A friend shared a video of CNN commentator Van Jones, clearly upset by the results of the election, claiming Democrats got “white lashed” by an electorate pissed off at having a black president and becoming an irrelevant minority group in the near-future.
While he’s pointing that finger at the white “racists” of this country, he ought to note the three fingers pointing back at himself. Van Jones, more than any other Obama administration representative, has spent the last eight year weaponizing entire racial groups, setting them in sometimes violent opposition against other groups. Jones and his fellow political hucksters did this in order to advance a narrative that suits their agenda, but in doing so, they inoculated the intended victims against their race-shaming rhetoric and now they’re upset that voters have become resistant to voting as they’ve been told they must vote if they don’t want to be called “racist”.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that white working class voters decided to vote like a minority group since they recently became less than 40% of the electorate and have just spent eight years being told they should have no say in the country they live in. That observation came from Nate Cohn of the New York Times twitterati. Way to go, Nate! The Grey Lady may have hope for relevance once again with guys like you around.
Brad and I sometimes discuss race while mocking PBS on Friday nights. (Don’t judge. The couple that mocks together stays together, though we are in mourning for John McLaughlin and Gwen Ifil). When Hillary Clinton lumped Brad into a “basket of deplorables” for thinking of voting for Trump, he commented that “this must have been what blacks felt like in the pre-Civil Rights South.” I joked “Well, that’s what my mom felt like when she moved to Seattle, yeah”. I then paused, surprised at myself, and said, “No, you’re right. You’ve just been painted with a broad bigoted brush.” It’s a short step from recognizing that you’ve become a despised minority and deciding to push back against that bigotry. Whether we might disagree with white working-class voters that Donald Trump is the right knight for their cause, we should applaud that they pushed back at all. It’s only taken them 40-odd years to get thoroughly fed up.
Brad eventually voted for Gary Johnson because he bought my argument that we didn’t need a tyrant-in-chief, but a lot of other people voted for Trump because they discovered they were a racial minority while they were hunting for the white privilege they didn’t know they had and most realized they were lacking. Most of these people are not racist … at least none of the ones I know are. They’ve got too many other issues to deal with that really matter to give a nickel’s worth of care toward hating on the skin color of someone else. They’re fine with racial equality. They just don’t want to become a subjugated minority themselves.
Truthfully, under normal circumstances, white people just don’t think very much about race. Being the default ethnic group for most of American history, they’ve never needed to think much about race. For most whites born after 1955, racial prejudice is a shameful thing and they just don’t engage in it, but they also didn’t give it a lot of thought in the three decades between the end of the Civil Rights Era and when Barack Obama was elected president. A lot of them voted for the inexperienced half-term Senator as a final show that they weren’t racists … and then they suddenly woke up to find themselves surrounded by a culture obsessed with race, being regularly lectured by the liberal elites who insist they should think about it all the time and be very ashamed of the color of their skin.
Black Lives Matter, but your white honky life is politically meaningless. Go help your children finish their Black History Month coloring assignment from school and shut up. And don’t even think about touching that Peach crayon. If your finger even touches anything lighter than Burnt Sienna we’ll cut it off.
I move pretty freely across my racial makeup. I tan well and my natural hair color is dark brown, so I cross into Indian cultural territory pretty easily. Because of the lack of sunlight in this warmth-forsaken Siberian-esque wilderness, I get pale enough by mid-winter that most white people (who really are not race obsessed) don’t think of me as Indian. The cool thing about being able to “pass” either way is people say things around me that they wouldn’t say around someone who looked more Indian or more white.
So, trust me when I report that many whites think the above message is what was being broadcast all throughout the Obama administration. I heard it too. I might have been swayed if he’d noticed there were Indians still living in poverty on the Res, but since he didn’t, my “white” side was what was hearing and evaluating his comments and the comments of his sycophants. While that wouldn’t have mattered to most whites in the 1990 through the mid-2000s when the economy was doing well, the reality of their lives now has made them feel undervalued anyway. The loss of manufacturing jobs, the collapse of traditional marriage, the effect of drugs on families, the bad schools their kids are forced to attend — all make them feel anxious and angry. They feel undervalued and they worry about what happens to their kids and grandkids if their racial group is to be increasingly undervalued and despised. Then the elites insist that everyone deserves attention and assistance except for whites because whites hold a “privileged” place in society, so magically need no help when the coal industry is shut down by executive action or the factories close to move to China because of economic conditions. When you’ve seen your standard of living decline for three decades straight and your kids can’t get jobs no matter how well they do in school, the concept of “white privilege” is laughable. Yeah, they started to feel a lot like an undervalued minority … a sense that was bolstered by pundits insisting that they are becoming an actual statistical minority and so should sit down and shut up and let the new majority run the country.
Forced toward sentiments they didn’t really think they should have by a self-righteous cultural establishment that is always telling them how they should feel and act … well, that pissed them off and they took their well-earned anger out on the elites on Election Day.
The Democrats asked for racial politics, and the whites, forced to think about race when they had bigger concerns, decided to act like a minority sick of being subjugated and ignored. The poster child for the elites’ lack of concern for the white working class was Hillary Clinton with her “everything is fine and it’s going to keep on getting better after I double-down on Obamacare” platform. The exponentially rising costs of Obamacare are driving the white middle-class over the cliff white working-class slipped off in 2008.
You can find proof of what I’m saying by looking at the poll results from Appalachia and the “Rust Belt”. The white working-class voted in patterns similar to blacks voting for Democrats over the last five decades. Or you could read Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance. Vance presented the postmortem for liberal Democrats in advance of the election. Reflecting on the plight of the white middle- and working-class and how underappreciated its contributions to society are, he predicted what happened on November 8 far better than the polling data did.
Race definitely played a role in Trump’s win, but not in the way that the liberal media or Van Jones think. The media feeds us a narrative 24/7 that we should think about race everywhere all the time. The problem is that when whites are forced to think about race, they are also forced to recognize their approaching minority status and act like a minority that also controls a plurality of the electorate. The result is almost exactly the opposite of what the purveyors of racial politics intended.
And they earned that rebuke. Maybe Democrats should take a pause and consider whether they really want to live in a culture that is divided along racial lines, because if they want to keep pushing that narrative, the country’s largest minority may just make resisting the elites a permanent part of their political aims.