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Yippie For Trump!

It’s GOP primary election day in Alabama. Michael Scherer of the Washington Post spent some time recently with Judge Roy Moore, [1] who will likely win today’s GOP primary vote, making him an easy favorite to win the US Senate race in November. This is key:

That attitude could foreshadow a new level of disruption in the U.S. Senate, where individual members still have significant powers to upend proceedings and slow down legislation. Many of his supporters are counting on it.

“Watch if he doesn’t do exactly what he says he will do,” says Dean Young, a longtime Moore friend and adviser, who helped coax him into the Senate race. “They can kick him off every committee. They can blackball him. It won’t matter if it’s one man against 99 in the Senate. We all know Judge Moore will be that one man.”

You should read the piece, which is surprisingly fair to Moore, and in which his personal background (aside from his political views) comes off as quite impressive. This NPR story [2]explains why even though Donald Trump (yugely popular in Alabama) is backing Moore’s opponent, Luther Strange, Trump’s base is behind the bomb-throwing populist Judge Moore. It does seem like Dean Young has put his finger on why so many conservative Alabamians are rallying to Roy Moore’s side. It’s why those same people voted for Trump. Trump simply isn’t in touch with his own base on the Moore vs. Strange runoff.


David Brooks has a smart column out today identifying Donald Trump as “the Abbie Hoffman of the Right.”  [3]You youngsters won’t know this, but Hoffman was a significant figure of the late 1960s, a left-wing provocateur who was, as Brooks says, “a master of political theater.” He was a leader of the Yippies [4], who were once described as “Groucho Marxists.” Hoffman and his cohorts

 never attracted majority support for their antics, but they didn’t have to. All they had to do was provoke, offend the crew-cut crowd, generate outrage and set off a cycle that ripped apart the cultural consensus.

They sensed how weak the establishment was, and worked hard to bring it down. Brooks points out that Hillary Clinton is one of the more mainstream liberal Baby Boomers who came to power in the wake of the demolition that Hoffman et alia carried out. And not just liberals, but all Boomers who became part of the new meritocratic establishment — including, says Brooks, people like him and reader of The New York Times. But:

This establishment, too, has had its failures. It created an economy that benefits itself and leaves everybody else out. It led America into war in Iraq and sent the working class off to fight it. It has developed its own brand of cultural snobbery. Its media, film and music industries make members of the working class feel invisible and disrespected.

So in 2016, members of the outraged working class elected their own Abbie Hoffman as president. Trump is not good at much, but he is wickedly good at sticking his thumb in the eye of the educated elites. He doesn’t have to build a new culture, or even attract a majority. He just has to tear down the old one.

And that’s the way to understand Trump, according to Brooks. He’s not about principles. He’s about destruction:

He continually goes after racial matters in part because he’s a bigot but also in part because multiculturalism is the theology of the educated class and it’s the leverage point he can most effectively use to isolate the educated class from everyone else.

He is so destructive because his enemies help him. He ramps up the aggression. His enemies ramp it up more, to preserve their own dignity. But the ensuing cultural violence only serves Trump’s long-term destructive purpose. America is seeing nearly as much cultural conflict as it did in the late 1960s. It’s quite possible that after four years of this Trump will have effectively destroyed the prevailing culture. The reign of the meritocratic establishment will be just as over as the reign of the Protestant establishment now is.

Read the whole thing.  [3]If you need reminding why so many conservatives are pleased that Donald Trump is tearing the GOP to shreds, let me point you to Tucker Carlson’s great January 2016 “pigs at the trough” piece. [5]The establishment Trump is tearing apart has it coming. But that’s some rough justice, for sure.

Ken Burns’s and Lynn Novick’s Vietnam War documentary makes vivid why so many Americans were fed up with the US establishment by the time the late 1960s rolled around. Watching it, I experienced the strange sensation of loathing both that establishment and the hippie students who protested against it. I suppose I felt so strongly about the latter because I know from history what came next, what they brought forth to replace the corrupt establishment they displaced. In that light, I see no reason at all to believe that what’s going to emerge out of the post-Trump rubble is going to be any better. It’ll just be a different kind of bad.

