HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Retired » Retired Forums » 2016 Postmortem (Forum) » Bill Clinton's secret mes...

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 09:47 AM

Bill Clinton's secret message to whites

Unity (victory) has to include a fair share of working-class white males.

Is Bill Clinton still that master strategist?


Source: The Week, by Noah Millman

Former President Bill Clinton did something Tuesday night that no other speakers at the Democratic convention have been able to do convincingly. Though the speech may have appeared to be addressed to Sanders voters and other progressives, he framed his arguments in a way subtly designed to appeal to the working-class whites who are Donald Trumpís core voters. If Hillary Clinton wants to come out of the convention with a convincing lead, she should take heed of how he did it.


"There are clear, achievable, affordable responses to our challenges. But we won't get to them if America makes the wrong choice in this election. That's why you should elect her. And you should elect her because she'll never quit when the going gets tough. She'll never quit on you."

As someone who's argued that loyalty should be the key theme for the Clinton campaign, this brought a smile to my face. But it's worth noting as well that loyalty is also a cardinal virtue among Appalachian whites. Moreover, suspicions of disloyalty are precisely what have made Barack Obama uniquely unpalatable in this region. Bill Clinton is taking this tack not only because it's a good one for his wife, and because it connects her personal story to her qualities as a candidate in an effective way, but because it's a good way to speak to the voters she's having the most trouble with.

"She sent me in this primary to West Virginia where she knew we were going to lose, to look those coal miners in the eye and say I'm down here because Hillary sent me to tell you that if you really think you can get the economy back you had 50 years ago, have at it, vote for whoever you want to. But if she wins, she is coming back for you to take you along on the ride to America's future."

"And so I say to you, if you love this country, you're working hard, you're paying taxes and you're obeying the law and you'd like to become a citizen, you should choose immigration reform over somebody that wants to send you back.

"If you're a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together. We want you.

"If you're a young African American disillusioned and afraid, we saw in Dallas how great our police officers can be, help us build a future where nobody is afraid to walk outside, including the people that wear blue to protect our future."

The most important word in this section is "if," and the application of that conditional is instructive. Clinton isn't saying to native-born American citizens that they should welcome immigrants. He's saying to undocumented immigrants that if they love America, then they should try to stay. He's not saying that Christian Americans should avoid prejudice against Muslims. He's saying to Muslim Americans that if they love America, then they should join the fight against America's enemies. He's not saying to white Americans that black lives matter. He's saying to African Americans that if they are afraid of police violence, then they should work to reduce violence generally, both by and against the police.

It's a vision of broad national unity across a multiracial and multicultural nation. But it is a vision that builds that unity on a core implicit identity of Americanness that must be chosen, even earned. Which, as it happens, is just how lots of white folks back in Bill Clinton's part of the country tend to view the matter.

Read it all at: http://theweek.com/articles/639279/bill-clintons-secret-message-whites

30 replies, 1747 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Bill Clinton's secret message to whites (Original post)
yallerdawg Jul 2016 OP
Cha Jul 2016 #1
grubbs Jul 2016 #2
Name removed Jul 2016 #5
Bernardo de La Paz Jul 2016 #6
randr Jul 2016 #8
maryellen99 Jul 2016 #7
greymattermom Jul 2016 #3
loyalsister Jul 2016 #4
yallerdawg Jul 2016 #10
loyalsister Jul 2016 #11
yallerdawg Jul 2016 #14
loyalsister Jul 2016 #16
yallerdawg Jul 2016 #17
loyalsister Jul 2016 #18
yallerdawg Jul 2016 #19
loyalsister Jul 2016 #20
yallerdawg Jul 2016 #21
loyalsister Jul 2016 #24
Hekate Jul 2016 #22
whistler162 Jul 2016 #25
athena Jul 2016 #26
loyalsister Jul 2016 #28
DemonGoddess Jul 2016 #9
lumberjack_jeff Jul 2016 #12
yallerdawg Jul 2016 #15
Hekate Jul 2016 #23
lapucelle Jul 2016 #27
lillypaddle Jul 2016 #13
LAS14 Jul 2016 #29
GeorgeGist Jul 2016 #30

Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 09:58 AM

1. Mahalo, yallerdawg!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 10:00 AM

2. Love me some bill!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to grubbs (Reply #2)


Response to Name removed (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 10:26 AM

6. Yawn. You are a sucker. Trump has 3 wives. Limbaugh 4. Gingrich 3.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 10:31 AM

8. Plus we may never know how many women these men attempted to bed while married.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Name removed (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 10:27 AM

7. Bye BYE Trumpie Troll

Your candidate has been married 3 times and probably has had more affairs than Bill.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 10:13 AM

3. They should send him to West Virginia and West Kentucky

Accents matter to those folks, and his is close to theirs. He won't seem like an outsider, and maybe he can talk about new industry. The Toyota factory in Georgetown, KY has made a big difference to that community, and it's close to them. He can talk about how new factory jobs can be directed toward their communities, how their schools can be made better so they don't all have to go somewhere else where folks will make fun of how they talk. I know about this personally as a someone raised in Kentucky who spent years getting rid of an accent so I could make it in academia.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 10:17 AM

4. Wow!

The old your worthy if "you work hard and play by the rules." But not the "lazy criminals." Tapping into stereotypes that Reagan made so popular is definitely a way to appeal to white people. But it's cynical and ugly.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to loyalsister (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 10:55 AM

10. Working-class white males is Trump's base.

Just on economic issues alone, they should be among the most ardent, hardcore Democratic base!

