Friday, November 04, 2016

David Atkins on economics and bigotry in politics

David Atkins has a helpful summary and brief analysis of the class-vs-identity argument over what is motivating Trump voters, Racism Alone Doesn’t Explain Trump’s Support, Which Also Reflects Economic Anxiety The American Prospect 11/04/2016. He touches on the insight that defenders of the One Percent have about the implications of the analysis:

If Trump owes his support just to a last gasp of angry white male privilege, then Trump’s unorthodox economic positions can safely be ignored as irrelevant. More importantly, his base can be politically shrugged off as the freak-out of an empowered but shrinking demographic that is losing its privilege in a rapidly diversifying electorate. The Republican Party will confront and defeat the racism of its older base by promoting economically orthodox, younger “reformicons,” and Democrats can comfortably remain the center-left party of college-educated professionals, single women, and minorities, with a greater focus on identity-conscious than on class-conscious politics.

But if economic grievances are core to Trump’s rise, then GOP candidates will be forced to shift further away from the desires of their big donors and toward more protectionist and anti-Wall Street policies. For their part, Democrats will need to take account of not only the rising economic populism of Sanders-supporting millennials, but the relevantly similar policy preferences of conservative-leaning independents who backed Trump over more staid, corporate-friendly choices like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
As I like to say on this dispute, it's important for people who want to understand what's going on to be able to walk and talk at the same time. And that's what Atkins is trying to do in this piece.

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