And it’ll probably be worse, for a couple of reasons. One, there’s the lack of ideals today. Abbie Hoffman and his troublemaking crowd did not have to have ideals, but they helped pave the way for more establishment New Left liberals who did. Those ideals were often mistaken, but at least they had a vision for where they thought the country should go. I don’t see that among today’s insurgents. The revolution they’re leading could go any way.

Second, America is a different place than it was in Abbie Hoffman’s time. I could be wrong about this, but it seems to me that despite the intense conflicts of the late Sixties and early Seventies, there was, deep down, a social fabric that more or less held together. We have been living out over the past forty to fifty years a slow-motion fraying of that already stressed social fabric. Last weekend, law professor John Inazu spoke at a Christian gathering I attended. From my report on his talk: [6]

Finally, Inazu said it’s important for Christians to be establishing relationships with people we don’t necessarily agree with on what constitutes the common good. But it’s not clear that this can be done — this, because we have lost a shared sense of transcendence, which we still had in the recent past, with the idea of civic religion.

“I’m looking for the common vocabulary and framework that holds the ‘us’ together,” he said.

“We are left with a fairly urgent question of what fills that void [left by the loss of civic religion],” he said. “What makes us the people united? Can we name the common good in this country with any particularity beyond the need to build roads?”

I was just a little kid then, but I’d say that despite the vicious conflicts of the late Sixties and early Seventies, most Americans then wouldn’t have had too much difficulty identifying what holds “the ‘us'” together, or at least they wouldn’t have doubted that there was such a thing. And today?

Something to think about, in the spirit of David Brooks’s identification of multiculturalism as “the theology of the educated class”: when the Left — activists, members of the liberal establishment, and educated fellow travelers — tears down monuments, they are calling forth an equal emotional reaction from their opposites. Donald Trump is the wrecking ball that the anti-establishment Deplorables™ are using to knock liberal establishment monuments (so to speak) off their own pedestals.

And more (Moore?) to the point: it’s not Donald Trump as much as it’s Donald Trumpism, as we will see in today’s Alabama GOP runoff, in which Trump’s favored candidate is going to get his clock cleaned by a guy who is more Trumpian.

Who would have imagined that the 2017 version of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin would turn out to be two Republicans in their 70s, one a billionaire Manhattan real estate mogul, the other a pugilistic Alabama fundagelical jurist? Strange days indeed.

(Gang, I’m going to be out most of the day doing things at John Brown University. I’ll check in to approve comments when I can.)

74 Comments (Open | Close)

74 Comments To "Yippie For Trump!"

#1 Comment By Gretchen On September 27, 2017 @ 1:03 am

Well, there was a way to get out of it if you were rich. Donald Trump’s bone spurs got him out of service in Vietnam. That wouldn’t have worked for my brother.

#2 Comment By Prof CJ On September 27, 2017 @ 1:31 am

Rod, there was no such things as “hippie students.” By definition, the hippies were those who dropped out of the society, i.e., were not in college. This is from someone who was an adult in the ’60s, and remembers everything with great clarity.

For the vast majority of those of us who were there, the Vietnam War, Haight-Ashbury, LSD (but not pot – most people tried pot, it was easily available), urban riots, etc were things you only saw on TV. The Silent Majority was still the dominant force. For me the most striking memory of the ’60s was the affluence of the era. Jobs were plentiful and well-paid. Minimum wage reached its peak around 1971, and was much higher than today. The country was half-empty. Rents were low, houses and cars were cheap. College was basically free. That’s the great loss compared to today. America will never again know the level of affluence that existed in the ’60s through the mid-’70s. The economy was often growing at 5-7% a year, like China today. This generated a sense of euphoria, and a revolution of rising expectations (which contributed to the riots).

Abbie Hoffman was, along with many others, a sideshow. He was seen by most as someone who was mentally ill, which turned out to be accurate. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The illness probably killed him (he committed suicide at 52). He also gave the impression of being a (borderline) sociopath.

