People have been doing a lot of theorizing and philosophizing to cope with the United States’ presidential election and its outcome. Many people couldn’t and wouldn’t believe what they had witnessed. The ideals of authoritarianism and white nationalism were moving into the White House 2017, and Liberals were stunned that a Muslim registry, wall building, waterboarding and rights revoking would continue to be part of the national discourse at even greater threat.
Tuesday November 8th, a loud-mouth ex-reality tv star and world famous braggart, facing both fraud and sexual assault charges, had won the presidency of the United States; and Donald J Trump did it not by having the most votes but instead by having them in the right places. His victory was the product of the American Electoral College System, which centralized the tipping point of the nation’s supreme governance into the U.S’s Midwest along with Florida and Texas. The divide between north and south were now being redrawn as urban and rural, between New Yorker and Kentuckian; and it lead to the bluest of states California being the first to map out what succession would look like – showing them going it alone or pairing up with Canada.
For liberal Americans the realization that half their co-authors on the current American dream were not on the same civil rights affirming page made Donald Trump a sociopolitical earthquake. The aftershocks surged into the populous, and the Liberal’s future of win win multicultural progress and global citizenship had been handed a giant roll back. Returning to the same media outlets that had only prior assured them of a Clinton victory, shell-shocked Liberals found high-profile news outlets initially lost in a tail-chasing news spin, which hid none of their shock or dismay.
Talking head after talking head, talked over themselves and others to find an electoral scapegoat. Unsurprisingly, black voters were the first under the media’s microscope. Their 88% percent, highest of any voting demographic, was targeted first as having failed to deliver the throne. Soon after joined by Hispanic voter’s 71% majority for Clinton, minorities bore the brunt of the initial blame. Declared having failed to carry the 38% of white male and 48% of white female voters across the finish-line, it really did give the impression that white people expected minorities to truly do most of the work for them – including in the electoral arena.
Exit polls told us that 58% of white people with a Christian background were the ones most likely to believe an off-the-cuff braggart and ex-reality star accused of offending half the nation would make a good head of state. Why it’s necessary to denote religious background or affiliation is because every other voting group, in significant majorities, were against the idea of Donald J Trump as the country’s President. That included 75% percent of Jewish voters and in in slightly smaller majorities Hispanic Catholics and religious “nones.”
— Nyasha Junior (@NyashaJunior) November 18, 2016
Poll numbers saw the democratic street cred of white males seriously challenged by the election results. The liberal media in particular, often composed mostly of white men and women, had little choice but to provide some type of face-saving analysis that quickly transformed xenophobic and moronic into left-behind and misunderstood. Now held captive to the impending mandates of authoritarianism and white nationalism, both white Liberals and the media had truly lost the desire to talk about Hilary Clinton’s emails. The national directive was set to understand the mind of a Trump Supporter.
Signing off on a Muslim registry, a 2000 mile wall on the southern border and mass deportations, not to mention the resumption of waterboarding and proposed limits on women’s and LGBTQ rights, Trump supporters claim of “economic anxiety” as the root cause of their vote demanded question. Meanwhile a rising post-election hate crime wave grew with all out assaults and vandalism towards minorities and their property. That reporting, however, was eclipsed by the media’s focus on the pain of the white Midwesterner whose identity politics was now re-framed as the cry of the white working class.
Word of redress from Right-wing pundits and articles accused already self-flagellating Liberals of encouraging too much PC culture, which made people have to think before they spoke, as well as too much censoring of trolls, which impeded the freedom to commit verbal attacks. There was just far too much over-reaching of civil rights for formerly marginalized groups, which encouraged displacement of long-held white privilege; and ultimately there was just way too little discussion about white people. The Democrats had been given the electoral equivalent of the “y’all getting too uppity” slap down.
This made the post-election buzz-word of “identity politics” suspect for white Liberals; while at the same-time, the kkk was off having a victory parade confirming identity politics would not be leaving their repertoire anytime soon. Trump’s victory emboldened white nationalism nation wide. For the kkk their pre-election endorsement of Donald Trump wasn’t for nothing; identity politics had brought their favored candidate to victory.
Many white Liberals, however, decided perhaps now was the time to ignore the intersections between race and class, and many still found or refound their salvation in Bernie Sanders. His capitulations to president-elect Trump and attempts to remove race from the conversation of class however, increasingly alienated many minorities, who earlier by large numbers in the Democratic primary had already declined a seat on the Bernie Train.
