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Hullabaloo


Monday, March 20, 2017

 
Compassion for deplorables?

by digby



























Frank Rich makes a controversial point in this piece but I'm not convinced he isn't right:
While many, if not most, of those in #TheResistance of the Democratic base remain furious at these voters, the party’s political class and the liberal media Establishment are making a concerted effort to convert that rage into empathy. “Democrats Hold Lessons on How to Talk to Real People” was the headline of a Politico account of the postelection retreat of the party’s senators, who had convened in the pointedly un-Brooklyn redoubt of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Democrats must heed the rural white enclaves, repeatedly instructs the former Pennsylvania governor and MSNBC regular Ed Rendell. Nicholas Kristof has pleaded with his readers to understand that “Trump voters are not the enemy,” a theme shared by the anti-Trump conservative David Brooks. “We’re Driving to the Inauguration With a Trump Supporter” was the “Kumbaya”-tinged teaser on the Times’ mobile app for a roundup of on-the-ground chronicles of these exotic folk invading Washington. Even before Trump’s victory, commentators were poring through fortuitously timed books like Nancy Isenberg’s sociocultural history White Trash and J. D. Vance’s memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, seeking to comprehend and perhaps find common ground with the Trumpentariat. As measured by book sales and his appeal to much the same NPR-ish audience, Vance has become his people’s explainer-in-chief, the Ta-Nehisi Coates, if you will, of White Lives Matter.

The outbreak of Hillbilly Chic among liberals is an inverted bookend to Radical Chic, the indelible rubric attached by Tom Wolfe in 1970 (in this magazine) to white elites in Manhattan then fawning over black militants. In both cases, the spectacle of liberals doting on a hostile Other can come off like self-righteous slumming. But for those of us who want to ring down the curtain on the Trump era as quickly as possible, this pandering to his voters raises a more immediate and practical concern: Is it a worthwhile political tactic that will actually help reverse Republican rule? Or is it another counterproductive detour into liberal guilt, self-flagellation, and political correctness of the sort that helped blind Democrats to the gravity of the Trump threat in the first place?

I don't know. But I do know that as a citizen and a woman I remain deeply, deeply offended by Trump's voters and the way they behaved during the campaign. I find it hard to see why their economic anxiety, if they really have it, excuses the despicable, gross way they acted and the way they cheered that twisted piece of work we call a president. It was indecent.

I'm all for policies that will help those people economically. I always have been. Far more, by the way, than the libertarians and the conservatives have ever been. I would never vote against the economic interests of the working class. But I don't think I have an obligation to give them a pass for their deplorable beliefs at the same time. Everyone has certain lines they cannot cross. Coddling racist, misogynist, xenophobes is my line. They are not children. They are adults who have agency.

As far as electoral strategy, this is how I feel about that.


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