LA GRANDE PEUR DES BIEN-PENSANTS: OR WHY DONALD TRUMP WON THE AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
"I don't think that Trump can win, frankly," wrote Bill James on Feb. 23, before adding dismissively, “because I don't think there are enough morons to elect him." James, a revered baseball statistician and consultant whose work has transformed the business of sports, cited some back-of-the-napkin math to support his theoryNot to argue with the godfather of Moneyball, but in Donald Trump’s case, the problem may be much clearer: The problem is that there aren’t enough white men. If Trump wins the GOP nomination, he will be testing the limits of a strategy that has long haunted the Republican Party. Since the civil-rights era, Republicans have relied heavily on white male voters to overcome a disadvantage among minorities and some subsets of women. Mathematically, that was an easier strategy a half-century ago, when white men dominated the electorate. But as the GOP has failed to broaden its coalition and the demographics of America have shifted dramatically, an ever-greater percentage of the white male vote has been required to secure a GOP victory.....The math suggests Trump would need a whopping 70 percent of white male voters to cast their ballots for him. That’s a larger percentage than Republicans have ever won before — more than the GOP won in the landslide victories of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and far more than they won during the racially polarized elections of Barack Obama".David Bernstein, "Donald Trump Needs 7 of 10 White Guys: The changing face of America means he'll need a historic sweep. What are we in for now?" Politico. 4 March 2016, in www.politico.com.
Kids were OK, they said maybe Michelle Obama can be president next time, we decided they would write to her to ask. Five-year-old was dismayed to learn that DT will be president until she is nine, which feels like forever. When we walked out the door the crossing guard on our corner shouted: ‘You remember 9/11? Well this is 11/9. Think about it.’ Lots of people were standing around on the corners just crying. When we got to school the school director and her assistant were standing at the doorway wearing black and hugging everyone as they came in. In the classroom the one kid who voted for Trump in the classroom election was running around shouting: ‘Donald Trump is president isn’t that funny?’ While the teachers gritted their teeth and the other parents stared at the floor. I couldn’t look at the father, who dresses like one of the villains from Revenge of the Nerds (popped collars, seersucker in winter). Then I went to my exercise class, where the teacher cried and then played a Martin Luther King speech set to a techno beat and then some Pearl Jam and turned off the lights and it was like one of those 1970s encounter groups, lots of skinny white women and gay men just crying and screaming incredibly loudly in the dark. At work we watched Hillary’s speech in the conference room. There was lots of crying and handing around of toilet paper rolls for ostentatious nose blowing. They ordered pizza for everyone and then the office manager walked around handing out warm chocolate chip cookies. It’s bad bad bad bad bad.Amy Larocca< "11/9." The London Review of Books. 10 November 2016, in www.lrb.co.uk.
"To conclude: I do not care to indulge in the histrionic readings of what occurred on Tuesday, nor do I think of it as the end of the road for the White Race in America....4 I do believe that a victory for Governor Romney, who is indeed a true-blue gentleman, as opposed to his opponent, would have ushered in a more sane political atmosphere in Washington, DC. Something which is ever so needed at this time both in terms of economic and foreign policy. The pity of the matter is that au fond, the GOP is still the 'natural party of government', what our Marxist friends like to refer to as the 'historical bloc'. It is supported strongly (but not strongly enough unfortunately) by the largest & by far most important in every sense, population group in the country. What the GOP needs to do is to get a sense of proportion. As George Kennan once noted precisely about the mind-set of the more wide-eyed supporters of the Conservative Movement in America: 'It seems that this country doesn't want government....It will suffer unlimited injustices and infrigments on liberty from irresponsible private groups, but none from a responsible governing agency. Its people rather go down individually, with quixotic courage, before the destructive agencies of uncontrolled industrialism---like Ethopian tribesmen before Italian gas attacks---than submit to the discipline necessary for any effective resistance 5.' Regardless, I am sure that within either two or four years time, the GOP will regain its dominance once again. Why? As the late and splendid Harold Macmillan once put it: 'events my dear boy, events'".Diplomat of the Future, "THE DIALECTICS OF DEFEAT: A LOOK AT THE AMERICAN ELECTIONS". 9 November 2012 in www.diplomatofthefuture.blogspot.com It seems that the prediction that I made circa four-years ago has proven to be correct. That per contra to much of the commentariat prognosises (including I should add my own earlier from this year), the GOP has returned to power by winning the American Presidential race. And while I am not in the least enthusiastic about the victory of Mr. Trump (I would have preferred the victory of his opponent, Secretary Clinton, on the principal of the devil you know is infinitely better than the devil you do not know...), it is impossible to gainsay the fact that a mini-revolution in American and one is tempted to say Western popular politics has now occurred. The populist revolt against the rootless, post-national, cosmopolitan elites, has won an unprecedented victory. A victory infinitely more important than that represented by the BREXIT referendum in the United Kingdom. Against, most (not all mind you but most) of not only the coastal elites in New York and California, as well as almost the entire Republican party and Conservative movement intelligentsia as well as many of elected officials in the Republican party, not to speak of the entirety of the governing elites of the Western world, the American voters decided to back Mr. Trump and the Republican Party behind him. The reasons are somewhat clear, albeit it is good to remember that Trump's victory in the Electoral College was dependent upon a series of narrow wins in half a dozen states. And of course that Secretary Clinton won a majority of the popular vote. Still the fact of the matter is that as long as Trump (or anyone else on the Republican side) can rally the majority of the population which is of European origins, then the GOP will have something akin to a 'lock' on the Presidency for years to come. Especially, since it can be assumed that: a) future Republican candidates will not be as politically maladroit as is Mr. Trump; b) that regardless of 'a', that any and all such candidates will engage in similar 'sammlungspolitik', the 21st century equivalent of 'waving the bloody shirt'. The by now worn-out and discredited theory of the likes of Ruy Teixeira, that the future of the 21st century offers up the unending prospects of a 'Democratic Majority', are now hopefully put on the empirical shelf as being unproven 1. As probably by far the very best online journal for American electoral politics, 'FiveThirtyEight', has recently noted 'Demographics aren't destiny': "The country is getting more diverse. That’s indisputable. But some analysts had argued that increasing racial and ethnic diversity meant that Democrats would have a durable, structural advantage in presidential elections. That was never true, and the results in 2016 show why. Trump was able to win, in large part, because he won over a lot of northern white voters without a college degree — in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, for example. Many of these voters had cast ballots for Obama twice. Trump’s more populist message likely helped him outperform recent GOP nominees with these voters. Political parties, in other words, are dynamic — their coalitions change. Some people, including me, were surprised that it was Trump who was able to attract these voters to the GOP. But no one should have been surprised that the country’s growing diversity didn’t guarantee Democratic victory. Only two years ago, in the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans were able to win big nationally among an electorate that was just as diverse as it was in 2008, when Democrats scored a blowout victory. A lot of Democrats dismissed that win as merely a product of a whiter, older midterm electorate. They shouldn’t have. And, no, Democrats won’t be safe even as the electorate becomes more diverse. Republicans could do even better with white voters. In some Southern states, for instance, GOP candidates win close to 90 percent of white voters. Who’s to say that won’t happen in the Midwest? Alternatively, Republicans could improve their standing with nonwhite voters. In heavily Latino Texas, for instance, Republicans have long done better with Latino voters than Republicans have done nationally ." 2 In other words, it is possible that for quite some time to come, the GOP will assume the mantel of the 'party of government' in the same fashion that it did in the post-1865 to 1912 period. Or alternatively, it is equally possible at least on the Presidential level that the Trump Presidency will be such a disaster that the mots 'governmental incompetence' and 'Republican' will be thought to be synonymous. In the fashion that the Hoover Presidency did circa 1930-1932. I for one, my distaste for Mr. Trump notwithstanding, hope that my fears proven to be unfounded. Only time will tell. 1. For Ruy Teixeira, see: The Emerging Democratic Majority (2002) [co-authored with John Judis]. For a more recent and equally wrong-headed analysis, see: "How 2016 Could Be An Even Bigger Democratic Blowout Than 2008". Think Progress. 29 October 2013, in www.thinkprogress.org; And: "Trump’s coalition won the demographic battle. It’ll still lose the war." Vox. 15 November 2016, in www.vox.com. 2. Harry Enten, "Demographics Aren’t Destiny’ And Four Other Things This Election Taught Me". FiveThirtyEight. 15 November 2016 in www.fivethirtyeight.com.