Looking for a United Working Class

One-third of Robert Kuttner’s “Dividends of a Just Economy” in the NY Review of Books:

Racism, in Gunnar Myrdal’s phrase, remains the American dilemma — and a special dilemma for Democrats. For a progressive majority to be built on common economic issues, it must be multiracial. There have been two great moments of American biracial coalition. They were separated by a century, and both ended badly. Lincoln’s was halted by his assassination; his intended legacy of racial inclusion was short-circuited by the ending of Reconstruction in 1876. Lyndon Johnson’s comment that passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act would destroy the Democratic Party in the South understated what followed. Republicans, repeating the tactics of the postbellum planter class and the anti-populists of the 1890s, have used race to destroy any solidarity between poor whites and blacks.

Heather McGhee’s The Sum of Us is a powerful call for racial alliance. More than a moral appeal, McGhee’s book provides a practical manual on how to bring it about. McGhee, a former president of the progressive think tank Demos, argues that the most effective form of antiracism is to embrace both race and class. Racism hurts Blacks disproportionately, but it also hurts whites who could benefit from activist policies precluded by the politics of racial division. “Black people and other people of color certainly lost out when we weren’t able to invest more in the aftermath of the Great Recession,” she writes. “But did white people win? No, for the most part they lost right along with the rest of us.” McGhee is out to challenge what she terms the “zero-sum paradigm”: the premise that if Blacks gain, it must be at the expense of whites, and vice versa.

McGhee quotes Hinton Helper, a white southerner who wrote a book in 1857 tallying all the ways that the planter class that governed the South shortchanged ordinary whites. Pennsylvania, Helper reported, had 393 public libraries; South Carolina 26. New Hampshire had 2,381 public schools; Mississippi 782. Plantation owners had a captive labor force. They didn’t need or want educated whites. As McGhee notes, the pattern carries on to this day. In 1959 the government of Montgomery, Alabama, paved over the city’s swimming pools, closed its parks, and even eliminated the zoo rather than see these public facilities integrated. Whites suffered along with Blacks. The states with the poorest and least educated populations and those with the most threadbare public services are still those in the South.

McGhee documents these realities with care: white people who can’t get affordable health insurance; white people bilked by mortgage fraudsters; white people no longer able to attend free public universities; employers who defeat union organizing by dividing workers by race. Each example reflects the absence of better policies for all, a possibility precluded by racial animus. McGhee is unsparing in describing how this version of America is harder still on Blacks. But the challenge is to make this story persuasive to white voters attracted by the likes of Trump, so that they shift their allegiance from racism to progressive economics.

From her reporting across America, McGhee points to case after case of cross-racial organizing for common betterment: the welcoming of refugees in Lewiston, Maine, as a way of repopulating empty storefronts and bringing new economic energy to a depressed town; a new wave of common efforts around the fight for a $15-per-hour minimum wage; union organizing of service workers, even in the Deep South. A transracial alliance, she writes, would produce a “solidarity dividend” of greater social protections for all races, the kind just demonstrated by Biden’s enactment of a universal child allowance using refundable tax credits. Playing off the story of Montgomery draining its public pools, McGhee calls for refilling “the pool of public goods.” Because of the greater legacy of Black poverty, public provision helps Blacks disproportionately, but aids whites as well, and cumulatively builds transracial affinity and alliance.

McGhee credits and builds on the work of Ian Haney López, whose most recent book, Merge Left, is a complementary call for racial coalition. Like McGhee, he is both nuanced and unflinching. “I had assumed that the main stumbling block to urging cross-racial solidarity would be convincing a majority of whites,” he writes. “Equally formidable, it turned out, was enlisting support from people directly focused on racial justice, overwhelmingly activists of color.”

Haney López is a law professor at Berkeley. His earlier scholarly work on race included pioneering research on how even the Supreme Court got pulled into determining who was white, because immigration in the nineteenth century was limited to whites, and “white” had to be defined.

His 2014 book, Dog Whistle Politics, is the definitive study of the use of language in veiled racist appeals going back to Richard Nixon.

In his latest book, Haney López uses his academic expertise in the service of his work as an organizer. He recounts his extensive meetings with groups ranging from white trade unionists fed up with the charge of racial insensitivity to Black militants who insist that antiracism must take precedence over making common cause with dubious allies. This work is as difficult as it is urgent. One white, who professes sympathy for the civil rights cause, says that Black talk about slavery is “a horrible crutch to not trying, not working, not fixing yourself.”

