It hasn't stopped yet, this constant thrum of voices telling us that we need to "understand" the "pain" and the "fear" of Trump voters. "We," in this case, are the ones who look at those Americans and see the most loathsome versions of ourselves, the ill-informed, the overly credulous, the willing patsies, the greedy marks, the covetous fools, and the racist shits. In order to move ahead, we must reach out to this group, we're told, that we, who supported the auto industry bailout and health care and food stamps and job retraining and addiction services, we whose liberal policies kept them from flat out dying, we are the ones who didn't get it. What a goddamned joke to tell us that we don't understand and those who tried to cut or prevent or get rid of all of those things do understand.
If a group of rabid dogs corners me in an alley in the middle of a city, the animals may take me out, but they are still dogs and I am still human. They won't let me survive because I try to pet them. (Am I comparing Donald Trump's voters to rabid dogs? Yes. Yes, I am.)
The other refrains of the weekend were the usual nonsense about what could have been done differently. Goddamn, I'm so sick of hearing about how Bernie Sanders could have beaten Trump. It's a waste of time because we have no idea how the public would have reacted to the inevitable reaming of Sanders. Hell, if we're playing Fantasy Election, you could make just as valid a bullshit argument that what really damaged Hillary Clinton was Sanders running in the first place. Think about it: most progressives might have coalesced early around Clinton and, instead of a bruising primary that ended up creating animosity among Democrats, we might have...See? It's an enormous waste of time. Do you feel any better? Of course not.
I'm gonna offer one wouldashouldacoulda that can point in a direction for Democrats: the biggest mistake that Hillary Clinton made was in choosing Tim Kaine as her running mate. Nothing against Kaine, and, yeah, yeah, the VP pick is not supposed to have that much of an effect. But it signals to groups of voters how you might end up leading. When Trump picked the odious dickscab, Mike Pence, he was telling evangelicals that they were cool with each other. Pence gave cover for a large contingent of Trump voters. By choosing Kaine, who, yeah, can speak Spanish, Clinton was mistakenly and symbolically whitening the White House.
It's time for Democrats to stop trying to appeal to a white demographic that constantly turns against it and to do everything possible to energize the non-white vote, and that means, in as many cases as it is possible, nominating and running non-white candidates. At the national level, Democrats haven't been ahead of Republicans on the white vote since 1996, when Bill Clinton got a plurality over Dole and Perot (although, you know, combined, the other two more conservative candidates got more of the white vote than Clinton).
Black voter turnout was down this election compared to 2012, which was already down compared to 2008. Obviously, having the first black candidate was a huge factor, but imagine if Hillary Clinton had picked Cory Booker or Deval Patrick as a running mate. Again, the realm of fantasy is operating here, but let's take it further. Clinton did well with the Latino vote, but she could have done better. Imagine a Julian Castro pick for vice president. For the whites who were going to vote for or against Clinton, it wouldn't have made much of a difference. But for non-whites, yeah, shitty as it is, the reality of identity politics means that it affects turnout and voting.
My friend Duke from West Virginia said something that had crossed my mind but had shoved aside as bitterness: "Fuck the white working class. Obama gave them health insurance and a chance to get new jobs and they hated him. Fuck them."
Without thinking, I immediately agreed, and as soon as I did, it made total sense. "You're right. Democrats need to abandon the white working class." By "abandon," I mean not trying to desperately court the votes of people who always vote against their best interests and against those who are trying to help them. See, Democrats don't have a working class white people problem. Working class white people have the problem. When you vote against those who are trying to help you for the very people who have harmed you, then you are not dealing with rational thought.
Yeah, that's patronizing and elitist. But nearly half of the voters in a presidential election chose the man who regularly lied to them. So you'll have to forget it if you want me to romanticize and normalize their ignorance.
By the way, that ignorance is a product of years of Republican fuckery at the local level to assure them that they do not get educated. That long game has finally paid off big time.
This is my solution, fantasy though it may be. Devote even more resources to making sure a coalition of non-whites is united. Devote less to the hurt feelings of angry whites. Let's have this fuckin' fight for what the country is. They won this battle. Let's win the war.