Trump through the race perspective

I’m a big fan of journalist Alec MacGillis.  Election night he kept pushing the idea that the white working class thing is not all about race because a lot of the wwc voters that Hillary lost had actually voted for Obama.  Jamelle Bouie pushes back hard on that idea and takes a look at the election through the lens of race and America’s history:

There’s an easy rejoinder here: How can this be about race when Trump won some Obama voters? [italics in original; bold is mine]There’s an equally easy answer: John McCain indulged racial fears, and Mitt Romney played on racial resentment, but they refused to go further. To borrow from George Wallace, they refused to cry “nigger.” This is important. By rejecting the politics of explicit racism and white backlash, they moved the political battleground to nominally colorblind concerns. Race was still a part of these clashes—it’s unavoidable—but neither liberals nor conservatives would litigate the idea of a pluralistic, multiracial democracy. Looking back, I thought this meant we had a consensus. It appears, instead, that we had a detente. And Trump shattered it. With his jeremiads against Hispanics and Muslims—with his visions of dystopian cities and radicalized refugees—Trump told white Americans that their fears and anger were justified. And that this fear and anger should drive their politics. Trump forged a politics of white tribalism, and white people embraced it.

Here’s what we need to understand: This has happened before. For 10 brief years after the Civil War, a coalition of ex-slaves and white farmers worked to forge democracy in the former Confederacy. With the help of the federal government, they scored real victories and made significant gains. But their success spurred a backlash of angry whites, furious at sharing power with blacks and their Northern allies, murderous at the very idea of social equality. Those whites fought a war against Reconstruction governments, and when they won, they declared the South redeemed…

Americans are stubbornly, congenitally optimistic. And the millions who backed Trump see something in his visage. Something that gives them hope. Here’s what I see. I see a man who empowered white nationalists and won. I see a man who demanded the removal of nonwhite immigrants and won. I see a man who pledged war crimes against foreign enemies and won. I see a man who empowers the likes of Rudy Giuliani and others who see blacks as potential criminals to control, not citizens to respect.

Again, I think there was probably more tolerance of racism than actual racial animus.  But tolerance of racism sucks!

Trump and gay rights reality

I have literally one student who is a zealous Trump supporter.  And he’s gay.  Really kind of amazing.  Anyway, I found this posting really powerful from a gay PS professor friend who wishes to remain anonymous:

I respect that some of you voted for Trump. I don’t think that you hate me, obviously, but I do think that your vote was not a vote to support my rights given Trump’s statements about wanting to overturn the marriage ruling and his support for “religious freedom” bills that legalize discrimination against people like me. I’m not going to apply a litmus test to you the way Trump said that overturning same-sex marriage is a litmus test for his Supreme Court appointees. I am going to apply it to my mother though. I spent nine months in her uterus, not yours. If she loves me the way that she says she does, then she needs to support me through her actions rather than obsessing over conspiracy theories about Muslims and murders. But at least she has been clear now that those things are more important to her than me. Am I being selfish and taking this personally? Sure – because it is personal if you belong in any marginalized group where your rights depend on politics.

Second, I’m terrified about what Trump means for our country, but I’m also terrified about what he means for my rights: not so much that there will be a sudden rollback of my personal liberties. I’m more afraid that the anti-gay people that his party empowers will see this as an opportunity to deny my rights through bureaucratic actions knowing that the federal government and eventually perhaps the Trump-shaped courts will side with them. I’m afraid that this will be an opportunity for states to openly defy the marriage ruling, and that a Trump Department of Justice will support them. I’m afraid that anti-gay politicians like Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and our entire congressional delegation from [anonymous state] will see Trump as a rubber stamp for bills that restrict my liberties like a federal religious freedom bill. Will I have fewer rights as a gay person in four years than I do today? I’m afraid that the answer is yes, no matter what anyone says otherwise. So maybe for me and people like me, the prudent thing to do is to get married now while you can. I know public policy is complicated, but fundamentally if come January if the state of [anonymous state] suddenly tries in some way to ignore or nullify same-sex marriages, I don’t trust that I will have a government under Trump that will protect me.

For my Trump-supporting friends, congrats. The electoral college gave your guy a win. But also realize, your team controls everything come January, and you have to own it (and him) without scapegoating the Democrats if your team fails. Also realize, more Americans supported Clinton than Trump, so think hard before you divine any mandate from this. Trump won because of the system, ironically, not because “the people” “chose” him per se. And when Trump nominates a Supreme Court justice who will take back my rights and when/if he signs a federal religious freedom bill, no matter how you may rationalize away those things now, please think of what that means for people like me. This is a zero-sum game: your win is a loss for my liberties. I still want to be your friend even if we never talk about this, but just appreciate that for LGBT people and so many other minority groups who have been the target of Trump or whom Republicans don’t have a history of supporting, we’re going to spend the next four years living in fear to some degree. But that’s just politics.

Who Donald Trump is

So, yeah, I don’t think he’s going to be the worst disaster of our nightmares.  But lets be clear, America just elected a truly horrible person to be president (a phrase I would honestly never use about any other Republican president in my lifetime, or even most all the nomination contenders– Cruz and Santorum get no break from me on this charge).  And, of course, a lot of that truly horribleness is about bigotry (also, he’s an incredibly small, petty man who is a demagogue, race issues aside).  Charles Blow:

It is hard to know specifically how to position yourself in a country that can elect a man with such staggering ineptitude and open animus. It makes you doubt whatever faith you had in the country itself.

Also, let me be clear: Businessman Donald Trump was a bigot. Candidate Donald Trump was a bigot. Republican nominee Donald Trump was a bigot. And I can only assume that President Donald Trump will be a bigot.

