It’s Class, Stupid, Not Race

By Marshall Auerback, a market analyst and a research associate at the Levy Institute for Economics at Bard College ( Follow him on Twitter at @Mauerback. Originally published at Counterpunch

During the Presidential campaign of 1988, the Reverend Jesse Jackson was asked, “How you are going to get the support of the white steelworker?” He replied: “By making him aware he has more in common with the black steel workers by being a worker, than with the boss by being white.” Jackson also did speak of reviving a “rainbow coalition”, but in spite of being associated with black radicalism by much of the country, he was able to obtain almost 50 percent of the Democratic delegates at the Atlanta convention through an explicit appeal which transcended race, instead invoking class. Jackson himself is not the likely future leader of the Democratic Party, but his model is one the Dems would be well to consider if they wish to recapture much of the country that they lost in last week’s election.

To a large degree, Bernie Sanders understood and appreciated this, although as we now know, the Wall Street/Silicon Valley donors which comprise the donor class of the DNC were appalled by this and actively worked to sabotage his campaign. By the time we got to the general election, the party’s message was watered down and muddled, in some races focused almost entirely on gender issues and attacks of Trump’s lack of suitability for the office.

To be sure, Donald Trump did make a strong appeal to racists, homophobes, and misogynists and whilst his GOP colleagues publicly recoiled in horror, there is no question that Trump was merely making explicit what Republicans had been doing for decades – since the days of Nixon in 1968.  The dog whistle was merely replaced by a bull horn.

But that alone doesn’t explain Trump’s success.  As I wrote in an earlier analysis of the Trump phenomenon, he became the voice for an increasing number of Americans, who counted themselves amongst the biggest losers of globalization and free trade.  In most elections, U.S. politicians of both parties pretend to be concerned about their issues, then conveniently ignore them when they reach power and implement policies from the same Washington Consensus that has dominated the past 40 years. That’s why so many Americans have simply stopped voting (and this year was no different, as it looks like a mere 57.9% of the voter eligible population turned out).  And perhaps Trump is a faux populist, who is merely deploying bait and switch tactics, but he explicitly addressed his campaign to those who have been marginalized by the neo-liberal policies dominant in both parties.

The difference this time is that once Senator Bernie Sanders lost the nomination, the Democrats made little effort to recapture these voters.  That is largely because the party’s nominee was the very embodiment of the establishment policies that has created so much misery for these groups and Hillary Clinton had no credible message for what the press condescendingly termed “flyover country”.  These voters instead went for the change candidate, even though his platform lacked much of the coherence of, say, the Sanders program and in many respects might make their position worse.  But when you live in Youngstown, Ohio, or Scranton, Pennsylvania, and have virtually no stake in the existing system, is it at all surprising that you’re willing to place your bets with a bomb-thrower?

No question that today there is a kind of all-encompassing pessimism which transcends economics. In addition to the growing inequality and concomitant wage stagnation for the middle and working classes,  9/11 and its aftermath has certainly has contributed to it as well, as, making people long for the the Golden Age of Managerial Capitalism of the post-WWII era, which was a dynamic period of great economic achievements and pax Americana.   Distilling it into movies (America’s version of a cultural yardstick), the American zeitgeist today is a weird mashup of Bladerunner, Mad Max, and Reality TV – with the characters longing for Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, hardly a recipe that brings hope for a positive future.

And if the Democratic Party is honest, it will have to concede that even the popular incumbent President has played a huge role in contributing to the overall sense of despair that drove people to seek a radical outlet such as Trump. The Obama Administration rapidly broke with its Hope and “Change you can believe in” the minute he appointed some of the architects of the 2008 crisis as his main economic advisors, who in turn and gave us a Wall Street friendly bank bailout that effectively restored the status quo ante (and refused to jail one single banker, even though many were engaged in explicitly criminal activity). He followed that up with a bailout of the private health insurance industry under the guise of so-called “health care reform” legislation, the “Affordable” Care Act (which contained no provision for containing the cost of the health insurance oligopolies, because the marginal “public option” was gutted out of the final legislation, courtesy of the lobbyists invited to craft the legislation). All of the Rubinites were brought back in to run economic policy. Wall Street and the stock market boomed, but wages continued to stagnate, and the vast majority of all the gains went to the top 1 percent of income earners.  The rest of the population was left far behind.

So this gave force to the idea that the government was nothing but a viper’s nest full of crony capitalist enablers, which in turn helped to unleash populism on the right (the Left being marginalised or co-opted by their Wall Street/Silicon Valley donor class). And this gave us Trump.  Add to that HRC’s neocon foreign policy instincts, which could have got us in a war with Russia and maybe the American electorate wasn’t so dumb after all.  They could read Podesta’s odious emails as well as the rest of us could.  (As an aside, regardless of the source of the leaks, we should be thankful for the hacked emails, which allowed us to discover that nation’s media works directly with one of the nation’s major political parties to manipulate coverage of their opponents and curry favor for their chosen nominee.)

Obama is personally likeable, but did he really give us anything as great and durable as FDR did in the 1930s?  The Affordable Care Act was effectively RomneyCare (with the comparable problem that there remains no means of controlling private health insurance costs, a fact that was cruelly revealed days before the election when 25% hikes in health insurance premiums were announced), much as Dodd-Frank was a joke in terms of achieving genuine financial reform, especially when one compares it to the legislation that emerged out of the Great Depression (which lasted unchanged for over 40 years). The Pecora Commission (established in the GD’s aftermath) was given relatively free rein to investigate the causes of the crisis and to go after the fraud. Widespread defaults and bankruptcies wiped out a lot of the private sector’s debt. The financial sector was downsized and rendered relatively unimportant for several decades.

The establishment, especially the Democratic Party establishment, keeps enforcing what divides people rather than what unites people by embracing identity politics and ignoring class. Yes, a huge majority of women were offended by Trump’s “locker room talk”, but a large chunk still voted for him, and larger numbers of Hispanics voted for Trump than Romney.  Doesn’t that suggest that identity politics has reached some sort of limit?  Why not find common ground on the issue of class? As former Jackson advisor, Vicente Navarro wrote: “The objective of the ‘billionaire class’ is to co-opt African Americans and women into the system so they are closer and more aligned to the dominant class. The fact that so little is spoken about class in the US is because the billionaire class does not want people to speak or think in class terms.” It’s also the case that it is difficult to get a man to understand his own best interests after he’s swallowed a handful of Oxycontins and chased them with half a quart of Wild Turkey. But emphasizing class-based policies, rather than gender or race-based solutions, will achieve more for the broad swathe of voters, who comprehensively rejected the “neo-liberal lite” identity politics on offer by the Democrats this time around. It is true that this process is likely to be resisted by the donor class and it may well take another financial crisis before their power is fully broken.   Voters crave effective action to reverse long term economic decline and runaway economic inequality, but nothing on the scale required will be offered to them by either of America’s money-driven major parties. This is likely only to accelerate the disintegration of the political system and economic system until the elephant in the room – class – is honestly and comprehensively addressed.

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  1. bob k

    thank you ives. i have read more than a dozen rational and sane explanations for trump’s win (most of them on NC btw), and this is one of the best.

  2. cocomaan

    Yes! About time someone put to this to words.

    I would like a little more about the relationship between racism, racist hate crimes, and economic security, if possible. I’m sure there’s a correlation to be teased out.

    1. John Zelnicker

      @cocomaan – There is, IIRC, some research indicating that those who are struggling the most with economic security are also the ones who are most likely to strike out violently at whichever group (the *other*) they see as being advantaged over them by the government. Which makes sense, I think. Why bother striking out to show dominance over another if you are secure in your economic situation? There is no need to push down the *other* to raise oneself.

      1. digi_owl

        And this may well be why you are seeing all this yakking about taxes from the well to do that even after getting that billion shaved to a million can live better than just about everyone else. Because they see the money going to those “others”…

        1. animalogic

          Spot on, digi !
          Racism is such a handy tool in the hands of the Oligarchs. The political equivalent of a Swiss army knife.
          Racism is a great deflector: ” it’s those OTHERS causing your hardships, not us of the 1% ….”
          It good for simply drilling out vents for a build up of any social toxins (pogroms ?).
          But best of all racism is a great wedge, a great tool for bait ‘n switch. (Those awful Cadillac welfare queens — something must be done ! (Quieter now –) We’ll just have to reduce benefits for EVERYONE…. and so on…

          1. RepubAnon

            Back in the Reagan years, the Austin Lounge Lizards wrote a satirical song: “Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs” in which people whose financial outlook was suffering got a new scapegoat to blame. It should be Trump’s theme song.

  3. global

    Last time i posted comment here on this blog in 2013..

    I said at that point:DNC is gonna lose votes and support of heterosexual men forever and that has already happened.

    Somehow DNC elites forgot that men do exist in USA and they do require job,a family,healthcare..Their manifesto focuses on few selected identities..

    DNC have to convince what deal they are giving to men.Let them think about it.So far,they have stopped facing reality because most of them get paid for working on propaganda machine.

    Let us see…empires have toppled over simpler problems than DNC progressives have created for everyone…

  4. templar555510

    How right you are Marshall and it shows just how successful ( remember Warren Buffet’s little story about his secretary paying more tax than him ) the propaganda ( there is no alternative aka TINA ) of neoliberalism has been in convincing the populace at large that whatever their lot is they deserve it. Until now . Trump’s emphasis on making America great ‘ again ! ‘ goes to the heart of the rot ; that the 99% don’t feel it is great now and somebody needs to fix it. The problem with demagogues ( and no doubt Trump is one ) is that they don’t deliver on their promises and the only way out for them is through violence which is not hard to achieve when emotions have been whipped up to the nth degree . Will it be the same with President Trump ? Who knows, but the historical record is not on the side of an alternative. A great deal of damage can be done in the four years before the possibility can be tested .

    1. TheBell

      He will win a second term. People will think he hasn’t been given enough time. DNC will run an olive branch candidate to the Left in 2020 and then when candidate loses will say “see we need to be centrist”. They are trying to play us.

      1. Eduardo Quince

        He will win a second term.

        Perhaps, provided he doesn’t reach the end of his attention span in the interim

    2. JTMcPhee

      Worth repeating another momentary honesty by squillionaire Warren Buffett:

      “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

      Maybe repeating it a few million more times might let ordinary people get past all the faux divisions they are silly enough to embrace and adhere to, and like good soldiers, attend to the attack of the real enemy…

      “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

      Remember that, people.

  5. Ignim Brites

    “The establishment, especially the Democratic Party establishment, keeps enforcing what divides people rather than what unites people by embracing identity politics and ignoring class”. One problem. Class divides people; more decisively than race or gender.

      1. animalogic

        Sorry, the Democratic Party must commit suicide, leaving space for a genuine Left party. It’s as fundamentally incapable of profound self reform, as a sword is of cutting itself.
        Do the right thing DNC — use the sword on yourself….

      1. polecat

        I first read that as ‘litter boxes’ ………. which would be apt, considering the recent electoral results !

