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Speaker: No, there isn’t a popular uprising of the white working class against the status quo

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  • Kumara Republic,

    If it's not a working-class revolt, then it could be that America's middle class is fearing for its very existence.

    It's also safe to say that Hillary Clinton's loss is a knockout blow for the Third Way doctrine held dear by the Blue Dog Democrat and New Labour element. They have the cheek to shift the blame for their parties abandoning the working class, but when Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn openly want to reconnect with it, the Third Wayists deride them as museum pieces.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Joshua Arbury,

    There are obviously lots of parallels between this and Brexit. They are characterised as people voting for "change" but in my mind they are actually voting against change - they want to turn back the clock.

    The most important word in Trump's slogan was "again". A profound desire to return to the past. This is the combination of many different fears about how the world is changing:

    - Ethnic changes
    - Cultural liberalism
    - Loss of decent "blue collar" jobs to overseas or to technology

    This new political divide of nostalgism/progressivism plays out in ways that cross current party and political lines. It's why Labour loses votes to NZ First, it's the fundamental argument behind whether people are happy for Auckland to grow.

    I'm terms of the "median voter" theory, thankfully NZ is far less culturally divided than the US. So I think it's still relevant. But so is having inspirational leadership. How many of those 6 million Obama voters who didn't vote for Hillary made their choice because she just didn't inspire them?

    Auckland • Since May 2009 • 236 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joshua Arbury,

    it's the fundamental argument behind whether people are happy for Auckland to grow

    So true. Those 1950s children who want their cosy coastal villages to continue forever.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Clinton's policies would've been of huge benefit to the white working class in the US. Trump's will be a disaster.

    You say Democrats should support unions and collective agreements, they already do, especially in the states they control, high minimum wages, good working conditions, decent hours, collective bargaining, all of it, but they can't force that on Republican controlled states, where the media play blames it on Washington elites and nefarious Asians rather than their own ruinous Republican state government policies.

    What I see repeated, from the soft US left, is that they didn't trust Clinton. They thought she wouldn't really do the things to help them that she has always done to help them, and that her policies would really just help out the wealthy bankers instead. Trump hammering on about the "criminal" emails, as the wikileaks emails detailed campaign finance bargaining. After Bernie ranted about it because his campaign fucked up their own finance applications. That's why they didn't vote. The news, even the FBI, said she was a crook, a patsy for the elite, and maybe there was something in that, so they stayed home.

    They didn't block Bernie. He got in, and he lost. He was even less popular with the Democrat base, even in those swing states. They picked the best candidates they had, and Hilary was the best of them. The attacks on her resonated with Democrats, maybe because eight years of hope with Obama just didn't really come true.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Joshua Arbury,

    because she just didn’t inspire them?

    yeah well you could pick holes in that reasoning till Beelzebub resorts to reggae
    Umm maybe they should dial back the spittle a little
    The US is headed for failed state of the century so far, and its only going to be the people that will turn that around. so they better start finding that inspiration they want, or is it need
    If they can ...

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I've seen too many leftists signing up to hate Hillary. Lies and mud and unsubstantiated innuendo from left right and centre (that's you, New York Times.) It's hard to explain but she pisses a lot of people off.
    More than that: I don't think she ever really "got it" about the big changes needed to create an economy that worked for most people rahter than the people with the most.
    So enthusiasm gap yeah.
    The most cogent analysis I've seen was from before the election - an article someone posted about how Trump's lies felt as if they came from true emotions. Hillary can feel emotionally inauthentic. (I suspect part of it is feeling self conscious.)
    Another factor that seems to come up is how in this "post media" world people can find all sorts of confirmation of just about anything. We feel an emotion and then we find stuff to confirm that emotion and we believe it - because it feels emotionally true.
    I think this helps to explain the remarkable variety and persistence of conspiracy theories out there right now. People feel powerless. A conspiracy - it's all rigged - is a way to explain and confirm that feeling. You don't like Hillary. You explain by insisting she's a criminal who can't be trusted because the emails.
    What we don't have on either side of politics right now are compelling stories that explain where we're at and how we can get somewhere better. So we get revanchist dreaming and scapegoating - its the Mexicans or the 1%; both sides turn on "the mainstream media".

