Morning Ed: Politics {2016.08.02.T}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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34 Responses

  1. Avatar LTL FTC says:

    Back in my day, the Q stood for “questioning” and queer was a blanket term for those seeking to reclaim it, which was an active battle at the time.

    Besides, it’s LGBTQQIA now, thought there is an ongoing argument as to whether A should be for ally or asexual.

    Gotta stay on top of this DNC, or else Trump is going to win on the strength of the disgruntled intersex vote.Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    Russia/Trump: Blowback’s a bitch ain’t it? One should not bitch when the stick you stir the pot with in other countries gets used to stir your countries pot.

    Kevin Franck: “Either the people who pinched the emails, or the people who disseminated them chose to release only some of them.” Duh. Why release mundane crap? You release what you want to get out.

    Trump / Sanders: I could see telling the Bernie bros that Bernie sold them out by supporting HRC and trying to convince them to join his side for “real change”, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

    Inside candidates: Subverting the will of the populace since the beginning. Can’t see how that ever “has it’s virtues” unless all you care about is winning.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    On the first article, a lot of people are tossing about Dreher’s article that calls Trump, the tribune of the white working class. This includes liberals who think that the Democratic Party did abandon the white working class. My questions and challenges on Dreher’s article go constantly unanswered.

    1. Automation seems to have destroyed more of the manufacturing economy than globalization. The United States still manufactures a lot but with far fewer people. We don’t need people 100,000 people working at Kodak anymore or applying the same rivets for 40 years. How do you combat automation?

    2. Do you bring back the coal mines and give up on environmental policy?

    3. What if what the WWC wants is simply a return to the old system of racial privilege? The Democratic Party is fighting for the working class. Obamacare is for all Americans. Obama’s overtime executive decision is for all Americans. The fight for 15 is for the worker as well. Yet the WWC still goes hardcore right often enough. Obamacare is popular in red states as long as you don’t call it Obamacare. What if the WWC wants a return to what Ira Katznelson described in When Affirmative Action was White/Fear Itself, a world with government action and economic intervention but only for white people.

    I think a lot of the people predicting Trump landslides are dealing with psychology being unable to deal with fact. 2008, 2012, and quite possibly 2016 will show that the Democratic Party can win the Presidency without courting the white male vote and making it central and idolized. But very few people want to come out and say this because they know it is racist or seems racist.

    So once again, I will ask my question. What can the DNC do for WWC specifically and solely that does not force them to abandon civil rights for racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, and gender minorities? Or abandon environmentalism? Or Civil Liberties in the face of traditionalism?

    If the Democratic Party needs to choose between populism for whites and protecting the civil rights of minority, why should they pick populism for whites?

    Maybe white guys need to learn to not be the center of attention.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I second this, in asking what interests the white working class have that are separate from the rest of the black/ brown working class.Report

      • In terms of purely paycheck-affecting economic policy (eg, expanded EITC or SNAP), none. Outside of that, some. The two groups are in somewhat different geographic situations. The WWC (at least as I’ve been exposed to it) has little interest, and may actively oppose, money being poured into devastated urban core areas. Public transit. Crop subsidies.

        I have relatives in a couple of rural areas who complain bitterly that some of the working-class jobs — eg, in meat processing plants — have been taken over by brown people willing to take a lower wage and tolerate less-safe working conditions to the extent that you can’t be a floor manager unless you speak fluent Spanish. ICE sweeps routinely find a modest number of undocumented workers. Those relatives are strongly anti-immigration.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Michael Cain says:

          The key to understanding the WWC is the word “work.” Policies that are means-tested are favored over work-substitutes.

          The problem with the meat-processing plants is that the companies don’t want to pay the wages necessary to staff them, so they go to the government and get work permits. Its my understanding that work permits for Mexicans in this job area are no longer favored for the reason you touch-on: brothers, cousins and nephews slip across the border and share the job. Western Africa is preferred now, but the whole arrangement is a clear example of government policy favoring capital over labor.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to PD Shaw says:

            The Democratic Party does often propose massive infrastructure projects to get everything up to speed but these are often rejected by the GOP. If Michael is right, the WWC might hate the projects because they would benefit urban areas.Report

    • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      A campaign based on sneering condescension and catastrophizing a possible Trump presidency would be a good start to win the WWC without changing positions on many major issues.

      Clinton’s BernieOrBust/Jill Stein strategy takes the statement that Trump is completely unacceptable as a given and then works back from there in demanding the left drop their various hobbyhorses and fall in line. The only time the WWC is mentioned is in the context of “you wouldn’t want to acknowledge, help or be like those racist yokels, would you?”

      Remember the Joan Walsh tweet that ignited the Matt Bruenig controversy? She wrote:

      “I reject the moral superiority of a coalition led by white men vs. the will of black, brown and female voters.”

      Quite simply, your opinion means less, WWC. We’re not actually fighting for equality, just like you suspected. We believe oppression is ennobling and you lack it. It doesn’t matter how poor or hopeless you are, you must be this oppressed to be worth listening to at all.

      This creates an oppositional political culture. WWC knows who loathes them, and they will pick the opposite, no matter what’s on offer.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LTL FTC says:

        Oh please.

        Has there ever been a time in living memory when the white working class hasn’t been valorized as “Real America”?

        And not just by the right, but even such figures as Springsteen, channeling Guthrie, and every politician of every party has made obligatory nods to the humble family farmer, the stalwart steelworker, the honest and authentic Carhartt wearing pickup truck driving Murcan?

        Meanwhile we have had 40 years of politicians bitterly complaining about the black and brown welfare queen and her shiftless spawn sucking up unearned benefits.

        Yet it is the white folks who are somehow the victims of scorn and derision?

        Gawd. Sack up, you WATBs.Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Mo says:

            Glenn Greenwald makes sense in that article:

            I think in general there is no effort on the part of media elites to communicate with those people and do anything other than tell them that they are primitive, racist, and stupid. And if the message being sent is that you are primitive, racist, and stupid, and not that you have been f–ked over in ways that are really bad and need to be rectified, of course those people are not going to be receptive to the message coming from the people who view them with contempt and scorn.

            Hillary is going to win. But one day, someone is going to run who understands this who isn’t a total embarrassment to the Chamber of Commerce types. It won’t be pretty. And if all you have in your rhetorical arsenal is derision, sneering, catastrophizing and campus word salad critical theory, you lose.Report

            • Avatar Mo in reply to LTL FTC says:

              Are Trump supporters being derided for being “primitive, racist, and stupid” because that’s the view of the WWC or are they being derided that way because they’re glomming on to a candidate that is campaigning that way. The playbook for Trump is different than the playbook for a bog standard populist. Hillary just beat one of those.Report

              • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Mo says:

                If you want the WWC to change their vote or to consider a different way of looking at the world, your justifications for bashing them don’t really matter.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to LTL FTC says:

                But it’s not WWC voters being put down, it’s Trump supporters. There’s a difference. I suspect, if Trump loses in November, people who say they supported him drops 20%. And a majority will say they did it because they hated Hillary, not liked TrumpReport

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC says:

        Quite simply, your opinion means less, WWC. We’re not actually fighting for equality, just like you suspected. We believe oppression is ennobling and you lack it. It doesn’t matter how poor or hopeless you are, you must be this oppressed to be worth listening to at all.

        Ah, yes, rejecting the superiority of white men over “black, brown and female voters” is, somehow, incompatible with fighting for equality. White men are, axiomatically, more equal than everybody else.

        I don’t know if @ltl-ftc is trying to prove everything that progressives believe about white working class [1] grievance, but they couldn’t be doing a better job of it if they tried.

        [1] Evidently white working class women aren’t part of the white working class because who the hell knows.Report

        • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to pillsy says:

          I see the “rejecting the superiority” as a very carefully hedged statement written to allow for pillsy’s defense because “rejecting the superiority” of one thing is not precisely the same thing as “claiming the superiority of the other thing.”

