As the sturm und drang finally begins to die down over last week's Presidential election, I've been reading some interesting reflections on it and what it's revealed.
The New York Times has two interesting articles. The first is headlined, 'The Two Americas of 2016'. It maps the 'Republican sea' and the 'Democratic islands' as different views of the USA. Here they are in thumbnail size:
Full-size images, and lots more details, are at the link.
In another article, the NYT notes that 'The Divide Between Red and Blue America Grew Even Deeper in 2016'. It provides maps of predominantly Democratic and Republican counties (i.e. where over 80% of votes were cast for either party) for elections going back to 1996. The results are sometimes startling. They clearly illustrate a growing red tint to the map as Republican voters come to dominate rural areas; but equally, the cities get 'bluer' as Democratic voters migrate there. I found this comparison of counties by race and political affiliation to be particularly interesting. Click the graphic for a larger view.
There are more graphics and information at the link. Both NYT articles are worth your time.
The above graphic raises an interesting (and worrying) question for the future of US politics. Will the Democratic Party 'give up' on white rural voters, seeing its future in cities and minority communities, and pander to the latter's interests exclusively? Will the Republican Party do likewise to its primary support base, and become the 'white party' of America? I think both moves would be very bad for the country as a whole, but politicians aren't noted for putting the country ahead of their party or their personal interests. If it'll help them get re-elected, and help their party to retain its grasp of at least some of the reins of power, they'll probably do it, no matter what 'it' may be.
On that subject, Slate published an article by its (black) chief political correspondent, titled simply 'White Won'. Here's an excerpt.
Pundits and observers will attribute Trump’s win to “populism” or his “anti-elite” message. This is nonsense. Trump ran for president as a nationalist fighter for white America. He promised to deport Hispanic immigrants. He promised to ban Muslims from the United States. He refused to acknowledge Barack Obama’s legitimacy, casting him—until the end—as a kind of usurper of rightful authority. When faced with the fetid swamps of white reaction—of white supremacists and white nationalists and anti-Semites—he winked, and they cheered in response. And for good reason.
More than anything, Trump promises a restoration of white authority. After eight years of a black president—after eight years in which cosmopolitan America asserted its power and its influence, eight years in which women leaned in and blacks declared that their lives mattered—millions of white Americans said enough. They had their fill of this world and wanted the old one back. And although it’s tempting to treat this as a function of some colorblind anti-elitism, that cannot explain the unity of white voters in this election. Trump didn’t just win working-class whites—he won the college-educated and the affluent. He even won young whites. Seventeen months after he announced his candidacy, millions of white Americans flocked to the ballot box to put Trump into the White House. And they did so as a white herrenvolk, racialized and radicalized by Trump.
. . .
Americans are stubbornly, congenitally optimistic. And the millions who backed Trump see something in his visage. Something that gives them hope. Here’s what I see. I see a man who empowered white nationalists and won. I see a man who demanded the removal of nonwhite immigrants and won. I see a man who pledged war crimes against foreign enemies and won. I see a man who empowers the likes of Rudy Giuliani and others who see blacks as potential criminals to control, not citizens to respect.
There's more at the link.
Let me say at once that I don't agree with the author; but let me also say that I accept his sincerity in writing those words. He really, truly believes what he's saying, even though I think it's completely false. For that reason, I'm not going to call him a liar. I will, however, observe that President-elect Trump and the Republican Party are going to have to address such perspectives with actions rather than words. It won't do them (or me, for that matter) any good to deny such views. Words are cheap. No, they're going to have to come up with concrete actions to persuade black voters, by example, that they're neither pro-white nor anti-black.
That may be difficult, because present federal and federally-sponsored entitlement programs appear to be largely set up to favor black city-dwellers. That's not a racist statement: it's empirically verifiable. Count up the dollars going to each entitlement or welfare program, and the size and scope of the bureaucracies that administer and support them, and draw your own conclusions. I strongly oppose continuing with such favoritism. I'd like to see welfare and entitlement programs modified to treat everyone alike, irrespective of race or location; and that must inevitably mean cutting back expenditure on 'favorites' in order to balance it across the whole population. That will inevitably be decried as 'racist', even though it's only restoring balance.
That friction is forecast in an article at the Federalist titled 'This Election Marks The End Of America’s Racial Détente'. Here's an excerpt.
Privilege theory and the concept of systemic racism dealt the death blow to the détente. In embracing these theories, minorities and progressives broke their essential rule, which was to not run around calling everyone a racist. As these theories took hold, every white person became a racist who must confess that racism and actively make amends. Yet if the white woman who teaches gender studies at Barnard with the Ben Shahn drawings in her office is a racist, what chance do the rest of us have?
Within the past few years, as privilege theory took hold, many whites began to think that no matter what they did they would be called racist, because, in fact, that was happening. Previously there were rules. They shifted at times, but if adhered to they largely protected one from the charge of racism. It’s like the Morrissey lyric: “is evil just something you are, or something you do.” Under the détente, racism was something you did; under privilege theory it is something you are.
That shift, from carefully directed accusations of racism for direct actions to more general charges of unconscious racism, took away the carrot for whites. Worse, it led to a defensiveness and feeling of victimization that make today’s whites in many ways much more tribal than they were 30 years ago. White people are constantly told to examine their whiteness, not to think of themselves as racially neutral. That they did, but the result was not introspection that led to reconciliation, it was a decision that white people have just as much right to think of themselves as a special interest group as anyone else.
More at the link.
I've had all too much personal experience of this 'privilege theory' nonsense as a pastor and prison chaplain. It's used to try to intimidate people like me; to make us so scared of being accused of racism that we'll knuckle under to even the most outrageous demands. I've even had my South African origins used against me. "You're a white South African. That means you're doubly racist!" To that, my answer has usually been short, not very sweet, and unprintable. I've shed my own blood in the fight against apartheid, which was far more racist, brutal and violent than anything seen in the USA for the past century or more. After experiencing that, if anyone wants to throw accusations of racism at me, I'll ram them back down their throat on the end of my boot - and laugh in their faces while I do it. Take your racist bull**** elsewhere, dumbass. It's not going to work with me.
Nevertheless, progressives and far-left agitators are throwing around accusations of racism as if they were candy. They're going to have to grow out of that, or risk permanently alienating the productive class in this country - the same productive class that largely voted for President-elect Trump. That could prove to be wildly counterproductive in years to come, because if Mr. Trump doesn't deliver what they voted for, they may well turn to more extreme politicians in the future. No-one in his right mind wants that.