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Turns Out that Voting Your White Identity over Your Class Identity Has Consequences

[ 89 ] April 20, 2017 |

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Another day, another story of white coal mining Trump voters shocked that a billionaire con artist won’t protect their health care.

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  1. C.V. Danes says:

    I’m going to have to start buying onions by the bushel to keep up with all the tear shedding for these folks.

  2. Cervantes says:

    So is America great again? Or is that happening next week?

  3. Derelict says:

    Suckers got suckered, but I bet they keep voting Republican.

    • DamnYankees says:

      They didn’t get suckered. They got what they want, most of them. They didn’t get everything they want, but no one does.

      The problem here isn’t that these people got suckered. It’s that liberals and cosmopolitan Republicans want to believe they got suckered. Because if they didn’t, it speaks incredibly badly about who these voters actually are and what they actually care about.

      • McAllen says:

        In general Trump voters are deeply entangled in white supremacism, and white supremacism is irrational–not only in the sense that it’s wrong to discriminate against people because of their race, but in the sense that white people will tear themselves apart to maintain it.

        • DanaHoule says:

          Also, in Appalachia, the Dems have been dropping nearly every election since Dukakis. Lower for Bill in 1996 than 1992, dropped for Gore, neutral or dopbfor Kerry, big drops each of the last three elections. So this isn’t just about Trump.

        • efgoldman says:

          in the sense that white people will tear themselves apart to maintain it.

          And the people with the fewest minorities in their communities, and the least contact with minorities, are the worst racists. Go figure. Wouldn’t have anything to do with what radio they listen to, TV they watch, or websites they read. Couldn’t be.

      • Rob in CT says:

        I mean…

        Murc has said this before and I agree with him:

        We kind of have to go with “they were suckered” (at least, enough of them to swing the election were), whether or not we’re sure it’s true.

        That interpretation (suckers, not malicious assholes) is probably overly charitable. I don’t begrudge any random liberal for feeling that way, as I often feel that way myself (though my ire is direct even more at bog-standard Republicans of means who “came home” and voted Trump despite having no fucking excuse whatsoever).

        But the way our system is structured, we need some “suckers” back. We need PA back. MI and/or WI too. FL would be useful. NC too. And this goes well beyond Presidential elections – we need to win a lot more elections at the state level and we need to take back congress. Given the way things are set up (most definitely including the 2010 gerrymandering), getting the House back is a really big lift. There’s no getting there w/o winning back some people who were suckered and/or were willing marks for the conman because they are themselves or are comfortable with the Deplorables.

        • ap77 says:

          There’s no getting there w/o winning back some people who were suckered and/or were willing marks for the conman because they are themselves or are comfortable with the Deplorables.

          I think you can get there through non-voters/better turnout more easily than you can through Trump voters. We’re not talking about a large number that we need in the decisive states. We may get there by default at the presidential level just by not having HRC at the top of the ticket (she was quite unpopular as these things go).

          • Rob in CT says:

            For a Presidential election win, yes, absolutely.

            For taking back the HoR, though? No, we need a wave election. A big one.

            • ap77 says:

              Hmm. Weren’t there a fair number of districts that HRC won but still have GOP reps? I’d start there.

            • joho9119 says:

              We really need statehouses back, first and foremost, and to have the most liberal people we can possibly muster in the safe districts.

            • It looks like we’re already headed for one, though. Both of the results we’ve had since the shitgibbon took office have swung 22 points towards the Democrats. There’s your wave election right there. We can recapture the House without worrying about targeting our message towards shitgibbon supporters, particularly since it doesn’t look like Thompson or Ossoff did that at all.

              • Origami Isopod says:

                It looks like we’re already headed for one, though. Both of the results we’ve had since the shitgibbon took office have swung 22 points towards the Democrats.

                After last November I’m not breathing easily until it actually happens.

                • Fair point. Regardless, off-year elections seem to be good overall for the opposition party to the president. We obviously should keep organising, protesting, calling Congress, etc., but I do think we have a structural advantage that we didn’t have last year.