Haney López’s mission is to persuade both groups that they need each other, and to fashion language to further that political goal. “Many of the Right’s most debilitating stories about working people—including white working families,” he writes, citing the best-seller Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, “are recycled stereotypes about African Americans.”

One concrete result of his leadership is called the Race-Class Narrative Project, initiated in 2017 with the participation of pollsters, linguists, and diverse progressive activists including McGhee. It rigorously tested language in focus groups and larger meetings. These included both open-ended discussions of racially fraught issues and more explicit testing of different messages. The data confirmed Haney López’s intuition. Researchers found that presenting issues in combined appeals to race and class was more convincing to voters than “the dog whistle racial fear message,” and that race-class approaches that acknowledged the special challenges of race “were more convincing than colorblind economic populism.” Three quarters of respondents in a multiracial group agreed with this statement:

Instead of delivering for working people, politicians hand kickbacks to their donors who send jobs overseas. Then they turn around and blame new immigrants or people of color, to divide and distract us from the real source of our problems.

Haney López is mindful of the tightrope act, and he is resolute in his conclusion: we can’t duck race, but we need to talk about it in a way that builds transracial unity: “For centuries, our greatest heroes—radicals like W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and César Chavez—have insisted that American salvation requires cross-racial alliances.”

Recent events affirm these arguments. Only because of the razor-thin electoral success of Democrats in Georgia, which turned two Senate seats, has Biden been able to get legislation through Congress and progressive officials confirmed. Some leaders grasped the power of the “race-class narrative” before it had a name. The success in Georgia was built on ten years of organizing led by Stacey Abrams, who has been a touchstone for Black mobilization but succeeded in building a deliberately multiracial movement. If Biden and Congress can block the latest round of outright racial voter suppression efforts, Georgia could prove a hopeful harbinger of what America can be.

Martin, Malcolm and America

From Brandon Terry’s long review of The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. by Peniel Joseph:

. . . The extent to which King’s vision of justice exceeded the horizons of American nationalism is still perhaps the least appreciated element of his public philosophy.

For those used to seeing King situated in a progressive story of American liberalism, it can be surprising to learn that as early as the 1950s, he considered Black freedom struggles to be part of the wave of anti-imperialist revolt in Africa and Asia. “The determination of Negro Americans to win freedom from every form of oppression,” he proclaimed, “springs from the same profound longing for freedom that motivates oppressed peoples all over the world.” He strongly identified with anticolonial liberation movements, meeting veterans of Gandhi’s satyagraha movement in India in 1959 and traveling to Ghana for Kwame Nkrumah’s inauguration in 1960. Like many leftist figures navigating cold war politics, however, King’s criticisms of American foreign policy could often seem restrained, couched in the obligatory tropes of anticommunism or paeans to pacifism.

It was Vietnam that served as the inflection point for King’s radicalization on matters of global justice, but Joseph helps underscore Malcolm’s underappreciated influence on this shift. Malcolm was a prescient critic of the war from the outset, eviscerating its premises with a moral clarity that eluded most commentators, who were gaslighted by lies that US troops were acting as noncombatant “advisers” in Southeast Asia. “You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality,” Malcolm warned, charging that the war was a “criminal” act made palatable by racism and deception.

Malcolm’s antiwar critique and denunciation of the draft as “the most hypocritical governmental half-truth that has ever been invented since the world was the world” found its most important supporters among the student organizers in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the first civil rights group to dissent from the war and the draft. How, Malcolm asked, could one accept being drafted to fight on behalf of a supposed democracy, only to return home concerned about how you “can get a right to register and vote without being murdered”?

King, whose political ties to Lyndon Johnson and mainstream liberals made him more tentative in speaking out against the war, became openly critical of the administration after young activists pressed him on the hypocrisy of preaching nonviolence at home while remaining quiet about militarism abroad. Against the private advice and public chastisement of some of his closest advisers, he denounced both the war and the systemic injustices revealed or intensified by the effort to fight it. The war, he charged, represented a threat to free speech and legitimate dissent, and it bred cynicism concerning both the use of violence and the rights of nonwhite peoples for self-rule. Further, he charged the war effort with the “cruel manipulation of the poor,” lamenting its unethical waste of vital resources as well as how it sent

the black young men who had been crippled by our society…8,000 miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia and East Harlem.

