Sanders is Right and You NEED to get Over Yourselves

Writing
I’m going to concisely state who the Trump voters were, since exit polls and data are apparently only useful when we aren’t making a rhetorical point that feeds our ego.
1) Trump didn’t get anymore Republican voters than Romney did, except he got a higher share of MINORITY voters than Romney. Trump had vocal nonwhite supporters like, Diamond and Silk.
This means that not all Trump supporters are white. And if you believe that all Trump supporters hate immigrants, it also means that people of color can hate immigrants too. Which is totally possible, because they are human beings who have different experiences and perspectives and don’t all think alike in some magical hive mind. Not all Trump supporters voted against immigrants, by the way. Some of them felt they were voting against Hilary Clinton’s foreign policy, among other things. You would know this if you asked them. It’s April, so you are out of excuses.
2) Some people crossed over, like 20 percent of Democratically aligned men. But also the folks that didn’t like us for many solid reasons.
In case you need to hear it from a white man with degrees in a respectable publication, here’s one of the great sociologists breaking it down for you.
 
This is ALWAYS the reason the Democrats lose the elections they lose. This was not unusual and it wasn’t unpredictable.
3) If you think the Trump supporters are the only racists and sexists in this country, I have very bad news for you: I got hit on recently while my husband was in the room and in a meeting for an organization that serves sex trafficking victims. The person knew I was a sex trafficking victim, too. So if you think the only people in this country that have issues they need to work on are the people who voted for Trump, you live in a much nicer world than the one I live in.
Damn near everyone I’ve ever met in this country is bigoted in some regard or another.
BECAUSE THESE IDEOLOGIES ARE TAUGHT. SO IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THEM, CHANGE THE CULTURE, EDUCATE AND LIBERATE THE PEOPLE. ALL THE PEOPLE.
Sanders is right, we should treat the Trump supporters like human beings. Not because they were poor (THEY WEREN’T) but because we live in this country with them and people in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones.

Get over yourselves. We have too many problems for you to be sitting around patting yourselves on the back. If you need help figuring out what is more important, I’ll be happy to provide you with a list.

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Blame Trump on the Rich, Part 6: The Boiling Frog

Writing

Introduction

The Establishment has forcefully pushed the explanation that Clinton lost due the fact that “working class whites” voted for Trump because they are racist. I was surprised to hear this theory, because as a poor white person, I know that the rich always vote for Republicans and the poor have very consistently voted for Democrats. This holds in exit poll data back into 1984 (we’ll talk about the income data and exit polls in general in a separate post, but that data can be found here). This year, Clinton only won those making 50,000 a year, while losing the other income groups.

exitpolldata

Some have noticed that Trump won more uneducated voters, and called these people working class. This seems strange for two reasons

  1. Trump also won the educated white vote.
  2. Only 30 percent of the country has a BA and BA’s are no guarantee of social status in a country where there is limited social mobility

More detailed contextual information is here. After seeing these arguments, it was suggested that Clinton won the cities, where the poor are assumed to be nonwhite (there are in fact, poor whites in urban areas, I used to be one), while Trump won rural, white voters living in poverty. This theory will be deconstructed by looking at the precinct by precinct data. That data, which goes beyond exit polls to actual vote totals,  can be found using this link. Please subscribe to the LA Times for being kind enough to make big data accessible to everyone.

What the Exit Polls Show

The trick to getting people to accept oppression is to do it slowly over time. It works like boiling a frog, if you throw a live frog into a boiling pot, it’ll jump right out. If you put the frog in the water and then boil it, the frog won’t notice what has happened until it is too late. Today we are going to talk about the evidence and factors that suggest this has been happening to the poor in our electoral system. Now, much has been written about the declining middle class and that is real and important, but people much better qualified than I am have already tackled that in a lot of detail, so today I won’t be talking about that. It’s not personal, I just can’t do everything. I do suggest though, that middle class people start asking some tough questions about what the rich has been doing to them and the poor, because as we will see, the real beneficiaries are the rich. This might explain why so many MIDDLE CLASS people felt the need to vote for someone new, like Trump, and I hope someone will take that discussion on, or perhaps the theory that these people believe they can one day become rich and vote against their interests holds for the middle class. It definitely doesn’t hold for the working class, who have continued to vote for the Democrats for a very long time.

I’ve already proven based on the exit poll data and precinct by precinct numbers that the poor didn’t actually vote for Trump.  You can see the neighborhood data here which shows that even in California, you can see neighborhoods broken up by income next to each other where the rich clearly voted for Trump while the poor went overwhelmingly to Clinton. California is not an anomaly, their poor aren’t less poor and the only area that seems especially liberal is the Bay Area, which has a larger number of immigrants, members of the queer community, Jewish people and Millenials in their upper classes. This pattern, where the rich vote for Republicans and the poor vote for Democrats holds as far back as I can trace it back, except for the Reagan anomaly in 1980, though it is worth noting that Reagan won by a landslide and the MOST poor group was the only group the Democrats won. Even in extremely white neighborhoods the trend holds. This holds even in the areas we think of as liberal, and even in urban areas.

So what explanation explains why the Democrats lost, if its not the Rust Belt Revolt? We know that turnout was lower this year for the Democrats. It however, wasn’t universally lower turnout for all income groups.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This data comes from the Roper Center at Cornell, but it could be cross referenced with other data.  Broadly, the data shows that the number of poor people who make up the electorate has declined, while the rich have increased. Now, in case you don’t want to go through that data and want an easier way to see the visual change over time, I’ve made a chart.

voteshareovertime

This is the percent of vote share (so what percentage they made of the electorate over time). The poor have a dramatic decrease, while the rich have a dramatic increase. In 2016, they very nearly intersect. I defined class by income and adjusted for inflation.

In 2016, 26 percent of voters made more 100,000 dollars a year. That’s the upper 20 percent, but they represent 26 percent of votes. In 2016, half the country was making less than 30,000, but those making UNDER 50,000 only represent 41 percent of the votes. The rich were actually over-represented while the poor were under represented, and this is true even when we allow 50,000,  to be the marker instead of 30,000 (I wanted to account for high cost of living locations). You’ll notice that the exit polls stop breaking down the working class numbers into discrete categories in 2012, this isn’t because people aren’t making less than 50,000. It might because the lowest numbers of the income status weren’t statistically significant enough to separate out anymore. This is not because of inflation, things haven’t changed THAT much since the 80s.

In case you don’t believe this, here’s the median income numbers over time.

 

incomeovertime

The poor have increased, but the rich show a pretty dramatic convergence.

Frankly, 1980 isn’t even far enough to adjust for inflation because things haven’t changed that much in terms of median income. What has changed is the number of the rich. This might explain while those making 100,000 claim to be “middle class” because in comparison to the rest of the upper class, they do make much less.

So we know the rich voted for Trump. We know that they made up a greater share of voters. We also know that the share of poor voters has decreased over time, even though there are now more poor people than there were in 1980, and even though we have a higher threshold for “working class” than what HALF the country makes.

What could have caused this outcome?

1) Voter Suppression

When I first started looking at this data, I thought there was no way those in power could have gotten better at voter suppression since Nixon to such a significant degree to explain the gap. But voter suppression was a major factor this year. Voter suppression disproportionately impacts the poor and is very targeted at them. Many of the same tactics the Republicans used in the general were used in the primaries, which may have contributed to Sanders losing the primary despite having broad working class support in places like Kansas.