#3 Comment By ronetc On September 27, 2017 @ 6:40 am

Really: New Left “ideals were often mistaken, but at least they had a vision”? Bad ideals are better than no ideals? An evil vision is better than lack of vision? I am not sure this has been thought through.

#4 Comment By Precedent Rump On September 27, 2017 @ 6:40 am

“a now obscure State’s Attorney in Cook County name Edward Hanrahan, whose sheriffs kicked in the door of Fred Hampton’s apartment and machinegunned him in his sleep. He was re-elected by a landslide.”

??? [7]:

“His career was effectively ended after Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton and member Mark Clark were killed in a raid by police attached to his office in 1969 … The Cook County Democratic Party declined to endorse Hanrahan in his bid for reelection as State’s Attorney in 1972, but Democratic voters renominated him anyway. The combined votes of Republicans and African American Democrats sufficed to elect his Republican opponent in the general election.”

#5 Comment By Josh K On September 27, 2017 @ 9:00 am

Brooks is mostly right but there’s no clear path to creating a new common culture. I think we’re stuck with a shattered cultural landscape for the foreseeable future.

#6 Comment By Polichinello On September 27, 2017 @ 9:27 am

I think Moore’s victory in Alabama is another instructive example. He’s something of an Arpaio-like character, with all the flaws that entails, but the GOP leadership mulishly refuses to respond the bases concerns on immigration and trade, so we’re left with either picking their Strange stooge or going with the…shall we say flamboyant?…character, even though Trump himself went along with McConnell and backed Strange.

It really isn’t about Trump. Trump’s support comes despite Trump. The support he has is because of the policy positions he took during the campaign: reducing immigration, reducing foreign entanglement and ameliorating the harm from globalism.

Yes, he has not succeeded, and even flipped on some positions, but he’s still better than the alternatives on offer by either party.

#7 Comment By Jon On September 27, 2017 @ 11:20 am

Here is a chiasmus which sums up my view on the subject:
In the past, change had adapted to history. Nowadays,history must adapt to change.

How far in the past? That is a matter of conjecture. For me it is traceable beyond the 1960s all the way back to WWI which was the deathblow marking the end of a world order that had sustained Western Civilization for better or for worse.

Perhaps the phoenix will arise again — a rebirth of civilization. Presently we still seem to be stirring its embers.

#8 Comment By John Andre On September 27, 2017 @ 12:48 pm

Brooks says:

“After World War II the Protestant establishment dominated the high ground of American culture and politics. That establishment eventually failed. It tolerated segregation and sexism, led the nation into war in Vietnam and became stultifying.”

Then he says:

“But eventually a new establishment came into being, which we will call the meritocratic establishment.”

Then he says:

“This establishment, too, has had its failures. It created an economy that benefits itself and leaves everybody else out. It led America into war in Iraq and sent the working class off to fight it. It has developed its own brand of cultural snobbery. Its media, film and music industries make members of the working class feel invisible and disrespected.”

So, aside from not being WASPs, where’s the “merit” in this “meritocracy”? Maybe
“meritocracy” isn’t the right word for it? But if it isn’t, then what would be? Or is that a question we aren’t allowed to ask?

#9 Comment By Dave On September 27, 2017 @ 3:22 pm

This is not a gotcha question. I sincerely want to know. You wrote that, back in the 60’s and 70’s, “most Americans then wouldn’t have had too much difficulty identifying what holds the ‘us’ together.”

What, in your opinion, did hold us together back then? Were we ever together? I’m not sure that we ever really were. We have always had an urban-rural divide and I assume a north-south divide as well. Maybe even an east-west divide. And elitists were always elitists. Those are some pretty significant fracture zones.

Maybe it’s not too different these days. Maybe it’s just that people are so much louder these days.

