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Mon Dec 5, 2016, 11:01 PM

Fighting back against the white revolt of 2016

http://www.peoplesworld.org/article/fighting-back-against-the-white-revolt-of-2016/



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The vast majority of the Trump vote was the Republican base. These are the voters who have long adamantly opposed the Obama agenda from a staunchly right-wing perspective and, for that matter, oppose almost all progressive causes. In various opinion polls what is notable is that for this segment of the electorate, terrorism and immigration are top concerns. It is also worth noting that, at least during the primaries, Trump’s base had a median income above both the national median and the median for both Sanders and Clinton voters.

So, while it is true that Trump received 14 percent more votes from white people with less than a college education than did Romney, and 10 percent fewer from whites with a college degree, Trump voters were not mainly poor and unemployed. As Mike Davis points out in a recent blog post, there was no massive defection of white working class voters to Trump. In fact, Clinton won the majority of voters earning under $30,000 (53 percent to 41) and voters under $50,000 (51 percent to 42). These figures are critical to keep in mind when commentators describe the Trump victory as a working class vote. How are they defining “working class”?

Moreover, it is never to be forgotten that Hitler and Mussolini had large support in the working class. The full Nazi party name was the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. Mussolini was previously a top leader of the powerful left wing of the massive Italian Socialist Party. Even had Nov. 8 been a working class revolt – which it was NOT – that could not be looked at in isolation from its politics and color.

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Race neutral economic populism alone will not win back those whites (workers and others) who turned to Trump allegedly because of the economy. If, for them, economics was the key, they would have voted for Jill Stein or, in the primary, Bernie Sanders in their millions. The fact that they did not, but instead turned to a rich, white, misogynistic, racist, xenophobe tells us that something else was at play. We must try to break off the section of the Trump base that cares about economics, the environment, misogyny, peace, and anything else available: but if we ignore racism, such concerns are likely to remain tinged by the frameworks offered by Trump and right-wing populism. Given their big victory, this is not likely to show quick results. A key starting point will be to amplify the organization and influence of whites who already reject Trumpism. Unions will be one of the key forces in this effort. While they pretty much universally threw down against Trump, voters from union households chose Clinton by only 51 percent to 43.

The sort of left populism that we need is one that truly takes on neoliberal globalization, including but not limited to trade deals. It must actively oppose privatization, deregulation, casualization, and anti-unionism, not to mention the impact of an increasingly automated society.

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