I am sick to death of hearing race obsessed, "Hope is Dead," New Deal/Great Society losers like Van Jones and John Harwood analyzing the gravity defying triumph of Donald Trump on Election Day as a regressive racial backlash by angry white voters against Barack Obama, America's first black president. I'm sick of hearing that white voters after making Obama the most powerful black man in world history (electing and reelecting him by large margins) suddenly sloughed off their "white guilt," regrew racist horns and went charging after him in the person of Hillary Clinton (Obama in white face and drag). I'm sick of hearing that white Americans fearing the rise of minorities and blacks and the loss of political and economic power did a 180 in November and elected Donald Trump-a "white racist supremacist billionaire" to "take back America" for them.
THE RACIST ELECTIONS THAT WEREN'T
But we've heard variations on this racism meme before. Indeed, in 2008 before the market crash decided the election for Obama and John McCain was topping him in the polls the Van Jones and Harwoods despaired that white America was still too racist (had made too little progress since Jim Crow) to elect a perfectly good and qualified black man president. But they were wrong. Obama won and won big collecting the most popular votes (69 million) of any presidential candidate in our history.
But come 2012 the Harwoods and Van Jones worried anew that the white electorate (who massively voted for Obama and change in 2008 wanting anyone but George Bush II) would backslide and turn against him because of race. For arising since the last election was the angry white tea party movement and birtherism "stirring racial passions" to reverse 2008 and end Obama's ruinous reign; this despite his "stella achievements" in the economy, ending a war, getting bin Laden and financial and healthcare reform. They said that though Obama saved our economy from a second Great Depression (which was bull), and it was better than what he inherited from Bush (which was true), they warned that the weak recovery was being exploited by a vast right-wing racist conspiracy to make Obama a one term president. But they were wrong again as Obama won a second though less impressive election that year.
THE RACIST ELECTION THAT WAS?
But now he lost, and in the most humiliating way. Campaigning hard for Hillary Obama pleaded with his base that "it would be a personal insult to my legacy [meaning him personally] if voters didn't back Hillary and elect her president." And the Harwoods and Van Jones are back with their anti-American analyses of an evil racial backlash to explain this undeserved insult to poor wounded defeated Obama. There reasoning goes something like this:
With the economy booming, unemployment under 5%, millions of new jobs created, low inflation and gas prices, and a record Dow at 19,000 reflecting great business success, only an upsurge of white bigotry, hatred and fear can explain the unlikely rise and victory of "white nationalist bigot" Donald Trump.
Indeed, across the internet I hear it said by grieving heartbroken Leftists that they were stupid, blind and too dismissive of Trump; that they made the mistake of treating him as a laughable joke who they couldn't respect and take seriously-even when he won the GOP nomination. Indeed, his nomination, they believed, meant an easy win for Hillary despite all her baggage, unlikability and sins. In short, Trump was an unelectable God send for them to elect Hillary.
Moreover, they blame themselves for being too complacent of all the underlying subtle racism still in the country. They were deceived or misled, they say, by Obama's eight years into forgetting our dark racist past, and how black and progressive success has always produced white male backlash and rage. They blame themselves for thinking that two terms of Obama meant that bigotry was practically dead; that citizens wearing suits, capable of holding a job and walking upright could also still be racists, religiously intolerant, misogynistic and homophobic. In short, they underestimated Trump and over estimated the progress that was made in ridding the country of racism. Indeed, they bemoan not giving enough heed to Black Lives Matter and its warning that racism was very much alive in this country institutionally and personally; and for ignoring the signs that were springing up everywhere (Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, etc.) they paid a heavy price on Election Day. Tears, tears.
THE RISE OF BERNIE SANDERS AND DONALD TRUMP
There's been a massive transfer of wealth from the 99% to the top 1%. We've got to bring that money back to working families.
But missing from this analysis is any explanation of Bernie Sanders whose millions of backers were mostly middle class whites (see). Was Bernie, the radical economic and social justice progressive, a racist for leading a mostly white populist movement of angry white voters wanting change? Wanting what eight long years of Obama and $trillions borrowed, spent and printed didn't do for them? They voted for Obama twice and in 2008 gave him margins of 10-20 points in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (the states that made Trump President); but his didn't work for them as promised. They felt forgotten, left out, betrayed; many of them had been Occupy Wall Streeters raging against the millionaires and billionaires that were prospering under Obama while their fortunes either stagnated or dwindled. And they rallied to Bernie because he too like Trump offered hope and change from Obama's massive failures.
IT'S ECONOMIC NATIONALISM AND ANTI-GLOBALISM, NOT RACISM STUPID
Indeed, underlying the rise of Sanders on the Left and Trump on the Right was essentially the same message of economic nationalism and anti-globalism, not racism. Put Americans first and the rest of the world last. Globalism was hurting all Americans; but these white Americans felt it more keenly due to the epic loss of factory and manufacturing jobs; and they had had enough. They were mad as hell and Sanders and Trump pledged to put a stop to it and make them economically secure and strong again. In other words, if the mostly white middle class Trump movement was racist then so was Bernie Sanders' counterpart. No. Obama's happy talk and phony statistics (denied by both Trump and Sanders) about his low growth, bad jobs, pro-Wall Street economy couldn't fool the millions of white Americans suffering from decline, uncertainty and loss of faith in the future. And the real economic stats bear this out.
THE CRISIS OF THE DISAPPEARING MIDDLE CLASS
Indeed, under Obama the "Crisis of the Disappearing Middle Class" which has been progressing for decades has accelerated and worsened:
GDP during the Obama years has been the worst of the last 11 Presidents (see):
Revised Obama GDP per quarter growth rate 2009 to
End of 2016:
30 years of decline in productivity and Obama’s non-recovery:
THIS IS WHAT DRIVES THE MOSTLY WHITE MIDDLE CLASS POPULISM BEHIND SANDERS AND TRUMP
THE VICTORY OF DONALD TRUMP IS A REMINDER OF THE INCREDIBLE, UNBEATABLE POWER OF ECONOMIC POPULISM IN AN ERA OF DECLINE
BERSERKO PROGRESSIVE LEFT PREDICTS TRUMP WILL WORSEN OBAMA’S WEALTH GAP, KILL THE MIDDLE CLASS AND CAUSE A GREAT DEPRESSION