Neutering identity politics for them by focusing on class alone, ignored the fact that race often affected the class you were born into as well as your class mobility. As a Democrat ambassador Sanders himself jettisoned to the Midwest like a sacrificial lamb with an olive branch, which further alienated minority groups by his choice of words and willingness to work with Trump so quickly post-election. With the Republicans swinging so far right so much so as to be courting white nationalism, the idea of playing centrist to many Democrats of all races and classes seemed naive, declaring this was not the time to sell-out but to double down.
The pro-Trump sentiments of the Midwest compounded with the Bible-tied conservatism of the Republican party was now steering America into increasingly isolationist, nationalist and fascistic waters. White cultural identity was in the act of reclaiming uncontested centrality and supremacy in the national discourse. While 38% of white male voters and 48% of white female voters had rejected the idea of turning other compatriots into second class citizens; at the voting booth whatever they made from Hillary Clinton’s “baggage,” to them post-election results emerged as a smack in the face to America’s future as a progressive multicultural society.
The ugly truth that Election 2016’s exit polls revealed was that pulling the white card was still seen as a viable option to many. The who and why of it showed a lack of education and lack of integration were the most common factors in a Trump voter. There were college educated voters for him clearly but like with other Trump supporters the key commonality remained being white – most distinctly being white from a Catholic or Protestant background and often living in socially segregated areas of America.
The main areas of difference between someone of the equivalent background voting for Clinton could be correlated with living in denser populated areas with more exposure to a diverse population. In other words being exposed to Muslims or others of a diverse ethnic or religious backgrounds made ideas such as a Muslim registry and wall building far less appealing. Lack of exposure to the people who Trump had targeted during his campaign allowed most of his voters to be more at ease with sacrificing those people’s rights for a perceived gain.
The economic anxiety promoted as the primary cause for the vote to swing towards Donald Trump, while not non-existent, was to some degree rebuked by a Nov 2nd Gallup poll by researchers Jonathan Rothwell and Pablo Diego-Rosel, who analyzed 125,000 U.S. voters. They found the median income of a Trump supporters was 72.000, 20,000 above the US household average and 10,000 above the average Clinton supporter’s income.
“They found that voters with favorable views of Mr. Trump are indeed less educated and typically blue-collar. But the study confirmed that they have higher-than-average incomes and found that they are “no more likely to be unemployed or exposed to competition through trade or immigration” than average Americans or Clinton backers.
In fact, places that have been strongly affected by trade or immigration do not find much Trump support.
But the study did find that Trump supporters are overwhelmingly found in places with high levels of segregation (where white voters have little day-to-day exposure to minorities or immigrants) and with high levels of dependency on social security and other government income sources.”
Exit polls reaffirmed the assessment. Account after account was written online from closet and not so closet Liberals living in socially segregated towns. They admitted one could pretty much go 24/7 without having to deal with someone who is gay, Muslim or of another race. Some didn’t even have to talk to anyone outside their bible group if they so chose. For all the post-election talk of cultural bubbles, the white bubble of the Midwest turned out to be the most impenetrable. While Liberals berated themselves for having their own “echo chambers,” exit poll data showed them as coming from the most diverse social groups. Further more, many of those who belonged to minority groups rejected so-called “echo chambers” as the culprit, reminding white Liberals that “echo chambers” were a luxury that the marginalized most often do not have.
While all demographic groups lost numbers to Trump and the Republicans as they do every election, affirming that no ethnic or religious group is a voting monolith, the stark difference attributed to race can not be ignored. Identity politics, whether desired or not, was at the heart of the 2016 election, and to deny the significance of its role is to ignore some key issues the electoral data points to. Furthermore the subsequent splitting of the “white working class” into an economic special needs group and the main owner of “economic anxiety,” implied minorities or college-educated women only voted to alleviate their own issues. It painted the working-class vote of minorities as being different from the white working class vote, which was now being drawn as devoid of racial identity.
The reality of an elected president one half of America sees as an erratic con-artist with his finger close to a missile launch–and the other half sees as the rightful leader of their nation state insuring a whiter future–has cleaved the nation in half more than at any other time in the past few decades. Writ in the poll booths; social, environmental and political progress was seen by many as being cut at the knees by nationalistic and authoritative proposals re-centering the nation’s interests around white supremacy. The 2016 election affirmed the unending cost of America’s original sin and that just as its history will never truly go away neither will identity politics.