Now, lets take a look at the people who didn’t vote, which again, was the poor. Here are their reasons.

reasonspeopledidntvote

2) Health

A large percentage of people say they don’t vote because they are too sick to do so. Mortality has increased over the same amount of time that this shift in vote share has occurred, but it has only happened for one group. And that group is very specifically poor whites. We also know that Trump won counties with poorer health, AND that turnout was lower in those areas. This means that the establishment has been blaming people who either were dying or too sick to vote. They’ve been doing it while mocking them too.   I don’t know how everyone else’s moral code work, but I happen to think this is pretty monstrous behavior for the people that claim the moral high ground.

3) Working Conditions

You’ll notice that another top reason is scheduling issues or work conflicts. Work has changed dramatically for the poor in that time. Contrary to popular belief most of the poor are actually working but that work has changed. It is more fractured, during more irregular hours, and people are also working more hours. People are also working multiple jobs and families need at least two incomes to survive. 

Election Day is not a national holiday and businesses aren’t really required to accommodate the poor with voting, many of whom couldn’t make it even if they did because of the hours they are working or because of family commitments.

4) Decline of the unions and Civic Organizations

Unions and civic organizations like churches used to be a BIG part of the voter drives that increased the turnout of Democrats. As the share of voters from the poor has decreased, it has happened at the same time as the decline of the unions. At the same time we’ve seen a decline in poor white participation in civic organizations like churches. This matters because they are lacking in organizational structures that used to increase turnout, but it also takes away an important support structure for those that are struggling. This decline has been implicated in the health crisis as well.

 

5) The lack of mobility

Many people also cited transportation as an issue. It is a common misconception that the urban areas are the poorest. This was true before gentrification, but the trend of poor people being pushed out of the cities starts at the same time the share of voters who are poor decreases. Much of the poor is now living in isolated areas in the country just outside the cities. Being poor in the suburbs has it’s own set of challenges, there are food deserts, lack of public transportation, and lack of options for school attendance. It also is nearly impossible to travel around without a car. On the bus, it used to take me an hour and a half just to get out of my neighborhood and a minimum of two hours to get downtown where the better schools and resources were located. If you have to work, and you don’t have transport, just getting to the polling station on time is nightmare. And that’s assuming you don’t need a babysitter to do it or that it is within walking distance.

 

6) Increased hopelessness

Feelings are a little harder to quantify, but if we look at the exit poll data, and the reasons people didn’t vote, it seems that many people feel disaffected and disenfranchised. This is why the poor were more likely to vote third party and also why many didn’t vote because they liked neither candidate. A large portion of Sanders voters were white and working class, those voters felt marginalized by the Democratic party this year after the primaries. In fact, we know most of the poor falls into the category of “hard-pressed skeptic” which simply means that their oppression has made them distrustful of all government figures.  We also know that more poor whites are dying from drug related deaths. We can assume that they reasons they might do those drugs are similar to the reasons other poor communities do drugs. It is a coping mechanism. However, I believe it is significant that people are falling to opiod deaths, in my experience most opiod addicts start out as chronic pain patients or people who were in industrial accidents and had to recover. This might explain why we’ve seen a rise in disability claims too and it helps contribute to the  mortality increase. We also know suicide is on the rise for this group as well. 

 

Now, if people want to talk about WHY the rich voted for Trump, I have some speculation on that. I figure they voted for him because he was the guy looking out for their interests, and it is in their interests to suppress the poor. Now, obviously not all of the rich think like that, but if you are rich and also have been blaming poor whites and consider yourself a leftist, you need to think deeply about your behavior. Much of this information has gone under the radar, they’ve been boiling us so gradually that we haven’t been able to get out of the pot on time. Taken all together the answer to why Trump won and why the poor didn’t vote seems clear, doesn’t it? Oppression had a hand in oppressing people. It’s ok that you didn’t know this until now, it is also ok that you and the rest of the Establishment has been ignoring this data for weeks now and continue to propagate the narrative that the poor are responsible. Maybe you didn’t have the data, maybe it didn’t fit into your worldview, perhaps you’ve been busy mourning. It is ok, I am here to help you. I learned at Stanford that the rich only believe you when you have empirical data, so even though I KNEW all of this and have known for sometime, I have bowed to your request for empiricism. Now lets see if you really mean that.

You can’t kill people and then blame them for what your neighbors did to them. That is cruel and evil. The Left has got to stop demonizing these people and excluding them from our agenda. If we claim to fight oppression, we should fight it everywhere. I fight for racial injustice, and yet, too many of you have dismissed my concerns about the fact that my people are literally dying. It is NOT NORMAL for a group to have increasing mortality in the modern era, that is a sign that something has gone desperately wrong. We are in this struggle together or they will divide us up and conquer us, like they just did. That’s why Trump is president right now, that and the fact that the left has disgusted the poor so much that they didn’t want to risk taking time off work or away from their kids to vote for a candidate that has been actively disdainful of them. I know who you guys think the deplorables are because you keep claiming it was deplorables that voted for him AND that it was poor whites who caused him to take office. Who are the real deplorables here?

Now is the time to find out if you are redeemable.

If you are reading this and wondering why I’m not in a doctoral program, then you are on the right track. Here’s the answer. If there is even a shred of moral decency among you, you will start working on income inequality and you will stop mocking the poor. All of the poor. I’m not going to let you oppress people without a fight, just as I have fought for racial injustice over the last ten years. If you are down for the team, get down for the team.

 

got

Other pieces of this series can be found here:

How Mobilizing the Poor Might Have Changed the Election

Blame Trump on the Rich Part 1: Gridley and the Two Sides of the Tracks

Blame Trump on the Rich Part 2: Those Poor, White Mountain Towns

Blame Trump on the Rich, Part 3: Beachfront Trumpers

Blame Trump on the Rich, Part 4: The KKK and the two Neighborhoods Adjacent 

Blame Trump on the Rich, Part 5: Los Angeles, the City of Angels and Very Fashionable Devils

Blame Trump on the Rich, Part 5: Los Angeles, the City of Angels and Very Fashionable Devils

Writing

Introduction

The Establishment has forcefully pushed the explanation that Clinton lost due the fact that “working class whites” voted for Trump because they are racist. I was surprised to hear this theory, because as a poor white person, I know that the rich always vote for Republicans and the poor have very consistently voted for Democrats. This holds in exit poll data back into 1984 (we’ll talk about the income data and exit polls in general in a separate post, but that data can be found here). This year, Clinton only won those making 50,000 a year, while losing the other income groups.

exitpolldata

Some have noticed that Trump won more uneducated voters, and called these people working class. This seems strange for two reasons

  1. Trump also won the educated white vote.
  2. Only 30 percent of the country has a BA and BA’s are no guarantee of social status in a country where there is limited social mobility

More detailed contextual information is here. After seeing these arguments, it was suggested that Clinton won the cities, where the poor are assumed to be nonwhite (there are in fact, poor whites in urban areas, I used to be one), while Trump won rural, white voters living in poverty. This theory will be deconstructed by looking at the precinct by precinct data. That data, which goes beyond exit polls to actual vote totals,  can be found using this link. Please subscribe to the LA Times for being kind enough to make big data accessible to everyone.