                  (We probably also wouldn’t have lost last year with Comey, and the national polls did come rather close to predicting the actual result; it’s just that most of the statistical models used state polls, a lot of which were too old to capture the post-Comey shift. So really, we most need to hope that there isn’t a repeat of last year’s October Surprise.)

                • efgoldman says:

                  So really, we most need to hope that there isn’t a repeat of last year’s October Surprise.

                  I don’t think Ossoff has a private email server.

                • PunditusMaximus says:

                  I don’t think Perez hired any Republican daddies.

        • C.V. Danes says:

          But the way our system is structured, we need some “suckers” back.

          We don’t necessarily need them back. We just need them to stay home.

        • cpinva says:

          they weren’t suckered, they got exactly what they wanted. they didn’t expect it to actually affect them personally though, they fully anticipated all the bad stuff would be solely for those “others”. you gets what you pays for, asshole.

        • Murc says:

          Erik deserves more credit for this line of thinking than I do, as I would submit his understanding of the part of the electorate we’re talking about here is greater than, and informs, my own.

      • ap77 says:

        Indeed. Kicking immigrants and minorities in the face? They’re getting that in spades.

        For the most part, these are terrible people we’re talking about. I guess I understand the reluctance of those on the left to admit this, but where is your line? Mine was Trump.

      • Who was it who said something along the lines that if you convince a white man the poorest black man will be worse off than he is, he’ll vote for you to take things away from both of them? I want to say LBJ.

        Still seems correct, in any case.

        • ForkyMcSpoon says:

          Yes, it’s an LBJ quote according to Bill Moyers (so it’s possible the wording has been altered by his memory).

          If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.

  4. Nobdy says:

    I used to think of Paul Ryan as just another soulless shill doing his masters’ bidding, like Mitch McConnell (thiugh less skilled) but again in the article he shows his passion for denying people health care, even if they are Republican and the cost is moderate.

    I now think of him as the legislative equivalent of those angel of death nurses who get off on killing their patients through drug overdoses or denials. I think he gets off on holding life or death power over people. It makes him much scarier. Scarier even than Trump, who is vengeful and a scammer but has not shown a particular passion for killing beyond typical Republican military overuse.

    It is also interesting how the miners knew that Trump couldn’t bring their jobs back but voted for him anyway. They seem to value the attention they are given even if they know the promises are false, which seems like a slightly new wrinkle in the ongoing disection of the mind of the Trump voter.

    • Q.E.Dumbass says:

      Ryan is a tetanus-blooded Harold Shipman without the brains.

      Also, relevant:

      [S]pecifics? These people don’t want specifics. They wouldn’t know what to do with specifics. Hillary has the most specific policy section for an election campaign that I have ever seen. There is something presented for every topic you can think of somewhere on the website. She literally has policy positions from Addiction to Workforce Training. Maybe she could add a section on Zookeeping just for kicks. The only thing missing is actually pre-written bills to hand to Congress, and if she had them, these jackasses would claim she was being presumptuous and acting like she had already won and they are probably also the same idiots who chant the bills are too long and congress needs to read every bill.

      Over the years, the media attention has trained these special flowers to say these things and feel empowered to demonstrate how stupid they are because they think it makes them sound smart. These people are a static display of Dunning-Kreuger in action.

      This is unique to politics. No one goes to their mechanic and says “I need new breaks,” he mechanic says “Ok, that will be 400 dollars” and the person says “I dunno, I need some specifics” and then has them recite step by step the procedure for how they will do it. N o one goes to their doctor and has them state, in latin, step by step how the procedure will be done. You’re given options, and then the doctor goes to work.

      This is insanity. The very fact that you morons can’t make up your mind with the information you have already is demonstration enough that more specifics aren’t going to help you.

