But muh rainbow coalition of marginalized identities will smash the kyriarchy as we sprinkle magic diversity pixie dust over everyone and create a shiny liberal Starbucks utopia. Yesterday was 18 Brumaire CCXXV according to the French Republican calendar, by the way. Just a happy coincidence, I’m sure.
Left-liberal “progressives” did this to themselves. This is exactly what retreating into cultural (i.e., identity) politics, while abandoning class as the basis for a socially transformative coalition, gets you. If you make no attempt to appeal to workers qua workers, the Right will inevitably make inroads within that group. As they indeed have. So I don’t pity anyone who is seriously distraught by these results. Blame for Trump cannot be laid solely at the doorstep of “crackers” and hicks; he did significantly better among blacks and Latinos than Romney, his Republican predecessor.
Most anti-affirmative action shit is totally right-wing, so I will begin by saying that I in no way share the politics of most people who look to criticize it. But it’s ultimately a cosmetic measure, which creates a black and minority bourgeoisie and political elite (“black faces in high places,” etc.). When coupled with general economic stagnation and wage depression, growing income inequality and job loss, it’s a recipe for revanchist majoritarian backlash. Educated liberal elites expressed nothing but contempt for the working poor in flyover country, whom they vilified as “one reactionary mass” — i.e., a “basket of deplorables” — of ignorant racists.
In such an atmosphere, even the slightest overture to the working class was bound to resonate enormously. Here, of course, the appeal was made using xenophobic and hateful rhetoric, exploiting longstanding racial divisions and capitalizing on deeply-felt anxieties. Plus, the lack of any appeal to the working class by the Democrats also meant that poor minorities were not energized to vote for them. Smug, latte-sipping liberals just rested on their laurels, secure in their belief that victory was assured by simple demographic shifts. All this while offering nothing to working blacks or Latinos, and promising continued war on those parts of the globe from which the refugee crisis first arose.
Feeling bad for my all my comrades in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Arizona, and North Carolina right now, who will inevitably be blamed for God-Emperor Trump. This dramatic defeat really can’t be chalked up to swing state voters, however. Her fate was sealed the moment she was nominated in August. Clinton’s campaign had the air of a coronation from the start, despite almost losing her predestined status as party nominee to a rambling old man (and self-proclaimed socialist) who no one even heard of before summer 2015. Now it was #HerTurn; the DNC saw to that.
Not gonna lie: the Schadenfreude of watching all the Hillary supporters crying at her planned celebration party was pretty exhilarating. It almost approached the Kantian dynamic sublime, in the strict sense of the term — tfw there are forces swirling all around you that could crush you like a bug, but you’re suspended in it, and can feel its awesome majesty. Seeing her long-held presidential ambitions crushed by a blithering buffoon who resembles a Cheeto felt like a morbid, dizzying, asymptotic ascent. Fucking hilarious. Peals of laughter before the void.
Wonder if we will see any buyer’s remorse from the members of the International Socialist Organization who voted in favor of Jill Stein’s mystic healing crystals. Such Wednesday-morning electioneering is misplaced, however, as she wasn’t even a rounding error in many of the places that Trump won. And Johnson siphoned off more Republican votes from Trump than Stein took Democratic voters away from Clinton, anyhow. Democrats still haven’t exorcised the ghost of Nader from 2000, and are still trying find any excuse not to look themselves in the mirror.
Van Jones even continued to whip up McCarthyite paranoia late last night with his suggestion that Putin somehow rigged the election. Trump is just a Russian puppet or stooge, Van Jones insisted, a Manchurian candidate. He was the opponent the Democrats wanted from the start, though. They used all their media contacts to cynically promote Trump’s “Pied Piper” candidacy, fanning the flames of hate, so that Americans could wake up the next morning the day after the election congratulating themselves that as awful as Hillary was, at least that guy wasn’t going to be president.
Well guess what… You reap what you sow.
Regardless, any effort to organize moving forward will have to resist the temptation to rebuild from within the Democratic Party, which for more than fifty years has been called, with some justice, “the graveyard of all social movements.” The biggest obstacle to real political organization in the United States since the Depression has always been the Democrats.
I close with these immortal lines from Marx and Engels:
Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention. They must not be led astray by the empty phrases of the democrats, who will maintain that the workers’ candidates will split the democratic party and offer the forces of reaction the chance of victory. All such talk means, in the final analysis, that the proletariat is to be swindled. The progress which the proletarian party will make by operating independently in this way is infinitely more important than the disadvantages resulting from the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body.
Regardless of last night’s outcome, I would have posted this last excerpt.
Addendum: My friend Spencer Sunshine posted this note about the “spontaneous” protest marches that have materialized in reaction to Trump’s election. He’s pretty much spot on:
I can’t believe people are holding demonstrations today. What in the world is the point? Trump won. Now is the time to establish emergency response structures for racist and state attacks, and plans for what to do if Trump actually tries to round up Muslims and undocumented people. Get real.
Holding demonstrations today just shows that the left is not a political movement which aims to change society, but is essentially a narcissistic self-help movement projected into the social realm.
If there are to be any demonstrations held today, they should be demonstrations against the Democratic Party. Proposing outright secession and withdrawal from it and the creation of revolutionary mass workers’ party. Anything else is just hysterical liberalism. You know most of these people wouldn’t be out on the streets if Clinton had won.
Judith Butler predictably offered up the academic counterpart to the activist response of scandalized liberals. Someone in a group I’m in posted the following excerpt from Butler’s “Statement,” published earlier this morning on the e-flux website:
The word “devastation” doesn’t come close to the widespread feeling of the moment among those I know… Who is this angry and nullifying public who would rather be ruled by a mad man than a woman? Who is this angry and nihilistic public who blames the devastations of neoliberalism and deregulated capitalism on the Democratic Party candidate?
Presumably the same public that saw her husband pass NAFTA and repeal Glass-Steagall, with her outspoken approval and support. The same public that then saw her go on to praise the TPP as “the gold standard” of trade treaties. Anyway, I digress. Butler continues:
We have to think now about populism, right and left, and misogyny — how deep it really goes. For better or worse, Hillary is identified with establishment politics. But what should not be underestimated is the deep-seated rage and anger against Hillary, partially the result of a rank misogyny and the revulsion against Obama, fueled by long simmering racism. Trump has unleashed pent up anger against feminists, figured as censorious police, against multiculturalism, viewed as a threat to white privileges.
Chalking widespread dissatisfaction with the Obama administration up to racism, pure and simple, is clearly mistaken. The rustbelt and sunbelt voters who swept Trump into office last night are many of the same who helped elect Obama eight years ago. If these people were all irredeemable racists, they would have never voted for a black president. Many of them did so twice. Attributing the public’s antipathy toward Hillary to sexism ignores that women didn’t turn out in big numbers to support her. Fifty-three percent of white women voted for Trump.
Democratic pundits never even entertained the idea that the rejection of Hillary might have had something to do with her politics, rather than the fact she’s a woman. Was the only reason that Thatcher was so reviled due to her gender?