Los Angeles, The City of Angels and Very Fashionable Devils

I’ve been very fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to teach a group of wonderful freshman to see what consultants apparently can’t see. I’ll be teaching at a small school in Downtown Los Angeles. The class I’m teaching is majority English Language Learner and mostly low income. I’ll share more information about the school after I reflect on the lesson, but let’s take a look at their precinct and the communities that voted for Trump in Los Angeles.

Here’s what the map looks like for the regions close to the school I’ll be working at.

losangelesmap2

Gee, you think that’s a trailor park in the Hollywood Hills? MUST BE!


Now, as you can see, the area I’ll be teaching in went deep Clinton. This is no surprise given the diversity and poverty of that area. It’s 85 percent Latino, and has the one of the lowest educational attainment records in the city. It is also disproportionately young and poor.

But what might surprise some, is that out in the Hollywood Hills, there is a little enclave of Trump supporters who are apparently very angry about manufacturing or something. I’m not really sure, they still haven’t been able to accurately capture the anger of poor white people in any publication, so I guess we’ll never know.

I’m just kidding, of course. Let’s take a look at that map a little closer.

countryclubtrumpers

Yeah, it’s the houses next to the Country Club. A satirist couldn’t make this funnier

Hm… that’s odd, do you think they allow trailor parks next to Country Clubs? Let’s see what houses sell for there. I’ll save you the time, it’s 23 million. How much did Trump win by there? 54 percent of the vote, with a larger turnout than the poor section too. For more information about this area, check out this lovely tourist information. It’s ok, you aren’t the only one who was surprised by how much the rich love the oppressor. Except, they did kind of tell you. Don’t worry, I won’t hold too much of a grudge if you guys start acting like you really do believe in empiricism.

notworkingclass

Trumpettes are white, but they sure as hell aren’t working class.

But maybe that was an isolated incident, let’s take a look at some of the other areas in Los Angeles that voted for Trump.

morecoastaltrumpers

Those special liberal coasts….

 

For those of you not familiar with Los Angeles real estate, the houses on the beach are extremely expensive.No, there are not million dollar trailor parks.  By the way, that little strip had higher RAW NUMBER turnout than the more densely populated, poor area I started this post with in Pico Union.

trumpersnotinthehood

How much do you think the houses sell for here? Just kidding, it’s the same amount as the other rich ones. I’d just like to point out that Trump won the rich neighborhoods with a higher turnout from the rich in EVERY case, as well as a higher percentage than  the middle class KKK neighborhood we talked about yesterday. I think I’ve made my point here.

Next week, I’ll be looking at how exit poll data has changed for income over time and we’ll start talking about the findings in the swing state of Wisconsin. Ultimately, we will also discuss the strange health correlations and what has been happening to poor white neighborhoods.

Read all of the other parts of this series here:

How Mobilizing the Poor Might Have Changed the Election

Blame Trump on the Rich Part 1: Gridley and the Two Sides of the Tracks

Blame Trump on the Rich Part 2: Those Poor, White Mountain Towns

Blame Trump on the Rich, Part 3: Beachfront Trumpers

Blame Trump on the Rich, Part 4: The KKK and the two Neighborhoods Adjacent 

 

Blame Trump on the Rich, Part 4: The KKK and the two Neighborhoods Adjacent 

Writing

Introduction

The Establishment has forcefully pushed the explanation that Clinton lost due the fact that “working class whites” voted for Trump because they are racist. I was surprised to hear this theory, because as a poor white person, I know that the rich always vote for Republicans and the poor have very consistently voted for Democrats. This holds in exit poll data back into 1984 (we’ll talk about the income data and exit polls in general in a separate post, but that data can be found here). This year, Clinton only won those making 50,000 a year, while losing the other income groups.

exitpolldata

Some have noticed that Trump won more uneducated voters, and called these people working class. This seems strange for two reasons

  1. Trump also won the educated white vote.
  2. Only 30 percent of the country has a BA and BA’s are no guarantee of social status in a country where there is limited social mobility

More detailed contextual information is here. After seeing these arguments, it was suggested that Clinton won the cities, where the poor are assumed to be nonwhite (there are in fact, poor whites in urban areas, I used to be one), while Trump won rural, white voters living in poverty. This theory will be deconstructed by looking at the precinct by precinct data. That data, which goes beyond exit polls to actual vote totals,  can be found using this link. Please subscribe to the LA Times for being kind enough to make big data accessible to everyone.


The Largest KKK and the two neighborhoods adjacent

I remember my first week of Stanford like it was yesterday. I wish I could say they were positive memories but they certainly were instructive. During one of those getting to know you exercises, we talked about our backgrounds. I hadn’t been around rich people long enough to be self conscious yet, so I was honest about my experience around the other white kids who lived in very white bubbles.

“Well, I guess I can’t say I lived in a bubble. I’m proud to say I’m from Sacramento, which is one of the most diverse areas of the country! It’s great, I’ve always had diverse friends. I feel so lucky.”

After I wrapped up a characteristically eager defense of my ‘hood another girl spoke.

She decided to share with the group that she “had grown up in a different part of Sacramento than Heather and it was all white.” She wanted to make sure they didn’t make the mistake of associating us together and I never spoke to her again.


And I am so damn proud of my hood, y’all. I’m straight up North Highlands. You know how I know North Highlands is legit as fuck? Because when I used to tell my kids in East Palo Alto that I grew up in North Highlands, their response was “damn Ms. C is hella legit” and “that explains some things.” Being that I’m a poor white person from the hood, I was very curious to see if North Highlands had lived up to the stereotype that working class whites had voted for Trump. So I matched the voting numbers, and unsurprisingly to me, Clinton had won my hood.

I wanted to compare this to the red area of the map next to it in Rio Linda, but then I started looking at demographics and it turns out that I, yoga pants wearing, Stanford educated and green eyed, had actually grown up in a predominantly black neighborhood. And the truly funny part is I tried then to do the same thing in the projects I grew up in in Suisun, and it turns out that was also mostly black. Now, I had suspected this for years but the left kept calling me a liar or delusional every time I tried to explain why I talk and dance the way I do. Fortunately we can now close the book on that debate, we now know from data (since y’all don’t trust my lived experience), that poor whites live in black neighborhoods and that I’m apparently the only person accurately seeing things.

Small town America, with a side of the KKK

But after this fun little journey of self discovery, I still wanted to understand that little red part of the map better. I knew it well, it’s called Rio Linda. Rio Linda is the home of the largest KKK population in California. Rio Linda also has a reputation for being incredibly white trash. Now, I couldn’t compare North Highlands to Rio Linda because that could be explained by the minority numbers in North Highlands. So instead, I had to find a predominantly white community that went for Clinton. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look that far, because it turns out that the neighborhood my Black/Indonesian/Mexican/White sister in law is from is predominantly white. We call it Foothill Farms.

What happens when you type Foothill Farms, CA into Google images

 

Rio Linda had the good high school in the district, while Highlands (the one I went to) and Foothill often competed for most terrifying acts of violence and fewest numbers of books.

Rio Linda is about 77% white. Foothill Farms is 65% white, which you can compare to my neighborhood, which is just over the overpass and tracks from Foothill Farms and is only 20% white. North Highlands, which is where I grew up, has a poverty rate of 38.4 percent, which compares to the state average of 22% (California has the highest poverty rate in the country). Rio Linda is actually below the state average at 20 percent. Foothill Farms has a poverty rate of 25 percent. The Median Income in Foothill Farms is 38,000, while in Rio Linda the median income is 45,000.