      • Karen24 says:

        One of the things I really liked about Clinton’s website was that she had a set of policies to encourage animal shelters to stop killing strays and to support spay-neuter work for feral cats and to improve the lives of farm animals.. It was in a tab called “Animals,” with a kitten and a puppy on it. It was adorable and earnest and all the nerdy things I loved about her.

      • cpinva says:

        this. I can’t possibly add anything of value. oh, wait, but her emails! sorry, had to get that out.

  5. DrDick says:

    I am beginning to think that they like the pain.

    • LosGatosCA says:

      Of course they like the pain. The whole S&M thing with the abusive daddy gets them off. They like their time in the barrel as long as the ‘man’ reassures them all the ‘others’ (gays, sluts, browns, etc) are getting it twice as hard.

      Just a small price to pay for the social ‘justice’ a rank & file member of Jay Gould’s army.

      Let’s revisit the inner ‘logic’ during recent election cycle:

      So, if I support Trump it’s a double fuck you to every imagined enemy of god fearing white people everywhere.

      But, I have to sacrifice my dignity by supporting an admitted sexual predator who has publicly bragged of walking through women’s dressing rooms and privately outlined how he assaults women without any inhibition or twinge of guilt.

      And, I’ll have to acknowledge that he’s a complete ignoramus who’s even less prepared than Quayle, Bush II, and Palin.

      And, I’ll have to admit I knew he was lying straight to my face about jobs, health care, Social Security, and every other damn thing. Including that his people were agents of a foreign power and committing what would have been called treason in a different time.

      But Hillary will go down as the ‘biggest loser ever’ in a landslide election where Trump doesn’t even win the popular vote?

      We’re definitely for Trump and so are all the rest of us racists, bigots, and misogynists because at the end of the day it’s all about white ‘family’ values.

  6. DamnYankees says:

    And so the argument will continue among liberals forever, one half saying “these people simply don’t vote on their economic fortunes, so while we should help them, campaigning on that against a white nationalist will not work”, and the other half saying “we just need to help these people realize that liberals are better for them on these points!”

    All the observations in the world about the fact that these people want health care does not change the fact that they simply don’t vote that way. It’s not their revealed preference. What to do about that, who knows. But as the old saying guys, when someone shows you who they are, believe them.

    • PunditusMaximus says:

      I think that this last isn’t taken seriously enough — conservatism is the belief that domestic abuse is the ideal human interaction. We on the left do not take that on in a meaningful way.

  7. Asteroid_Strike_Brexit says:

    For all the moaning about this type of article (‘we journeyed to darkest Alabama to find out why the natives still worship their heathen gods’) we cannot look away.

    These people were conned. We knew they were being conned, and it’s frustrating to watch it happen. American culture venerates businessmen and getting rich. Look at the success of MLMs (which Trump has been associated with) and you’ll see what I mean.

    • DamnYankees says:

      These people were conned. We knew they were being conned, and it’s frustrating to watch it happen. American culture venerates businessmen and getting rich. Look at the success of MLMs (which Trump has been associated with) and you’ll see what I mean.

      This is so patronzing. These people were not conned. If they were conned, he wouldn’t have an approval ratings in the 80s among Republicans.

      Are these voters getting what they want on healthcare? No. But no President gives their voters everything they want on every issue. I’ve seen no Trump voters who were any more “conned” by who Trump was than Obama voters were. Looking for Obama voters who were pissed he didn’t do X, Y or Z that he promised doesn’t mean they were conned.

      Trump has the support of his voters, overwhelmingly. They like what he is doing. They were not conned.

      • Rob in CT says:

        This ignores the RW propaganda machine and its continual turd polishing. That has something to do with Republicans still loving Trump.

        Dubya had high approval ratings amongst Republicans right to the end. The thing was the GOP was losing people – lots of GOP-leaners started IDing as Indies. So % approval amongst Republicans doesn’t really tell the story.

      • tsam says:

        This is so patronzing. These people were not conned. If they were conned, he wouldn’t have an approval ratings in the 80s among Republicans.