In our era of perpetual warfare, with its boomerang effects on domestic liberties and civic trust, such insights remain unheeded.

The questions both men were converging on concerned the worth of citizenship in a society riven by economic domination, racial hierarchy, and belligerent militarism: What, if any, allegiance or sacrifice could such a society demand? The ideal of “radical black citizenship,” which Joseph most closely associates with King, contends that full, equal citizenship for African-Americans requires not just the formal recognition of equal rights but also the fair value of those rights. This means not only the ability to act on them as any other citizen might, but also the inability of a privileged class of citizens to unjustly enrich themselves at the expense of the least powerful.

In Why We Can’t Wait (1964), for example, King wrote that “Negroes must not only have the right to go into any establishment open to the public, but they must also be absorbed into our economic system in such a manner that they can afford to exercise that right.” As Joseph reminds us, his conception of civic equality extended to things like “a good job, living wage, decent housing, quality education, health care, and nourishment.” Or as King put it in 1967, true freedom in an affluent society cannot mean the “freedom to hunger, freedom to the winds and rains of heaven, freedom without roofs to cover [our] heads.”

. . . King’s view of the world that he hoped mass protest would bring into being went far beyond Malcolm’s populist appeals to the “downtrodden masses” left behind by civil rights legislation. For King, equal civic standing, at least in an ostensible democracy, also means that each of us participates in decision-making, determining the contours of our common life together through deliberation. Indeed, one of his principal arguments concerning the evil of segregation was its assault on freedom. Segregation, King said, imposes undue “restraint on my deliberation as to what I shall do, where I shall live, how much I shall earn, the kind of tasks I shall pursue.” Segregation destroys the vital human capacity to authentically “deliberate, decide, and respond” by imposing restrictions on when and where we may enter.

If democratic citizenship is to be free and equal, it must uproot habits, power arrangements, and resource distributions that leave us subject to the arbitrary impositions of others in the most vital domains of life. As Joseph notes, such demands extended to capitalism itself and partly explain King’s skepticism toward its basis in “cut-throat competition and selfish ambition.” In 1967, for instance, he wrote that “if democracy is to have breadth of meaning,” we must overcome the “contemporary tendency in our society” to “compress our abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and upper classes until they gag with superfluity.”

. . . Malcolm’s criticisms of so-called integrationism never adequately grappled with the leftist tenor of King’s views, which could be better described as “reconstructionist” rather than “integrationist.” For King, authentic integration was “meaningless without the mutual sharing of power.” Kingian integration would involve the widespread redistribution of assets and real democratic participation in economic and political decision-making instead of allowing municipal borders, the dictates of private profit, and existing measures of “merit” to unfairly disadvantage the life chances of so many Americans.

In Race Relations, Altruism Isn’t Enough

Michelle Goldberg of The New York Times says it’s more productive to talk about economic self-interest:

When Heather McGhee was a 25-year-old staffer at Demos, the progressive think tank she would eventually lead, she went to Congress to present findings on shocking increases in individual and family debt.

“Few politicians in Washington knew what it was like to have bill collectors incessantly ringing their phones about balances that kept growing every month,” McGhee writes in her new book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.

Demos’s explanatory attempts failed. . . . For McGhee, the disaster was an education in the limits of research, which is often no match for the brute power of big money. But as she was walking down the hallway of the Russell Senate Office Building, she learned something else.

. . . She heard “the bombastic voice of a man going on about the deadbeats who had babies with multiple women and then declared bankruptcy to dodge the child support.” She doesn’t know whether the man was a Democrat or a Republican, but when she heard him she realized she and her allies might have missed something. They’d thought of debt and bankruptcy primarily as a class issue. Suddenly she understood that for some of her opponents, it was more about race. . . .

McGhee’s book is about the many ways racism has defeated efforts to create a more economically just America. Once the civil rights movement expanded America’s conception of “the public,” white America’s support for public goods collapsed. People of color have suffered the most from the resulting austerity, but it’s made life a lot worse for most white people, too. McGhee’s central metaphor is that of towns and cities that closed their public pools rather than share them with Black people, leaving everyone who couldn’t afford a private pool materially worse off. . . .