So how did the poorer, but also white neighborhood with the shittier school do? Well, they voted for Clinton with 76 percent of the vote. Granted, the turnout was appalling, but the fact is that when people voted they voted for Clinton. Rio Linda has the reputation for being “working class” because it is more “rural” than North Highlands and Foothill Farms, but Rio Linda IS BETTER OFF relatively to the communities that surround it. Rural doesn’t mean poor, and it turns out that middle class people seemed to be concerned enough about their standing that they voted for a candidate who has promised to oppress their neighbors. Considering that the only time in my childhood that I remember seeing state sanctioned racism (instead of classism) directed at my friends was the one day I spent on the Rio Linda high school campus for summer school, I’ll let you draw some conclusions.

But I will leave you with this, it’s hard to feel racial resentment when

  1. You need your neighbors to survive and your neighbors look differently than you
  2. You don’t have anything to lose to begin with
  3. Your poverty and experience with your community helps you to understand that if you spend one more minute watching people being racist to people you love, you will burn the whole thing to the ground and therefore the way to stay out of jail is to just wait to take Driver’s Ed as an additional class so you can’t commit arson.

I was tryin’ to get out of there, not end up in lock up, but boy did they almost have me.

Tomorrow we will be talking about who voted for Trump in Los Angeles. We will talk about changes in exit polls,Wisconsin, and the curious health related correlations next week.

What do you know about da Highlands? For a taste of what I call home, check out this theme song.

Blame Trump on the Rich Part 2: Those Poor, White Mountain Towns

Writing

Introduction

The Establishment has forcefully pushed the explanation that Clinton lost due the fact that “working class whites” voted for Trump because they are racist. I was surprised to hear this theory, because as a poor white person, I know that the rich always vote for Republicans and the poor have very consistently voted for Democrats. This holds in exit poll data back into 1984 (we’ll talk about the income data and exit polls in general in a separate post, but that data can be found here). This year, Clinton only won those making 50,000 a year, while losing the other income groups.

exitpolldata

Some have noticed that Trump won more uneducated voters, and called these people working class. This seems strange for two reasons

  1. Trump also won the educated white vote.
  2. Only 30 percent of the country has a BA and BA’s are no guarantee of social status in a country where there is limited social mobility

More detailed contextual information is here. After seeing these arguments, it was suggested that Clinton won the cities, where the poor are assumed to be nonwhite (there are in fact, poor whites in urban areas, I used to be one), while Trump won rural, white voters living in poverty. This theory will be deconstructed by looking at the precinct by precinct data. That data, which goes beyond exit polls to actual vote totals,  can be found using this link. Please send the LA Times money for being kind enough to make big data accessible to everyone.

nevadacitygrassvalley

Rural, White, Poor and Voting in Mass for Clinton: Two Quiet Mountain Towns

Today we will be talking about two white mountain towns in the Sierra Nevadas of California. Much of my extended family lives in Grass Valley, California, so I spent some time in my youth with my white and mixed race cousins running around the beautiful forests. It is remote, rural and deeply poor. Nevada City could be its mirror, except it lies closer to the even more socially conservative territories in Northwest Nevada.

Let’s talk about Grass Valley first. Please note that all of my data for income and race comes from the census, which you can find here. Grass Valley is 89.4 percent white. It has a BA rate well below the national average at 23.4 percent. The median family income is 33, 325 and almost a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line. Based on this data, who do you think won Grass Valley?

 Clinton won Grass Valley with 68 percent of the vote.

grassvalleymainstreet

Grass Valley, Main Street

When I saw this, I thought perhaps it was a fluke, and I had selected a city I knew well as part of a cognitive bias. So then I started looking at the rest of the map in that region, and even further up North in what has usually been a known socially conservative area of the state. To look closely at just one example, we’ll be looking at Nevada City.

Nevada City is 94.7 percent white. Which is five percentage points higher than the white population in Grass Valley, which was already nearly 90 percent white. It is more rural than Grass Valley as well, with a smaller population and significantly smaller density per-capita. It is also poorer than Grass Valley, with a median income of 23, 705. So to summarize, it is whiter, more rural, poorer, and in more notoriously socially conservative territory.

Clinton won Nevada City with 79 percent of the vote.

Clinton won the poorer, whiter, more rural, less educated city with almost ten percentage points. 

nevadacitychurch

Those damn evangelicals voting for Clinton (Church in Nevada City)

Tomorrow, we’ll be talking about an interesting neighborhood comparison on the coast of California, with a high education and middle class population. It is also majority white. Later we’ll be discussing some of the data in Sacramento, as well as exit polls over time and the fascinating correlations with health and the voting patterns of the poor.

Blame Trump on the Rich Part 1: Gridley and the Two Sides of the Tracks

Writing

The Establishment has forcefully pushed the explanation that Clinton lost due the fact that “working class whites” voted for Trump because they are racist. I was surprised to hear this theory, because as a poor white person, I know that the rich always vote for Republicans and the poor have very consistently voted for Democrats. This holds in exit poll data back into 1984 (we’ll talk about the income data and exit polls in general in a separate post, but that data can be found here). This year, Clinton only won those making 50,000 a year, while losing the other income groups.

exitpolldata

 

Some have noticed that Trump won more uneducated voters, and called these people working class. This seems strange for two reasons

  1. Trump also won the educated white vote.
  2. Only 30 percent of the country has a BA and BA’s are no guarantee of social status in a country where there is limited social mobility

More detailed contextual information is here. After seeing these arguments, it was suggested that Clinton won the cities, where the poor are assumed to be nonwhite (there are in fact, poor whites in urban areas, I used to be one), while Trump won rural, white voters living in poverty. This theory will be deconstructed by looking at the precinct by precinct data. That data, which goes beyond exit polls to actual vote totals,  can be found using this link. Please send the LA Times money for being kind enough to make big data accessible to everyone.

We’ll be looking at few case studies that will demonstrate that the majority of poor whites continued to vote Democrat, as they have for decades, while the turnout and share of voters from the upper classes increased over time. Over several days, we will explore examples that demonstrate that it was, in fact, the rich who voted for Trump.

Today we will be talking about the town of Gridley. Gridley is a town in the NorthEast portion of the state, north of Sacramento. It has one of those cute founding stories that many of these former Gold Rush towns have. The population of Gridley is about 6,584. This makes it a small town that is mostly rural. Indeed, there is no real urban area in Gridley. As you would imagine, this town, like most of the towns that surround it, is white. In fact, it is 65 percent white. There are two sides to Gridley. Gridley and East Gridley. A set of railroad tracks divides the two. The median family income in Gridley is 29,957 and over 20 percent of the county is living in poverty. Houses in Gridley sell for $180,000, but right across the tracks in East Gridley they sell for 650,000.

Clinton won Gridley with 56% of the vote, but lost in East Gridley. In East Gridley, which is the “right” side of the tracks with the substantially higher housing costs, Trump won with 54% of the vote. You can also compare turnout numbers. The residents of the wrong side of the tracks only had 272 voters, whereas the haves in East Gridley had 506 votes. This conforms with the national data that demonstrates that the poor barely voted at all. 