It is absolutely possible that America didn’t elect him in spite of that, but because of it. Consider that for a second. Think about what that means. This is America right now: throwing its lot in with a man who named an alt-right sympathizer as his campaign chief.

Actually, I think most Americans who supported him did so inspite of this.  But I find it truly unconscionable that so many Americans were able to say, “well, he’s a racist and a sexist, but…”  give me my tax cut, give me conservative judges, whatever.  What the hell really justifies putting a man like this in office?!  So appalling that many people justify to themselves election a racist, sexist, xenophobe, vengeance-seeking, know-nothing because Hillary Clinton was careless with her (not key state secrets) emails.  That just sucks and says some really unflattering things about who we are as a country.

Donald Trump will probably not ruin America as we know it

Honestly, a lot of hyperbole out there.  And, yes, Donald Trump is a disastrous human being who favors really, really bad policies.  And, a lot of Americans really will have a much worse go of it in coming years (and longer, due to judges appointed), but it is unlikely that Trump will upend our Constitutional order as we know it.

But, here’s the thing, and what I’ve been saying all along.  I think it’s reasonable to say there’s a 10-15% chance that Trump actually does become a catastrophically bad president who cripples our economy, makes bigly foreign policy mistakes, and uses his power over the executive branch to trample essential and long-standing democratic norms.  That’s way too high.  I have a hard time putting that chance much over 1% for about any other plausible president.  That’s not okay.  But, American institutions are strong and resilient and Trump’s damage will likely not be catastrophic.

As pretty much always, I find myself very much agreeing with Drum (in response to some left-wing hyperventilation):

You know, things are going to be bad enough already. Aided by a Republican Congress, Trump is going to do his best to dismantle the entire Obama legacy. He’s going to cut taxes on the rich and send the budget deficit into the stratosphere. He’s going to appoint at least one Supreme Court justice and probably more. Bye bye Roe v. Wade. He’s going to unleash Wall Street from all those pesky regulations they hate. He’s going to ignore climate change and let the earth fry.

But he’s not a cult leader beyond his own small base of superfans, and he’s not a king. Congress has its own ideas about what it wants to do, and they will do it. Trump will learn that repealing executive orders is harder than he thinks, and it’s unlikely he has the attention span to really keep at it. Hell, repealing Obamacare will be harder than Trump thinks. He’s not going to declare martial law or round up Muslims and throw them in internment camps. He will likely face a recession, but not a financial collapse. When it happens, the Fed will take the lead, and Republicans will throw money at it. That’s hypocritical, but also perfectly OK as a policy response. Trump will bluster about China and Mexico, but he’s not going to throw up 45 percent tariffs on them. He’ll bluster about NATO, perhaps, but NATO has pretty bipartisan support in Congress—and let’s face it, Trump doesn’t really care much about NATO anyway. He won’t put troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria. It would be unpopular, and anyway, his generals will probably convince him it won’t do any good. He’s not going to gut the First Amendment and put the press corps out of business. He’s not going to nuke Pyongyang.

Trump is bad for the country in the same way that, say, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio would be. Beyond that, though, he’s less conservative on the policy front. The reason Trump is uniquely bad is mostly symbolic: he’s willfully ignorant; he’s vindictive; he’s a demagogue willing to appeal loudly and proudly to racial animus; and he has the attention span of a small child. He’d be an embarrassment to any country, let alone the most powerful country in the world.

Isn’t that bad enough? There’s no need to pretend we’re about to spiral into a fascist nightmare or a financial collapse. We have not embraced tyranny. The United States is a very big battleship, even for Donald Trump. [emphasis mine]

Also, I have no idea who this Kos blogger is, but I was actually thinking many of these same thoughts about a very possible upside (seriously):

If Hillary had become president on the heels of Obama’s two terms, the Democrats would be in a very vulnerable position in the next two major elections: the 2018 midterms and the 2020 general election. Democrats would likely suffer heavy losses in the 2018 midterms due to historical precedent (the party that wins the White House usually does poorly in the following midterm elections) and sheer voter fatigue. However, with Donald Trump in the White House the tables are turned and Republicans are the ones who will be in a defensive position in 2018 as they now control both the White House and Congress and will have to give full account of their agenda and results to voters. In this scenario, Democrats are likely to make significant gains in the 2018 midterm elections.

Then building on that, Republicans will again be on the defensive in the 2020 general election with Trump in the White House. The core of Republican policy is set up to hurt the working and middle classes and benefit the rich and powerful. Ironically, these are the same working class people who voted for Trump. They will inevitably feel disappointed over the next four years as they realize that Trump can’t magically solve their problems.

Going into 2020 Republicans will face die-hard opposition from Democrats, a likely disillusioned white working class GOP base (the manufacturing jobs are never coming back)  and an even more diverse electorate than today. All these factors will put them in a very weak position in that election. If Hillary had won this year, Democrats would be the ones on the defensive.

2020 is just the year that Democrats need to win. The next US census takes place that year and that is also when the next congressional districts will be redrawn. Democrats can use their electoral gains in 2020 to Gerrymander Republicans out of the House of Representatives and regain full control of Congress, and lock in their majority for a decade or more.

Also a Democratic President elected in 2020 is more likely to serve two terms, than if Hillary had won this year (one of my biggest concerns with Hillary winning this year is that she would not be re-elected in 2020 due to voter fatigue; it’s unlikely Americans would allow one party to control the White House for 4 terms).

Yep.  I was thinking Tuesday morning just how hard it would be for Hillary to win re-election and for the Democratic party to successfully expand during her term.  I think we have learned in recent times that the most gains for a party probably happen when it does not control the presidency.

Of course, maybe I’m wrong on all this.  I sure as hell hope not.

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