McGhee argues that it’s futile to try to address decades of disinvestment in schools, infrastructure, health care and more without talking about racial resentment.

. . . McGhee and her colleagues, she writes, discovered that if you “try to convince anyone but the most committed progressives . . . about big public solutions without addressing race, most will agree … right up until they hear the countermessage that does talk, even implicitly, about race.”

. . . Her work illuminates what’s always seemed to me to be a central contradiction in certain kinds of anti-racist consciousness-raising, which is that many people want more privilege rather than less. You have to have an oddly high opinion of white people to assume that most will react to learning about the advantages of whiteness by wanting to give it up.

“Communicators have to be aware of the mental frameworks of their audience,” McGhee told me. “And for white Americans, the zero-sum is a profound, both deeply embedded and constantly reinforced one.”

This doesn’t mean that the concept of white privilege isn’t useful; obviously it describes something real. . . . “However, I think at this point in our discourse — also when so many white people feel deeply unprivileged — it’s more important to talk about the world we want for everyone.”

So McGhee is trying to shift the focus from how racism benefits white people to how it costs them. Why is student debt so crushing in a country that once had excellent universities that were cheap or even free? Why is American health care such a disaster? Why is our democracy being strangled by minority rule? As the first line of McGhee’s book asks, “Why can’t we have nice things?” Racism is a huge part of the answer.

McGhee describes a “solidarity dividend” gained when people are able to transcend racism. Look at what just happened in Georgia, where the billionaire Kelly Loeffler, in an attempt to keep her Senate seat, waged a nakedly racist campaign against Raphael Warnock, who ran on sending voters $2,000 stimulus checks. He still lost most white people, but won enough to prevail. He did it by appealing to idealism, but also to self-interest.

In the fight for true multiracial democracy, counting on altruism will only get you so far.

Why Many Others Support Him

If all you care about, and I mean “all”, is making rich people richer, or you’re a “single-issue voter” who only cares about something like abortion or guns, or you’re a stone-cold racist,  he’s your candidate. Thomas Edsall of The New York Times, with the assistance of several studies, explains the seemingly unfathomable behavior of millions of others:

The center-right political coalition in America — the Republican Party as it stands today — can be described as holding two overarching goals: First, deregulation and reductions in corporate and other tax liabilities — each clearly stated on the White House website — and second, but packing a bigger punch, the preservation of the status quo by stemming the erosion of the privileged status of white Christian America. . . .

Last week, I argued that for Democrats the importance of ethnicity and race has grown, not diminished, since the mid-1960s. The same thing is true for Republicans — and many of the least obvious, or least comprehensible, aspects of Republican political strategy have to do with the party’s desire to cloak or veil the frank racism of the contemporary Republican agenda.

Robert P. Jones, the founder and C.E.O. of the Public Religion Research Institute, in his 2014 book, “The End of White Christian America,” described the situation this way:

America’s still segregated modern life is marked by three realities: First, geographic segregation has meant that — although places like Ferguson and Baltimore may seem like extreme examples — most white Americans continue to live in locales that insulate them from the obstacles facing many majority-black communities. Second, this legacy, compounded by social self-segregation, has led to a stark result: the overwhelming majority of white Americans don’t have a single close relationship with a person who isn’t white. Third, there are virtually no American institutions positioned to resolve these problems. Social segregation persists in virtually all major American institutions.

Firm allegiance to the conservative agenda has become crucial to the ability of Txxxx and the Republican Party to sustain the loyalty of an overwhelmingly white coalition that experiences itself as besieged and under the threat of losing power. The time when a major political party could articulate a nakedly racist agenda is long past, although Txxxx comes as close as possible.

Txxxx goes all-in on race,” declared the headline on a story in Politico just after the close of the first night of the Republican convention on Monday.

While some speakers portrayed Txxxx as a friend of Black America, “others took a harder-edged tack that undercut the message of inclusion,” according to Politico. . . .

In a series of studies published from 2014 to 2018, Maureen A. Craig and Jennifer A. Richeson, professors of psychology at N.Y.U. and Yale, demonstrate how whites, faced with the prospect of becoming a minority, have embraced the Republican Party for institutional protection of their imperiled status.