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Cornford, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    It's undoubtedly correct that a Managerialist 3rd way left is dead, and that's partly due to not really standing for anything, but largely because it took for granted so many left behind by a globalisation it embraced.
    However, so is comfort blanket of big state old left socialism. The idea that Corbyn is or can ever connect with the working class voters Labour has lost is a joke. He's leading Labour to an utter catastrophe and the best it can hope for is to avoid oblivion. The surge in membership from the activist classes just hides the extent to which its completely out of touch with the electorate.
    I suspect had people got their wish and Sanders had run they'd discover the same thing. The idea he'd have easily defeated Trump seems largely based on a few polls from months ago.
    I'd like to know what exactly 'talking to the base' means as if it's not prepared to re-engage with a significant section of the electorate that think it has nothing to say and nothing to offer, it's a waste of time.
    Sadly the activist left shows no inclination it needs to question its own self righteous or theories, and even less inclination it has any interest in listening to or engaging with anyone who may disagree or not already see the world exactly as they do. They appear to remain convinced that lecturing people from a position of their own certainty and shouting down any dissent will herald an era of social justice if only everyone else would shut up and get on board.
    From a perspective of winning power and affecting change things aren't getting better for the Left any time soon.

    Wellington • Since May 2016 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    While all of the stats about the white middle-cass are 'true' - the $50+K earnings and so on, I do think this needs to parsed a bit more carefully.

    2008 was the year the economy nearly went full Mad Max. Obama was elected, in 2008, specifically on a campaign of 'hope', and 'change'. Obviously, the economy tanking is not his fault, and, yes, he spent much of both terms completely hamstrung. However, the fact remains that there's this inescapable contrast between what was promised, and what was actually provided.

    Since 2008, wages have stagnated across the board. At the same time, the cost of the big things that this wage group assumes should be within it's reach if they work hard enough has gone up - the cost of healthcare, mortgages, sending their kids to college, etc. Plus they watched the value of their retirement funds tank. Plus the cost of all the little stuff has risen, too: gas, groceries, and so on.

    So with their wages stagnant, this effectively means they've fallen. For eight straight years.

    So nothing really changed, except to get worse.

    Then a straight either/or choice is provided between a candidate who is basically the distilled essence of The Establishment (who as far as you can see dropped you in this shit, and don't have anything to offer except more of the same), and an outsider who promises to shake things up.

    If you're a non-diehard, inclined-to-swing voter, who doesn't follow evey tiny cut-and-thrust of politics too closely, and whose underlying assumption is that you're in the middle, the middle remains static and always has done, and you just choose which side of the line to stand on, and if as a consequence you don't really hear about, or understand, the neo-fascist undertones, or the potential implications of everything else he's said (which is quite a large chunk of normal people), then in your straight either/or choice, Trump is going to look pretty attractive.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    I think Clinton lost because she and her spouse really are crooks and voters were reminded of this with the FBI stuff at the end, and a few hundred thousand Democratic women thought "nah, I''m not going to be told I have to vote for this crook as some sort of feminist exercise, especially as she is only where she is because of her dodgy husband."

    No idea if this is right but the point is Clinton lost because of what a few hundred thousand people decided in the last few days not because of some global megatrend.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    No idea if this is right but the point is Clinton lost because of what a few hundred thousand people decided in the last few days not because of some global megatrend.

    There’s a lot of truth to this. It was close. Coulda’ gone the other way. Shame it didn’t, because the stakes were really fucking high.

    My question is this: why was it close? This was, in so many ways, the dream election that the left desperately wanted to fight. Clinton was going to be the first woman president! Bernie dragged her to the left! She had Beyonce and Michelle Obama backing her! And her opponent was Trump. A monster! A joke! He couldn't even run a campaign! His staff were losers and morons! And the horrible things he said! Trump let the left say everything it wanted to say about sexism and racism and privilege and rape culture and economic inequality, for an entire year. It got to point out that Trump’s core supporters were actual fucking nazis! And it got to do so on a mainstream media platform that was just overwhelmingly biased against Trump, and overwhelmingly supporting Clinton.

    We will never, in our lifetimes, see another election like that which is more favourable to the core values and concerns of the contemporary left. And it still lost. You can make arguments like ‘it was close’, and ‘Clinton won the popular vote’ and ‘in hindsight maybe she was too close to Wall Street and maybe that affected turnout?’. But you’re never going to have a perfect candidate. This was as good as it gets, and the left lost, and the consequences will be catastrophic, so for me the questions run a bit deeper.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    the left lost

    Like so many of the online troll farm that form The Dimpost's commentariat you seem to have reduced "the left" to a gaggle of online dilettantes. In the endless sidetrack of online point-scoring it seems so easy to forget how the contemporary "left" has made genuine progress. Sue Bradford, who unlike John Minto rejected the opportunistic advances of Kim Dotcom, had already achieved greater gains for genuine social justice than the sorry Internet Party fiasco ever could. On US election day she was back in the Greens party room for the first time since 2009 to talk to them about ESRA.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    see another election like that which is more favourable to the core values and concerns of the contemporary left

    ...and then Bernie lost the primary. And no-one ever talked about 'contemporary left values' such as income inequality or the environment ever again.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    We will never, in our lifetimes, see another election like that which is more favourable to the core values and concerns of the contemporary left

    Unless the Republican economic policies are, as independent analysis suggests, going to be really bad for those not at the top of the economic ladder. With Obama in the whitehouse and the Republicans controlling congress, there was argument about whose fault the stagnation was. For the next 2 or 4 years Republicans control both.

