Saturday, April 8, 2017

Trump Voters Are Racists Because Only Racists Would Vote For Trump

Possibly the dumbest thing ever published at The Intercept, "Top Democrats Are Wrong: Trump Supporters Were More Motivated by Racism Than Economic Issues" by Mehdi Hasan does nothing to advance the title thesis. Opening with the smirking "facts are stubborn things" line, he proceeds to bring none of those to bear, instead filling up with circular logic and appeals to authority (Philip Klinkner). And then there's the fallacy of the excluded middle:
Klinkner himself grabbed headlines last summer when he revealed that the best way to identify a Trump supporter in the U.S. was to ask “just one simple question: is Barack Obama a Muslim?”
Do all Trump voters (or even most) agree with that sentiment? Who knows! Klinkner appears not to be terribly interested in that question, only in pushing his thesis that racists voted for Trump. The answer to that question is obviously "yes". In the end, Hasan is stuck assuming his conclusion, using his proxy Klinkner (all emboldening below mine):
Defenders of the economy narrative have a “gotcha” question of their own: how can racial resentment have motivated Trump supporters when so many of them voted for Barack Obama, across the Rust Belt, in 2008 and 2012? “They’re not racists,” filmmaker Michael Moore passionately argued last November.  “They twice voted for a man whose middle name is Hussein.”

Klinkner, though, gives short shrift to this argument. First, he tells me, “most of them didn’t vote for Obama. There weren’t many vote switchers between 2012 and 2016.” Second, “working class whites shifted to Trump less because they were working class than because they were white.” Klinkner points out that in 2016, Clinton, unlike Obama, faced a Republican candidate who “pushed the buttons of race and nativism in open and explicit ways that John McCain and Mitt Romney were unwilling or unable to do.”
Yet, where is the data underlying this? "A vote for Trump must be racist because racists voted for Trump" fails the hasty generalization test, but that's the sum total of his argument. It's a convenient hat rack for identity politicians, but as sound politics go, a disaster.

Update: A couple non-dumb essays on this subject, the first from Andrew Doyle at Spiked:
Identity politics, as it currently operates, is a mostly tokenistic endeavour. Too often it assures progression for women and ethnic-minority people who already come from a privileged background. It’s very easy for the middle classes to make their scattershot assumptions of ‘straight white male privilege’, to pretend that opportunity has nothing to do with socioeconomic status and everything to do with race, gender and sexuality. It’s a convenient method by which they can assert their own virtue while continuing to benefit from an inherently unequal economic system.

The election of Donald Trump should have been a wake-up call for the left. Instead, we have seen a doubling down on the very strategies that guaranteed his victory in the first place. Trump supporters are scorned and derided with increased vehemence, Brexit voters are still smeared as racist, and the working classes are urged to know their place and vote in accordance with the instructions of their technocratic masters. It would also appear that the word ‘Nazi’ has been redefined as ‘anyone with whom the left disagrees’. I’ve never met a Nazi, although I’m assured by many of my liberal friends that you’re never more than six feet away from one.
Next, Mark Lilla in the NYT:
One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.
You keep on keeping on, guys. I'll be here with the popcorn.

No comments:

Post a Comment