          Yeah, “We all know what she means” can come off as weak sauce, but come on – we all know what she means. You can find these “sit down, shut up and do what your intersectional betters say” language all over the place. This one is from Clay Shirky’s semi-famous tweetstorm:

          Yes, yes, Clinton’s not as liberal as we’d like, but minorities never get the luxury of demanding a perfect candidate. Just give.

          Then there’s this, a PAC called “Can You Not,” with the stated goal of encouraging white men not to run for office:

          http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/new-pac-asks-white-men-not-run

          No, it’s not a Koch-level powerhouse, but it conveys an attitude that’s broadly shared. It’s an ugly one if you’re not in the in-group. If you’re not tenured or published, can you really improve your lot in life shouting from the rooftops, “look how hard I’m listening and look at how many seats I’m taking”? Shirky and Walsh can. Most can’t.

          Listen, I’ve been a straight ticket D voter since I’ve been old enough to vote, and that’s not going to change in 2016. I have a good job that won’t be packed up and sent to China or Mexico. Nobody in my family is addicted to pills or meth. But sneering condescension is still not a good electoral strategy.

          Re [1] White women voted for Romney over Obama by 14 points. So yeah, they’re WWC too.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LTL FTC says:

        @ltl-ftc

        Bruening’s problem is that he is unrepentant a-hole. Now he is young but he had a sexism problem.

        I think Jill Stein appeals to a small-band of well-to-do liberals with vaguely hippie pretensions. Think of someone who wants to be organic but live in a really nice house. Her anti-Vaxxing pandering confirms this to me.

        Michael Cain does actually point out how it can be hard to help the WWC and POC at the same time with his notes against resistance to urban spending and food stamps.Report

        • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Count me as the last person to defend Breuning. He’s right insofar as the D primary’s main split was along age lines, not racial ones. But Twitter either brings out the worst in people or attracts the worst people.

          You and Michael Cain are right that WWC and POC interests really are at odds, since there’s limited money to be divided between city and country interests. It would be wonderful if we could have a urban vs. rural politics in which both of those words weren’t racially coded.Report

    • As long as the Democrats are winning (to their reasonable satisfaction), there’s nothing to worry about with regard to the WWC. If they start losing, they’re going to have to figure out where to get votes from, and it may require unpleasant tradeoffs. Presently, though, that’s not the case.

      There are a few thoughts I’ve read from genuinely interested or concerned individuals

      The most common is to focus more on economic issues that benefit all working class and lower class individuals. Resist the pull of moderation in economic policy. Don’t moderate on economic policy and hope to make it up with social issues specifically geared towards minorities (and thus not geared towards WWC).

      Also, don’t actually antagonize them. The Democratic Party itself is actually pretty good about this, but a lot of their allies aren’t there is some concern that a lot of the left is moving in a direction of the same sort of contemptuousness towards the heartland that Republicans demonstrate towards the coasts. This is not an issue yet, but worth keeping an eye on. The Democrats can’t afford to lose the Great Lakes.

      Run more regionally appropriate candidates, or continue to do so. Don’t insist that a Democrat from Texas run on a similar platform as a Democrat from California. This is something that the Republicans need to work on far, far more than the Democrats, but it could be a concern.

      Now, all of these things are somewhat minimum step if things turn bad, or things to consider to prevent them from doing so. As long as they are winning, though, none of it is really required. They don’t need to worry about the WWC votes they don’t have. They just need to make sure to hold on to the ones they do have (or have a concrete way of replacing them). If they do lose them, then they have a serious problem.

      David Shor (statistics guy, very liberal, works to elect Democrats) thinks it might be best for everyone involved for the Democrats to absorb more of the white vote and lose some of its minority vote to Republicans, so that racists don’t have such pull in either party. He tracks a lot of what’s happened in the US to an international phenomenon of the liberals forsaking people with conservative cultural attitudes in favor of neoliberal white social progressives, and this being the result of that. It’s an interesting thought, and it’s not necessarily wrong (I’ve been pondering the subject a lot lately), but I don’t think there is a realistic way from getting from Point A to Point B that people are going to be comfortable with. At least, not on the Democratic side.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Will Truman says:

        it might be best for everyone involved for the Democrats to absorb more of the white vote and lose some of its minority vote to Republicans

        I don’t think there is a realistic way from getting from Point A to Point B that people are going to be comfortable with. At least, not on the Democratic side

        I think its weird that you frame this in terms of an agenda for the Democrats to enact, as if the Republicans are somehow passive bystanders in their becoming the party of white resentment.
        And how the pain will be on the Democratic side, as if the Republican shift to attract minority voters would be happy and painless for the Trump voter.

