Saturday, September 17, 2016

260.3 - Comments on the election: Clinton spoke the truth

Comments on the election: Clinton spoke the truth

I have three things to say about election. Cherish them; they are some of the only observations I will make about the whole mess.

Bernie Sanders
One is that if the Dems - including here voters in the primaries - had done what they should have done and nominated Bernie Sanders, this presidential election would be a runaway for them. It would be a rout. The only reason it is even anywhere near close is because of the baggage that Hillary Clinton carries with her, baggage that makes people genuinely distrust her. And I would say that in my judgment, while the degree of mistrust is not justified, the fact of it is.

The second thing is that ever since it became undeniable that Sanders was mounting a strong challenge to Hillary Clinton, the Dem party has wanted to turn him into Jesse Jackson: someone who made a commotion, caused a stir, received a bunch of votes, got their moment in the sun with a major speech at the convention - and then faded away.

Unhappily, so far they seem to be succeeding as not only has he largely disappeared except for the occasional "Hooray for Hillary" appearance, but his "political revolution" - and this is more on him than the party - is looking more and more like merely another incarnation of "the goal is elect more better Democrats," the same incantation we've hearing at least since 1968 with all it has gotten us.

But it is the third thing that I wanted to spend a couple of minutes on.

At a fundraiser in New York City on September 9, Clinton expanded somewhat on her charge that many supporters of Donald TheRump fall into what she calls "a basket of deplorables." In fact, she said, half of his supporters fit the description of, quoting "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic - you name it."

She got a lot of flak for that, specifically for the reference to "half." Apparently, if you just say his supporters include racists and sexists and so on, that's okay but if you put a percentage on it, that's over the line.

She backed off quickly, saying she regretted the word "half."

But here's the thing: As someone pointed out, according to the polls, about 40% of Americans support TheRump. Which would mean, per Clinton, that 20% of the US electorate is racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and/or Islamaphobic.

And you know what? I have no problem with that figure. I have no problem accepting the notion that 20% of the American population fits in at least one of those categories.

Consider just one term: racism. By almost any standard you care to use - life expectancy, school discipline, mortgage rejection, wealth, income, unemployment, police use of force, access to health care or housing or education, whatever - outcomes for white Americans are better, often far better, than outcomes for black Americans.

Hillary Clinton
And yet according to a recent study, white Americans believe that racism against whites has been increasing since the 1960s and sharply since the 1980s to the point where now bigotry against whites is a bigger problem than bigotry against people of color.

The facts be damned, white Americans are saying, we are the real victims! It is the same cry, with the same roots, as the Tea Party screeching about how "we" - that is, white people - will "take back" "our" country.

So yes, when we have a criminal injustice system so rife with racial bias than even UN observers are moved to make reports on it; when we have a man who tried to set a Muslim woman's clothing on fire on New York's 5th Avenue on September 12, just two days after a woman physically attacked two Muslim women in Brooklyn who were walking their babies in strollers; when we have the repeated stories of judges and police departments that refuse to take rape seriously while right-wingers strive to destroy Planned Parenthood and 56% of American men believe that sexism is a thing of the past; when nearly half of Americans agree with the idea of banning all Muslims from entering the US; then yes, absolutely, I have no problem accepting the notion that 20% of Americans are racist or sexist or homophobic or xenophobic or Islamaphobic or all five.

She backed off it and it's a shame she did, because Hillary Clinton spoke the truth.

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