        … or you could consider just ‘litters’ …. to carry out the Democratic Party !

        “Bring out yer dead !”

    1. Synoia

      Yes class divides. So what?. Who is choosing to take privilages and the vast percentage of the income?

      1. JTMcPhee

        “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    2. diptherio

      There is a major difference between class and race/gender/sexual-orientation: class is malleable, the others are not.

      We can actually do something about class divisions, i.e. the wealthy could share what they have with the rest of us. I would be more than willing to share my whiteness with anybody who wanted it, but it don’t work like that.

        1. JTMcPhee

          It’s always confused me, this “black” and “white” bit: I’m told I’m “white,” but that can only be accurately stated of some of my beard hairs. The rest of me, like a lot of other “white” folks, is shades of cream and pink and tan and sallow, with dots of brown of various densities and shades, and red spots where little knots of blood vessels congregate in the skin. And “black” people? Shades of ochre, gold, ebony, “brown,” even dark blues, and on toward the tans and khakis and the misfortune of vitiligo.

          When I lived in Seattle, the joke among “white” people is that up there at 49 degrees North and in light of the constancy of precipitation and salt air along the coast, you didn’t tan, you rusted… Rust always wins, and in the end we are all dead, as they say.

          1. meeps

            Skin colors explained by physics:

            –Only at visible and immediately adjacent frequencies are any significant differences in skin reflectively manifest. People of Northern European ancestry and people of Central African ancestry are equally black in the ultraviolet and in the infrared, where nearly all organic molecules absorb light. Only in the visible, where many molecules are transparent, is the anomaly of white skin even possible. Over most of the spectrum, all humans are black.–

            Billions and Billions, Carl Sagan

            Class, as diptherio put it, is the malleable feature.

      1. kgw

        “There is a major difference between class and race/gender/sexual-orientation: class is malleable, the others are not.”

        What you are missing is the purely arbitrary nature of language, and the effect of naming. No one needs your “whiteness.” Or your gender, or sexual orientation.

    3. Reify99

      I think the point is that “class” has been engineered out of the conversation. How can you address it if it is not even a term used in the debate?

      What you pay attention to determines what you miss.

      1. susan the other

        when “capitalism” failed to remedy class inequity, in fact worked to cause it, propaganda took over and focused on all sorts of things that float around the edges of class like race, opportunity, civil rights, etc – but not a word about money. That’s why Hillary was so irrelevant and boring. If class itself (money) becomes a topic of discussion, the free-market orgy will be seen as a last ditch effort to keep the elite in a class by themselves by “trading” stuff that can just as easily be made domestically, and just not worth the effort anymore.

    4. Benedict@Large

      Identity politics divides just as well as class politics. It simply divides into smaller (less powerful) groups.

      The reason the elites don’t like class politics is that the class division that forms against their class, once organized, is large enough to take them on.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”


        And once again: What outcomes do “we” want from “our” political economy?

      2. Ulysses

        “The reason the elites don’t like class politics is that the class division that forms against their class, once organized, is large enough to take them on.”


        1. XR

          I believe there is another aspect to the shift we are seeing, and it is demographics.

          Specifically deplorable demographics.

          It should be noted that the deplorable generation, gen x, are very much a mixed racial cohort. They have not participated in politics much because they have been under attack since they were children. They have been ignored up to now.

          Deplorable means wretched, poor.

          This non participation is what has begun to change, and will accelerate for the next 20 years and beyond.

          Demographically speaking, with analysis of the numbers right now are approximately…

          GEN GI and Silent Gen – 22,265,021

          Baby Boomers 50,854,027

          Gen X 90,010,283

          Millenials 62,649,947 18 Years to 34
          25,630,521   (12-17 Years old)
          Total  88,280,468

          Artist Gen 48,820,896 and growing…

          * Using the Fourth Turning Cultural Demographic Measurement vs. the politically convenient, MSM supported, propaganda demographics. They would NEVER do such a thing right? Sure.

          GI 92–114 Silent 74–91 Boomer 55–72 Gen-X 35–55 Millennial 12–34 Homeland 0–11

          * Source Demographic Numbers (Approximate)

          We are in the Fourth Turning, the Crisis. Gen X will take it on – head on.

          Have a nice day.

    5. Mike G

      Class divides the 99% from the small elite who lead both political parties. That makes it an explosive threat.

      I’m speaking of actual economic class, not the media BS of pork rinds and NASCAR versus brie and art museums.

    6. tongorad

      Class divides people; more decisively than race or gender.

      Really? There’s so few of him/her, and so many of us.

      When we reach the day when people self-describe themselves as working class FIRST, rather than Catholic or Asian, etc, then we might get somewhere.

  6. CitizenSissy

    Hi Yves – great post! I’ve always maintained that Class is the real third rail of American politics, and the US is fast tracking to a shiny, prettified version of feudalism.

    I suspect that the working-class Trump voters in the Rust Belt will eventually disappointed in their standard bearer, Transition Team staffing is any indication: e.g. Privateers back at SSA.

  7. Nels Nelson

    In the post-Reconstruction South poor whites and blacks alike were the victims of political and legal institutions designed to create a divided and disenfranchised work force for the benefit of landlords, capitalists and corporations. Poor whites as well as poor blacks were ensnared in a system of sharecropping and debt peonage. Poll taxes, literacy tests and other voter restrictions disenfranchised blacks and almost all poor whites creating an electorate dominated by a white southern gentry class.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. clarified this at the end of his address at the conclusion of the Selma March on March 25, 1965.

    …You see, it was a simple thing to keep the poor white masses working for near-starvation wages in the years that followed the Civil War. Why, if the poor white plantation or mill worker became dissatisfied with his low wages, the plantation or mill owner would merely threaten to fire him and hire former Negro slaves and pay him even less. Thus, the southern wage level was kept almost unbearably low.
    Toward the end of the Reconstruction era, something very significant happened. That is what was known as the Populist Movement. The leaders of this movement began awakening the poor white masses and the former Negro slaves to the fact that they were being fleeced by the emerging Bourbon interests. Not only that, but they began uniting the Negro and white masses into a voting bloc that threatened to drive the Bourbon interests from the command posts of political power in the South.
    To meet this threat, the southern aristocracy began immediately to engineer this development of a segregated society…. If it may be said of the slavery era that the white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the Reconstruction era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. He gave him Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man. And he ate Jim Crow. And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings. And his children, too, learned to feed upon Jim Crow, their last outpost of psychological oblivion.
    Thus, the threat of the free exercise of the ballot by the Negro and the white masses alike resulted in the establishment of a segregated society. They segregated southern money from the poor whites; they segregated southern mores from the rich whites; they segregated southern churches from Christianity; they segregated southern minds from honest thinking; and they segregated the Negro from everything. That’s what happened when the Negro and white masses of the South threatened to unite and build a great society: a society of justice where none would prey upon the weakness of others; a society of plenty where greed and poverty would be done away; a society of brotherhood where every man would respect the dignity and worth of human personality.

  8. Norb

    There are two elephants in the room, class and technology. Both are distorted by those in power in order to ensure their continued rule. It seems to me the technology adopted by a society determines its class structure.
    So much of todays discussion revolves around justifying the inappropriate use of technology, it seems inevitable that only a major breakdown of essential technological systems will afford the necessary space to address growing social problems.

    E.F. Schumacher addressed all this in the 70’s with his work on appropriate technologies. Revisiting the ideas of human scale systems offers a way to actively and effectively deal with todays needs while simultaneously trying to change larger perspectives and understanding of the citizenry. While Schumacher’s work was directed at developing countries, the impoverishment of the working class makes it relevant in the US today.

    Addressing our technology question honestly will lead to more productive changes in class structure than taking on the class issue directly. Direct class confrontation is violent. Adopting human scale technology is peaceful. In the end what stands for a good life will win out. I’m working for human scale.

      1. Norb

        In reality, class and technology form a dynamic interrelation. Indeed, adopted technology will determine the nature of society. The elite purposely obscure the relationship to protect their self interest and standing. The technological solutions they propose are only the ones that entrench their power.

        Technology determines class structure. That is why technology is figuratively and literally a weapon. The unthinking adoption of technology has caused mounting social problems that are finally reaching a breaking point.

        If capitalism drives unending technological “advances”, what does that say for the future of democracy as a social structure. They are incompatible. You can’t desire more stuff and expect to remain free.

  9. ScottW

    Thought experiment: If you opposed Clarence Thomas and Sarah Palin does that make you a racist and a sexist?
    Or, is it only when someone votes against a supposed liberal? And when Hillary supported Cuomo over Teachout for NY Governor, none of her supporters labeled her a Cuomobros.

    Hillary received millions fewer votes than Obama because she was a seriously flawed candidate who could not muster any excitement. The only reason she received 60 million is because she was running against Trump. The play on identity politics was pure desperation.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      I think this part of the post nails a whole lot:

      “So this gave force to the idea that the government was nothing but a viper’s nest full of crony capitalist enablers, which in turn helped to unleash populism on the right (the Left being marginalised or co-opted by their Wall Street/Silicon Valley donor class). And this gave us Trump. Add to that HRC’s neocon foreign policy instincts, which could have got us in a war with Russia and maybe the American electorate wasn’t so dumb after all.”

      I voted for Hillary, but it was not easy.
      I agree that identity politics of the DNC variety have passed their pull date. Good riddance.

    2. Jim

      Here’s another thought experiment: were voters who chose Obama over Hillary in the 2008 primary sexists? Were Hillary’s voters racists?

      I don’t think you give the Democratic establishment enough credit for obtuseness by characterizing their identity politics play as “desperation”. I have several sisters who were sucked in by Hillary’s “woman” card, and it made them less than receptive to hearing about her record of pay-for-play, proxy warmongering, and baseless Russia-bashing.

      And it turned people like me – who would choose a woman over a man, other things being equal – into sexists for not backing Hillary (I voted for Stein).

  10. financial matters

    Yes. If Hillary had been elected I felt like we would have been played by someone who is corrupt and with no real interest in the working/middle class. We would have slogged through another 4 years with someone who arrogantly had both a private and public position and had no real interest in climate change (she was very pro fracking), financial change (giving hour long $250,000 speeches to banks) or health care (she laughed at the idea of single payer although that’s what most people want).

    Sanders had opposite views on these 3 issues and would have been an advocate of real change which is why he was so actively opposed by the establishment and very popular with the people as evidenced by his huge rallies.

    Trump was seen by many as the only real hope for some change. As mentioned previously we’ve already seen 2 very beneficial outcomes of his being elected by things calming down with Syria and Russia and with TPP apparently being dead in the water.

    Another positive could be a change in the DOJ to go after white collar criminals of which we have a lot.

    Climate change is I think an important blind spot but he has shown the capacity to be flexible and not as much of an ideologue as some. It’s possible that as he sees some of his golf courses go under water he could change his mind. It can be helpful if someone in power changes his mind on an important issue as this can relate better to other doubters to come to the same conclusion.

