Monday, November 14, 2016

Marshall Auerback — It’s Class, Stupid, Not Race

To be sure, Donald Trump did make a strong appeal to racists, homophobes, and misogynists and whilst his GOP colleagues publicly recoiled in horror, there is no question that Trump was merely making explicit what Republicans had been doing for decades – since the days of Nixon in 1968. The dog whistle was merely replaced by a bull horn.
But that alone doesn’t explain Trump’s success. As I wrote in an earlier analysis of the Trump phenomenon, he became the voice for an increasing number of Americans, who counted themselves amongst the biggest losers of globalization and free trade. In most elections, U.S. politicians of both parties pretend to be concerned about their issues, then conveniently ignore them when they reach power and implement policies from the same Washington Consensus that has dominated the past 40 years. That’s why so many Americans have simply stopped voting (and this year was no different, as it looks like a mere 57.9% of the voter eligible population turned out). And perhaps Trump is a faux populist, who is merely deploying bait and switch tactics, but he explicitly addressed his campaign to those who have been marginalized by the neo-liberal policies dominant in both parties.…
The establishment, especially the Democratic Party establishment, keeps enforcing what divides people rather than what unites people by embracing identity politics and ignoring class. Yes, a huge majority of women were offended by Trump’s “locker room talk”, but a large chunk still voted for him, and larger numbers of Hispanics voted for Trump than Romney. Doesn’t that suggest that identity politics has reached some sort of limit? Why not find common ground on the issue of class?…
The real issue is class power and class privilege.  Class power and class privilege arise from social status and the networking based on it that gets amplified and stratified by wealth.

America has become a plutonomous oligarchy that won't change much without campaign finance reform, ending corporate lobbying, and locking the revolving door. This is, take way the tools of class power and privilege that enable government capture.
It is true that this process is likely to be resisted by the donor class and it may well take another financial crisis before their power is fully broken. Voters crave effective action to reverse long term economic decline and runaway economic inequality, but nothing on the scale required will be offered to them by either of America’s money-driven major parties. This is likely only to accelerate the disintegration of the political system and economic system until the elephant in the room – class – is honestly and comprehensively addressed.
It’s Class, Stupid, Not Race
Marshall Auerback

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