    Now I am not saying the Democratic party would rise to the challenge to field a candidate that leads to fundamental change, but I think they will have the opportunity.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Rich Lock,

    contemporary left values’ such as income inequality or the environment

    Why do you claim these values for the left?
    Even “deniers” can hold these values :-)
    Is it possible that we can even talk to each other?
    Sue Bradford seems to think so - we'll see.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    That is just so deplorable ; we should not talk about this. :-)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Why do you claim these values for the left?

    original quote

    the core values and concerns of the contemporary left

    Operative word: 'the'. As in, the only thing the left cares about is identity politics.

    I am pointing out that that is horseshit.

    And since you brought it up, Trump has claimed that global warming is a Chinese hoax, has said he will cancel the Paris climate change deal, and has just appointed a climate change denier as the head of the EPA.

    You might need to explain to me how a 'denier' can 'hold those values'.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Trump’s core supporters were actual fucking nazis!

    Are you for real?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Rich Lock,

    You might need to explain to me how a ‘denier’ can ‘hold those values’.

    You would listen to a"denier,” and try to see his point of view?
    The words that you use suggest to me that it would be quite pointless on my part, but I could be wrong .
    That seems to me to be the fundamental point of the clip that Rob posted.
    Slap a label on to justify the non-engagement.
    Deplorable :-)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Maybe this is a big part of it :-

    "Rural and agricultural America has revolted against this perceived feudal system in an unimaginable way.
    It voted not only out of feelings of rejection and abandonment, but also out of the sentiment of being taken for granted.
    The result was an agricultural electorate that rose up against urban elites who they believed show only disdain and ridicule to those who endure the back-breaking work and financial hardships required to feed our nation."

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-11-11/visit-trumps-america

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Rich Lock,

    Or , putting it another way ;-
    “It might be worth pointing out that you’re not likely to convince other people to vote the way you think they ought to vote if you’re simultaneously berating them for being evilly evil with a double helping of evil sauce on the side, or sneering at them for being too ignorant to recognize that voting for your candidate really is in their best interests, or any of the other counterproductive habits that have taken the place of reasonable political discourse in today’s America.”

    http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.nz/2016/11/reflections-on-democracy-in-crisis.html

    Very obvious parallels with the "environment" debate.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Like so many of the online troll farm that form The Dimpost’s commentariat you seem to have reduced “the left” to a gaggle of online dilettantes.

    This, so much this. People in NZ (or generally outside the USA) "analysing" the result with the help of a hefty crowbar, which they use to insert exactly the same views they held a week ago.

    It's also a classic case of the internet fantasy: the belief that we understand the influences on American voters just by reading our preferred sources online. Meanwhile there is a huge network of other influences 24/7, such as right-wing talk radio, or religious communities, to which many of us either have no access, or would not want to anyway.

    Sure, I know we all want to chuck in our 2 cents, and I'm as wrong as most (of course Hillary was going to win!). But mostly, we don't know what we're talking about.

    Finally, helpful fact of the day: number of people who read on Facebook that the Pope endorses Trump was more than 20 times greater than the number who read the Snopes piece debunking it. That's the battle right there - volume versus truth.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1321 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Clinton lost because of what a few hundred thousand people decided in the last few days not because of some global megatrend.

    That sounds suspiciously like you are saying the US electorate is fickle
    They wouldnt like that at all smiley face ))

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Cornford,

    A racist sexual predator that has openly declared that he'll instruct the military to commit war crimes is President of the US, a fascist may become President of France, far right parties are surging across Europe, England is basically a one party state, Scotland Labour is a distant third, and Key will almost certainly win a forth term. But let's talk about 'close', and suggest there's nothing that links the consistent failure of the left to connect with the electorate. If we want to talk of 'troll farms' then fine, but at some point people might want consider that millions of people in many countries that once would be the left's nature constituency don't think you care more, or are achieving 'social justice', they just think you're self righteous narcissists that have nothing to say to them about their lives.
    There's been people on the left pointing out for years the problems with the western left, and after all this and all that's happened in 2016 if people want to pretend there's no crisis, then don't be surprised when more 'Brexits' keep occurring.

    Wellington • Since May 2016 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    My friend in Los Angeles, a well-educated professional woman, is a Democrat to the core. Yet she told me she was pals with two other Democrats, both men, who told her their vote was going to Trump as there was no way they wanted a woman running the White House.

    Men have a hard job believing the extent of the prejudice-based barriers to success experienced by women on a routine basis. Women, on the other hand, find the attitude all too familiar (if usually unspoken and well hidden).

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

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