    Getting back to class I watched the 2003 movie Seabiscuit a few days ago. This film was set in the depression period and had clips of FDR putting people back to work. It emphasized the dignity that this restored to them. It’s a tall order but I think that’s what much of Trump’s base is looking for.

  11. Si

    Whilst I agree with the points made, there is a BIG miss for me.

    Unless I missed it – where are the comments on corruption? This is not a partisan point of view, but to make the issue entirely focussed on class misses the point that the game is rigged.

    Holder, an Obama pick, unless I am mistaken, looked the other way when it came to investigating and prosecuting miscreants on Wall Street. The next in line for that job was meeting Bill behind closed so that Hillary could be kept safe. Outrageous.

    The Democratic party’s attempts to make this an issue about race is so obviously a crass attempt at manipulation that only the hard of thinking could swallow it.

    The vote for Trump was a vote against corrupt insiders. Maybe he will turn out to be the same.

    Time will tell……

    1. Leigh

      Paragraph 7, I believe.

      To your point; dumbfounded that a country that proposes to be waging a “War on Drugs” pardons home grown banking entities that laundered money for drug dealers.

      If you or I attempted such foolishness – we’d be incarcerate in a heartbeat.

      Monty Python (big fan), at it’s most silly and sophomoric – could not write this stuff…

      1. Leight

        Clarification: “this stuff’ meaning what’s transpired in the U.S. over the last 10-20 years -NOT Yves post.

      2. Si

        Yep – para 7. A bit of a passing reference to the embedded corruption and payola for congress and the writing of laws by lobbyists.

        And yes, war on drugs is pretty much a diversionary tactic to give the impression that the rule of law is still in force. It is for you an me……. for the connected, corrupt, not so much!

    2. Steven

      This goes beyond corruption. It is one thing to be selling public infrastructure construction contracts to crony capitalist contributors (in the Clintons’ case do we call them philanthropists?) – entirely another to be selling guns and bombs used by Middle Eastern despots to grind down (IOW blow up, murder) opposition to their corrupt regimes. In fact, most of Western Civilization (sic?) seems to be happy with the status quo of a ‘post-industrial’ America as the “exceptional nation” whose only two functions are consuming the world’s wealth and employing military Keynesianism to maintain a global social order based on money created ex nihilo by US and international bankers and financiers.

      As for a “crass attempt at manipulation”, have you seen this:
      Martin Armstrong Exposes “The Real Clinton Conspiracy” Which Backfired Dramatically
      A couple of paragraphs…

      This conspiracy has emerged from the Podesta emails. It was Clinton conspiring with mainstream media to elevate Trump and then tear him down. We have to now look at all the media who endorsed Hillary as simply corrupt. Simultaneously, Hillary said that Bernie had to be ground down to the pulp. Further leaked emails showed how the Democratic National Committee sabotaged Sanders’ presidential campaign. It was Hillary manipulating the entire media for her personal gain. She obviously did not want a fair election because she was too corrupt.

      What is very clear putting all the emails together, the rise of Donald Trump was orchestrated by Hillary herself conspiring with mainstream media, and they they sought to burn him to the ground. Their strategy backfired and now this is why she has not come out to to speak against the violence she has manipulated and inspired.

      It seems to be clear the Democratic Party needs to purge itself of the Clinton – Obama influence. Is Sanders’ suggestion for the DNC head a good start or do we need to look elsewhere?

      1. Si

        Exactly my point.

        What are are getting now are attempts by the Dems (and let me state here I am not fan of the Repubs – the distinction is a false one) to point to anything other than the problem that is right in front of them.

        What we are witnessing is a political crisis because the system is geared against the citizen.

        And journalists/media are complicit. Where is the cutting investigative journalism? There is none – the headlines should be screaming it. Thanks God (or whoever) for blogs like these.

        There has been a coup I believe. The cooperation and melding of corporate and political power, and the interchange of power players between the two has left the ordinary person nowhere to go. This is not a left vs right, Dem vs Repub argument. Those are distinctions are there to keep us busy and to provide the illusion.

        Chris Hedges likend politics to American Pro Wrestling – that is what we are watching!

    3. Mike G

      The idea that a guy who ran casinos in New Jersey, and whose background was too murky to get a casino license in Nevada, will be the one to clean up corruption in DC is a level of gullibility beyond my comprehension.

      1. Si

        And nor will it be cleaned up by lawyers who promise hopey changey b.s.

        Or lawyers who clearly see themselves above the law….

      2. different clue

        Not that it would have been cleaned up by President Hillary Shyster and First Shyster Husband Bill either.

  12. craazyman

    a lot of people out there need 10 baggers. I sure do.

    Why work? I mean really. It sucks but what’s your choice? The free market solution is to kill yourself — that’s what slaves could have done. If you don’t like slavery, then just kill yourself! Why complain? You’re your own boss of “You Incorporated” and you can choose who to work for! Even nobody.

    the 10-bagger should be just for billionaires. Even a millionaire has a hard time because there’s only so much you can lose before you’re not a millionaire. Then you might have to work!

    If most jobs didn’t suck work wouldn’t be so bad. That’s the main thing, make jobs that don’t suck so you don’t drown yourself in tattoos and drugs. It’s amazing how many people have tattoos. Drugs are less “deplorable” haha. Some are good — like alcohol, Xanax, Tylenol, red wine, beer, caffeine, sugar, donuts, cake, cookies, chocolate. Some are bad, like the shlt stringy haired meth freaks take. If they had good jobs it might give them something better to do,

    How do you get good jobs and not shlt jobs? That’s not entirely self evident. In the meantime, the 10 bagger at least gets you some breathing room so you can think about it. Even if you think for free, it’s OK since you don’t have to work. Working gets in the way of a lot of stuff that you’d rather be doing. Like nothing,

    The amazing thing is this: no matter how much we whinge, whine, bitch moan, complain, rant, rail, fulminate, gripe, huarrange (that mght be speled wrong), incite, joculate, kriticize, lambaste, malign, naysay, prevaricate, query, ridicule, syllogize, temporize, ululate (even Baudelaire did that I red on the internet), yell and (what can “Z” be? I don’t want to have to look something up I’m too lazy, how about “zenophobiasize” hahahahahahahah,

    The amazing thing is: million of fkkkers want to come here and — get this! — THEY WON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT ANY OF THE SHT WE DO!

    How about that?

  13. casino implosion

    ““By making him aware he has more in common with the black steel workers by being a worker, than with the boss by being white.”

    Sooo, they spent a generation telling the white worker that he was a racist, sexist bigot, mocking his religion, making his kids read “Heather Has Two Mommies” in school, and blaming him for economic woes caused in New York and DC.

    How’d that work out for ya?

    1. sharonsj

      Actually, too many white workers are racist, sexist, and think everyone is a rabid Christian just like them. I ought to know because I live in red rural Pennsylvania. I’m not mocking you folks, but I am greatly pissed off that you just don’t mind your own damn business and stop trying to force your beliefs on others. And I don’t want to hear that liberals are forcing their beliefs on others; we’re just asking you follow our laws and our Constitution when it comes to liberty and justice for all.

      And for every school that might have copies of “Heather Has Two Mommies,” I can give you a giant list of schools that want to ban a ton of titles because some parent is offended. One example is the classic “Brave New World” by Aldus Huxley. “Challenged in an Advanced Placement language composition class at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Del. (2014). Two school board members contend that while the book has long been a staple in high school classrooms, students can now grasp the sexual and drug-related references through a quick Internet search.” Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2014, p. 80.

      Quick internet search, my ass. Too many conservatives won’t even use the internet to find real facts because that would counter the right-wing meme.

      1. tongorad

        And for every school that might have copies of “Heather Has Two Mommies,” I can give you a giant list of schools that want to ban a ton of titles because some parent is offended.

        And for every liberal/progressive politician, I can give a you basket of shitty policies, such as charter schools, shipping jobs overseas, cutting social security, austerity, the grand bargain, Obamacare, drones, etc.

        Great. So the library has a copy of “Heather Has Two Mommies.” Or not. Who cares? The United Colors of Benetton worldview doesn’t matter a fig when I’m trying to pay for rising health care, rent, College education, retirement costs, etc.

        1. J Bookly

          Tryng lately to get my terminology straight, and I think the policies you itemized should be labeled neoliberal, not liberal/progressive. Neoliberalism seems to be the one that combines the worst features of the private sector with the worst features of the public sector, without the good points of either one.

          1. tongorad

            It seems to me that you’re referencing a certain historical model of “liberal” that doesn’t, nay, cannot exist anymore. A No-True-Scotsman fallacy, as I see it.
            We can only deal with what we have in play, not some pure historical abstraction.

            But for the sake of argument, let’s say that a distinction can be made between neoliberal and “real” liberalism. Both entities, however you want to differentiate/describe them, serve as managers to capital. In other words, they just want to manage things, to fiddle with the levers at the margin.

            We need a transfer of power, not a new set of smart managers.

      2. mark ó dochartaigh

        Yes, liberal intolerance of intolerance is not the same as conservative intolerance of tolerance.

    2. Mike G

      The right has spent a generation supporting rabidly bigoted media like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News making sure the white working class blame all their ills on immigrants, minorities, feminists and stirring up a Foaming Outrage of the Week at what some sociology professor said at a tiny college somewhere.

      Kiss up, kick down authoritarianism. It’s never the fault of the people with all the money and all the power who control their economic lives.

  14. brian daly

    I think Hilary won her parties nomination because she truly is an establishment politician. Trump seems to be one of a kind, and was able to parlay his personal wealth and skill at attracting media attention into a winning strategy, without being beholden to the “donor class.” This is an achievement in and of itself, but looking at the fact he is an actual member of the donor class, and ran a profoundly dishonest and divisive campaign does not bode well for his success.

    So far, his cabinet picks show no inidication that he will be a friend to the common man, and are actually almost a worst case scenario. John Bolton? How is that non-interventionist. Global warming deniers. Sociopaths like Guliani and Gingrich. Oil industry executives. There is not a single advisor or candidate for a position in Trumps administration that appears to have a lick of concern for the effects of policy actual people.

    I have suspected for months that once (if) Trump was elected, he would simply have no motivation to appease the lower classes, and would turn his attention to the social and professional meleu that he traditional works with. There would be no upside to taking on the immense power of the military-political-financial-industrial complex.

    As far as I can tell he is committed to reducing regulation across the board on industry. How is this going to minimize the growing income inequality in the US?

    I will be shocked if he actually does start implementing high tariffs against imports, because this would be fiercely opposed by virtually the entire power structure of the US. Again, no upside for anyone really. The lower class might benefit if somehow companies brought back jobs, though even if they did, I don’t think they would bring back high paying jobs. I also question how much effect this would really have on jobs, if it precipitates a decline in the economy, coupled with higher prices.

    Trump pulled this off because he is a scumbag liar, who doesn’t give a shit about anything outside himself. So he feels entirely comfortable getting up in front of a bunch of working class folks and saying whatever he can figure out that will rile them up, and them excited. The truth and a modicum of connection to reality are totally irrelevant to him. Normal people are ill equipped to deal with such an enthusiastic huckster with a profound personality disorder.