In their 2014 paper, “On the Precipice of a ‘Majority-Minority’ America: Perceived Status Threat From the Racial Demographic Shift Affects White Americans’ Political Ideology,” Craig and Richeson took a national sample of whites who said they were unaffiliated with either political party and broke them into two groups.

One group was asked “if they had heard that California had become a majority-minority state,” thus making the issue of white minority status salient, and the other was asked “if they had heard that Hispanics had become roughly equal in number to Blacks nationally,” with no reference to the status of whites.

At the end of the survey, participants were asked whether they leaned toward either party. Those who had been informed about the minority status of whites in California said they leaned to the Republican Party by a margin of 45-35. Those who had not been informed of whites’ minority status leaned to the Democratic Party 40.5 to 24.3.

In a subsequent 2018 paper, “Racial and Political Dynamics of an Approaching ‘Majority-Minority’ United States,” Craig and Richeson . . .  reported that “whites for whom the impending racial demographic changes of the nation are salient” endorsed more conservative positions on a variety of policy issues and reported “greater support for Republican presidential candidate Dxxxx Txxxx.”

According to Joshua Greene, a professor of psychology at Harvard and the author of “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them,” Txxxx is expert at sending “signals that are music to the ears of his base,” signals that ineradicably affirm his membership in the populist right wing of the Republican Party.

Greene argued in an email that when

Txxxx says that a judge of Mexican ancestry can’t do his job, or attacks women for their physical appearance, or makes fun of a disabled reporter, or says that there are good people on both sides of a violent neo-Nazi rally, or that Haiti is a “shithole,” or that the “Second Amendment People” can maybe do something about Hillary Clinton, Txxxx is very deliberately and publicly excommunicating himself from the company of liberals, even moderate ones.

In Greene’s view, Txxxx offers a case study in the deployment of “costly signals.”

How does it work? Greene writes:

Making oneself irredeemably unacceptable to the other tribe is equivalent to permanently binding oneself to one’s own. These comments are like gang tattoos. And in Txxxx’s case, it’s tattoos all over his neck and face.

At the same time, Txxxx’s “costly signals” make his reliability as a protector of white privilege clear.

John Tooby, a professor of anthropology at the University of California-Santa Barbara, described the signaling phenomenon in a 2017 Edge talk as an outgrowth of what he calls a “coalitional instinct.”

“To earn membership in a group,” Tooby says, “you must send signals that clearly indicate that you differentially support it, compared to rival groups.”

This, Tooby notes, encourages extremism: “Practical and functional truths are generally useless as differential signals, because any honest person might say them regardless of coalitional loyalty.” Far more effective are “unusual, exaggerated beliefs,” including “alarmism, conspiracies or hyperbolic comparisons.”

The success of Txxxx’s strategy will have long term consequences for the Republican Party, in Greene’s view:

Txxxx won over the base by publicly sacrificing his broader respectability. Back in 2016, the other Republican primary candidates looked ahead at the general election and thought this was a losing strategy. But Txxxx pulled it off, perhaps because he didn’t really care about winning. But now he owns the party. No Republican can get elected without the Republican base, and the Republican base trusts Txxxx and only Txxxx, thanks to his costly signals.

. . . The Republican Party is now the home of white evangelical Christians and the residents of rural, small town America who see their privilege — what they experience as their values and culture — under assault from a rising coalition of minorities, feminists, well-educated liberals and veterans of the sexual revolution.

“In the context of increased social diversity,” Alexandra Filindra, a political scientist at the University of Illinois-Chicago, writes in a 2018 paper, “portions of the public are willing to support calls for an exclusionary moral community of virtue at the expense of norms and institutions of democracy.”

Filindra argues that . . . most citizens are

prone to understand democracy through the lens of group memberships. When the social position of cherished groups is perceived as threatened, and when trusted in-group elites use narratives of group threat and out-group dehumanization to justify anti-democratic actions, group members become more vulnerable to authoritarian leaders and parties that promise protection or restoration of the group’s status but at the cost of institutional democracy.

Political polarization plays a crucial role here.

As Jennifer McCoy and Murat Somer, political scientists at Georgia State and Koç University, write in their 2019 paper, “Toward a Theory of Pernicious Polarization and How It Harms Democracies”:

Growing affective polarization and negative partisanship contribute to a growing perception among citizens that the opposing party and its policies pose a threat to the nation or an individual’s way of life. Most dangerously for democracy, these perceptions of threat open the door to undemocratic behavior by an incumbent and his/her supporters to stay in power, or by opponents to remove the incumbent from power.

