Wednesday, November 9, 2016

what the hell happened in America to create president-elect Donald J. Trump?


"You can believe that half the country is racist if you want, and there's no question that there's an undercurrent of anger in Trump's stunning rise. But that anger isn't directed at any individual ethnic group. It's more inchoate than that. It's rage at institutions that people believe have failed them forever. It's rage at an economy that doesn't work for ordinary folks. It's rage at a cultural milieu that perceives too many non-coastal Americans as buffoons. It's rage at the aftermath of a financial crisis and Great Recession in which the gap between winners and losers just grew larger, and the two-tiered system of justice paraded on full display. It's rage at an elite class that people feel is lined up against them.

That rage has no doubt been whipped up—by Trump and his campaign, among others. It may not always be based in reality, but it's real. "

"The weakening of unions into an impotent force in American life proved more successful than we'd even realized—particularly in the place where labor strained so hard to stop it, Wisconsin. And then there's voter suppression and the madness of the Electoral College and a culture that de facto assumes businessmen are smarter than the rest of us."

"...lesson for Democrats is ultimately clear enough: You cannot write off half the country, much less spend an election cycle deriding it, and expect success."

"Trump didn't just win in small towns, though he galvanized communities there. He surged in the aspirational exurbs where conservatives rule culturally. He also surged in Rust Belt communities that voted for Barack Obama twice. Places like Scranton, Pennsylvania; Youngstown, Ohio; Janesville, Wisconsin; Orange County, Florida—places that have trended Democratic in some cases for decades—moved away from the Democratic candidate. "

"Democrats used to have a thing called the 50-state strategy. They walked into red areas and blue areas, states where they thought they could win and states where they thought they couldn't. In this election, they appeared to write off large swaths of the country, even those that supported Democrats in previous elections. They didn't give people living in those areas anything tangible to explain their circumstances, and didn't foreground how they could be improved.

Democrats comforted themselves with the emergence of a new majority of women, Latinos, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, gays and lesbians, immigrants, and Muslims. It was an inspiring reflection of the ideal of the melting pot. And it looks to have been a bit too soon, if not a mirage. Regardless, placing such a big bet on so fragile a coalition looks to have been unwise. It left behind people who voted twice for Obama in the process."

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