The bottom line here is that in a town that is both rural and white there is a clear difference in voting patterns. The poorer portion voted for the Democrat, the haves in the East voted for the Republican. This is consistent with voting patterns in American presidential elections going back to 1984.

The working class white hypothesis, continues to be the only one being put forward in mainstream media. Given the paucity of data to support that and the abundant and growing data to support the fact that Trump was elected by the upper class, it seems like strange behavior for a society to claims to love empiricism so much. I’ll let you make up your own mind for now about why they seem to be clinging to this narrative so much. In the next several posts, we’ll be exploring exit poll income data changes over time, the representative cases of Sacramento, Grass Valley, Oxnard, Nevada City, and some interesting correlations with recent data about the health of poor whites.

How Mobilizing the Poor Might Have Changed the Election

Writing

The left is trying to figure out how we lost this election to Trump, and it is a worthy and important question. The most common reason that has been proposed is that working class whites voted for Trump because they are racist, but there are several problems with that argument, and it’s reflective of the way we struggle to talk about class in this country. Often when we want to talk about class it is kind of hard to find the raw data because we very rarely study class in this country, and there are lots of reasons for this, including representation in academia and funding issues. Which is to say, that it isn’t anyone’s fault that people are unaware of this but fortunately we have the data now to truly analyze this.

Determining Who Voted for Whom by Social Class

As in previous years, the rich were more likely to vote for the Republican and this is consistent with just about every election in modern history, the rich are more likely to vote Republican. Here are the turnout rates by class for 2012. You are free and welcome to look at previous years, but it won’t change. The Republicans have carried the rich vote for the last 30 years.

turnoutbyclass2012

Image 1: Turnout Rates by Class 2012

Now, here is the exit poll data by class for 2016. As you will see, the ONLY class groups Clinton carried were the poor.

 

exitpolldata

Image 2: Voting Rates by Class 2016

In 2016, the Democrats carried the working classes, and the Republicans carried the middle and upper classes.

Why Education is NOT a proxy for class

Now, many people have noted that more uneducated whites voted for Trump, and have designated these people “working class.” This is strange for two reasons

  1. The majority of educated whites also voted for Trump.
  2. No other country uses education levels as a proxy for class, and education is not determinative of class in this country.

Only 30 percent of the country has a BA and even attending an Ivy League school doesn’t have an impact on your class UNLESS you are poor. America is in a period of a historic lack of social mobility. In fact, the numbers are so low that economists have been confused by it for years. People who are rich remain rich and the poor remains poor, no amount of education is really successful at changing that. A possible exception is the TINY amount of folks like me that attended an Ivy League school, we do tend to rise up after getting over our handicaps in our 20s, but then we also have worse health outcomes than the people we left behind. And actually most of us don’t rise up at all.   For the poor, college has not been a source of upward mobility. So using education as a proxy for class only makes sense if you have absolutely no understanding of the definition of class AND you weren’t aware of the lack of social mobility. It is fine to admit that you are ignorant of these things, it is not ok to continue to push them after you become aware.

Democratic Turnout is a Better Explanation for What Happened

Now, as far as why the Democrats lost this year, let’s take a look at turnout numbers. Here are the numbers for 2012, when Obama won the Rust Belt

turnoutratesbyyear

Image 3: Turnout Rates by Year

As you can see, turnout in 2012 was 57.5 percent. Here are the numbers for 2016.

turnoutrates2016

Image 4: Turnout rates for 2016

As you can see, turnout in 2012 was 55%, which is more than 2 percentage points lower than in 2012. That 2 percent is enough to make up the difference of what Clinton lost, without converting any Stein supporters at all. In fact, the Democratic party was short 6 million votes in total from 2012. Many of those votes went to third parties, and the poor were the most likely group to vote third party, but she didn’t need all 6 million to throw her over the edge because she lost by a small amount of votes in key states. In 2016, there was a marked decrease in turnout.

Why Turnout was Lower

So now the question is, why didn’t people vote and who was most unlikely to vote. This data has turnout rates by class.

actualturnoutratesbyclass

Image 5: Turnout Rates by Class

As you can see from the data, turnout rates are lower for the poor than they are for other groups. This has pretty much always been true and though I could list the reasons, I’ll let the data speak for itself. Here are the reasons people gave for not voting.

turnoutbyclass

Image 6: Reasons people didn’t vote

The top three reasons are reasons that disproportionately affect the poor. Much of the poor don’t vote for logistical reasons, like their work schedule or their health. Some don’t vote because they either don’t know how or have given up on voting meaning anything. Voter suppression is much more likely to happen to poor people, so many have faced barriers and have subsequently just given up.  We know voter suppression was a major issue this year. In fact, voter suppression was also an issue during the primaries, so those people had been recently disenfranchised.

Note that this is only for REGISTERED VOTERS, most of the poor isn’t even registered at all. It’s been noted that Trump won areas with poor health, and as you can see, poor health was a substantial barrier to the poor voting. Poor whites also have a declining mortality, which goes against the trends for other groups.

In fact, poor whites have lost almost ten years of their life in the last 20. The verdict is still out on all the causes, but the bottom line is that many of these people simply didn’t vote for legitimate reasons.

Enthusiasm Gap for Clinton

Hillary also experienced an enthusiasm gap in 2016. Here is the percentage of registered voters who intended to actually vote in 2016 vs. 2012, and as we can see from image 6, the fourth most common reason for not voting was a distaste for the candidates.

enthusiamgapbetweenregisteredvoters

Image 7: Registered voters intention to vote 2012 v. 2016

That’s a pretty significant decline and considering that Sanders carried many of the areas Hilary lost in the primary, it suggests that the people might have turned out for a candidate they believed in. Which is to say that the same people that elites have been blaming and calling racists were more likely to turn out for a Socialist from a working class background.

Conclusions and Some Preliminary Thoughts

Taken all together, it seems pretty clear that the Democrats lost because they failed to mobilize the poor to vote. A slightly higher turnout might have saved us, and the reasons people had for not voting were preventable barriers that the elites could have worked and mobilized around but they didn’t.

In fact, working class whites, seem to have voted mostly like other minority groups. This despite the fact that the left made no efforts to reach them and have been mocking them for years. This demonstrates that there is a strong possibility for the working class whites to associate themselves with the struggle of the rest of the poor. Many of them have an identity based on their class background and have been working actively against racism. They live near more minorities, interracially marry more often, and can identify with the rest of the poor. This means there is amazing potential to turn these people into active and empowered members of the left.

I get why the folks on the right keep pushing this narrative. The only time the elites have been in danger of revolt in this country was during the beginning of this nation when all of the working classes got together and transcended race during Shay’s Rebellion. It scared them so much that they rewrote many laws to ensure that poor whites, first peoples and free and enslaved blacks didn’t work together. This is where anti-miscegenation laws come from. They want to continue to push this narrative to divide and conquer and ensure that we never work together or never try to really change the economic structure of society. It’s important to remember that the segregationists worst fear was that if we all went to school together, we would fall in love with each other. Rebellion in this country, looks a lot like love.

It only works to our advantage to fold poor whites into our movement and they are primed for that co-option. We can do it AND still talk about race without taking away anything from any other group. There is a huge tradition among activists in the United States who have attempted to do just that. In fact, it was part of Martin Luther King’s last campaign before he died. Howard Zinn was talking about this during the 60s, and in what eventually became his book, A People’s History of the United States. If you consider yourself progressive or revolutionary, you’ve been pushing this narrative because you are ignorant and simply didn’t know, which is absolutely fine! We all have to learn. Our school systems, media, and social segregation make it hard to uncover this information.

