Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Election 2016 Fallout Part 2: On Gaslighting

(2)  On gaslighting.

Goddamn the gaslighting going on right now. It has come from all corners but here's where it hurts. If you're looking for insight into many minorities' and feminists' lack of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders and socialist movements in general, look no further than his comment three days before the general election:

Alright, because I know it's coming and is related to the gaslighting, let's get one notion out of the way: I know some Berners believe he would have beaten Trump handily in a general election. I have serious doubts.

So you can cite the early polls showing that Sanders would have beaten Trump (as they showed Clinton beating Trump). And then let's all remember how inaccurate the polls proved to be once real life happened.  Professional pollsters are currently stumped as to explanations. I really doubt a Bernie Bro who can't let go of the fact that his guy other than attributing it entirely to rigging has it All Figured Out (oh right, Bernie Math).

Two, Bernie was barely vetted by the media during the primaries, certainly as compared to Clinton, who has been vetted on the national stage for decades. Clinton herself barely went after him in the primaries so as to not alienate his fans. To think that Trump would have kept the kid gloves on when he was already throwing out a "Crazy Bernie" moniker is not reality-based.

Then there's that pesky fact that the literal KKK, neo-nazis, and even less explicitly-racist and anti-semitic whites support Trump. I suppose when a candidate doesn't believe bigotry is a big problem among the white working class, it's easy for him to discount the impact that bigotry might have on his chances.

Yet, Trump voters support him in part because they loathe the notion of "their" tax dollars going to, what they deem, "lazy minorities." So, if you tell me that significant numbers of the white working class would have voted for a Jewish socialist to make America great through the redistribution of (their) wealth ("to minorities") I would tell you that you probably haven't spent significant amounts of time among the white working class.

And I would say the same if you tried to tell me that white working class Trump voters would be on board with Black Lives Matter, pro-choice activism, equal pay for women, military opposition, anti-prison, pro-immigration, and tolerance of non-Christian religions if we just make these white people feel heard.

So, which issues get prioritized?

With the advice coming from the left and right that we all just need to empathize more with (white, male, aggrieved) working class folks, I think we know the answer to that.

And so I contend, if Sanders can't or won't acknowledge the racism and sexism among Trump supporters, he was never the right person for the job. People didn't vote for Trump in spite of his racism and sexism. Many voted for him because of it.

Why do I think this? Because we all have bigotries and biases and it takes continual work to examine that. I think that is especially true when people live in mostly-white enclaves who have little contact with people different from themselves. The solution is not to pretend that these bigotries don't exist. It's to acknowledge and confront these bigotries.

To quote Flavia: "The revolution will be intersectional or it will be bullshit." And in under no circumstances will it be had via socialist "class is the real struggle" gaslighting.

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