#10 Comment By kijunshi On September 27, 2017 @ 9:22 pm

I finally finished The Vietnam War. What a fantastic production! It had almost every position I could think of represented: the bravery and pathos of the American soldiers; the heroism and brutality of the North Vietnamese; politicians that veer from callous indifference to utter incompetence on all sides… and SO much more too. I don’t think it was too praiseworthy of the peace movement either, clearly pointing out how much domestic terrorism it spawned, and letting the true crazies among them speak for themselves: “Kill your parents!!” Mm-hmm. Put down the VietCong flag and get on a couch ASAP, sweetie. (My actual thoughts.)

But the true value of such an in-depth look, I think, is that it lets you trace how national events can send ripples of change throughout a society. Every generation likes to do things differently from the previous, but the Baby Boomers had a much more extreme and traumatic break than, say, the Millenials have. A small thing, or so it seems, but styles of self-grooming changed dramatically – I don’t dress all that differently from my parents, and my husband (unwittingly) bought the exact same shirt as my dad did once. Other things: My parents valued education, and my child will get an education too, even though the institutions might be a bit different. My politics are not dramatically different from my family’s. My husband plays video games to relax and so will our kid. We will discipline similarly to our parents. We will eat differently, but that’s because food in the 80s and 90s was poison, but I digress…

In any case, all of the things I wrote above were up in the air between generations during the Vietnam War. It was an extreme case of national teenage/young adult rebellion, happening in the millions (!), even spilling over into window smashing and outright violence on the streets. Seriously, nothing like that is happening right now, and in fact I have run into a lot more aging Baby Boomers who are eager/expect for Millenials to go out there and rebel! than actual regular Millenials who have any interest in doing so. (In fact this documentary retroactively explained a ton about the generational differences which I’ve observed…)

You know what the biggest, widest-spread complaints are among my generation? Student loan debt and the price of housing. Are we smashing windows over it? Oh please. We want to *own* that window, not smash it!

I don’t think this is rebellion on our part per se – I think circumstances are just different. The Baby Boomers were the unique ones, because they were actually (stupidly!) forced into a situation, by societal convention, where they might actually DIE for a cause that patently wasn’t worth their lives. And even for the ones who had no risk of dying, their escape put the obvious lie to their own society’s ideals – was it right for richer kids to buy their way out of the draft by a college degree? Of course not, Charles Cosimano notwithstanding. It wasn’t even right for “smarter” kids who did well in school to escape in this way. It wasn’t right for black/minority kids to die instead of white ones, and it wasn’t right for young men alone to die instead of older. (I’d say it wasn’t right for men to die and not women, but the culture didn’t quite move that far at the time.) Our country claims to be about democracy and freedom, but what value did democracy have when FIVE elected presidents in a row didn’t get us out of the damn thing? And who in society was free to speak truth and walk away from that stupid, contemptible, impossible war?! The horrible truth was, *not even the presidents themselves*.

Anyway, my reading of it is that the Vietnam War caused an actual break in the national psyche on every side, because it was an extreme situation that asked more than normal people can bear. I will bet you that greater than 90% of those dirty hippies would have cut their hair and taken up arms if, say, Vietnam had actually invaded America (or the Russians for that matter). In fact, I will say that they would have done more or less exactly what the Vietnamese did – they were responding quite normally to the situation, with a few quirks of history thrown in.

America though suffered more long-lasting societal damage from this war, however, because it was just so… weird. What country on earth ships millions of their strong young men away to another country that they will never colonize nor live in, nor marry the women of, nor even properly pillage (at least the French and Japanese did this much!), and then forces them to go on multiple trips deep into enemy territory where their only goal is to kill a bunch of people, and count the bodies, and then abandon the hill they just took and go back to base to do it all again tomorrow…? While telling themselves that they were good people, the best people, with the best ever values! And they were doing all of this because they were just SO GOOD! No wonder the young people said, “If this is what goodness is, I’ll be bad for the rest of my life.” And… they kinda have been, frankly.