    Hilary is basically an honest, normal person, as far as people in high levels of politics can be. So her pandering and clumsy stabs at public interaction fall flat, as she simply doesn’t have what it takes to lie to a group of people with a smile on her face and ease in her heart. What people see as her “phoniness” to my eye is quite the opposite: the discomfort of having to do the almost impossible and cobble together a coalition of voters to win who’s interests and values are barely aligned.

    I actually think she’s pretty great, and it saddens me to see the efforts people across the political spectrum have gone to needlessly tear her down.

    As it stands, the upper class in the US are quite strong, and they will not be ignored, or forced out of power without a fight. Such a fight doesn’t seem worth having to me, as I see mostly a nasty political fight with no winners, a high cost to all around, and a right leaning populace that shows little inclination towards any slightly progressive.

    If you think of the democrats as being center right, and republicans as being almost exclusively right wing, there are only a small minority of progressive minded voters in the US. Maybe 20%.

    Trump crushed his opponents in the primary, with the majority of the party infrastructure and insiders openly opposing him, all the way through the general election!

    Bernie couldn’t even defeat one of the least liked politicians of our time in the primary!

    The bottom line is that the US skews heavily to the right wing, and there have been no successful progressive victories in the US since the Civil Rights Act.

    At this point, I’ve decided it’s pointless to oppose the Republicans, because they have a ruthless lust for power that can’t be matched by any political movement lacking that. Left wing political movements that exhibit this drive to power are responsible for some of the worst crimes against humanity of all time, worse than the Nazis even.

    I’ve decided that the traditional niceties of the liberal left status quo are not worth fighting for: arbortion rights, affirmative action, gun control, welfare, environmental protection, progressive taxation, strong support of public education, labor laws, protections for LGBT people, minimum wage, publicly supported healthcare.

    What I am hoping for now is: maintaining a basic level of competence to keep the economy and financial system for collapsing. Again, I don’t think Trump is going to carry out any of his anti immigration or trade protectionist schemes, because the pro business lobby will raise holy hell. Even if Trump ignores them, the rest of the republicans in the congress won’t.

    His promise to deregulate the financial industry is worrisome, as I think he will very easily be able to do this, as the industry itself will be in strong support. So they will be more free than ever to concoct diabolical schemes to extract as much money from the system for themselves, stability of the system be damned. At this point, I think the only hope is that the leaders of the industry maintain enough discipline to keep it from collapsing, and that the government maintains enough technical competence to assist in that project.

    I’m also expecting that the judiciary is going to get more nasty characters moved into it. Again I’m hoping that so decent, competent judges of a conservative bent do get appointed, as this could be a bulwark against total corruption. And possibly a defense against government overreach into our lives. Though with Trump, I’m assuming civil liberties will take a hit.

    It would be great if the justice department still tried to enforce some civil rights measure against the kind of gross injustice perpetrated on African Americans by white societ through the police. For example the atrocity of exploitation of the underclass found in places like Ferguson, MO. Not too optimistic on this, but maybe. The issue of dispportionate use of force and incarceration doesn’t strike me as being high on Trumps list of priorities. The fact that he still thinks the Central Park Five are guilty kind betrays his tendencies towards authoritarianism.

    I also hope Trump will try to tamp down overt hostility to minorities, non-whites who are citizens, or legal here. Now that he doesn’t need to use the demonization of the “other” as a tool to take advantage of the latent racism of the white electorate, I don’t think there will be an upside to perpetuating this hostility. I don’t think Trump is actually a racist. His use of race as concept is just a tactic he employs when it suits him.

    So, basically, my thinking is to stop worrying about the traditional liberal niceties, and hope the basic infrastructure of society hangs in there. Them people can just live their lives and fend for themselves as they see fit. I think we will see more local control of government as well, and as long as it doesn’t impede the actions of big business or the agenda of the republicans, they might leave local entities alone, who could provide some of the services their communities need. To a large degree, the US already seems to be undergoing a sort of self selecting population pattern, with more liberal types heavily occupying the wealthy coastal areas.

    1. Vatch

      Trump crushed his opponents in the primary, with the majority of the party infrastructure and insiders openly opposing him, all the way through the general election!

      Bernie couldn’t even defeat one of the least liked politicians of our time in the primary!

      There’s a very simple explanation for that. Trump’s opposition was splintered among several different candidates, and the Republican establishment failed to unite behind any of them. Sanders had only one viable opponent, and the entire Democratic establishment (including almost all of the superdelegates), several billionaires, and a host of mass media pundits were united in support of her. What Sanders did against those odds was quite impressive.

      1. RMO

        Don’t hold your breath waiting for your logical argument to win over someone who actually said “Hilary is basically an honest, normal person” Vatch.

        1. Brian Daly

          Why do say that? I’m very open to persuasive arguments. I’ve just never heard any argument that shows Clinton to have been corrupt, or done anything illegal.

          I know my perspective differs from many here, I would guess on the issue of her ties to big money

          The bottom line here us that she needed a lot of money to run her campaign, which came close to succeeding. She does not have the sort of charisma needed to raise money from small donors. She made a tactical choice to take money from the “donor class” for her campaign.

          She made the choice to take big money for her speeches to make money. That’s America

          So she is an establishment candidate. I think that’s fine, and has the skills needed to be a competent manager.

          My main worry about Clinton us her hawkish tendencies. Because I think she is basically honest, I feared that she would convince herself that some kind of neo-liberal fantasy of American exceptionalism us actually true

          I always felt like Obama could play pretend for political reasons without needing to convince himself to believe in whatever fiction he needed to sell

          At this point it’s all moot anyway, as the future is here. So far Trumps apointments look pretty awful.

          1. bob

            “I’m very open to persuasive arguments. I’ve just never heard any argument that shows Clinton to have been corrupt, or done anything illegal.”


            This is why the DNC failed. You didn’t want to hear it, in spite your pre-fixed diclamer-

            ‘I’m very open to persuasive arguments.’

            No. No you are not. You just witnessed a giant, years long, corrupt and illegal (*still being investigated*) feeding festival of arguments. The corruption and general dickishness of the candidate was only out shown by her victor- Donald. Fucking. Trump.

            He won, after all. Fair and square.

            1. Brian Daly

              Can you give me a link to a detailed description of at least one of these corrupt acts? I would be glad to check it out.

              So far people seem to be responding to my comments with replies that amount to saying I’m stupid, because I don’t agree. To extent you wish to communicate something beyond signifying you have the “correct views” to other like minded denizens of some little bubble of belief, it helps to try and engage the content of someone you disagree with.

          2. different clue

            The Clintons spent years before Hillary’s Run selling future influence for present money to foreign governments all over the world. She set up a private server to try and keep all her corruption secrets secret.

            Because she and her husband are Master Shysters, they had the skill to weave a multi-layered legalistic defense-in-depth around their corruption engines and construct a coverup beyond the dreams of Nixon. Much of that coverup is still holding.

            But honest? As Hunter S. Thompson might have said, Hill and Bill are so crooked, they need a pneumatic torque wrench to screw their socks on.

  15. Jay Mani

    It’s lazy analysis to suggest Race was a contributing factor. On the fringes, Trump supporters may have racial overtones, but this election was all about class. I applaud sites like NC in continually educating me. What you do is a valuable service.

  16. Katharine

    Anyone who thinks it is only class and not also race is wearing some very strange blinders. The upsurge in both hate speech and physical assaults and vandalism since Trump’s election ought to be enough to make people reject such simplistic thinking. As a recent example from my own region, I offer this:

    There are doubtless many people whose motive in supporting Trump was primarily or entirely based in class, or economic condition. There are plainly also a lot who are so defensive of their insecure position they insist that certain other people’s insecure position doesn’t matter. I agree absolutely that a serious Democratic party would be talking about issues of class and economic fairness, but it cannot do so honestly unless it maintains a clear position that “fairness” means fairness for everybody.

    1. jackiegee

      Hear, hear! The headline seems to say that race issues were not at all part of the Trump win. The post itself acknowledged the racist aspect of the campaign. Many of the articles I read seem to want to identify that one ‘magic’ thing that caused the result. It’s way more complicated than that.

    2. Brad

      Yes there is no need to counterpoise race to class. It’s basically class, combined with race, gender, etc. After all that is what identity politics is all about, whether played from the Republican or Democrat side.

      BTW, Clinton came out ahead in Mahoning Co. 49.3% to Trump’s 46.4%. That’s still a substantial showing for Trump.

      2012 results: Mahoning

      B. Obama (i) Dem 63.2% 74,298
      M. Romney GOP 35.5% 41,702

      The city mayor is John A McNally IV, a Democrat despite: “On May 14, 2014, McNally was indicted by the State of Ohio on 25 felony and nine misdemeanor charges stemming from Mahoning County’s purchase of an office building during his tenure as County Commissioner. He pleaded guilty to these charges February 26, 2016 in a deal that allowed him to remain Mayor of Youngstown”

      And read this – it’s about race too, alright: America’s Fastest Shrinking City: The Story of Youngstown, Ohio

      It’s just like the Sparrows Point-Edgemere side of Baltimore Co. where I was born and raised. Now a wasteland.

      I bet if you broke it down by city precinct the “white side” went Trump, the “black side” Clinton. You *can* pull a section of the whiteys on class (the faker Obama showed that, maybe Jesse Jackson 1988 – Note that Sanders had Trump to contend with in the 2016 primary, *and this is how Trump helped Clinton*), but the fact is, you won’t get all of them. You may not even get a majority. Don’t kid yourselves.

      There’s a civil war going on right now within the US working class. The majority of white non-slave-owing Southern farmers actually *opposed* the Confederacy, but enough of a minority did not, to act as cannon fodder that enabled the slaveowers to hold out for 4 years.

      But they lost in the end. We won’t need a majority of the dying “white working class” in our present and future feminine, multiracial American working class. Just a minority.

      1. JTFaraday

        “We won’t need a majority of the dying “white working class” in our present and future feminine, multiracial American working class. Just a minority.”

        Indeed, this site has featured links to articles elaborating the demographic composition of today’s “working class”. And yet we still have people insisting that appeals to the working class, and policies directed thereof, must “transcend” race and gender.

        1. JTFaraday

          And, of course this “class first” orientation became a bone of contention between some loud mouthed “men of the left” during the D-Party primary and “everyone else” and that’s why the “Bernie Bro” label stuck. It didn’t help the Sanders campaign either.

          “Class first” amongst men of the left has always signaled “ME first.” What else could it mean?

          1. Fieryhunt

            So “Black Lives Matter” actually means “Black Lives Matter First”.

            Got it.

            So damn tired of identity politics.