I think "cynical and ugly" pandering to appeal to blue-collar whites - the ones voting against their own self-interests - is just a try to wake them up and bring them back into the fold.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Reply #10)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 11:26 AM

11. Courting white people by appealing to their racism is okay?

I don't think so and every since that ugly dog whistle was unveiled it has only served to solidify the "lazy criminal" stereotype. The same one that contributes to the proportions of individuals who are or have been incarcerated. Tapping into racism is supposed to be the republican tactic that we oppose not take advantage of.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to loyalsister (Reply #11)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 11:55 AM

14. They're going to be racist whichever party they vote for.

Once we get them back in our party - and show them their racism is a dead-end - then we can work on their character defects through association and positivity.

Just calling them "racists" and blowing them off gives Trump a better chance, and reinforces their behavior.

We have to appeal to what we share in common - patriotism, love of country, loyalty.

Then - we fix them.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Reply #14)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 12:17 PM

16. Translation

We don't give a shit how badly people treat you right now because of the sterotypes we are endorsing. We just want votes and then everyone will miraculously be nicer.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to loyalsister (Reply #16)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 12:23 PM

17. What's the reality?

Do we move toward "nicer" and more social equality and justice under Democrats?

Or under Republicans (not counting Lincoln)?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Reply #17)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 12:31 PM

18. Why should anyone seriously belive that a less bad form of racism is truly better?

Really??? Don't worry about these cops killing your families, the disproportionate searches, prosecutions and convictions, poverty and lack of funding for schools in areas that take in small amounts of property taxes. We'll fix it once these white supremacists help elect us. Just as hearts and minds changed when we elected our first black president.
Meanwhile don't bother us with your complaints about injustice because we promise things will be better if we get elected. Your economic circumstances may be worse than they were under Bush, but the reality of you having a hard time feeding your family is his fault and we promise to help. It may take another 8 yrs but we'll fight for you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to loyalsister (Reply #18)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 12:47 PM

19. You're not happy with Obama. You're not happy with Clinton.

You were better off under Bush.

Democrats believe in a less bad form of racism.

This small faction of working-class whites will help assure us of victory - but you don't really care - "purity" comes first.

Am I clear on this?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Reply #19)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 12:51 PM

20. I'm not happy that people are suffering

I'm not happy that working class whites are courted with the rhetoric of white supremacy. And that Democrats are calling bigotry brilliant.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to loyalsister (Reply #20)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 01:06 PM

21. "The rhetoric of white supremacy."

I've been trying to follow you on this, but Clinton is not courting white voters with a 'white supremacist' message.

He is acknowledging that the Democratic appeal of racial tolerance and equality doesn't work with the Republican base.

Let's appeal to their patriotism, their love of America, and their sense of loyalty. These are positive characteristics shared my most people, not just racists and bigots.

I hope you don't believe patriotism and love for America is racist and wrong.

Well - actually, it would just be a very extreme view that is not unheard of. And you may very well think that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Reply #21)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 01:22 PM

24. Do you know the phrase dog whistle?

Do you know that dog whistles are used by politicians to court white racists by comforting them into thinking the politician is sympathetic to racism. Don't worry about all of the lip service, I'm really interested in getting the votes of people who "work hard and play by the rules." In other words NOT those people who have been painted as lazy criminals for years.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Reply #19)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 01:17 PM

22. Yallerdawg -- I think you are clear. We must be pure and appeal only to the converted.

It's okay if we refuse to look for common ground with those who can help us, because we are The Elect (oh, wait, I think that's early Calvinism).

And so forth.

I'll let you work with this one.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Reply #10)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 01:22 PM

25. As people keep repeating ad nausem!

whether it is correct or not!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to loyalsister (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 01:26 PM

26. I disagree.

That's a very negative way of interpreting Bill Clinton's statements. Another way to interpret it is that it empowers people. When you feel discriminated against, the best way to respond, on a personal level, is to feel that you have some power, that you are not completely powerless. Also, it works in a reverse level to send a message to white people: don't see minorities as your enemy; see them as your partners in making this country an even better place to live.

Bill Clinton is talking to voters in West Virginia. He's talking to them, not about them. He's not reducing them to psychology or sociology. He's giving them agency. What they think matters. What they do matters. And it's their choice. They have to decide whether they are going to let themselves be played for sentimental fools or not.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to athena (Reply #26)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 01:57 PM

28. It's the language of white supremacy

The language of belonging. Trump language. His supporters are who he courting, after all. To me and people actively involved in anti-racist work, it's coded language.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 10:34 AM

9. I liked his speech!

He reached out to EVERYONE in it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 11:34 AM

12. I'm unconvinced he's capable of that degree of subtlety and nuance.

 

Although I agree with the urgency of doing exactly that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #12)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 12:01 PM

15. Don't forget.

He took down an incumbent Republican - who had just won a lightning quick war! - after we had 12 long years in the wilderness.

Bill Clinton - for better or for worse - is a real 'political animal.'

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Reply #15)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 01:19 PM

23. Amazing how our own forget

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #12)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 01:27 PM

27. Yup. Why on earth would a Yale law school graduate

Oxford University educated Rhodes scholar be capable of subtlety and nuance?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 11:43 AM

13. K&R

Amazing speech!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 01:57 PM

29. And who knows this better than Bill Clinton? They're still married. :-)

And you should elect her because she'll never quit when the going gets tough. She'll never quit on you."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sat Jul 30, 2016, 03:06 PM

30. If it's secret ...

yeah right.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread