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comment by Odder
Odder  ·  455 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Myth of the Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaire

It really impressive how timeless and how far-removed from current events Jacobin manage to stay, even when quoting the 2016 election.

The rural proletariat elected Trump, to the chagrin of the suburban bourgeoisie and urban poor. Sure, the average American would have probably rather had Sanders than Trump, and sure, that indicates that our democracy is broken. But the whole point of the Jacobin article falls flat when you realize that the rural poor all voted for Trump and the Republicans half to spite the liberals and half because they don't actually believe that the government can help them.

johnnyFive  ·  454 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't think that's right. One of the more compelling arguments I've heard for why the rural poor voted for Trump is that, even though they thought he was a boorish sociopath, he at least acknowledged that things weren't all hunky doory.

What you have to remember is that the election wasn't just "pick whoever you want," it was "pick which of these two people you want." And so when you have a candidate (in Clinton) whom the right has hated for years, and whose platform was basically "I'll keep things going as well as they have been," large parts of the country didn't have any idea what she was talking about. Just like with people on the left, it's often a case of choosing the candidate who at least pays lip service to what you believe. In the case of Trump, he at least appeared to acknowledge that things weren't great economically. So when your choice is someone who doesn't even admit there's a problem and someone dumb who does, it starts to make a little more sense. This is all the more true when you look at how basically every center-left politician in the western world got creamed in the same timeframe, whether it was by the populist right or the populist left.

The other thing to remember IMO is that the election came down to the Democrats losing as much as or more than Trump won. I saw some numbers not that long ago showing that if you combined the number of votes for Trump with the number of eligible voters who didn't show up, and it was over 60% of the electorate.

On the other hand, what I think the research cited by Jacobin misses is the disconnect between what people say and what they do. In the abstract, most I'm sure do want to help the poor. But when it comes to their actually paying for it, that's a horse of a different color. Moreover, there's been a lot of very effective propoganda supporting the idea that too much wealth redistribution leads to everyone being worse off (even if this is demonstrably untrue), at least in small part due to leftover cultural viruses from the Cold War. I think it's also the case that often times blind party loyalty will win out at election time, no matter how much people may complain about their party's candidate in the meantime. After all, at least they're not the other guy.