        This is exactly backwards. There are millions of suburban white fuckasses holding their breath for a tax cut that will make them tired of all the winning. The approval rate is there because they haven’t figured out that he’s a useless dumbfuck, just like them. Being useless dumbfucks, they’re never going to figure it out.

        • Rob in CT says:

          I’m sure my mother thinks she’s getting a tax cut out of all of this.

          She doesn’t have enough income to really benefit much from the typical GOP tax cut (though she’s doing quite well and has built up a fair bit ‘o wealth).

          But she hates taxes SO MUCH that even if she gets a pittance and the rest goes to people far, far wealthier than her she’ll be happy. Hell, I suspect that she’ll be happy even if she gets no tax cut at all.

          I mean, how many people were convinced – utterly convinced – that Obama raised their taxes (setting aside that it’s congress that does that sort of thing) when in fact the stimulus included the broadest tax cut possible, and the only people who got hit with increases were high-income people – roughly the top 5%?

          • tsam says:

            But Trump SAID, tho. Also, Hillary would have quadrupled my taxes AND took my guns, so…you know, I’m not gullible at all.

            • Rob in CT says:

              Mom doesn’t care about guns, and doesn’t do religion. She’s not against green energy, or gay rights. I’ve never heard her slip up and say anything overtly racist (which, given the ways of Our People… if you spend that much time with somebody and you never hear it? Decent odds she’s not actually super racist, even if she’s hardly Woke). But none of these things seem to matter come voting time.

              The Democrats are going to take her money away and waste it. Hand her the damn ballot.

              Now, look. She loved her some Ronnie Reagan too. Obviously she doesn’t care about the bigotry of the GOP, at a minimum.

              • tsam says:

                I don’t think mom is the prototypical Trump voter. She sounds more like a typical Republican from the Bob Dole era. Not especially authoritarian or virulently racist, but definitely convinced that Republicans are looking out for their interests–even though they more or less tell you that if you’re not a 1%er, you’re just a loser and nobody likes you.

                I mean, I see the tax rebel streak, but out of the articles and comments I’ve managed to suffer through, there was always an undercurrent of genuine fear that the Democrats were out to restrict every freedom they could get their grubby dickbeaters on.

      • I’m inclined to agree with the others: they genuinely believe the shit he sells them, because they live in a bubble. People are very, very bad at determining that authority figures are lying to them, particularly when those authority figures appeal to ideologies as justification for their actions. Moreover, even if they do determine that the authority figures are lying, they may not even care; they may simply believe that the lies benefit them.

        This is basic human psychology. Systems based on authority have intrinsic weaknesses. One is that it is very, very easy to con people over whom you have authority. The Republicans seem to have figured this out, and once you understand this, it explains an incalculable amount about our recent politics. (You can apply the fact that people are bad at ascertaining not only authority figures’ malevolence but also their credibility in general further to explain a lot about media coverage in general, as well as the media and voters’ assumption that Clinton’s victory was inevitable, and so on.)

    • twbb says:

      They thought for once they were doing the conning.

    • aab84 says:

      “Conned” assumes that they care more about economics and health care than they do their relative social and racial position. We do these voters a disservice when we fail to even consider that they acted rationally in voting for Trump because he supported what they actually care about the most.

      • efgoldman says:

        We do these voters a disservice when we fail to even consider that they acted rationally in voting for Trump because he supported what they actually care about the most.

        I don’t think it’s doing anyone a disservice to point out that it was and is stone racism with a soupcon of misogyny.
        Everything else is window dressing.

    • DrDick says:

      American culture venerates businessmen and getting rich.

      I am rather hoping that Trump drives a stake through this lunacy and demolishes the idea that they are at all intelligent or have any real idea what they are doing (other than robbing everyone blind).

