12 November 2016

Dancing to the Republicans' tune

Recriminations are natural in the wake of a defeat, but the urge to cast blame and purge this or that element out of the Democratic coalition must be resisted.  Dividing ourselves just makes future defeats more likely.  There's one example that especially concerns me.

It's long been a dream of the Republicans to get as much of the white population as possible to vote Republican as a self-conscious racial bloc in the same way that blacks overwhelmingly vote Democratic.  Non-Hispanic whites are still almost two-thirds of the national population.  If they were to vote primarily along racial lines, the party they supported would win every election overwhelmingly.  No rival party would ever stand the ghost of a chance.

It doesn't happen because for most white Americans, other traits -- religion (or lack thereof), ideology, social class, gender, sexual orientation, and so on -- are a more important part of their identity than race is and have more impact on how they vote.  (Obviously the same distinctions exist among people of other races too, but being a target of racism tends to loom larger.)  But there are forces trying to herd white people collectively into a race-conscious Republican voting bloc.  Unfortunately some of those forces are on the left.

I'm referring to the meme seen on a few blogs and forums that white people are collectively to blame for Trump's election because most of those who voted for him were white (here is an example, but I've seen several others in the mere four days since the election, and yes, the people doing this are often white themselves).  I can't imagine anything the Republicans would want more than to see this kind of talk become widespread.  A big part of the reason so few blacks or gays vote Republican is that they know the Republicans in general are bigoted against them, and voting for someone who is bigoted against you is practically unthinkable, regardless of any other issues.  Trying to trigger a similar rejectionist response in two-thirds of the electorate is the stupidest thing the left could possibly do.  Stop it.

Tens of millions of white people are liberals.  Tens of millions of white people voted for Obama (and Hillary).  Tens of millions of white people were aghast at the election result this week.  I am not anyone's enemy just because of what I look like, and no one has any right to treat me as such.

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