            1. Lambert Strether

              This is, actually, complicated. It’s a reasonable position that black lives don’t matter because they keep getting whacked by cops and the cops are never held accountable. Nobody else did anything, so people on the ground stood up, asserted themselves, and as part of that created #BlackLivesMatter as an online gathering point; all entirely reasonable. #AllLivesMatter was created, mostly as deflection/distraction, by people who either didn’t like the movement, or supported cops, and of course if all lives did matter to this crowd, they would have done something about all the police killings in the first place. Meanwhile, in the usual way of such things, #BlackLivesMatter hashtag activism became fashionable, as the usual suspects were elevated to celebrity status by elites. Nothing, of course, was changed in policy, and so in a year or so, matters began to bubble on the ground again.

              Activist time (we might say) is often slower than electoral time. But sometimes it’s faster; see today’s Water Cooler on the #AllOfUs people who occupied Schumer’s office (and high time, too). To me, that’s a very hopefully sign. Hopefully, not a bundle of groups still siloed by identity (and if that’s to happen, I bet that will happen by working together. Nothing abstract).

            2. different clue

              I’m not tired of identity politics. I’m just tired of some identity-groups accusing other identity-groups of “identity-politics”. I speak in particular of the Identity Left.

            3. Aumua

              If you don’t understand why “Black Lives (in particular) Matter” was something that needed to be said, then I got some bad news for you.

              1. fieryhunt

                I intimately get why BLM was/is necessary and good.
                But dismissing the white working class vote as racist is as racist as dismissing BLM as racist.
                (See how dizzying identity politics can be?)

                Self-preservation does not have to be racist.
                Neither BLM nor this election’s swing voters are saying, “Fuck the other guys, I want mine.”

                See Lambert’s link (#Allofus) today; it’s a start. So was Sanders campaign…

          2. pretzelattack

            what “men of the left”? the bernie bro label only stuck for clinton supporters who had already had the kool aid. much like the putin stooge label.

      2. Knot Galt

        “We won’t need a majority of the dying “white working class” in our present and future feminine, multiracial American working class. Just a minority.”

        That statement is as myopic a vision as the current political class is today. The statement offends another minority, or even a possible majority. Identity politics, any identity, is going to automatically split voters into camps and force people to ‘pick’ a side.

        Focus! The larger battle is is about Class.

        1. Knot Galt

          To clarify, from Links:
          In False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton, I and many other writers argued that the bourgeois feminism Clinton represents works against the interests of the vast majority of women. This has turned out to be even more true than we anticipated. That branding of feminism has delivered to us the most sexist and racist president in recent history: Donald Trump.

          1. different clue

            I wonder if there is an even simpler more colorful way to say that. Hillary spoke to the million-dollar feminists-of-privilege who identified with her multi-million dollar self and her efforts to break her own Tiffany Glass ceiling. And she worked to get many other women with nothing to gain to identify with Hillary’s own breaking of Hillary’s own Tiffany Glass ceiling.

            If the phrase “Tiffany Glass ceiling” seems good enough to re-use, feel free to re-use it one and all.

        2. animalogic

          For me (at least) the essence of the “Left” is justice. When we speak of Class we are putting focus on issues of economic justice. Class is the material expression of economic (and therefore political) stratification. Class is the template for analysing the power dynamics at play in such stratification.
          Class is the primary political issue because it not only affects everyone, but in the absence of economic justice, it’s very difficult to obtain ANY kind of justice — whether such justice be of race, gender, legal, religious or sexual orientation.
          I find it indicative that the 1% (now) simply don’t care one way or another about race or gender etc, PROVIDED it benefits or, has no negative effects on their economic/political interests.

    3. JTMcPhee

      “Just how large a spike in hate crime there has been remains uncertain, however. Several reports have been proven false, and Potok cautioned that most incidents reported to the Southern Poverty Law Center did not amount to hate crime.

      Levin of California State University added that there was no “independent evidence to sustain the contention that there were more [hate crimes] in the days after the Trump election than after 9/11.””

      All us ordinary people are insecure. Planet is becoming less habitable, war everywhere, ISDS whether we want it or not, group sentiments driving mass behaviors with extra weapons from our masters, soil depletion, water becoming a Nestle subsidiary, all that. But let us focus on maintaining our favored position as more insecure than others, with a “Yes, but” response to what seems to me the fundamental strategic scene:

      “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

      Those mostly white guys, but a lot of women too, the “rich classs,” are ORGANIZED, they have a pretty simple organizing principle (“Everything belong us”) that leads to straightforward strategies and tactics to control all the levers and fulcrums of power. The senators in Oregon are “on the right side” of a couple of social issues, but they both are all in for “trade deals” and other big pieces of the “rich class’s” ground game. In ship sinking incidents, where a lot of people are dumped in the water, many adopt the strategy of trying to use others as flotation devices, pushing them under while the “rich class” tootle off in the lifeboats. Sounds like a winner, all right.

      1. TarheelDem

        The comparison with 9/11 is instructive. That is not minimizing hate crimes. Within days after 9/11, my Sikh neighbor was assaulted and called a “terrorist”. He finally decided to stop wearing a turban, cut his hair, and dress “American”.

        My neighborhood was not ethnically tense, but it is ethnically diverse, and my neighbor had never seen his assailant before.

        Yes, the rich classes are organized…organized to fleece us with unending wars. But don’t minimize other people’s experience of what constitutes a hate crime.

        In 1875, the first step toward the assassination of a black, “scalawag”, or “carpetbagger” public official in the South was a friendly visit from prominent people asking him to resign, the second was night riders with torches, the third was night riders who killed the public official. Jury nullification (surprise, surprise) made sure that no one was punished at the time. In 1876, the restoration of “home rule’ in Southern states elected in a bargain Rutherford B. Hayes, who ended Reconstruction and the South entered a period that cleansed “Negroes, carpetbaggers, and scalawags” from their state governments and put the Confederate generals and former plantation owners back in charge. That was then called The Restoration. Coincidence that that is the name of David Horowitz’s conference where Donna Brazile was hobnobbing with James O’Keefe?

        The rich class has enlisted the white indentured servants as their Praetorian Guard. The same play as after Bacon’s Rebellion.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Not minimizing — my very peaches-and-cream Scots-English daughter is married to a gentleman from Ghana whose skin tones are about as dark as possible.
          the have three beautiful children, and are fortunate to live in an area that is a hotbed of “tolerance.” I have many anecdotes too.

          Do anecdotes = reality in all its complexity? Do anecdotes = policy? Is what is actually occurring another Kristallnacht, or the irreducible susurrus of meanness and idiocy that is part of every collection of humans? It would be nice not to get suckered into elevating the painful minima over the importance of getting ordinary people to agree on a real common enemy, and organizing to claim and protect.

    4. readerOfTeaLeaves

      If even one single banker had gone to jail for the mess (fed by Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II) that blew up in 2008, we would be having a different conversation. We are in a huge legitimacy crisis, in part because justice was never served on those who made tens of millions via fraud.

      When there’s no justice, its as if the society’s immune system is not functioning.
      Expect more strange things to appear, almost all of them aimed at sucking the remaining resources out of the system with the knowledge that they’ll never face consequences for looting. The fact that they’re killing the host does not bother them.

      1. animalogic

        Corruption is both cause & effect of gross wealth inequities. Of course to the 1% it’s not corruption so much as merely what is owed as of a right to the privileged. (Thus, the most fundamental basis of liberal democracy turns malignant: that ALL, even rulers & law makers are EQUALLY bound by the Law).

    5. Crazy Horse

      Here is the way it works:

      The Malignant Overlords — the King or Queen, the Financial Masters of the Universe,, the tribal witch doctor— live by grazing on the wealth of the natural world and the productivity of their underlings. There are only a few thousand of them but they control finance and the Money system, propaganda organizations (in the USA called the Media) land and agriculture, “educational” institutions and entire armies of Homeland Insecurity police,.

      Under them there are the sycophants– generals and officers, war profiteers and corporate CEO’s, the intelligentsia, journalists, fake economists, and entertainment and sports heroes who grow fat feasting on the morsels left over after the .0001% have fed. And far below the Overlords are the millions of professional Bureaucrats whose job security requires unquestioning servitude.

      Once upon a time there was what was known as the Middle Class who taught school or built things in factories, made mortgage payments on a home, and bought a new Ford every other year. But they now are renters, moving from one insecure job in one state to an insecure one across the country. How else are they to maintain their sense of self-worth except by identifying a tribe that is under them? If the members of the inferior tribe look just like you they might actually be more successful and not a proper object of scorn. But if they have a black or brown skin and speak differently they are the perfect target to make you feel that your life is not a total failure.

      It’s either that or go home and kick the dog or beat the wife. Or join the Army where you can go kill a few foreigners and will always know your place in the hierarchy.

      Class “trumps” race, but racial prejudice has its roots far back in human social history as a tribal species where the “other” was always a threat to the tribe’s existence.

    6. Elizabeth Burton

      Anyone who thinks it is only class and not also race is wearing some very strange blinders

      No one with any sense is saying that, Katharine, and constantly bringing it up as some kind of necessary argument (which, you may recall, was done as a way of trying to persuade people of color Sanders wasn’t working for them in the face of his entire history) perpetuates the falsehood dichotomy that it has to be one or the other.

      I can understand the desire to reduce the problems to a single issue that can then be subjected to our total focus, but that’s what’s been done for the last fifty years; it doesn’t work. Life is too complex and messy to be fixed using magic pills, and Trump’s success because those who’ve given up hope of a cure are still enormously vulnerable to snake oil.

      1. mark ó dochartaigh

        Race, gender identity, religion, etc. are the false dichotomies by which the oligarchs divide us. Saudi princes, African American millionaires, gay millionaires etc. are generally treated the same by the oligarchs as wasp millionaires. The true dichotomy is class, that is the dichotomy which dare not speak its name.

    7. kramer

      yes, racism still exist, but the Democrats want to make it the primary issue of every election because it is costs them nothing. I’ve never liked the idea of race based reparations because they seem like another form of racism. However, if the neolibs really believe racial disparity and gender issues are the prmary problems, why don’t they ever support reparations or a large tax on rich white people to pay the victims of racism and sexism and all the other isms? Perhaps its because that would actually cost them something. I think what bothers most of the Trumpets out here in rural america is not race but the elevation of race to the top of the political todo list. For Trump it was so easy. He just says something that could be thought of as racist and then his supporters watch as the media morphs his words, removes context, or just ignores any possible non-racist motivations for his words. Just read the actual Mexican- rapists quote. Completely different then reported by the media. Fifteen years ago my native born Mexican friend said almost exactlly the same thing. Its a trap the media walks right into. I think most poor people of whiteness do see racism as a sin, just not the only or most awful sin. As for Trump being a racist, I think he would have to be human first.

      1. different clue

        If we are going to talk Reparations, are we going to talk about Reparations for the White Highlanders for everything stolen from the Appalachian Mountains they live in?

  17. sinbad66

    whilst his GOP colleagues publicly recoiled in horror, there is no question that Trump was merely making explicit what Republicans had been doing for decades – since the days of Nixon in 1968. The dog whistle was merely replaced by a bull horn.