But if you are really want to scare the elites, you’ll break up this narrative as quickly as you can and start mobilizing the working classes.

Why the Working Classes Hate the Left

Writing

I’m conducting a funeral tomorrow. Another poor white person who died sooner than they should have. Don’t send me any condolences or words of praise for what a good friend I am for doing this. It’s my best friend’s dad and she didn’t know him. She describes learning how much she looked like him, she just now saw a picture. No condolences are needed because this is old hat for me by now. It’s not the first time I’ve conducted this service, though it will be the first time in an AA trailer in Arizona, but I can’t imagine it’ll be much different from a Hof Brau in Sacramento. The working classes are funny like that. Seems like no matter the time or place we all hold some things in common. A resignation towards death binds us together.

 

When you want to say you love someone you don’t say you’ll die for them, you say you’d kill for them. Death is ever present, and we’ve stared it in the face before. Because we know what violence feels like, we also understand how violence maims your soul and makes you less human. We understand the sacrifice to your soul and honor. When you are poor all you have is your soul and honor. For that we will fight fiercely.

But do you know what we fight most fiercely for? Each other. I will happily tolerate abuse perpetrated against me, but come for someone I love and you won’t survive the encounter. I’m ruthless and brutal for the people. I’ve been fighting against monsters for as long as I know. What can they threaten me with that I haven’t already endured? Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. So I wasn’t scared when Trump got elected. I did the same thing my people have done throughout history and I woke up the next morning and got to work.

Trump is nothing new to us. We’ve been going to work with racist, sexist, classist bosses since the dawn of time. The next time someone tells me they shouldn’t have to talk to those people, I really hope they are organizing a waitressing union, because unless they are, it all sounds sort of ridiculous. Going to school and hearing hurtful stuff is not new to me. I had elementary school teachers call me trash and keep me out of advanced classes. I’ve watched other colleagues do that. I’ve healed the children you all failed to protect. Kids like my middle schoolers who weren’t terrified when they saw the images of Emmett Till. “It’s cool Ms. C., I saw my uncle get shot.” This is what we’ve been putting 11 years old through. And they’ve endured things you can’t even imagine. They endured it and still maintain joy. My working class friends laugh more than my rich friends. I can’t tell sometimes whether it is madness or not, but goddamn it is a beautiful madness.

I carry the hatred of both sides that I’ve inherited from a lifetime of oppression. I know that the same leftists now that point the finger at working class whites are the same ones that told me I shouldn’t be upset about my cousin’s death because as a poor person, his life wasn’t worth much. And the folks on the right? You think we haven’t seen men like Trump before? Did you think that 13 year old he raped and who had been trafficked was rich? So, much of the hysteria seems sort of ridiculous to me. You didn’t know this country had problems before this election? What kind of magical fantasy land are you living in and why aren’t you sharing? I’m seeing so many people talk about how they shouldn’t have to talk to anyone they disagree with. I didn’t know we had the option. I thought we were just supposed to say “yes, sir” to the boss while secretly plotting over dinner. The left is scrabbling right now to understand what has gone wrong. They can’t figure out why so many people stayed home and didn’t want to vote for them. They don’t think they’ve done anything wrong with their messaging and besides that, everyone who challenges them is just dumb.

I think about their reluctance to deal with dissent when I think about the millions of people that died during Mao’s Great Leap Forward because no one wanted to deviate from the party line and explain that the poor were dying in mass. Worst famine in human history. My aversion to that rhetoric comes from knowing history, but it also comes from knowing that I can’t doing anything alone. That this country is at its best when we all stand together for the common good. You learn about the common good when you are poor. If you are unwilling to engage with your community, you literally starve.

I had to go to Ross to buy a plain black dress for this funeral. I’ve shopped there my whole life. For those who have not had the pleasure, Ross is a department store for the working classes. I looked around at how diverse the store was. The Russian family in front of us, my gay Asian checkout clerk, the Hispanic man running security. Shoppers across the rainbow. But I knew this about the working classes, the ways we’ve always defied the norms and intermarried. I remember how shocked I was when I got to Stanford and saw so few interracial couples. I don’t have enough space to list all the times my family members have married someone who isn’t the same color or ethnicity as us. But many of us don’t identify by colors, many of us identify with a class struggle that we’ve felt in on together.

My high school used to have race riots. Together, with the leaders of the black community, we prevented that from happening in my four years there. I did it while spending holidays talking to my conservative grandmother and finding common ground with her beliefs. I grew up thinking this was completely normal. I lean so heavily on those skills when I speak, and I know it’s that skill that we need most.

It seems funny to me that I saw people saying they can’t be expected to engage with the Trump folks because they are still experiencing grief. I think about how I conducted my grandmother’s funeral and went back to Stanford and took my midterms without anyone close to me even knowing I was gone. I didn’t have the luxury of not going to work after death and neither does the rest of the working classes. The poor have never had a President that came from their roots and continued to love them while in power, so waking up to a President that hates us as much as Trump does, feels the same way waking up in this country every other day does. Except we know that if his power goes unchecked that it is us he will come for. All those kids at Ivy League institutions who didn’t go to class the next morning are completely safe because of who their parents are, and every time they fail to acknowledge that and fail to take that power and privilege and use it for the working classes is a time they are continuing to corroborate in our oppression. And that folks, is why the working classes hates the left so much. We hate the right too, but appreciate that “at least they are honest.” The explanation for why the movement in the 60s was ground to halt that I was raised with, is that the college students started spitting on soldiers. They started demonizing the working classes. That’s how you get Nixon’s. That’s how you get Trump’s.

And so now we enter another cycle, one which I have warned was coming. One which, as I wrote in my last final for Stanford, “as in all things in history, it’s the peasants who get screwed.”

I see so many people pointing the fingers outside themselves, calling everyone but themselves racists. But I have to let you in on a real secret, I know very few people from Stanford that I don’t consider at least closet bigots. And I also know from experience and the exit poll data that it was my rich friend’s parents that actually elected Trump. I know how easy it is for them to talk the talk. I’ve watched them change their minds with the times, and I’m sure many of them will have a conservative reawakening soon as it becomes socially acceptable to do so.

I think I speak for the working classes everywhere when I say we’ve had enough of talk. The only thing I’m interested in now is action. The only people I trust now are the people who have been down for the people the entire time. The only people I want fighting alongside me are the ones I know won’t waver in the face of danger.

Because I know who they are coming to oppress. It’ll be us.

So, before you put us on the front line, please have the decency to think about your message. Love us enough to plan appropriately. Take on the leadership to protect your own people. Good leaders don’t put their vulnerable people in harm’s way over their feels. Good leaders volunteer for things that aren’t their responsibility. Good leaders have no idea why people keep telling them they are a good person for doing the right thing because they know that it is just what is has to be done.

You are right that you shouldn’t have to do this. You are right that you shouldn’t have to engage people you find hateful. You are right that we shouldn’t have to demand or ask for our rights. You are right that we shouldn’t have to turn the other cheek. You are right that a lot of people in this country believe some incredibly dangerous stuff.