The cumulative effect, McCoy and Somer continue, “is a deterioration in the quality of democracy, leading to backsliding, illiberalism, and in some cases reversion to autocracy.” 

. . . Matthew Graham [and Milan W. Svolik, politicial scientists at Yale] published a study this year showing that when voters are forced to make a choice between partisan loyalty and standing on principle, only small percentages of either party’s electorates stood on principle. The vast majority chose partisan loyalty, with little or no difference between Republicans and Democrats.

In an email, Svolik raised the next logical question: “If supporters of both parties oppose/tolerate authoritarianism at similar levels, how come it is the Republican Party that is primarily associated with authoritarian tendencies today?” In reply to his own question,” Svolik writes, “The quick answer is Txxxx.” But

The deeper answer is that the opportunities to subvert the democratic process for partisan gain have become asymmetrical. Because of the biases inherent in political geography and demographic partisan patterns, the two most easily implementable means of gaining an unfair electoral advantage — gerrymandering and voter identification laws — only offer opportunities for unfair play to Republicans.

Txxxx, in Svolik’s view, has presented

his supporters with a stark choice between his conservative accomplishments (immigration, judicial appointments, tax cuts) while portraying the Democrats as the extreme left (something he did successfully with Hillary Clinton, and why I believe he often brings up Portland, AOC, and Sanders). By doing so, Txxxx is effectively raising the price his supporters must pay for putting democratic principles above their partisan interests.

Other political scientists and psychologists argue that there are differences between Republicans and Democrats that are deeper.

Hyun Hannah Nam, a political scientist at Stony Brook University argues in an email that “there is some evidence that Republicans and Democrats respond differently to information that violates their political beliefs or allegiances — that is, cognitive dissonance in the political domain.”

A 2013 paper, ‘‘ ‘Not for All the Tea in China!’ Political Ideology and the Avoidance of Dissonance-Arousing Situations,” which Nam wrote with John Jost and Jay Van Bavel, both professors of psychology at N.Y.U., provided data from an experiment in which

supporters of Republican presidents and supporters of Democratic presidents were either asked or instructed to argue that a president from the opposing party was a better president than a president from their own party.

Nam and her colleagues

found that 28 percent of Obama supporters willingly engaged with the task of writing an essay favoring Bush over Obama, whereas no Bush supporters were willing to argue that Obama was a better president than Bush.

This suggests, Nam continued in her email,

that there may be something special about Republicans when it comes to an unwillingness to criticize their own leaders or to praise the opposition’s leaders. Although this research preceded the Txxxx era, it could be that Txxxx supporters may now similarly double down on their expressed loyalty to Txxxx, in spite of various moral and ideological violations exhibited by Txxxx — or even because of them through processes of rationalization.

In her email, Nam added,

It appears that a neural structure that guides our perception of salient threats and understanding of social group hierarchy also underlies political preferences and behaviors to keep society as it is. If voter suppression efforts are perceived as helping to maintain the existing power structures, then it is possible that our neurobiological predispositions support the legitimation of such endeavors to protect the status quo.

The emergence of a right-populist, authoritarian-inclined Republican Party coincides with the advent of a bifurcated Democratic Party led, in large part, by a well-educated, urban, globally engaged multicultural elite allied with a growing minority electorate.

Structurally, the Democratic Party has become the ideal adversary for a Republican Party attempting to define political competition as a contest between “us the people” against “them, the others” — the enemy. The short- and medium-term prognosis for productive political competition [or cooperation] is not good.

Joshua Greene, the Harvard psychologist, closed his email with an addendum: “P.S. I think that Biden will probably win and will probably be the next president. But the fact that I can’t say more than ‘probably’ is terrifying to me. . . .”

Summing Him Up

Last night, I was musing about the current crisis and asked myself again why they didn’t see that he’s a con man, so his promises about “the forgotten men and women of our country” were pure baloney. The answer that occurred to me was that he said what they wanted to hear about race and immigration. That was enough for them to give him the benefit of the doubt on economics.

This morning, Neera Tanden summed him up very well:

The economic populism was always the con. The racism was always real.