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Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election

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We cannot fall prey anymore to the reigning message that meaningful democratic participation consists of going into a voting booth to mark a ballot once every four years and then going home to (in Noam Chomsky’s words)  “let other [and very rich ] people run the world [into the ground].”

"Republican and Democratic 'elites' are united with the capitalist elite in top-down hatred of the multi-racial working class." --Paul Street 

Paul Street, CounterPunch

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January 20, 2017 | Listen and you can hear the sneering “elite” liberal left narrative about how the big dumb white working class is about to get screwed over by the incoming multi-millionaire- and billionaire-laden Trump administration it voted into office.  Once those poor saps in the white working class wake up to their moronic mistake, the narrative suggests, they’ll come running back to their supposed friends the Democrats.

Trump Didn’t Really Win Over Working Class America: Clinton Lost it

It’s true, of course, that Trump is going to betray white working class people who voted for him in the hope that he would be a populist champion of their interests – a hope he mendaciously cultivated. But there are three basic and related problems with the scornful liberal-left storyline. The first difficulty is that the notion of a big white proletarian “rustbelt rebellion” for Trump has been badly oversold. “The real story of the 2016 election,” the left political scientist Anthony DiMaggio notes, “is not that Trump won over working class America, so much as Clinton and the Democrats lost it…The decline of Democratic voters among the working class in 2016 (compared to 2012) was far larger than the increase in Republican voters during those two elections”  If the Democrats had run Bernie Sanders or someone else with “a meaningful history of seeking to help the working class,” DiMaggio observes, they might well have won.

Paul Street's  latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

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