        Again, I have to ask what interests the white working class voter has that are somehow not shared by his black co-worker.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Afirmative action.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Kolohe says:

            Where is this “affirmative action” that you speak of?

            Serious question.
            When and where would one of these aggrieved white workers encounter it?Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              In politics and poltical coalitions, perception is more important than reality, and aspirations more important than accomplishments.

              It doesn’t really matter for his or her vote if the white worker is never actually touched by affirmative action – and looking it up this year’s Democratic Party platform doesn’t appear to have that phrase in it, only planks about ending discrimation (and something about ‘societal transformation’ – I’m surprises the right wing blogs and media haven’t taken that phrase and ran with it yet)

              What matters is that he or she still thinks there are quotas or whatever, and that there are still people pushing for them (and there are people still pushing for old school affirmative action, instead of its more common modern form, which is about enlarging applicant pools)

              Plus, let’s say the push for reparations finally gets some traction. That’s certainly an interest the white working class person doesn’t share with his or her African American co-worker (regardless of the morality and the merits of the argument for reparations)Report

        • “At least, not on the Democratic” side was actually a nod to argument that there is more the Republicans could do. But this thread isn’t about the Republicans. It’s about the Democrats and what they can and can’t do, or should and shouldn’t.

          And Shor speaks more of the role the Democratic Party plays because that’s the team he operates on. He doesn’t talk about what Republicans can do because he believes they (and conservatives) are fundamentally bad.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

        @will-truman

        I don’t think David Shor is incorrect! The problem is that this is a two-way street and requires the GOP to make some decisions as well.

        Julian Bond of the NAACP noted that if the Republicans moderated their stance on affirmative action, they could be competitive with black Americans because many black Americans are inherently socially conservative. Yet the GOP seems absolutely incapable of doing so.

        As long as a party finds it easy to play to white resentment, it will be hard for the GOP to win more of the WWC. I will also note that the Democratic Party generally does okay with the WWC in all areas except the Big South.

        I will note that automation seems to be the elephant in the room that no one wants to deal with. I still think that the heyday of the WWC was in the post-WWII and pre-Civil Rights era when:

        1. Most of the world was destroyed by WWII.

        2. The universal shipping contained was not invented

        3. Automation was not yet a thing and computers were just in infancy.

        4. There was a lot of privilege given to people for being white including first dibs at plum factory jobs and exclusive access to mortgages and suburbs.

        These things are hard to reckon with.Report

  4. Avatar pillsy says:

    LTL FTC:
    I see the “rejecting the superiority” as a very carefully hedged statement written to allow for pillsy’s defense because “rejecting the superiority” of one thing is not precisely the same thing as “claiming the superiority of the other thing.”

    Yeah, “We all know what she means” can come off as weak sauce, but come on – we all know what she means.

    Less weak sauce, more distilled water. You’ve basically set it up so that there’s no way someone can argue against the assumption that white men should run the show without saying they’re inferior, because if they speak carefully in favor of equality, it’s a “carefully hedged statement”. Heads you win, tails they lose.

    You can find these “sit down, shut up and do what your intersectional betters say” language all over the place. This one is from Clay Shirky’s semi-famous tweet storm:

    You’re doing it again. Shirkey suggests that white men do the same thing members of minorities do–accept imperfect candidates–and it’s calling them inferior.

    That’s two out of three.

