paroxysms of paranoia

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At Salon, Sean Illing explains how Sanders wins:

Thanks to a new survey released by the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute, we now have some clarity on the Trump demographic. The average Trumpite is old, white, disaffected, without a college education, and part of the working-class. Unsurprisingly, he is also likely to project his economic discontent on immigrants, the default boogeyman for confused Jingoists.

"These findings," writes Illing, "confirm what has been obvious for months now:"

Trump is a faux-populist whose singular appeal is rooted in racism and identity politics. Frustratingly, the Trump voter correctly diagnoses the problem, which is that the power structure doesn't serve the working or middle class in this country, but he also misidentifies the enemy.

It's not Mexicans or Muslims or some other minority group outsourcing jobs or buying elections or rigging the tax code in favor of special interests - corporations and their deregulating cronies in office (on both sides) are responsible for that, as are the broader forces of globalization and neoliberalism. And yet the ire of the typical Trumpite is directed at foreigners and black people.

"These are the paroxysms of a paranoid conservative base," he continues, "that is angry with the status quo but deeply confused about who or what is responsible:"

Hard times are generally good to fascists because people need an enemy, someone to pin their problems on. And there is a latent racism always lurking beneath the surface in American politics; Trump, who I don't believe takes any of this seriously, is shamelessly exploiting it.

"Trump is an empty vessel onto which angry and disillusioned white people can project their resentment, and nothing more," Illing notes:

But if Trump supporters were more interested in class than race, if they were honestly seeking an economic populist, someone who will advance the interests of the entire working class, they'd flock to Bernie Sanders. Sanders doesn't traffic in xenophobia like Trump does, but he speaks directly to the concerns of alienated Trump supporters, and he does so in a serious and non-platitudinous way.

In fact, Sanders just gave a seminal speech in which he explained, in very clear terms, what's wrong with the very system against which Trump voters are revolting. Sanders shattered the false narratives around the term "socialism" and articulated a vision of America that appeals to the working poor and to the broader middle class.

The problem is that conservatives, Illing concludes, "are conditioned to reject Sanders without ever listening to what he says, and that's a function of a much deeper ideological problem:"

Sanders's economic populism isn't couched in vitriol and hate, but his policies would make life infinitely better for the vast majority of Trump voters. But so long as they're consumed with fear and misplaced anger, none of that matters.

And nothing much will change.

We have eleven months to make a choice...

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on December 7, 2015 2:43 PM.

Will on progressive taxation was the previous entry in this blog.

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