But I don’t want to be right anymore. I want to win.

I have to win.

I have to win because if I don’t, I know the consequences for our loss will fall on the shoulders of people I love.

And that is the only cause I’ve ever been willing to kill for. People will fight more fiercely out of love than they ever could over hate. I know this too, from years and years of taking on fights that weren’t my own. You don’t know pain and leadership until the day you volunteer to take the blows that were designed for someone else. You don’t know love until the day you realize watching people get beat is more painful than taking the beating yourself.

I must have been four.

About Those “Working Class Whites”

Writing

Note: all of the data I cite is coming from exit polls that you can find here: http://www.cnn.com/election/results/exit-polls. Now you can go do your own homework. You’re welcome

Trump was elected President, which was no surprise to me because I haven’t lived in a magical fantasyland full of non-sexist and non-racist people and I’m also not delusional. But for those of you who did face a painful shock, you now are looking for an explanation and someone to blame. Many of you have decided to blame “working class whites.” Or rather, the media assigned these people responsibility and you all keep perpetuating it despite all evidence to the contrary.

Whites did vote for Trump. 70 percent of men and 49 percent of women voted for Trump. Now, some have noticed that people without college degrees were more likely to vote for Trump, and this is true, even though whites with college degrees ALSO voted for Trump. Some have taken this information and labeled these people “working class.” This is a really fun twisting of data that has no basis in reality.

When only 30 percent of the country has a BA, it doesn’t make sense to call the 70 percent “working class.” Those without college educations have incomes that span all three classes. One can be very rich and not go to college and one can be very poor and also have gone to college. I have TWO degrees from Stanford and until I got married, I was very poor. Like edge and fringe of society, nutritional deficiency poor. And I have been my whole life. I’m also white.

Fortunately for us, pollsters weren’t fooled by this conflation of education and class and they broke the numbers down by income too. When you do that, you find that the poor voted for Clinton. In fact, its the only income group that Clinton won. This is true even in mostly white swing states like Wisconsin. Now, this is just for the poor whites who got to vote, most poor people never vote at all and to make matters worse, the DNC suppressed the most politically active poor whites when they suppressed Sanders voters.

Trump didn’t win the white working class. He won the white middle and upper class. And now I’m witnessing a whole lot of upper and middle class people say that Trump won because of the ignorance and racism of the “white working class,” which seems a little convenient, don’t you think? They don’t have the data to support that and yet this is the one group that the media has repeatedly tried to blame for this outcome. It’s a pretty convenient cover for the middle and upper class to continue pretending as if they aren’t racist and part of the problem and the left has bought into it and is now using it as an excuse to scapegoat and oppress an already marginalized group. Which is, unfortunately, not a new experience for me and the rest of the trailer trash, even though all the other trailer trash I know is a group of radical socialists who have also been fighting for other causes the whole time.

There are lots of proposed explanations for why the “white working class” voted for Trump. Because of the economy. Because of racism. Because of isolation. And those might be good explanations IF the working class whites were responsible but they are not. Now some have challenged me by saying that because whites in rural areas voted for him, that disproves my statements, but unfortunately for them rural does not equal poor or working class. The fact is, that even in relatively rural states we see the same percentages. M0st poor whites didn’t vote at all and when they did, they voted for Clinton.

Understanding this even explains the phenomenon of counties that voted for Obama but went for Trump this time. Let me explain.

The main reason the Democrats lost was turnout. Republicans basically had similar numbers to previous years with some crossover, but the Democrats had a good 6 million voters that voted in 2012 but didn’t vote in 2016. The counties that Obama won then, had a decreased turnout and it was mostly working class whites who were suppressed in those areas. Therefore, because of lack of turnout among the folks Sanders carried during the primaries, the Republicans won those areas with their normal turnout.

Now,  before you blame Sanders, keep in mind that during the primaries, the Democratic party engaged in the same kind of voter suppression the Republicans do. Voter suppression pretty much only happens to poor people. Since those people had such a hard time voting in the primaries, they didn’t vote in the general. Or they couldn’t vote in the general because they had work. Or they were too disgusted with the way Sanders was treated to vote. There were no attempts by the Democrats to mobilize working class whites to vote for them.  In fact, Hilary Clinton and her surrogates spent a considerable portion of their time during the election belittling working class whites in general. And still…. even with all of that, most did not vote for Trump. Many stayed home, but Clinton still won the working class vote, even in states where the working class is almost entirely white.

So where do we go from here? The first thing we need to do is understand that you can’t determine what people believe based on what they look like. Lots of people that didn’t look like the media stereotype of a Trump supporter voted for Trump and lots of people that did look like that stereotype didn’t. The data shows he carried middle and upper class whites and then some percentage of men from all groups. In fact, Trump got more minority votes than any Republican of the last few decades. This is, of course, not those voters’ fault. It is not the fault of Black people or Mexican people who felt disconnected from the Democratic party and Hilary Clinton. It is not the fault of people who feel like the Democrats have been screwing them over. And it’s not ok to blame any oppressed group for feeling like the status quo was bad enough that they voted for the oppressor who was at least honest about his intentions over the one that has repeatedly lied to them and sold them out. The responsibility lies with the DNC and it lies with the left, who has apparently done such a poor job of addressing the needs of the people that lots of people didn’t feel like they would be better off with Clinton than they would be with Trump. Many supporters of Trump are racist and sexist, but many others thought they were protesting against the status quo and for a while now, the status quo has been a strictly enforced leftist orthodoxy. It’s interesting to watch people get fired now for speaking out against Trump, when just a few months ago, the left was calling for people to be fired if they supported Trump.

I belong to the left and I take some responsibility for this. But I also speak to the experience of many who didn’t feel that Clinton represented them. The left has treated me extremely poorly over the years, and other working class people have watched that happen. I’ve been kicked out of groups, mocked, demeaned, told I don’t deserve access to resources, and silenced all because my whole existence as a poor white person ran counter to the ideology of college leftists. I dropped out of my PhD program, in part, because I was told that I didn’t have a right to study school segregation because I’m white, even though I went to an economically segregated school. And if I had a nickle for every time some “liberal” across all racial lines said something classist to me, I’d be independently wealthy right now.

So those of you who are heaping this blame on the shoulders of working class whites are not only unsupported BY YOUR OWN data but are continuing the perpetuate oppression for a group of people that is just as a likely to suffer under Trump’s regime as the rest of the poor. In fact, if you look at the numbers and the fact that higher incomes voted for him, this looks a lot more like the upper classes voting to oppress the poor than it does like “working class whites” leading some revolt.

And it’s not just working class whites, it’s all working class people. The left has done a particularly poor job listening to their needs for a long time.  Seriously, turn on your tv right now and ask yourself who is butt of our nation’s jokes. You’ll find it’s the poor. You shut down freeways working class people needed to use to get to work and then are surprised when they can’t be bothered to show up for you at the polls? Those decisions, which I warned would backfire only to be purged by other leftists, are on us. It matters how we talk to the masses and how we interact with people. Mao won China with 15,000 highly disciplined foot soldiers BECAUSE he was so good at talking to the people and making his case that the people should support them. Instead of working on supporting the people, we’ve been yelling at them about what awful people they are because they don’t talk the way we want them to.

