bernie Sanders adopted the “Democratic Socialist” label but I never saw him distinguish that from “autocratic socialism” – the kind that Cuban and South American immigrants had good reason to fear and flee.
Neither did Democrats as a whole show that Trump was the biggest socialist of all – driving deficits to historic levels with corporate socialism, tariff-inspired farm bailouts, and tax policies favoring the ultra-rich at the expense of everyone else.
Thankfully Joe Biden tamped down the socialism label enough to win an electoral college majority, but not enough to win Florida which he SHOULD have won. Until the ‘socialism’ label is handled more effectively, Republicans will continue to mis-use it in campaigns while supplying government aid to their donors.
JoAnn: I (ahem!) predicted that Biden would get 300 or more electoral votes and he has, as you pointed out, 290, and with Georgia’s 13 soon to be counted, just call me Nostradamus (or lucky).
To today’s topic > Terry’s discussion of what socialism is and isn’t reminds me of the same arguments Truman made in 1947 when he dressed Republicans down for using the term for political purposes, observing that every great advance for ordinary people could be attributed to “socialism.” Truman knew, as we know, that we have an admixture of socialism and capitalism and that the only question is to which side of such isms do we add or subtract depending upon what seems necessary at any given moment. Inevitably, those who have little are for one side and residents of the Hamptons are for the other.
The role of government is to referee such additions proportionate to achievement of the common good, but since the Hamptons crowd of greed care only about themselves with little regard for the common good and use the freedom to lie protected by the First Amendment along with other propaganda associated with American exceptionalism, individualism, prairie schooner libertarianism and other such myths, all against a background of control of the media, a combination of which is designed to capture government, or the referees, all via the Republican Party, such terminal capitalists have done a good job. Result? We are living in a sea of lies and jaundiced accounts of history, and with loss of civic education and critical thinking are easy marks for exploitation by terminal capitalists who care little whether we live in a democracy or under a dictator so long as their plundering ways are unimpeded.
To do: Elect new referees who will retake the philosophical playing field from all competitors right, left and center who seek to control our lives and fortunes, and then proceed to call the game based on the common good. Can’t be done? That is likely to have been what was said by some in an agora in ancient Athens when some backbencher came up with the novel idea of a democracy, or rule by the people, which Churchill said was the worst possible system, except for all the others.
Mea culpa. I wrote that Georgia had 13 electoral votes for Biden. Wrong. Georgia has 16 electoral votes, which gives Biden a total of 316 electoral votes in what I would call a comfortable if not a mini landslide win giving Biden the mandate he needs to clean up Trump’s debris, bring order to the executive branch, and proceed to put forth such Democratic initiatives as infrastructure repair and renewal, tax and bankruptcy reforms, a minimum tax increase etc.
Why is there a continual harping and moaning about “the 70 million” ?
You sound as if you feel that they need to be assimilated into the ranks of Biden voters.
Sort of a GroupThink mentality, it would appear.
Newsflash: You’ll NEVER get someone who feels and thinks differently than you to agree with your point of view. And please, seriously, QUIT beating the tired old drum of ” If you voted for Trump, you endorse racism, white nationalism, sexism”, etc, etc. The only way you can label those voters as the guy they voted for….is if you take the mantle of adulterers, seducer of impressionable young women and a history of being a sexual predator ala Bill Clinton. That’s a stupid idea, but uses the same ‘logic’ you do, God help us.
Maybe there does need to be more than one America…or a new set of furniture.
I can almost guarantee that if dangerous idiots like Ocasio-Cortez continue to advocate keeping and maintaining lists of Trump voters for punitive retribution, there will be a national tragedy.
By the way, why has no one in this echo chamber of smug self-righteousness and moral and academic high grounders not condemned this blatant, real-life example of Orwellian intent?
Could it be that Nazi-ist intimidation tactics, happening in real-time are tacitly approved by you all if it’s not Your ox being fired, as opposed to your 4 years of feverish and unfounded fears, and a blatantly ignorant attempt to legitimize your fears by labeling it in in appropriate capital letters such as ” White Nationalism” ??
You and quite a few of your accolytes in here actually are what you priclaim to be against..jaundiced indeed, not to mention hateful. The irony and hypocrisy is glaring and incredible.
Hillary’s America on Prime is a documentary that’s needs to be digested.
Most of the 70 million are Republicans vote not because of socialism or because of riots in the streets. They just voted Republican. They don’t vote Democratic because they aren’t Democrats. It’s not all that deep. Their parents were Republicans, their friends are Republicans.
Pam W. is right about the failure of our public educational system, and how it does not teach people how to think. Youngsters are not, I believe, taught anything about Carl Sagan’s “Bullshit detector,” by whatever name you want to call it.
Also, the ending of the “Fairness Doctrine, in Reagan’s time, I believe, paved the way for a Faux News and Limbaugh style Gaslighting on the public airwaves.
This combination, along with the country’s long under appreciated mass of bigotry, has brought us to where we are today, IMHO.
Thank you Larry, but convincing people about the truth of dictatorial regimes labeling themselves as communist or socialist is about as likely convincing Sheila’s hypothetical student that the table is a table and not a chair.
Sorry to disappoint anyone, but (1) Bernie Sanders did not create the Republican use of red-baiting nor its effectiveness, (2) horrible “Democratic Socialists”, like Michael Harrington, created LBJ’s War on Poverty (clearly an evil idea), and (3) AOC’s policy proposals are only slightly to the left of FDR and he was first elected almost a century ago (OK – 88 years)
It is an odd coincidence that the box I opened to go through today (I’m trying to downsize) contained an article printed in the Chicago Tribune by Monsignor John J. Egan (then affiliated with DePaul University) – I don’t have a date, but he died in 2001.
His article was entitled “Time to practice the ‘L’ word again?”. In it, he mourned how the word “liberal” had been so demeaned by the Right, that everyone was afraid of it. He pointed out how the Right had labeled “liberalism” as an evil, ascribed all sorts of attributes that weren’t true, and went on to suggest that Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy all considered themselves “liberals” within their time. He picked on Democrats for abandoning the label, and their commitment to common workers.
The sad thing — were he still alive, he could have just had it reprinted with the “P” word substituted, but then again, who wants “progress”.
First, I thought that the essay you cited by Umair Haque was excellent as well as deeply disturbing – particularly when paired with the BBC exit polls at the bottom of https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-54783016. We have a deep seated racism problem and you can dress it up any way you want with talk of socialism and freedom but it is still racism.
Robert Meier hit the nail on the head when he says that ” Most of the 70 million are Republicans vote not because of socialism or because of riots in the streets. They just voted Republican. They don’t vote Democratic because they aren’t Democrats. It’s not all that deep. Their parents were Republicans, their friends are Republicans.” I watched how hard it was for my 94 year old mother to vote for a democrat but she did it.
Pam Wright is also correct when she says “Brainwashed grandparents of the ’50s still remember the ”evils of communism” and can’t differentiate that from democratic socialism, as practiced in more sensible, compassionate European nations.” Part of the problem of public education is that parents, grandparents, and other friends and neighbors undo what teachers teach.
Education is the solution but somehow we have to educate adults as well as children and teens. This puts the burden on the informal conduits of education – civic groups, churches, synagogues, mosques, social clubs, etc.
The net result of white America opposing social progress is poor health care, poor regard for those who have the least, anti-labor sentiment, poor education, high infant mortality all caused by overt and covert racist policies. What white America will get, when all is said and done, is a fifth rate country and democracy.
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