Election Fallacies

userpic=political-flakesReading my FB feed over lunch, I saw a post berating the left in various ways. I felt that a number of statements in that post were wrong … and thus, this post.

In spite of poll after poll suggesting Bernie Sanders would do far better against Donald Trump, the DNC tilted its resources and will toward Hillary Clinton.

This is an example of a canard I’ve seen time and time again, especially from the Trump camp who believe the DNC rigged it so they would go against Clinton, as opposed to Sanders. What this forgets is the fact that the bulk of the reason that Clinton received the D nomination was that she got more votes. While the strong progressive wing of the party is perhaps the loudest, they are not the only folks voting. There is a large centrist and moderate wing. Some of these folks were strongly Hillary; some were anti-Bernie because they felt his past Socialist connections could be a major problem in the general election. All the manipulations of the DNC were not things that would change the needle for most voters.

White men overwhelmingly want Donald Trump to be the next president.

Not true. Not all white men. The surveys have shown that white college-educated men support Hillary. White non-college educated men tend to support Trump. In other words, those who have not been taught about the complications of politics and the need for critical thinking, and who have been hurt by the affirmative action and the loss of privilege — those are the ones who go for Trump.

Hillary Clinton should have really, like really pivoted hard left, which means she needed to legitimately change to blow this evil motherfucker out.

Again, no. America may like talk of change, but they don’t like change. In particular, they don’t like radical change or change that occurs too fast. Bill Clinton was successful precisely because he played to the middle, and was able to build a coalition of centrist Democrats and Republicans. Hillary is trying to do the same thing — incorporating some ideas from the left, but working to build that coalition that draws in Republicans because that is essentially how you govern a country that embodies all constituencies. What happens when you play to the radical base to get elected, and then win. You get what we’ve had in the Republican party for the last 20 years.

Left leaning white folks and MSNBC spent the last 8 years bemoaning what the right was doing wrong, instead of reckoning with the what the left failed to do for extremely vulnerable black and brown folk.

The United States is like an aircraft carrier. You can get it to change directions, but it is very slow to do so due to loads and loads of inertia and momentum. Many of us want to address the injustices in the world when we view the world through out social values glasses. But when we put on our pragmatist glasses, we know that if we do it too fast or before the bulk of the country is ready, it will be rejected. We’re seeing that in numerous areas. It has taken over 125 years just to start making the equality won in the Civil War a reality, and that still doesn’t address the issue of implicit privilege. Before we can get society to address the injustice, we have to work to get them all aware that the injustice (highlighted by things like #BlackLivesMatter) really exists.

In short, Hillary is far from the perfect candidate. In most other years, her actual lack of experience (a little over one term as Senator, one term as Secretary of State) might prevent her from succeeding against more experienced politicians. Luckily, for her, compared to Trump she has loads of experience. She brings loads of baggage — a small amount real, a large amount imagined into reality. Most Democrats would like someone not connected to the Clinton — it is not as if we don’t have qualified female governors and senators. But we have who we have. Further, as flawed as the Democratic primary process was, the Republican side was even worse for it resulted in the Donald.

Change is wanted — that is clear. But we often forget the big divide that is in this country — and it is not a black/white racial divide, but an urban / rural divide. If you look at how the states break down in their support of R vs D, you’ll see it is clearly rural vs. urban. Urban people are used to fast change, to seeing the racial divide, to pushing for racial justice, and social justice. They are used to the melting pot and do not fear it because they live it. Rural, other the other hand, live in a much more homogenous society. This society values hard work, pulling yourself up by your effort, and fears the stranger — especially the stranger who has not achieved through hard work. That alone should explain the rise of Trump, whose central campaign point has been battling the dangerous unspecified “other” who freeloads.

In the primaries, Presidential candidates can win by playing to the loyal bases. Democrats can focus on change in the cities, because they will outnumber the rural democrats voting. Similarly, Republicans can play to the rural votes and amplify their fear, for they will outnumber of urban Republicans (in many areas). But to win the Presidency, a candidate has to appeal to the entire country.  Sanders could not have done that. Consider all the antisemitism on the Republican side — and now imagine that instead of running against a Methodist, they were running against a New York Jew, who used to be a Socialist. Trump would have loved to run against Sanders.

The Conservatives, over many many years and many many investigations, have built a false picture of the Clintons as crooks and thieves — never mind that they actually didn’t do anything. Similarly, they have convinced the Conservative side that Trump’s wrongdoings were excusable because he was a businessman (and we know that is how businessmen behave), as opposed to a politician (who are supposed to be all sweetness and light and honesty).

By the way, this is why it is important to listen to your Conservative friend: you learn these things. Now that you know, you can counter them.