We don’t have to keep doing this. We could start talking about the complex reality of race and class in this country. We could talk about, for example, the fact that the voice you are hearing is the voice of a working class white girl who grew up in a racially diverse, but still technically rural area in a blue state and who comes from a racially diverse family. My experience isn’t representative of all working class whites, but its one part of the experience and its one that’s been hidden. And it has been hidden because I was silenced, not because I never tried to share it. If the way I’ve been treated by the left is any indication, we really owe the working classes a huge apology.

So what can you do? Stop perpetuating this myth and start talking to middle and upper class people. Start learning how to speak to the masses and start thinking and talking about what the left has to offer all working class people. Mobilize these people again. Educate them, take them in and give them positions of leadership within groups. Tell them what YOU plan to DO FOR THEM. It’s been a pretty long time since any of us thought about that.

Looking for a scapegoat helps no one right now, especially because you can’t determine who voted for Trump by what they look like. If you want this country to get better, start dealing with life outside the echo chamber and take some responsibility for educating and connecting others. No one can make you talk to people who are different from you and you are welcome to stay in your “safe space” if you choose to do so, but there are consequences to that decision and now we are facing them.

The left lost, and we lost big. In fact, we got our asses handed to us. And if it weren’t for the fact that I know its the people that didn’t vote for Trump and who are innocent and marginalized that will suffer, I would say we got exactly what we deserved. The days when we could purge people for lack of ideological purity, when we could dismiss anyone or demean anyone who disagrees with us, when we had the kind of power to guilt people by shouting at them, are OVER. GONE. FINISHED. Mourn them and then get your ass to work. We need all hands on deck. We need good people everywhere. We need clear eyes and open hearts to pull us out of this mess.

And the only way out of this is mess is to start being good to each other. To everyone. To people who you don’t know or don’t understand. To people you see who don’t make sense to you or who scare you. That’s hard fucking work. Not everyone will be able or willing to do it. But if you are, and you are down for the whole fucking team, no matter what, you know how to find me.

Fine, You’re ALL “Irredeemable.”

Writing

Oh Hilary.

I voted for her during the primaries in 2012 (and happily switched my vote to Obama when the time came). At the time I didn’t think her’s and Obama’s platform were that different and I thought she had a better shot of being effective. I was wrong. So when I got the chance to vote for a real democratic socialist (I’m not a Marxist you guys, at best I’m a moderate European style socialist, so Sanders was the closest I’ve gotten to vote for my ideals ever) I took it, expecting him to lose and to be working for the party, as I have for every election since I was 18, in the fall. I was ready to happily support Clinton. Then our shit show of a primary happened, the party disenfranchised and demobilized their own people and now I’m stuck trying to defend and support someone whose best claim to the office is just that she’s not Hitler. And I’ve been doing that job because I know that it’s innocent people who will be hurt by his presidency and not the rich party establishment. But some of Clinton’s supporters aren’t making my job any easier, so I’m asking you to help me, help you.
The most efficient way to start that would be for you guys to get some message discipline together and stop alienating people with your self righteousness and bigotry.

Which means you have to stop talking about “coal people.”

No more comments about how irredeemable half the country is.

No more alienating the left and telling them they can’t criticize her (if she can’t be criticized, she’s the fascist).

You don’t put an establishment candidate with a bad track record up against Hitler. You put a Saint up against him. And we had one and not only was he dismissed and treated poorly by the media, but his supporters were demobilized, suppressed, mocked and ridiculed. So now she has a situation where she has to earn people back who were voting for Sanders because of how good a person he is and she’s running around talking about how half of her opponents’ supporters (quarter of the country is how people heard that, btw) are irredeemable.

It’s her job to be the good guy this election and she’s gotten away with being pretty far from perfect. Frankly, if she weren’t up against Trump she’d have already been disqualified from several things she’s done this election, including the party’s suppression of their own people’s votes. And I say this as someone who is helping to register voters for her. I’m not Bernie or Bust but we can’t really afford these mistakes right now. We can’t afford to have her alienating people like this if she plans to be president, and if she can’t muster message discipline then she doesn’t deserve to be president anymore than he does.

But I also have a bigger issue with this  comment and I’ll explain why.

If half of Trump supporters are irredeemable because they are racist and sexist than more than half this country and some percentage of Hilary Clinton supporters (half? A quarter? You don’t want to know my estimate) are also irredeemable. Just because they say things in academic language doesn’t change the nature of what they say. A Black Democrat told me people like me didn’t need to go to college and it was Bill Clinton that instituted and carried most of the tough on crime polices that are leading to over incarceration and police brutality.

Who’s the bigger racist?

1) the old man sitting in a trailer park watching Fox News all day waiting to die on his meager Social Security payout while watching his children die from drug ods and poverty who says stuff like, “I hate n——” in that trailer.

OR

2) the real estate agent in the Bay Area who didn’t sell houses to black people in Palo Alto and who I’m sure was an incredibly nice person and usually a democrat who said things like, “oh, they just aren’t comfortable living next to black people.”

I think they are both about equally racist and equally disturbing and equally in need of education but one has more power to carry their racism out than other. And that’s how systemic racism works and frankly systemic racism, classism and sexism have all done far more damage to me and the kids I grew up with than the racists in Rio Linda. Those people we could just laugh at and ignore, not the case when it’s your principal who calls you trash and keeps you locked out of AP classes.

KKK violent level racists are rare and we all think they are abhorrent but “half” of Trump supporters don’t fall into that category anymore than the tech dudes who don’t hire black people but who won’t vote for Trump do. And even if they did, I’m about a hundred percent certain that with the right resources we could reform even the most virulently racist asshole in the bunch, but I can’t do that work and the rest of the anti-racists can’t do that work if we tell these people that they are “irredeemable.” Irredeemable means unteachable and inhumane and its just NOT acceptable for the next president of the United States to call half of her own citizens irredeemable in any context, but it’s especially not acceptable to scapegoat them for racism when she hasn’t exactly been and her supporters haven’t exactly been anti-racist champions. If they had the perfect high ground on that one then maybe it’d be ok but even then I’d tell them to stop because this is an election year and we can’t afford those kinds of mistakes when our opponent is Hitler. If it’s going to alienate a huge percentage of Americans and we don’t stand to benefit from doing it then I don’t know why we are doing it. It’s important to remember that most of these Trump supporters are somebody’s grandma or Dad. So even if you think their beliefs are truly abhorrent, there’s really no good reason to refer them as “irredeemable.”

There’s no room for error right now and she’s been given more room than just about any past candidate in living memory because frankly, she’s had enough scandals that would have taken out previous candidates. I mean, Gary Heart got disqualified for a picture of his mistress on his lap. I’ve had to push down my personal bar for candidates so far, I’m not even sure where it is anymore. We aren’t exactly a forgiving people about election scandals and she’s had a lot. And I suppose it’s better for society that we have been forgiving about that because our other option is Trump but it’s not something I’d point out to the average American if you want their help.

This is her job and this is also America where you get fired if you don’t do her job so I don’t want to (and no other working class person does either) wants to hear about how hard her job is. Obama, FDR, Carter, none of these people ever complained about having to do their job and they had pretty serious circumstances to work through. Real leaders don’t make excuses, they just do what has to be done. Real leaders educate.

Dealing with these people and educating the masses is part of her job, and if she can’t do it then I suggest they bring on someone to the campaign who can because they keep alienating working people with the stuff they say and we don’t have time for this.