The vets who went over mostly dropped into some form of drug use and mental illness (many pulled out, but frankly I don’t think any combat vet came back “okay”). Drug use was normalized during this time and now our society is more casual about it than ever . The kids who escaped service mostly threw themselves into the Reagan Revolution and embraced the “Greed is good!” philosophy, ripping down the economic pillars of their own communities, either actively or passively, as frankly they did not respect them anymore – go check out the Rust Belt to see how that ended up. Black citizens (very, very understandably) adopted a militaristic streak towards their own government that continues with #BlackLivesMatter. Our Baby Boomer parents, in large part, expect kids to rebel instead of obey, like they did/saw, and either adopt harsh parenting to pre-emptively crush that (lots and lots of religious parenting falls into this) or are completely baffled/ineffective when faced with normal teenage behavior. We still have quite a hangover from Vietnam – the past ain’t past.

Unfortunately, the only way out is through – if we are going to have better societal methods the Millenials will have to make them themselves. Baby Boomers don’t have too much to offer us. Trump is, I think, one sort of attempt to do something different – probably going to fail completely, but you can see him, I think, as the first Millenial president in a way. Okay, second after Obama.

Ugh, too long comment. Thanks for letting me vent about that awesome show, I recommend everyone watch it.

#11 Comment By redfish On September 27, 2017 @ 10:25 pm

This is basically the analogy I’m making when I point out that the alt-right is the right-wing version of the New Left.

But I think Brooks is overanalyzing Trump as a person, and don’t really agree with him in putting all of the baggage of the alt-right on his shoulders. I think he brought up the NFL controversy in his Alabama speech, for instance, to throw out some red meat and try to get conservatives in the crowd there excited as he made his pitch for them to vote for Luther Strange when they were inclined to vote for Roy Moore.

It really wasn’t some 11th-dimensional chess manuever to isolate the elites from the working class — it had a more narrow purpose for him.

And I think Brooks is wrong again for making this about race and this miscolours a lot of the rest of his analysis.

Not incorrectly, he identifies a divide between people who see this as about race and the people see this about American identity. But when he jumps out and says outright that Trump “continually goes after racial matters,” as Brooks does, is implicitly buying into the idea that it is about race and this colors a lot of the rest of his his analysis. The “educated class” view this as being about race, he says. Well, progressives in the educated class certainly do — they see it as “white identity politics.” But I don’t think the writers at National Review do — even though they’re usually on the opposite side of the cultural divide from Trump. What they have done is defend the NFL protests on freedom of conscience grounds.

That describes a second divide on this issue, and its where most Americans are living. Only 30% or so of the country identifies as “liberal” — most are moderate or conservative. And I think only that 30% of Americans who are liberal are hand-wringing about racial issues. In the larger moderate/conservative divide, all Trump is doing is giving out red meat to the 30% who are conservative — which he was hoping to count on to push Luther Strange over the top in Alabama.

To give him credit, I think Brooks is ultimately right that this is helping opening up the cultural dialogue and its meant to be the point. But more important, its also what the Left is doing when they natter about “white supremacy”, and what Kaeppernick was doing when he wore “cops are pigs” socks and knelt during the national anthem. This was about “starting dialogue” and “opening conversation”, remember?

Trump didn’t start this game. What *is* true is that he’s willing to fight on the same turf.

Trump in this sense is not even alt-right — he’s just embedded himself in the culture of conservative talk radio. Talk radio aggressively goes after the same things, because they believe in doing “street fighting” with the left on those cultural issues. He’s in the tradition of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin — who have all preferred this aggressive approach to the more conciliatory approach of the conservative establishment.

So, to reiterate, I think Brooks is wrong on several key elements. First — most people don’t see this about race; most are in the supermajority, 60% who don’t identify as liberal or progressive. Second — most people may not like his antics and his approach to politics, but they don’t disagree with his point of view. Third — Trump isn’t the one dividing people; the Left is, and Trump is just willing to fight back. And fourth — this isn’t some Machiavellian alt-right plan to widen social divisions, its just him willing to throw red meat to the conservative base.

#12 Comment By Mr. Jones On September 27, 2017 @ 10:57 pm

I was really too young at the time of the incident, but I have always got a slight tingling at the story of how Mr. Pete Townshend treated Abbie Hoffman when he got in Townshend’s light at Woodstock.

