Exposing the rift in America’s labor politics
The Guardian has an excellent piece that dissects the Trump phenomenon with an honesty not found in American media: Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump. Here’s why.
“Here is the most salient supporting fact: when people talk to white, working-class Trump supporters, instead of simply imagining what they might say, they find that what most concerns these people is the economy and their place in it. I am referring to a study just published by Working America, a political-action auxiliary of the AFL-CIO, which interviewed some 1,600 white working-class voters in the suburbs of Cleveland and Pittsburgh in December and January.
Support for Donald Trump, the group found, ran strong among these people, even among self-identified Democrats, but not because they are all pining for a racist in the White House. Their favorite aspect of Trump was his “attitude”, the blunt and forthright way he talks. As far as issues are concerned, “immigration” placed third among the matters such voters care about, far behind their number one concern: “good jobs / the economy”.”
It’s one thing to be right. It’s another thing to be right for the right reasons. There’s some nuance missing here as to why these voters aren’t supporting Sanders instead, and that nuance is a mile wide, but to the extent that many on both left and right here in America are radically oversimplifying the reasons to oppose Trump, this’ll have to do. Most of the Trump opposition I’ve seen goes out of the way to also oppose his supporters en masse. That’s political suicide. To the extent there’s an intersection between individual bigotry/systemic racism and labor, that’s unfortunate, but if labor is to have a voice I’m not sure the best answer is to glibly throw out “bad” Trump-supporting labor in favor of “good” Bernie-supporting labor. As for my own glib throw-out, there is no “good” Hillary-supporting labor. Over and over again we’ve found that labor bosses support Hillary, but the people they represent, the actual labor, trend for Bernie. There’s a lesson there about the sorry state of labor in this country that could fill volumes. Then there’s the “lesser evil” contingent of American voters, the one’s who are so terrified of the opposition (as they always seem to be) that they’ll vote against labor every damned time because it’s so much more realistic to keep them out than it is to build a labor movement that works.
Them’s the real Vichy Dems, to be avoided like scurvy because their fear-motivated capitulation to the failed policies of neoliberal murderfiends like Hillary is craven, no matter how tarted up in high-minded apologies.
Capitulate, collaborate, kneel at the table hoping for crumbs and belly rubs. That’s as high as they’ll dare set their sights. Surely there can be no reasonable expectation that anything genuinely pro-labor will come out of the Wall Street-endowed Clinton machinery. And we certainly can’t expect anything pro-labor from anyone on the right, except maybe Trump.
Oh, wait. You mean you’ve been following serious media instead of Cracked? No wonder. Trump is portrayed in Left media as a one-dimensional buffoon who’s only running a decades-long scam on the GOP and his base can be dismissed as but so much undesirable rabble. These are givens and need not be questioned. These are the comfortable fictions we’re supposed to consume, the ones that will let us sleep at night after we dutifully push Hillary into the Oval Office at the expense of labor.
So, sorry, not sorry. I may not support Trump, but I’ll be damned if I hold my nose and wait for table scraps while labor is thrown under the bus yet again. Trump is a symptom, not the disease. Sloughing off his base like so much dead skin is a symptom, as well. Sure, some among Trump’s base may hold some odious positions (about 20% are fairly cut and dried outright bigots according to some polls), but until the Left figures out how to offer labor a solution that works for all under one inclusive umbrella, the real disease, a veritable cancer in the Democratic establishment, will only continue to render America’s labor all but useless as a revolutionary force.