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Politics

What the College-Admissions Scandal Reveals – The Atlantic

But what accounted for the intensity of emotion these parents expressed, their sense of a profound loss, of rage at being robbed of what they believed was rightfully theirs? They were experiencing the same response to a changing America that ultimately brought Donald Trump to office: white displacement and a revised social contract. The collapse of manufacturing jobs has been to poor whites what the elite college-admissions crunch has been to wealthy ones: a smaller and smaller slice of pie for people who were used to having the fattest piece of all.

What the College-Admissions Scandal Reveals – The Atlantic

An excellent and thought provoking read.

Categories
Music Politics

Unmarked

In addition to being one of my favorite Yaz tunes:

I discovered today that it’s also a sociology term

Sociologists have a very useful concept: the unmarked category.  An unmarked category is present when the category is considered so normal or ordinary in a particular context that it goes unnoticed.  The category is the default setting in regard to social expectations, and it in a sense remains invisible precisely because it’s so dominant.  Being black in Boulder is a marked category, which means (white) people won’t see a man picking up trash, they’ll see a black man picking up trash.  They see something, so they say something.

For example, if you had asked a lawyer in 1960 to name three characteristics that every current Supreme Court justice shared, it’s very likely the lawyer would not have mentioned either race or gender.  In other words, we notice characteristics we don’t expect to see much more than characteristics we assume will be present.  (The typical NBA fan will probably not notice the race of the players on the court if they’re all black, but would be almost 100% certain to notice if all, or even a large majority, of the players were white).

What “identity politics,” so-called, has done is to slowly and painfully and partially transform being a white man in America into a marked category.  And makes a lot of the people who have become white men rather than members of society’s invisible default category very uncomfortable.  And when people get very uncomfortable, they often get mad at whoever they blame for making them feel that way.  And then they vote for Donald Trump.

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2019/03/marking-unmarked-category

(LGM is a superb blog and you should read it daily)

Categories
Politics

The power of rage

The plain fact of the matter is that for a lot of Americans, life simply sucks and isn’t getting better.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-warren-2020-presidential-run-beto-biden-bernie_us_5c2a9683e4b08aaf7a93090f?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067&ec_carp=2982874089032511906

An interesting and worthwhile read, found via LGM.

Categories
Politics

Economic Distress Did Drive Trump’s Win

Economic Distress Did Drive Trump’s Win
By Thomas Ferguson, Benjamin Page, Jacob E. Rothschild, Arturo Chang, and Jie Chen

OCT 31, 2018 | INSTITUTIONS, POLICY & POLITICS

Contrary to the dominant media narrative, social issues like racism and sexism on their own can’t explain Trump’s success.
Donald Trump’s election in 2016 as president of the United States can be taken as a striking example of the rise of right-wing populism around the world.

Scholars and others have debated what the roots of that populism are among mass publics. For example, did voters in the United States respond chiefly to social anxieties—racism, xenophobia, sexism? Or mainly to economic distress—lost jobs, stagnant wages, home foreclosures, health care crises, student loan debt, and the like?

Most analysts have concluded that social anxieties overwhelmingly predominated. They argue that the story is simple: Trump was elected by “deplorables,” fueled by racial resentment, sexism, and fear or dislike of immigrants from abroad. Economics, they say, made little or no difference. This story has been repeated so often in many parts of the mass media that it has hardened into a kind of “common sense” narrative.

Our new paper shows that this view is mistaken. The picture is considerably more complicated. Social anxieties certainly did play an important part in Trump’s victories—particularly in the 2016 Republican primaries, where many voters were indeed motivated by resentments related to race, ethnicity, immigration, and gender. Social issues were important in the general election as well. But upon careful examination of several types of data, the real picture looks considerably more complicated.

Economic factors mattered at both stages.

Interesting. Also covered here by NC.

via Economic Distress Did Drive Trump’s Win

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Politics Uncategorized

The Empty Core of the Trump Mystique | The New Republic

Another pertinent factor is envy, a basic human emotion that rising social inequality can only exacerbate. To put it in cruder terms: “The world sucks for me, so I am going to make it suck for you too. I have lost my job, my status as a white male, and may even lose my gun. So you, my smug, privileged friend, are going to lose your civil liberties, your faith in social progress, your endangered species, your affirmative action, your reproductive freedom, your international alliances, your ‘wonderful’ exchange student from Syria.”