#13 Comment By Wes On September 28, 2017 @ 7:24 am

My dictionary defines bigot as a person intolerant of another’s opinion. We are all bigots and politicians are paid to be bigots.

#14 Comment By Uncle Billy On September 28, 2017 @ 8:37 am

Trump is very clever. He has picked up on the anger of the white working class, and rode the wave into the White House. He will do little economically for his supporters, as his tax reform plans will mostly benefit the rich. He will deport more Mexicans, which his base loves, but he will do little else for them. The weird thing however, is that they seem to be OK with that. So long as he deports the Mexicans. This speaks volumes about his base.

Trump is not going to bring back those manufacturing jobs to the rust belt. Large forces such as automation are responsible for those closed factories, and Trump cannot change that. He can tell his base what they want to hear, although he will do very little for them.

The billionaires and CEO’s are repulsed by Trump, but if he is able to cut taxes for them, they will tolerate him. If however, he goes full bore populist, instead of faux populist, and tries to tax the rich more, then they will turn on him.

Trump is clever, but he is not wise. Pushing “rocket man” plays well with the base, but it will not bring about any kind of truce with Kim. Picking fights with NFL players is not wise either. You don’t pick fights that you don’t need to engage in. You don’t create more enemies than you need to. Trump seems to thrive on chaos, but I suspect that sooner or later he will push things too far.

#15 Comment By The Color of Celery On September 28, 2017 @ 4:25 pm

Yes, our social fabric created by decades of choices is worn thin and in tatters and is ready to rip apart. I’m not sure it can be patched; instead, I believe we’ll be making a new cloth.

Individual choices make a functional society and those choices can be hard to live out. Peace and understanding in the face of verbally violent dissent, for instance.

It was floated by someone who may have known well that Assange felt disruption of US society was the best thing for it, a view also held by the Russians, but for different reasons. What our election did and president does, created exactly that result. If we were manipulated, we seem as a whole almost defenseless against the dissarray. But kindness and compassion are still powerful tools and the only ones able to bring us back from the brink. Not bitter to the death fighting about ideological differences.

Give the thirsty a drink. Give them what they want. What! Knocking down statues?! No, an understanding of the injustices in life and a way to correct them. Give the working class a real voice in politics and stop brushing their concerns aside. Listen and understand and act. Then shenanigans have no power.

#16 Comment By Jen On September 28, 2017 @ 11:27 pm

Curious to know your thoughts regarding Pat Buchanan’s column about Roy Moore, which implies that Moore is justified in ignoring the US Constitution when it comes to religious matters.

[NFR: I’m sorry, but I’m in Paris right now doing a bunch of interviews and conferences related to the French version of “The Benedict Option,” and I’m not going to have time to do a lot on this blog in the next week. Plus, I can’t get the wifi figured out at the place where I’m staying (I’m typing this from a Starbucks, where the coffee is a thousand times better than the usual French coffee — yes, the French are bad at something culinary!). You can be sure that the fact that I’ve not written diddly-squat about Hugh Hefner’s passing is a sign of how off-line I am! — RD]

#17 Comment By Andrew On September 29, 2017 @ 5:40 am

The “fundagelicals”! It’s hard to believe the Left hadn’t already thought of that hilarious word and come up with SNL skits using it or something, as in “The fundagelicals are turning us into a theocracy with their refusals to bake wedding cakes for Gary and Steve’s special day!”. Maybe they’ll take the cue from Rod and start deploying it now.

Dump the polite poseur of a fundagelical in Pence for 2020, Mr. President, and go with Moore instead. Call it the Obnoxious Id/Gun-toting fundagelical ticket. You can’t lose.

#18 Comment By William Tighe On September 30, 2017 @ 8:42 am

Andrew wrote:

“‘John Brown University’?! Wow, talk about irony.”

Not that John Brown!

#19 Comment By William Tighe On September 30, 2017 @ 8:57 am

“I think Moore’s victory in Alabama is another instructive example. He’s something of an Arpaio-like character …”

Polichinello has made my day, as it led me to think of how delightful it would be if, when faux-Republican Senator McCain – a Democrat until he switched for essentially Machiavellian reasons to the GOP in 1982 – goes to meet his maker, Arizona Governor Ducey should appoint Sheriff Arpaio to fill out the remainder of his senate term.

