The hour approaches when a "made for tv" demagogue who courts white supremacists and nationalists assumes the role of President of the United States. I am heartened by the rising spirit of resistance both to Trumpism and to the right-wing agenda his election has unleashed. Today’s counter-inaugural events and Saturday’s Women’s Marches give me a sense of hope that our movements will go forward, grow stronger, and ultimately, prevail. Still, I cannot shake off a certain sense of impending doom.
1. Fear of a Black President, and what would follow, if we ‘extended’ the Obama years. Larry Wilmore, on his sadly now defunct late night show, was really onto something when he called this election the ‘unBlackening.’ Trump and his operatives asked: what’s next? A predominantly POC Senate? How would whites maintain their natural place in the racial hierarchy if we keep letting black and brown people take positions of national leadership?
In Part 1 we looked at the contingent factors at play in the election. Here we focus on the structural factors, within which we can better locate the contingencies. Addressing these factors, over time, is the strategic challenge we face in the next four to eight years. They are:
Much of the immediate responses to this election are focused on contingent factors—those extraordinary events and trends that help illuminate the outcomes, such as, FBI Director Comey’s 11th hour intervention and the role of Russian hackers. In isolation, these don’t necessarily tell us a lot about where to go from here. For that, we need to relate these contingencies to a larger, structural factors at play in the election (which we do in Part 2).
Much as been said about the gulf between ‘white working class’ and rural voters, on the one hand, and black inner-city non-voters, on the other. These are two very disparate groups. But, electorally, they may have something in common in their shared disdain for the political establishment. Consider these two vignettes, both in the New York Times. The first is from Eastern Kentucky, a few weeks before the election. The second is from Milwaukee, WI just days after the election.
Rarely do we get such a clear demonstration of competing narratives in politics as we’ve seen in this national election. The pro-corporate narrative is taking a beating, but it is not down yet; after all, the prevailing notion that there is no alternative still holds sway. Still, corporatists in both parties are under fire from populists across the spectrum.
Licenced by Creative Commons. The documents on this site are free for all to use noncommercially, with attribution. In addition to giving us credit when you use or reproduce our materials, we also ask that you let us know how you are using them.