A stellar and thought-provoking essay.

via The Empty Core of the Trump Mystique | The New Republic

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Politics Uncategorized

The Cruelty Is the Point – The Atlantic

Trump’s only true skill is the con, his only fundamental belief is that the United States is the birthright of straight, white, Christian men, and his only real, authentic pleasure is in cruelty. It is that cruelty, and the delight it brings them, that binds his most ardent supporters to him, in shared scorn for those they hate and fear: immigrants, black voters, feminists, and treasonous white men who empathize with any of those who would steal their birthright. The president’s ability to execute that cruelty through word and deed makes them euphoric. It makes them feel good, it makes them feel proud, it makes them feel happy, it makes them feel united. And as long as he makes them feel that way, they will let him get away with anything, no matter what it costs them.

Read the whole thing. I don’t want to devolve into another rant-y political blog, but this is worth sharing.

via The Cruelty Is the Point – The Atlantic

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Politics Uncategorized

White threat in a browning America – Vox

White voters who feel they are losing a historical hold on power are reacting to something real. For the bulk of American history, you couldn’t win the presidency without winning a majority — usually an overwhelming majority — of the white vote. Though this changed before Obama (Bill Clinton won slightly less of the white vote than his Republican challengers), the election of an African-American president leading a young, multiracial coalition made the transition stark and threatening.

This is the crucial context for Trump’s rise, and it’s why Tesler has little patience for those who treat Trump as an invader in the Republican Party. In a field of Republicans who were trying to change the party to appeal to a rising Hispanic electorate, Trump was alone in speaking to Republican voters who didn’t want the party to remake itself, who wanted to be told that a wall could be built and things could go back to the way they were.

“Trump met the party where it was rather than trying to change it,“ Tesler says. “He was hunting where the ducks were.”

via Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and the war over change – Vox

Categories
Politics

Can liberals please work out how to win back the working class? | Thomas Frank | Opinion | The Guardian

For all their cunning, Republicans are a known quantity. Their motives are simple: they will do anything, say anything, profess faith in anything to get tax cuts, deregulation and a little help keeping workers in line. Nothing else is sacred to them. Rules, norms, traditions, deficits, the Bible, the constitution, whatever. They don’t care, and in this they have proven utterly predictable.

via Can liberals please work out how to win back the working class? | Thomas Frank | Opinion | The Guardian

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Politics Uncategorized

That sinking feeling – Charlie’s Diary

Most likely the crisis will end with the UK crashing back into the EU, or at least into Customs Union and statutory convergence—but on EU maximalist terms with none of the opt-outs negotiated by previous British governments from Thatcher onwards. The negotiating position will most likely resemble that of Greece in 2011-2015, i.e. a vastly weaker supplicant in a state of crisis and near-collapse, and the British economy will take a generation to recover—if it ever manages to.

(This is, by the way, not the worst scenario I can envisage. The worst case is that the catastrophic collapse of the world’s sixth largest trading economy, combined with a POTUS whose understanding of economics is approximately as deep as that of Louis XVI, will lead to a global financial crisis on the scale of 2007-08—but without leadership as credible as, say, George W. Bush and/or Gordon Brown to pull our collective nuts out of the fire. In which case we’re looking at a global banking collapse, widespread famine due to those crop shortages, and a wave of revolutions the like of which the planet hasn’t seen since 1917-18. But hopefully that won’t happen, right? Because only a maniac would want to burn everything down in order to provide elbow room for a new white supremacist ethnostate world order. Oops, that would be Steve Bannon.)

I really, really hope that this grim take is wrong, but NC’s take is pretty similar. Theresa May really does seem like a simpering dolt, and the human cost will be enormous.

via That sinking feeling – Charlie’s Diary

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Politics Uncategorized

The Remaking of Class | The New Republicp

It suggests that there have always been many Americans for whom class is no mystery at all, but a very practical project of self-advancement and self-defense.

via The Remaking of Class | The New Republic

Well worth your time to read.