#20 Comment By Oakinhouston On September 30, 2017 @ 9:21 am


“Really: New Left “ideals were often mistaken, but at least they had a vision”? Bad ideals are better than no ideals? An evil vision is better than lack of vision? I am not sure this has been thought through.”

So now “mistaken” is synonymous with “evil”?

Please remember your own words when you are found to be mistaken, and therefore are counted among the evil ones.

#21 Comment By Noah172 On September 30, 2017 @ 11:24 am

JonF wrote:

Alas, this meme (that Trump was elected by the “working class”) will never die, no matter how often it is pointed out that the median Trump voter was decidedly not working class (let alone low income), but was actually someone fairly successful with ag ood job (if not already retired with a decent income)

I don’t care for the term “working class” myself, so let’s look at education and income.

According to the 2016 exit poll (whose accuracy is questionable, what with so many voting before Election Day, but it’s the evidence we have, and the geographical results support it), Trump won a narrow majority of voters (of all races) without college degrees, and a very large majority of whites without such degrees. Meanwhile, the exit poll said that Clinton won a majority of those with incomes <50k, with virtually identical numbers for 200k.

The wealthiest enclaves in the country, places like Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Hollywood, Chicago’s Gold Coast, SF/Silicon Valley, greater DC’s Georgetown, Bethesda, McLean, Arlington, to name a few, were ferocious in their support for Clinton. Many normally Republican rich precincts saw a sharp decline for Trump: northern Atlanta burbs, west Houston, north Dallas, Orange County, CA, north and west burbs of Chicago, Bloomfield/Troy and Grosse Pointes near Detroit, and more.

Just look at your own city, JonF. What are the swankiest parts of Baltimore? Inner Harbor? Fells Point? For whom did they vote?

#22 Comment By JonF On October 2, 2017 @ 1:18 pm


My point was not about college degrees or the lack thereof (which of course is often used a proxy for defining the nebulous “working class”), it was mainly about income. The core of Trump’s support was not “The New Precariate”, but rather older people with decent (not stellar) incomes and, presumably, a degree of economic security in their lives. These are people who qualify more as lower-to-middle middle class rather than as working poor. The underlying point being that Trump’s support was not mainly due to fears or complaints about “the Economy Stupid”, but rather from people upset by the changes that have happened in this country since the 1980s (or longer). And I think that also goes a long ways to explain the fact that the GOP in general cannot seem to move past the 80s– their base still thinks it’s 1980ish, or wishes it were, and is thus blind to the many sea changes that have happened since, or else imagines that those changes are trivial and superficial and can be wished away into the Land of Lost Things is we just have the right caudillo in charge.

As you know I am decidedly not sympathetic to Owning Class at the top, and quite sympathetic to woes of people who work for a living whatever the color of their collar (or their skin). But’s it’s a pernicious delusion that the problems of today can be solved with the policies of yesterday. When has the politics of nostalgia ever succeeded?
There is no going back, only going forward.

#23 Comment By JonF On October 2, 2017 @ 1:21 pm

William Tighe,

Spite is even less sound a basis for politics than nostalgia. See: Treaty of Versailles. Not a good model for domestic tranquility in the future.

#24 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On October 3, 2017 @ 8:12 pm

What JonF said.

I never cared much for defining classes by education. So let’s look at how people earn their living. Which leads us to “working class,” and I don’t mean “All those with no more than a high school education.” Fifty to one hundred years ago, a majority of the top executives of major corporations had no more than a high school education, and they were some of the worst robber barons, evil plutocrats from central casting. Conversely, the Western Federation of Miners had libraries stocked with classic literature in all the camps across the Rockies, not because some campus SJW’s donated them to uplift the poor workers, but because miners wanted to read them. Campus intellectuals were more into riding off to Lawrence Massachusetts to bust strikers’ heads for the week-end.