    • Karen24 says:

      To quote someone widely disliked before Trump was elected, this is the soft bigotry of low expectations. I grew up around people like this, and it’s patronizing to assume they’re too stupid to understand what would happen if Trump won. Mostly, they just don’t like uppity bitches like Clinton. If they were conned, they were conned like the mark in a get-rich-quick scheme, willing to believe something obviously too good to be true. I feel sorry for the pain they inflicted on themselves and their families, but like they used to say about black people, well, personal responsibility is a thing.

      Or, in words of one syllable: fuck ’em.

      • No Longer Middle Aged Man says:

        In fairness, the definition of politics as “who gets what and who pays for it” is relevant here. Many of these voters clearly thought the answer to the first “who” was “them” and the “what” was “big kick in the teeth.” Trump hasn’t disappointed them on that, ergo his continuing high Rep. support.

        The surprise has been that the answer to “who pays for it” has been “you.”

        We don’t need to say “fuck ’em.” Trump is already doing that.

  8. aturner339 says:

    I think we have to start digging into what makes “white” identity so damn attractive. There are of course economic benefits but stories like this indicate that they may not outweigh the costs of allowing whiteness to drive your voting behavior. What as the emotional benefits and can the left offer anything better?

    I’ve heard one option. Find a better villain than “brown people.” and I think it has cynical charm but might be very difficult in practice. We got anything else?

    • Malaclypse says:

      The rich?

      • aturner339 says:

        The 1%. I think this showed promise (OWS and all) but part of the problem is that many working class Americans adore the rich. It’s why they loved Trump even before they found out he hated Mexicans.

        • Rob in CT says:

          Bernie’s idea was a particular slice of the rich: Big Banks.

          Better villain that poor immigrants, that’s for sure.

          • DrDick says:

            Has the advantage of also being true.

            • Rob in CT says:

              …if a bit simplistic, yes. But we need a simple morality tale so, sure, bankers is as good a choice as any.

              Banks/shadow banks* really fucked up horribly, as did the ratings agencies (rubber stamp fraud for profit? SURE!), mortgage lenders, regulators and legislators.

              * – AIG, which was a perfectly stable insurance company, nearly destroyed itself (and would have succeeded but for the bailout) because some idiots thought fucking around with derivatives was a good idea. I’m SO glad that my giant evil insurance company employer didn’t go after that particular fool’s gold.

              • sibusisodan says:

                [Location: an ordinary, quotidian, insurance art gallery. Two execs from Rob in CTs giant evil insurance company employer are viewing art while holding glasses of overly warm white wine, wearing black turtlenecks, goatees, and an air of superciliousness]

                Exec1: Which one’s this?

                Exec2: The AIG exhibit. It’s…interesting.

                E1: Maybe. Not very original though.

                E2: Yah. It’s not doing it for me.

                E1: Me neither. So derivative.

        • Linnaeus says:

          part of the problem is that many working class Americans adore the rich.

          FTFY.

    • LeeEsq says:

      Power and wealth. Since the white identity has been historically the economically and politically powerful identity from the colonial era to the present, it is the attractive identity because given a choice most people would prefer to have power and wealth than not have power and wealth.

      Another reason why many working class whites might select their white identity over their class identity is because few people like being told how to thing or behave, especially in an individualistic society like the United States. People have multiple identities and by telling white working class people that you better choose your class identity over your ethnic/race identity or your a bad person will probably strike many people the wrong way. Especially if they believe that other working class people can switch emphasis between their racial, gender, or sexual identity or class identity as it suits their needs at a given time.

    • tsam says:

      There are of course economic benefits but stories like this indicate that they may not outweigh the costs of allowing whiteness to drive your voting behavior.

      Try looking at it from the perspective on someone who is told every damn day that not being able to call black people the n-word means you’re being persecuted, having your identity and culture stolen from you, and that being that kind of person = freedom. Add a hilariously inadequate understanding of the Constitution, a constant fear that they’re coming to take your guns away, tax you to death to pay for a welfare queen in Chicago to buy steaks and manicures…

      The problem is that you’re trying to see a calculus to their actions, when they’re nothing more than reactionary, cowardly dirtbags who think you are the reason their life is garbage–not the pain meds and alcohol they abuse, not the corporations who will destroy their lives to save $1/hour on labor, not the Wall Street leeches that have whatever retirement savings they have in their greasy pockets at the casino…no, it’s got to be Mexicans and black people. There’s no other possible explanation.

