Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Racism, the election and more

After writing on Venezuela last week, Trump suggested that the US might intervene there. And then the predictable happened, violence and death ensued... in the US. I don't have much to say about what happened in Charlottesville. It is worth noting that even though the city and the University of Virginia are relatively progressive places these days, they do have a long history that ties them to slavery and white supremacy (see this on NPR; h/t URPE blog).*

At any rate, it's not surprise that Trump didn't condemn his base (and yes the racist voted for him; but as I noticed before 1964 those votes went mostly to Democrats). He certainly is more explicit than previous Republicans going beyond racist dog whistle  politics. I would insist that racism is not the main reason why he won the election, and that a left wing populist right have won.

The topic is still relevant (even in the middle of the violence and crazy confrontation with North Korea; btw, this is a must read for those interested on the history of US-Korea relations), since the lessons of the defeat are important to preclude 8 years of this madness. So this piece in the NYTimes shows that Obama-Trump voters, meaning voted for Obama in 2012 and for Trump in 2016, are real.

As the authors says, echoing what I said here a while ago:
... the national vote doesn’t count, and Mrs. Clinton is not the president. She lost primarily because of the narrow but deep swing among white working-class voters who were overrepresented in decisive battleground states.
The interesting twist is that racism did play a role in the flip from Obama to Trump, at least more than I thought it did by looking at the Rust Belt alone. The piece says:
... racial resentment is the strongest predictor of the Obama-Trump vote in this survey data. White, working-class Obama voters with racially conservative views were very likely to flip to the Republicans.
Note that not all the 'rednecks' in the Rust Belt are racists though. There is an interesting piece on the redneck revolt here.

* It's also the home of the Virginia School, or the Public Choice School of Buchanan (briefly discussed here), that has been the subject of a new book that generated some controversy in economics circles. I'll have more to say about the book later, once I'm done reading it.

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