A twitter summary of what Chris Arnade’s learned about life in working class American cities and towns:
1. If you don’t think many liberal & cosmopolitan circles are infused with contempt for uneducated whites, you are living a fantasy.
2. If you don’t think that the contempt is understood and felt by the working class whites you are also living in a fantasy world.
3. It is a contempt more fully realized because many liberals have entirely removed themselves from the working class. White & black!
4. Other than donations to inner city charities. Or panel discussions on the challenges of poverty.
5. Their personal life is entirely removed from realities of working class. They would rather eat bespoke insects than go to Applebee’s.
6. And before I get Yale-splained about visceral racism of working class. Look inward at the destructive racism & classism of the elites.
7. Remember we are a divided country: by race, class, education, geography, and meaning.
Chandler: Some have talked about the idea of a cultural pulling of the lever for Trump—how media and pop culture that are seen as mainstream have put forth liberal-seeming ideas with a sort of certainty, a style and cachet, that turned support of Trump into something countercultural, a revolutionary act. Does that make any sense to you?
Arnade: Sociologists call that “valid social capital.” The elites control the valid social capital—what’s cool and what’s not cool, the in club and the out club. Oh hell yeah! Part of Trump’s appeal is the fact that he isn’t supposed to be appealing. I met people who were voting for him because it wasn’t acceptable to vote for him. It was insiders versus the outsiders and it made them feel much more like, “Hey, I’m an outsider, [now] I’m part of a group. Now let’s go take this over.”
Chandler: Did you find yourself arguing back, “But Trump’s the ultimate insider! This is a guy who got a $14 million loan from his dad to start his first company.”
Arnade: You can’t do that because Hillary Clinton was also that person. And anything you said to point out that Trump was part of the establishment, they will rightfully point out that Hillary is more so. My God, she was the most insider there is. The only thing that kept her from being a complete insider is she was female, but otherwise, the Clintons have been in power since ’92.
Chandler: If the DNC asked you how to bring people like this back into the fold, what would you tell them?
Arnade: They’ve got to be a party of the working class again. All the working class. They’re a party of the black working class and that’s great. They’ve got to be a party of the working class and not bankers. Clinton’s convention was all about appealing to Republicans, bankers. They’ve got to step away from Wall Street and back to Main Street. I know it’s a cliche. They’ve got to remember their roots. They used to be about helping working-class people fight monopolies, fight corporate interests. Help them build unions, help them get pricing power from employment—that’s gone. I don’t know what Trump stands for, but also the Democrats…they’re the party of bankers and war. Hillary ran on a neoconservative platform that was more aggressive than George W. Bush’s. What do they offer working-class people?
- help working class people fight monopolies
- help working class people fight corporate interests
- help working class people build unions
- help working class people get pricing power from employment
- stop being the party of bankers
- stop being the party of war
Six is a serious stretch given W’s record versus Obama’s. If 1-5 are correct, it’s reasonable to speculate that Bernie Sanders would’ve done far better in the Rust Belt and carried the day.
Missing from Arnade’s, and nearly everyone’s post-election analysis, is any insight into this grossly overlooked question: Why is female academic achievement so much greater than male?