    And I’m not saying that WWC women aren’t WWC–you’re implicitly assuming that when you exclude them from a coalition of “black, brown and female voters”. Also, one thread I’ve seen in a lot of polling is that white, non-college-educated women are likely to support Trump at significantly lower levels than they did Romney. So there’s that.Report

    • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to pillsy says:

      Less weak sauce, more distilled water. You’ve basically set it up so that there’s no way someone can argue against the assumption that white men should run the show without saying they’re inferior, because if they speak carefully in favor of equality, it’s a “carefully hedged statement”. Heads you win, tails they lose.

      This only works if you believe the assumption is that if you don’t vote for the not-a-man on offer this election, you believe that white men should run the show. Were it Biden vs. Coulter with the candidates’ every utterance completely identical, this wouldn’t make any sense. But it’s the cudgel they’ve chosen and voters will react accordingly.Report

      • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC says:

        No, that’s not the assumption on display here at all, because the reference wasn’t to the candidates, but the coalitions supporting them. If it were Biden v Coulter, it would be a perfectly sensible statement… in support of Biden.Report

        • Avatar LTL FTC in reply to pillsy says:

          Huh? Another white man is running the show.

          If you’re arguing that, as the clear choice of nonwhite voters who woudn’t be elected without nonwhite support, a white man is no longer running the show, then white men weren’t running the show during any Dem administration from LBJ on.Report

          • Avatar pillsy in reply to LTL FTC says:

            That’s what the argument you’re objecting to boils down to, though. The complaint of Walsh et al. [1] wasn’t, “Bernie is a white dude,” it was, “Bernie and his coalition aren’t doing enough to appeal to women and members of racial minorities.”

            Back in 2007, people worried that Obama wasn’t doing enough to appeal to African American voters, and he never had support among Latinos the way Hillary did. That wasn’t because he was a white guy!

            [1] Which is really debatable, for reasons you and @saul-degraw discussed elsewhere.Report

  5. Avatar veronica d says:

    On the “Q” thing, first, I follow this person over on Tumblr who calls the whole LGBT-etc-etc-etc. thing “The alphabet soup of suffering,” which I find wildly appropriate.

    They should probably add the “Q.” I identify as Q. Many people do. In recent years, as we’ve kinda re-booted how gender works in “queer spaces,” the L and G identities don’t always work for people. It’s complicated.

    There is this constant tug-o-war around boundaries, specifically who gets included in the “not str8” umbrella. In the old days it was easy. There was this loose collection of folks that we could call the “gay community.” If you were part of the gay community, you knew.

    Personally, I still think this is a powerful notion. There really is a community. It is not as strong as it was a few decades ago, perhaps. (That’s a complicated conversation.) Likewise, there were always fault lines. For one thing, lesbians (rightly) felt they were on the edges. In many ways they had their own “scene” (or really “scenes,” plural) that overlapped with the male-dominated gay community, but were not identical to it. So names matter. How you identify a thing tells you what aspects you center. Thus we get the “gay and lesbian community.”

    Basically we can think of “those folks likely to have been a Stonewall.” (And if you are not aware, the first person on that fateful night to throw a punch outside the Stonewall Inn was a butch lesbian.)

    (Yay you badass tough-as-fuck butch who punched a fucking cop and started gay — and LESBIAN — liberation!)

    (True story: the cops started roughing her up, so someone started dragging the sissy queers for letting the cops beat up a woman, so they sissy queers jumped in. It’s so adorable.)

    On the other hand, at the time of Stonewall there was a thriving underground cross dressing scene, largely of middle-class married men who would not go near a gay bar. (If you want to know more, the life of Virginia Prince is a place to start.) Anyway, nowadays these people get (sometimes) included as “kinda trans.” Certainly there is less of a sharp divide between cross dressers who are “actually trans” and those who are not. Likewise, various flavors of bisexuality and queerness are more tolerated than years past. Back then, if two cross dressed people wanted to “hook up,” they would be asked to leave. These days it is quite common. (I say with a wink, although the woman in question turned out to be “actually trans” and has since begun HRT. Which actually had a lot to do with her experience with me and my ex-g/f. So yay! Using our magic sex power we convinced someone to step up and do it.)

