The idea that has been floated by everyone from Bernie Sanders to national news pundits is that the Democrats lost because they didn’t court “working class people”.
Well, guess what? “Working class people” also includes people of color and women.
Whites did turn out in record numbers, this is true. But, in my opinion, the Democrats lost the election because they didn’t fight harder to…
…keep the right-wing from suppressing the vote
…discuss the rampant sexism within their ranks, especially amongst Sanders’ male supporters
…push Sanders to campaign for Hillary (he only got into doing that very late in the campaign)
…have a better ground game that actually got people to the polls to vote, especially in poor areas
Also, a lot of people believed the lies told about Clinton, because lies were pushed so often by Trump and his supporters, who got an awful lot of free air time on news shows. Continuing with that thought, many people thought Clinton was going to win, so why vote?
Then there was the old “both parties are the same so I am going to vote my conscience” vote.
Hey, y’all, I will be sure to personally thank you and your conscience when they cut my food stamps and privatize Medicare so I can’t get health care. Because, by you voting for a candidate who couldn’t possibly win, or by not voting at all, you effectively abandoned all poor people to the machinations of the GOP.
As someone who lives at 150% below the poverty line, I am absolutely furious with you.
And also, as someone who caught on, at 14 years old, to the fact that both parties – and Libertarians and the Greens, too – support and sustain the capitalist system in this country, and therefore are not all that different in terms of their ultimate self-interests, I realize that often elections come down to “harm vs harm reduction” for the people who are at most risk of losing the most basic needs.
In other words, you don’t “protest vote” when your decision could result in great harm to the people who are the least able to survive without social programs like Medicaid and food stamps.
That is very selfish and reactionary. No progressive worth a damn would do that. So if you did that, quit calling yourself a progressive, because you’re just a self-centered jerk.
By the way, you can also quit referring to Bernie Sanders’ reform movement as “a revolution”. It’s not, ok? Bernie Sanders is paid by the government for his position as senator. He is not out to overthrow the government. He is dishonest by claiming he’s some kind of socialist revolutionary – and now he’s claiming he might have won had he been the Democratic nominee.
Considering he muddied the water about basic left-wing politics, he would have opened the door to massive red-baiting had he won the nomination, and we would have seen a huge backlash against the left that would have taken a lot of work to undo.
Because the only things the Trump base hates more than Hillary Clinton are “communists”. Sanders would not have won had he been the nominee, and the fact that he says he would have just speaks volumes about his self-interest. He’s a smart man, he knows what would have happened.
But I digress.
My whole point is, this election was never about jobs, or the “forgotten white working class”. It was about forward vs backwards, the future vs misplaced nostalgia, and reactionary right-wing viewpoints vs progressiveness and inclusion.
It was about people – mostly white people – who looked to the system to save them. Not the system they saw being promoted by career politicians, but the system as personified by a rich, white, racist/sexist/xenophobe bigot who promised them a return to “the good old days” in his slogan “Make America Great Again”.
One final note: we, as progressives, owe it to each other and those who cannot fight back to continue to push the agenda of inclusion and tolerance, and to fight as hard as we can against racism, sexism, anti-Muslim sentiment, and all the rest of the ugly “isms” promoted by Trump and his followers.
We also need to be vigilant and keep the government from conducting massive deportations, rolling-back Roe vs Wade, privatizing Medicare, doing away with Social Security for people under 67, imposing lifetime caps on basics such as food stamps, and turning Medicaid into a block-grant program.
In terms of a personal plea, I can tell you that, without food stamps, SSI, Medicare, and Medicaid, this blog definitely won’t continue because I depend on those programs to survive. Being ill and being poor are very risky things at the best of times, but under a Trump administration they could be fatal.
So just think about that as we enter the holiday season. Think about how your vote, or lack of one, affects the poor in this country. I know many of my readers volunteer for soup kitchens and other programs, and I want to thank all of you and tell you how much that is appreciated by people who are otherwise marginalized and forgotten.
The poor, the elderly on fixed incomes, children, undocumented workers, minorities, people who are not Christians…these are the real forgotten ones. Trump supporters are not.
We do not need to “understand them”. We need to struggle against them, and for those Democrats amongst us, we need to set the party straight on that. Because Democrats will just as easily leave us behind as much as Republicans will, if it means they can get elected.
Know your enemy. And your friends, too.
Weird news for the week is this awesome story about mushrooms that taste like bacon!! I know a whole lot of people who will be excited about this.
Recommendations? If you get TruTv, there is a show called “Adam Ruins Everything.” It’s a show that debunks commonly held beliefs; for example, the last show I saw explained how the war on drugs was a miserable failure and how pot isn’t bad for you. It’s funny and educational.
Be good. Be kind. Get out into the streets to protest, if you can.
Reading your insight is edifying to me. Thank you.
Thank you for the compliment, Susan!! Made my day.