    Spot-on statement. Was watching Fareed Zakaria (yeah, I know, but he makes legit points from time to time) and was pleasantly surprised that he called Bret Stephens, who was strongly opposed to Trump, out on this. To see Stephens squirm like a worm on a hook was priceless.

  18. JW

    “…what divides people rather than what unites people…”

    Yes, class identity can be a bond that unites. However, in the US the sense of class identity remains underdeveloped. In fact, it is only with the Sanders campaign that large swaths of the American public have had practical and sustained exposure to the concept of class as a political force. For most of the electorate, the language of class is still rather alien, particularly since the “equality of opportunity” narrative even now is not completely overthrown.

    Sanders and others on an ascendant left in the Democratic Party — and outside the Party — will continue to do the important work of building a sense of class consciousness. But more is needed, if the left wants to transform education into political power. Of course, organizing and electing candidates at the local and state level is enormously important both to leverage control of local institutions and — even more important — train and create leaders who can effectively use the tools of political power. But besides this practical requirement, the left also needs to address — or co-opt, if you will — the language of economic populism, which sounds a lot like economic nationalism.

    It seems inevitable that populist sentiment, which both Sanders and Trump have used to electoral advantage, will spill over into a variety of economic nationalism. Nationalist sentiment is the single most powerful unifying principle available, certainly more so than the concept of class, at least in America. I don’t see that changing anytime soon, and I do see the Alt-Right using nationalism as a lever to try to coax the white working class into their brand of identity politics. But America’s assimilationist, “melting pot” narrative continues to be attractive to most people, even if it is under assault in some quarters. So I think moving from nationalism to white identity politics will not so easy for the Alt-Right. On the other hand, picking up the thread of economic nationalism can provide the left with a powerful tool for bringing together women, minorities and all who are struggling in this economy. This becomes particularly important if it is the case that technology already makes the ideal of full (or nearly full) employment nothing more than a chimera, thus forcing the question of a guaranteed annual income. Establishing that kind of permanent safety net will only be possible in a polity where there are firm bonds between citizens and a marked sense of responsibility for the welfare of all.

    1. tongorad

      However, in the US the sense of class identity remains underdeveloped.

      Underdeveloped or crushed by opposing forces?

      The Labor and Radical Press: 1820-the Present
      Denied access to established newspapers, the burgeoning labor movement of the late 1820s and early 1830s launched newspapers to provide a forum for working men’s voices.

      By the end of the 19th century, working-class newspapers proliferated in cities across the country. Between 1880-1940, thousands of labor and radical publications circulated, constituting a golden age for working-class newspapers.

  19. fresno dan

    And if the Democratic Party is honest, it will have to concede that even the popular incumbent President has played a huge role in contributing to the overall sense of despair that drove people to seek a radical outlet such as Trump. The Obama Administration rapidly broke with its Hope and “Change you can believe in” the minute he appointed some of the architects of the 2008 crisis as his main economic advisors, who in turn and gave us a Wall Street friendly bank bailout that effectively restored the status quo ante (and refused to jail one single banker, even though many were engaged in explicitly criminal activity).

    For those who think its just Hillary, its not. There is no way there will ever be any acknowledgement of Obama;s real failures – he will no more be viewed honestly by dems than he could be viewed honestly by repubs. Obama was a perfect identity candidate, i.e., not only capable of getting the dem nomination, but the presidency and than not jailing banksters NO MATTER WHAT THEY DID, OR WILL DO…
    I imagine Trump will be one term, and I imagine we return in short order to our nominally different parties squabbling but in lock step with regard to their wall street masters…

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Democrats seem to be the more visible or clumsy in their attempts to govern themselves and the populace, let alone understand their world. By way of illustration, consider the following. One truism about immigration, to pick a topical item, is that uncontrolled immigration leads to overwhelming an area whether city, state or country. Regardless of how one feels about the other aspects of immigration, there are some real, unacknowledged limits to the viability of the various systems that must accommodate arrivals, particularly in the short term. Too much of a perceived good thing may be hazardous to one’s health. Too much free stuff exhausts the producers, infrastructure and support networks.

      To extend and torture that concept further, just because, consider the immigration of populist ideas to Washington. There is an entrenched royal court, not unlike Versailles in some respects, where the sinecures, access to the White House tennis court (remember Jimmy Carter and his forest for the trees issues) or to paid “lunches in Georgetown” or similar trappings. Inflow of populist or other foreign ideas behind the veil of media and class secrecy represents a threat to overwhelm, downgrade (Sayeth Yogi Berra: It is so popular that nobody goes there anymore) or remove those perks, and to cause some financial, psychic or other pain to the hangers-on.

      Pretty soon, word filters out through WikiLeaks, or just on the front page of a newspaper in the case of the real and present corruption (What do you mean nobody went to jail for the frauds?). In those instances, the tendency of a populace to remain aloof with their bread and circuses and reality shows and such gets strained. Some people began noticing and the cognitive dissonance became to great to ignore no matter how many times the messages were delivered from on high. That led to many apparent outbursts of rational behavior (What, you sold my family and me out and reduced our prospects, so why should we vote for a party that takes us for granted, at best), which would be counter-intuitive by some in our media.

  20. Altandmain

    Ultimately the Establishment Democrats have nobody but themselves to blame for this one. The only question is whether or not they are willing to take responsibility for what happened.

    Judging by the volume of complaints from Clinton sycophants insisting that people did not get behind Clinton or that it was purely her gender, they won’t. Why would anyone get behind Clinton save the 1%? Her policies were pro-war, pro-Wall Street, and at odds with what the American people needed. Also, we should judge based on policy, not gender and Clinton comes way short of Sanders in that regard – in many regards, she is the antithesis of Sanders.

    Class trumps race, to make a pun. If the left doesn’t take the Democratic Party back and clean house, I expect that there is a high probability that 2020’s election will look at lot like the 2004 elections.

    I’d recommend someone like Sanders to run. Amongst the current crop, maybe Tulsi Gabbard or Nina Turner seem like the best candidates.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘I’d recommend someone like Sanders to run.’


      Trump vs Sanders in 2020 would set up a contest between an 0.1-percenter billionaire, vs a senator whose modest wealth probably makes him a 10-percenter, barely.

      Likely Americans won’t resent a billionaire who has the popular touch, if he delivers on some promises. But Trump vs Sanders would be an election focused on policy, with the class issue tilted slightly in Sanders’ favor.

      Not quite a double-blind experiment, but as close as we can get under messy real-world conditions.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Whereas Pocahontas is still playing Hillary’s identity politics vilification card:

        People didn’t vote for Donald Trump so they could bring a white supremacist into the White House.’ — Elizabeth Warren, Nov 15, 2016


        Her 15 minutes of fame is over. Next!

        1. Brad

          Wait a minute. I don’t carry a brief for Warren, but based on that quote, it sounds like she’s just saying that (most) Trump voters *did not* vote along conscious white supremacist lines. Which is true.

      2. polecat

        The very same Sanders that just recently stated Hillary & Co. should NOT be brought to (trial) task for their misdeeds …… THAT Sanders …. ??

        Falling FORWARD !

    2. Carla

      “Establishment Democrats have nobody but themselves to blame for this one. The only question is whether or not they are willing to take responsibility”

      I disagree. In my view, it is not a question at all. They have never taken responsibility for anything, and they never will.

  21. Synoia

    What would make Democrats focus on the working class?

    Nothing. They have lost and brought about destruction of the the Unions, which was the Democratic Base, and have become beholden to the money. The have noting in common with the working class, and no sympathy for their situation, either.

    What does Bill Clinton, who drive much of the policy in the ’90s, and spent his early years running away form the rural poor in Arkansas (Law School, Rhodes Scholarship), have in common with working class people anywhere?

    The same question applies to Hillary, to Trump and the remainder of our “representatives” in Congress.

    Without Unions, how are US Representatives from the working class elected?

    What we are seeing is a shift in the US for the Republicans to become the populist party. They already have the churches, and with Trump they can gain the working class – although I do not underestimate the contempt help by our elected leaders for the Working Class and poor.

    The have forgotten, if they ever believed: “There, but for the grace of God, go I”.

      1. Synoia

        Iron law of institutions applies. Position in the D apparatus is more important than political power – because with power come blame.

        I notice Obama worked hard to lose majorities in the house and Senate so he could poin to the Republicans and say “it was their fault” except when he actually wanted something, and made it happen (such as TPP).

  22. anonymouse

    We know that class and economic insecurity drove many white people to vote for Trump. That’s understandable. And now we are seeing a rise in hate incidents inspired by his victory. So obviously there is a race component in his support as well. So, if you, white person, didn’t vote for Trump out of white supremacy, would you consider making a statement that disavows the acts of extremist whites? Do you vow to stand up and help if you see people being victimized? Do you vow not to stay silent when you encounter Trump supporters who ARE obviously in thrall to the white supremacist siren call?

    1. Brad

      Agreed with the first but not the second. It’s typical liberal identity politics guilt tripping. That won’t get you too far on the “white side” of Youngstown Ohio.

      And I wouldn’t worry about it. When I worked at the at the USX Fairless works in Levittown PA in 1988, I was befriended by one steelworker who was a clear raving white supremacist racist. (Actually rather nonchalant about about it). However he was the only one I encountered who was like this, and eventually I figured out that he befriended a “newbie” like me because he had no friends among the other workers, including the whites. He was not popular at all.

      1. JTFaraday

        “That won’t get you too far…” I’ve seen enough threats from red state whites this past week to last a lifetime.

    2. JTFaraday

      Indeed, it obviously doesn’t “transcend race.” No one else is kidding themselves about this apart from the wishful thinkers. At best, one might wish class could trump race, but I kind of doubt that’s what we’re seeing.

    3. Enquiring Mind

      Do you disavow the actions of rioters in cities across the country, and those of George Soros therein? the rioters, assaulters and vandals were presented in the media, to the extent identified, as being preponderantly anti-Trump.

      Nobody gets a free pass these days, as all parties need to own up to their bad behavior. It is all inexcusable.

      1. jrs

        Nah, first off I don’t think you can equally compare property crime like vandalism to physical threats and attacks against people. Secondly it’s the way of the world. Ok anti-Trump may be “not my protest” if it’s not more issue oriented, but the thing is many protests will have some people who get out of hand. There’s always much debate on if they were part of the protest or infiltrators/outside agitators but … suffice we know that historically the intelligence agencies have infiltrated when they have wanted to. So to absolutely think one can stop this would be in effect to stop protest. But one can certainly push for a protest to be non-violent.

    4. pretzelattack

      sure, and as a tactical trump supporter i now support fighting him with every political tactic available to try to ensure he is a one term president.

  23. Harold

    Left-wing populism unites people of all classes and all identities by emphasizing policies. That was what Bernie Sanders meant to me, at least.

  24. Citizen Sissy

    I’ve always thought that Class, not Race, was the Third Rail of American Politics, and that the US was fast-tracking to a more shiny, happy feudalism.

    Also suspect that the working-class, Rust-Belt Trump supporters will soon be thrown under the bus by their Standard Bearer, if the Transition Team appointments are any indicator: e.g. Privateers at SSA.

    Gonna get interesting very quickly.

  25. rd

    My wife teaches primary grades in an inner city school. She has made it clear to me over the years that the challenges her children are facing are related to poverty, not race. She sees a big correlation between the financial status of a family and its family structure (one or more parents not present or on drugs) and the kids’ success in school. Race is a minor factor.

    She also makes it clear to me that the Somali/Syrian/Iraqi etc. immigrant kids are going to do very well even though they come in without a word of English because they are working their butts off and they have the full support of their parents and community. These people left bad places and came to their future and they are determined to grab it with both hands. 40% of her class this year is ENL (English as a non-native language). Since it is an inner city school, they don’t have teacher’s aides in the class, so it is just one teacher in a class of 26-28 kids, of which a dozen struggle to understand English. Surprisingly, the class typically falls short of the “standards” that the state sets for the standardized exams. Yet many of the immigrant kids end up going to university after high school through sheer effort.

    Bullying and extreme misbehavior (teachers are actually getting injured by violent elementary kids) is largely done by kids born in the US. The immigrant kids tend to be fairly well-behaved.

    On a side note, the CSA at our local farmer’s market said they couldn’t find people to pick the last of their fall crops (it is in a rural community so a car is needed to get there). So the food bank was going out this week to pick produce like squash, onions etc. and we were told we could come out and pick what we wanted. Full employment?

  26. shinola

    The problem with running on a class based platform in America is, well, it’s America; and in good ol’ America, we are taught that anyone can become a successful squillionare – ya know, hard work, nose-to-the-grindstone, blah, blah, blah.

    The rags to riches American success fable is so ingrained that ideas like taxing the rich a bit more fall flat because everyone thinks “that could be me someday. Just a few house flips, a clever new app, that ten-bagger (or winning lottery ticket) and I’m there” (“there” being part of the 1%).

    The idea that anyone can be successful (i.e. rich) is constantly promoted.

    I think this fantasy is beginning to fade a bit but the “wealth = success” idea is so deeply rooted in the American psyche I don’t think it will ever fade completely away.

    1. Lambert Strether

      I’m recalling (too lazy to find the link) a poll a couple years ago that showed the number of American’s identifying as “working class” increased, and the number as “middle class” decreased.

        1. different clue

          Well, the next goal might be to get members of the Lower Class Majority to identify as Lower Class.

          Middle Class pay for Lower Class people!
          America needs a cheaper Dream!


          And I will again offer the One-Nine-Ninety formula ( for the top One Per Cent, the next Nine Per Cent, and the Ninety Per Cent at the Bottom.) If that formula sticks in millions of minds, one can then explain about the gradients and fringes between the basic Top One, Next Nine, and Bottom Ninety.

  27. TarheelDem

    It is both. And it is a deliberate mechanism of class division to preserve power. Bill Cecil-Fronsman, Common Whites: Class and Culture in Antebellum North Carolina identifies nine classes in the class structure of a state that mixed modern capitalist practice (plantations), agrarian YOYO independence (the non-slaveowning subsistence farms), town economies, and subsistence (farm labor). Those classes were typed racially and had certain economic, power, and social relations associated with them. For both credit and wages, few escaped the plantation economy and being subservient to the planter capitalists locally.

    Moreover, ethnic identity was embedded in the law as a class marker. This system was developed independently or exported through imitation in various ways to the states outside North Carolina and the slave-owning states. The abolition of slavery meant free labor in multiple senses and the capitalist use of ethnic minorities and immigrants as scabs integrated them into an ethnic-class system, where it was broad ethnicity and not just skin-color that defined classes. Other ethnic groups, except Latinos and Muslim adherents, now have earned their “whiteness”.

    One suspects that every settler colonial society develops this combined ethnic-class structure in which the indigenous (“Indians” in colonial law) occupy one group of classes and imported laborers or slaves or intermixtures (“Indian”, “Cape Colored” in South Africa) occupy another group of classes available for employment in production. Once employed, the relationship is exactly that of the slaveowner to the slave no matter how nicely the harsh labor management techniques of 17th century Barbados and Jamaica have been made kinder and gentler. But outside the workplace (and often still inside) the broader class structure applies even contrary to the laws trying to restrict the relationship to boss and worker.

    Blacks are not singling themselves out to police; police are shooting unarmed black people without punishment. The race of the cop does not matter, but the institution of impunity makes it open season on a certain class of victims.

    It is complicated because every legal and often managerial attempt has been made to reduce the class structure of previous economies to the pure capitalism demanded by current politics.

    So when in a post Joe McCarthy, post-Cold War propaganda society, someone wants to protest the domination of capitalism, attacking who they perceive as de facto scabs to their higher incomes (true or not) is the chosen mode of political attack. Not standing up for the political rights of the victims of ethnically-marked violence and discrimination allows the future depression of wages and salaries by their selective use as a threat in firms. And at the individual firm and interpersonal level even this gets complicated because in spite of the pressure to just be businesslike, people do still care for each other.

    This is a perennial mistake. In the 1930s Southern Textile Strike, some organizing was of both black and white workers; the unions outside the South rarely stood in solidarity with those efforts because they were excluding ethnic minorities from their unions; indeed, some locals were organized by ethnicity. That attitude also carried over to solidarity with white workers in the textile mills. And those white workers who went out on a limb to organize a union never forgot that failure in their labor struggle. It is the former textile areas of the South that are most into Trump’s politics and not so much the now minority-majority plantation areas.

    It still is race in the inner ring suburbs of ethnically diverse cities like St. Louis that hold the political lock on a lot of states. Because Ferguson to them seems like an invasion of the lower class. Class politics, of cultural status, based on ethnicity. Still called by that 19h century scientific racism terminology that now has been debunked — race — Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid. Indigenous, at least in the Americas, got stuck under Mongoloid.

    You go organize the black, Latino, and white working class to form unions and gain power, and it will happen. It is why Smithfield Foods in North Carolina had to negotiate a contract. Race can be transcended in action.

    Pretending the ethnic discrimination and even segregation does not exist and have its own problems is political suicide in the emerging demographics. Might not be a majority, but it is an important segment of the vote. Which is why the GOP suppressed minority voters through a variety of legal and shady electoral techniques. Why Trump wants to deport up to 12 million potential US citizens and some millions of already birthright minor citizens. And why we are likely to see the National Labor Review Board gutted of what little power it retains from 70 years of attack. Interesting what the now celebrated white working class was not offered in this election, likely because they would vote it down quicker because, you know, socialism.

    1. armchair

      Your comment reminded me of an episode in Seattle’s history. Link. The unions realized they were getting beat in their strikes, by scabs, who were black. The trick was for the unions to bring the blacks into the union. This was a breakthrough, and it worked in Seattle, in 1934. There is a cool mural the union commissioned by, Pablo O’Higgins, to celebrate the accomplishment.

  28. barrisj

    Speaking of class, and class contempt, one must recall the infamous screed published by National Review columnist Kevin Williamson early this year, writing about marginalised white people…here is a choice excerpt:

    If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy — which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog — you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that.

    Nothing happened to them. There wasn’t some awful disaster. There wasn’t a war or a famine or a plague or a foreign occupation. Even the economic changes of the past few decades do very little to explain the dysfunction and negligence — and the incomprehensible malice — of poor white America. So the gypsum business in Garbutt ain’t what it used to be. There is more to life in the 21st century than wallboard and cheap sentimentality about how the Man closed the factories down.

    The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible. Forget all your cheap theatrical Bruce Springsteen crap. Forget your sanctimony about struggling Rust Belt factory towns and your conspiracy theories about the wily Orientals stealing our jobs. Forget your goddamned gypsum, and, if he has a problem with that, forget Ed Burke, too. The white American underclass is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin.

    Now it’s not too much of a stretch of the imagination to state that Williamson’s animus can be replicated amongst many of the moneyed elite currently pushing and shoving their way into a position within the incoming Trump Administration. The Trump campaign has openly and cynically courted and won the votes of white people similar to those mentioned in Williamson’s article, and who – doubtlessly – will be stiffed by policies vigourously opposed to their welfare that will be enacted during the Trump years. The truly intriguing aspect of the Trump election is: what will be the consequences of further degradation of the “lower orders’ ” quality of life by such actions? Wholesale retreat from electoral politics? Further embitterment and anger NOT toward those in Washington responsible for their lot but directed against ethnic and racial minorities “stealing their jawbs” and “getting welfare while we scrounge for a living”? I sincerely doubt whether the current or a reconstructed Democratic Party can at all rally this large chunk of white America by posing as their “champions”…the class divide in the US is as profound as the racial chasm, and neither major party – because of internal contradictions – can offer a credible answer.

  29. Waldenpond

    [In addition to the growing inequality and concomitant wage stagnation for the middle and working classes, 9/11 and its aftermath has certainly has contributed to it as well, as, making PEOPLE LONG FOR the the Golden Age of Managerial Capitalism of the post-WWII era,]

    Oh yeah, I noticed a big ol’ hankerin’ for that from the electorate. What definition could the author be using for Managerial Capitalism that could make it the opposite of inequality? The fight for power between administration and shareholders does not lead to equality for workers.

    [So this gave force to the idea that the government was nothing but a viper’s nest full of crony capitalist enablers,]

    I don’t think it’s an ‘idea’ that the govt is crony capitalists and enablers. Ds need to get away from emotive descriptions. Being under/unemployed, houseless, homeless, unable to pay for rent, utilities, food…. aren’t feelings/ideas. When that type of language is used, it comes across as hand waving. There needs to be a shift of talking to rather than talking about.

    If crony capitalism is an idea, it’s simply a matter for Ds to identify a group (workers), create a hierarchy (elite!) and come up with a propaganda campaign (celebrities and musicians spending time in flyover country-think hanging out in coffee shops in a flannel shirt) to get votes. Promise to toss them a couple of crumbs with transfer payments (retraining!) or a couple of regulations (mandatory 3 week severance!) … and bring out the obligatory D fall back- it would be better than the Rs would give them. On the other hand, if it’s factual, the cronies need to be stripped of power and kicked out or the nature of the capitalist structure needs to be changed. It’s laughable to imagine liberals or progressives would be open to changing the power and nature of the corporate charter (it makes me smile to think of the gasps).

    The author admits that politicians lie and continue the march to the right yet uses the ACA, a march to the right, as a connection to Obama’s (bombing, spying, shrinking middle class) likability.

    [[But emphasizing class-based policies, rather than gender or race-based solutions, will achieve more for the broad swathe of voters, who comprehensively rejected the “neo-liberal lite” identity politics]

    Oops. I got a little lost with the neo-liberal lite identity politics. Financialized identity politics? Privatized identity politics?

    I believe women and poc have lost ground (economic and rights) so I would like examples of successful gender and race-based (liberal identity politics) solutions that would demonstrate that identity politics targeting is going to work on the working class.

    If workers have lost power, to balance that structure, you give workers more power (I predict that will fail as unions fall under the generic definition of corporatist and the power does not rest with the members but with the CEOs of the unions – an example is a union that block the members from voting to endorse a candidate, go against the member preference and endorse the corporatist candidate), or you remove power from the corporation. Libs/progs can’t merely propose something like vesting more power with shareholders to remove executives as an ameliorating maneuver which fails to address the power imbalance.

    [This is likely only to accelerate the disintegration of the political system and economic system until the elephant in the room – class – is honestly and comprehensively addressed.]

  30. barrisj

    For a thorough exposition of lower-class white America from the inception of the Republic to today, a must-read is Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. Poor or Poorer whites have been demonised since the founding of the original Colonies, and were continuously pushed west to the frontiers by the ruling elites of New England and the South as a way of ridding themselves of “undesirables”, who were then left to their own resources, and clung together for mutual assistance. Thus became the economic and cultural subset of “crackers”, “hillbillies”, “rednecks”, and later, “Okies”, a source of contempt and scorn by more economically and culturally endowed whites. The anti-bellum white Southern aristocracy cynically used poor whites as cheap tenant farming, all the while laying down race-based distinctions between them and black slaves – there is always someone lower on the totem pole, and that distinction remains in place today. Post-Reconstruction, the South maintained the cult of white superiority, all the while preserving the status of upper-class whites, and, by race-based public policies, assured lower-class whites that such “superiority” would be maintained by denying the black populations access to education, commerce, the vote, etc. And today, “white trash”, or “trailer trash”, or poorer whites in general are ubiquitous and as American as apple pie, in the North, the Midwest, and the West, not just the South. Let me quote Isenberg’s final paragraph of her book:

    White trash is a central, if disturbing, thread in our national narrative. The very existence of such people – both in their visibility and invisibility – is proof that American society obsesses over the mutable labels we give to the neighbors we wish not to notice. “They are not who we are”. But they are who we are and have been a fundamental part of our history, whether we like it or not”.

  31. vegeholic

    Presenting a plan for the future, which has a chance to be supported by the electorate, must start with scrupulous, unwavering honesty and a willingness to acknowledge inconvenient facts. The missing topic from the 2016 campaigns was declining energy surpluses and their pervasive, negative impact on the prosperity to which we feel entitled. Because of the energy cost of producing oil, a barrel today represents a declining fraction of a barrel in terms of net energy. This is the major factor in sluggish economic performance. Failing to make this case and, at the same time, offering glib and vacuous promises of growth and economic revival, are just cynical exercises in pandering.

    Our only option is to mange the coming decline in a way that does not descend into chaos and anarchy. This can only be done with a clear vision of causes and effects and the wisdom and courage to accept facts. The alternative is yet more delusions and wishful thinking, whose shelf life is getting shorter.

  32. ChrisAtRU

    Marshall is awesome.

    To be fair to the article, Marshall did in fact say:

    “To be sure, Donald Trump did make a strong appeal to racists, homophobes, and misogynists …”

    IMO the point Marshall is making that race was not the primary reason #DJT won. And I concur.

    This is borne out by the vote tallies which show that the number of R voters from 2012 to 2016 was pretty much on the level (final counts pending):
    2016 R Vote: 60,925,616
    2012 R Vote: 60,934,407
    (Source: US Election Atlas)

    Stop and think about this for a minute. Every hard core racist had their guy this time around; and yet, the R’s could barely muster the same amount of votes as Mittens in 2012. This is huge, and supports the case that other things contributed far more than just race.

    Class played in several ways:
    Indifference/apathy/fatigue: Lambert posted some data from Carl Beijer on this yesterday in his Clinton Myths piece yesterday.
    Anger: #HRC could not convince many people who voted for Bernie that she was interested in his outreach to the working class. More importantly, #HRC could not convince working class white women that she had anything other than her gender and Trump’s boorishness as a counterpoint to offer.
    Outsider v Insider: Working class people skeptical of political insiders rejected #HRC.

  33. TG

    Kudos. Well said.

    If black workers were losing ground and white workers were gaining, one could indeed claim that racism is a problem. However, both black and white workers are losing ground – racism simply cannot be the major issue here. It’s not racism, it’s class war.

    The fixation on race, the corporate funding of screaming ‘black lives matter’ agitators, the crude attempts to tie Donald Trump to the KKK (really? really?) are just divide and conquer, all over again.

    Whatever his other faults, Donald Trump has been vigorous in trying to reach out to working class blacks, even though he knew he wouldn’t get much of their vote and he knew that the media mostly would not cover it. Last I heard, he was continuing to try and reach out, despite the black ‘leadership’ class demanding that he is a racist. Because as was so well pointed out here, the one thing the super-rich fear is a united working class.

    Divide and conquer. It’s an old trick, but a powerful one.

    Suggestion: if (and it’s a big if) Trump really does enact policies that help working class blacks, and the Republicans peel away a significant fraction of the black vote, that would set the elites’ hair on fire. Because it would mean that the black vote would be in play, and the Neoliberal Democrats couldn’t just take their votes for granted. And wouldn’t that be a thing.

    1. pretzelattack

      if poor whites were being shot by cops at the rate urban blacks are, they would be screaming too. blm is not a corporate front to divide us, any more than acorn was a scam to help election fraud.

        1. pretzelattack

          that was good for 2016. I will look to see if he has stats for other years. i certainly agree that poor whites are more likely to be shot; executions of homeless people by police are one example. the kind of system that was imposed on the people of ferguson has often been imposed on poor whites, too. i do object to the characterization of black lives matter protestors as “screaming agitators”; that’s all too reminiscent of the meme of “outside agitators” riling up the local peaceful black people to stand up for their rights that was characteristically used to smear the civil rights movement in the 60’s.

  34. tongorad

    I might not have much in common at all with certain minorities, but it’s highly likely that we share class status.
    That’s why the status quo allows identity politics and suppresses class politics.

  35. Sound of the Suburbs

    Having been around for sometime, I often wonder what The Guardian is going on about in the UK as it is supposed to be our left wing broadsheet.

    It isn’t a left I even recognised, what was it?

    I do read it to try and find out what nonsense it is these people think.

    Having been confused for many a year, I think I have just understood this identity based politics as it is about to disappear.

    I now think it was a cunning ploy to split the electorate in a different way, to leave the UK working class with no political outlet.

    Being more traditional left I often commented on our privately educated elite and private schools but the Guardian readership were firmly in favour of them.

    How is this left?

    Thank god this is now failing, get back to the old left, the working class and those lower down the scale.

    It was clever while it lasted in enabling neoliberalism and a neglect of the working class, but clever in a cunning, nasty and underhand way.

    1. Sound of the Suburbs

      Thinking about it, so many of these recent elections have been nearly 50% / 50% splits, has there been a careful analysis of who neoliberalism disadvantages and what minorities need to be bought into the fold to make it work in a democracy.

      Women are not a minority, but obviously that is a big chunk if you can get them under your wing. The black vote is another big group when split away and so on.

      Brexit nearly 50/50; Austria nearly 50/50; US election nearly 50/50.

  36. giovanni zibordi

    So, 85% of Blacks vote Hillary against Sanders (left) and 92% vote Hillary against Trump (right), but is no race. It’s the class issue that sends them to the Clintons. Kindly explain how.

  37. dk

    Obama is personally likeable…

    Funny think about likeability, likeable people can be real sh*ts. So I started looking into hanging out with less likeable people. I found that they can be considerably more appreciative of friendship and loyalty, maybe because they don’t have such easy access to it.

    Entertainment media has cautiously explored some aspect so fthis, but in politics, “nice” is still disproportionately values, and not appreciated as a possible flag.

  38. Erelis

    Watch out buddy. They are onto you. I have seen some comments on democratic party sites claiming the use of class to explain Hillary’s loss is racist. The democratic party is a goner. History tells us the party establishment will move further right after election losses. And among the activist class there are identity purity battles going on.

  39. Gaylord

    Watch as this happens yet again: “In most elections, U.S. politicians of both parties pretend to be concerned about their issues, then conveniently ignore them when they reach power and implement policies from the same Washington Consensus that has dominated the past 40 years.” That is why we need a strong third party, a reformed election system with public support of campaigns and no private money, and free and fair media coverage. But it ain’t gonna happen.

    1. different clue

      Well… it certainly won’t happen by itself. People are going to have to make it happen. Here in Michigan we have a tiny new party called Working Class Party running 3 people here and there. I voted for two of them. If the Democrats run somebody no worse than Trump next time, I will be free to vote Working Class Party to see what happens.

      Obviously, if the Democrats nominate yet another Clintonite Obamacrat all over again, I may have to vote for Trump all over again . . . to stop the next Clintonite before it kills again.

  40. gerold k.b. weber

    Convincing analysis and line of thinking by Marshall Auerback, which could also be extended to several EU countries. Among them my home country Austria, which might get a populist president tapping into similar feelings as Trump did very soon. Again, the elephant in the room is class.

    But it’s easy for populists to deflect class topics and talk about the threat of immigration. People are far more inclined to feel threatened by no wage or low wage immigrants than by invisible one-percenters. Clever populists are even able to combine race/nationalism and class topics. National socialism, anyone?

    Economics has to improve, perhaps including MMT. Providing money for full employment is not enough if inequality gets worse and worse. We need people who are able to buy current production and services under full employment, without falling deeper into debt all the time.

    Leftists have to be able to explain that too much wealth in the hands of the few creates poverty among the many. Marriner Eccles – not a leftist – was able to explain that. One of the modern ‘transmission mechanisms’ for this process is asset inflation, triggered by central bank policy.

  41. Stephen Douglas

    And there it is, in the 3rd paragraph:

    To be sure, Donald Trump did make a strong appeal to racists, homophobes, and misogynists and whilst his GOP colleagues publicly recoiled in horror, there is no question that Trump was merely making explicit what Republicans had been doing for decades – since the days of Nixon in 1968. The dog whistle was merely replaced by a bull horn.

    Such preposterous nonsense immediately disqualifying the writer for everything he says. No point in reading another word.

    What is wrong with these writer? Trump made no such appeal to any of those groups. The rest of the paragraph is equally true.

    Not sure why naked capitalism keeps posting these writers. The links of yesterday had an article in the Atlantic I believe where the woman was screaming that Trump is a serial rapist, followed by another woman saying almost the same.

    It appears that every commentator or “journalist” on the left needs to put in the obligatory paragraph like the one above in each of their stories.

    As Sarah Silverman said: You are being ridiculous. Every article that has this libelous garbage in it’s first 5 paragraphs negates anything they say after.

  42. Knute Rife

    1988 was the year the DLC successfully disenfranchised anyone in the party who thought the New Deal was a good idea. 1992 was where they claimed victory by putting the Clintstones in the White House, but in reality they crippled the party by ridiculing Ross Perot’s warnings over the consequences of NAFTA. Perot was right, blue collar boots marched to the other side of the aisle and produced the 1994 Gingrich Revolution, and the DLC/DNC FIRE-preachers have been ridiculing those voters ever since.

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