    Back in 1973, the “lesbian separatists” managed to exclude “drag queens” (which at the time the label included trans women) from the Christopher Street parade, a precursor to modern Pride. So even then, the idea of a seamless community was unravelling. We could never be a “big happy family.” Something had to give somewhere.

    So anyway, over the years we fought and fought and fought. Slowly more identities added, until we end up with LGBTQALDJFALKJELRAKJLAKJLKAJLEKJRITIKVIRIEKLAVMIEIRK+++\ or something. It’s unwieldy. On the other hand, the HRC spent about a decade refusing to move from “LGB” to “LGBT,” cuz their director was a transphobic lesbian. Should we care? In any case, those days are mostly past. The HRC at least pretends to care about trans folks.

    Someone came up with QUILTBAG, which is nice for a few reasons. First, it’s easy to say. Second, it covers most of the groups already covered by the “alphabet soup of suffering.” Third, it’s an actual word, so you can’t fight over more letters.

    I’ve always been kind of iffy on including assexual poeple. I mean, I’m not flatly opposed, but nor am I totally down with it. It’s complicated. The thing is, at some point we have to ask: if we’re adding assexuals, to what are we adding them? Long ago we stopped being a singular “community.” So what are we? An “umbrella”? Okay, but what is that exactly?

    Someone came up with “GSM,” which is “gender and sexual minorities.” Okay fine. But then you get BDSM folks saying they “belong,” likewise cis-het poly folks.

    Except a m-dom/f-sub couple is the most not-alternate-sexuality couple that I can imagine. Likewise straight guys “into poly” are not remotely connected to the core “gay community” of yore.

    Things evolve, but when we’re including domly str8 men in utilikilts, then who is left on the outside?

    I don’t know. I don’t believe in bright lines, and I’m certainly totally down with the “leather crowd” and the ace folks marching in Pride. After all, we let big banks march in Pride. Furthermore, if domly utilikilt guy shows up at the queer dance party, I’m down with that. If he’s cool and treats everyone with respect (and these guys usually do), then yay! I’ll dance with him.

    It’s about positive energy.

    In a lot of ways, the gay community thrives on positive energy. Cool str8 people who get that have always been welcome.

    But it’s complicated. There is a reason for the gay community to be as it is. Likewise, there is this lingering sense that the cis-str8s don’t really “get it,” not totally.

    I suspect this is similar to combat veterans, who might want to hang out with other combat veterans. They share this thing, that I do not share. If I am in the room with such a group, then there will be a tension that would not exist if I were not in the room. These things are subtle, but real.

    Just how ironic are we when we say the “alphabet soup of suffering”?

    So we come to “queerness.” Queerness is still a thing. I’m trans, so my relationship between gender and sexuality is complicated. I don’t “pass” very well, so I cannot effortlessly blend into the lesbian community, and while I quite enjoy the male-oriented gay community, I’m not male. I’m seldom attracted to men (with the occasional totes HAWT exception). So what am I?

    If a stranger asks me, I tell them I’m “bi.” It gets the point across, but not really. I don’t feel “bi.” I’m too far over on the Kinsey scale.

    I’m done with the “trans women can be lesbians” argument. As far as I’m concerned, the TERFs can have the “lesbian” label, in the sense of, let them rule the ash heap they’ve made. They can gather in an otherwise empty field in Michigan and wonder where everyone went.

    Regarding my sexuality (which is separate from my gender), I identify as “queer.” The label almost works for me.

    There is almost something like a “queer community,” which is separate from the “trans community,” which doesn’t quite overlap with the “trans women community,” except the latter is so small and so young. I don’t quite fit in there. The generation gap matters. Contrastingly, while other trans women my age certainly exist, we don’t really have a community. It’s hard to explain.

    All of this is adjacent to the “gay community,” which I also associate with, mostly cuz I don’t really fit in anywhere, so I may as well not-fit-in among the gays. They throw the best parties.

    After all, what is the point of a community, but to love and feel loved and to touch and be touched and just to belong somewhere? There is a reason we dance.Report

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