      • efgoldman says:

        The problem is that you’re trying to see a calculus to their actions, when they’re nothing more than reactionary, cowardly dirtbags who think you are the reason their life is garbage

        it’s got to be Mexicans and black people.

        “Personal responsibility” my old, white, angry ass.
        They’re not responsible for the mines, mills, and factories closing. They ARE responsible for believing the assholes they listen to as they spin all kinds of fantasy blame and fantasy solutions.
        Poor African Americans and Hispanics have a much more realistic view of the world than the white racist fucks do.

    • PunditusMaximus says:

      Have you ever bullied anyone? I’m serious; have you ever been in a place where you just beat on someone when you felt bad in order to make yourself feel better?

      As a child I fell into that trap for a short period. The problem with being a bully is that it feels amazing. Better than opiates (ask me how I know).

      Once you get hooked on that feeling, unless you’re willing to do the hard work to pull those barbs out of your soul, you’re gonna chase it like a junkie who’s started to get the shakes.

      • were-witch says:

        As a child I fell into that trap for a short period.

        Don’t kid yourself; you still fall into that trap *here* *on this blog* *on a regular basis*. Hell, for a while, aggression directed at us was the only thing you did here.

  9. Bitter Scribe says:

    Apparently Mitch McConnell is dragging his feet on funding the miners’ pensions because he resents their unions having contributed to his political opponents’ campaigns.

    Or else he thinks Trump will rebuild the coal industry so quickly that federal subsidies will no longer be necessary.

    That must be it. Because the first one would make him a spiteful little fuckhead, and we mustn’t think that because it would offend Caitlin Flanagan.

    • efgoldman says:

      Mitch McConnell is dragging his feet on funding the miners’ pensions

      He croaked it once already before the election – or was that the miners’ medical benefits?
      They’re only his constituents; why should he take care of them?

  10. The Temporary Name says:

    It’d be hard to resist writing about Uniontown PA and their Trump voters.

  11. Brett says:

    Another one of these stories? Is it the same handful of reporters writing them every few days? It feels like we get another version of the same article every two days or so. Ugh.

  12. jonp72 says:

    I think it’s patronizing to assume that white working class people who vote Republican are “voting against their own interests,” because people have the right to define their own interests as they see fit. But on the other hand, I’m beginning wonder whether what’s at play is not right-wing hegemony or “false consciousness,” but that people literally cannot apply basic cause-and-effect logic to the consequence of their vote. So you might as well just flip a coin, or vote for the party that sounds the most like your own “team.”

    • vacuumslayer says:

      A tweep of mine made this incredibly astute comment: People are willing to pay for racism.

    • efgoldman says:

      I think it’s patronizing to assume that white working class people who vote Republican are “voting against their own interests,”

      They’re certainly voting against their own economic interests. It’s become apparent that, contrary to conventional wisdom, economic interests aren’t the primary driver of behavior when racism and misogyny are involved.

      • Origami Isopod says:

        Societal privilege confers a lot of economic benefits. Yeah, these people screwed themselves over by voting for Trump, but a lot of them believed that Trump was going to restore for them a society that preserved privileges for people of their color and/or gender. A lot of them still believe it.

  13. Harkov311 says:

    Yes, yes, but will they stop voting Republican? Or, better question, if they do stop voting Republican, will it be because they finally decided they care about being poor, or will it be because an actual, fully fascist party gets founded, and they join that instead?

  14. SatanicPanic says:

    I don’t think I’ll ever get over how stupid looking he is in that picture. They couldn’t find a hat that didn’t make him look like a clown?

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