Friday, June 24, 2022

Let's Talk About Ordinary People

      A lot of what passes for general political talk these days, even analysis, focuses on larger-than life acts, on people surging in masses, blocking roads, breaking windows, clashing with police, getting pepper-sprayed or shot: people doing things that the majority of Americans do not do.

      Conversely, a lot of us vote.  A majority of Americans, in fact, voted in the elections of 2012, 2016 and 2020 and the percentage of voters went up each time.  An overwhelming majority of them have not rioted, are not rude or abusive to their fellow citizens, and are not intentionally racist.  But they are seriously divided over politics.

      Yes, people who think of themselves as fine and decent folk voted for someone we loathed.  They voted for candidates we thought were terrible choices for office -- even terrible people.

      One way to unpack that is with disdain: they're dupes.  They're "deplorables." They're would-be socialists or fascists.  It has the appeal of simplicity but it cannot possibly be accurate: most of our fellow citizens don't fit into those categories.  Even the ones who didn't vote the way we did.

      To get an accurate look requires nuance.  That's a scarce commodity these days and I take it wherever I can find it.  Apple News served up an article at Politico (of all places) that is surprisingly good.  It doesn't sneer. While the author's concerned about the people and issues the Democrats are overlooking, she's got useful things to say about why Mr. Trump won in 2016.

      It's worth reading -- and picture, if you will, the stereotypical Politico reader having to sit down across the table from, "folks with strong identities as workers, those hanging on to a version of the American dream that places the individual squarely in the driver’s seat."  Doesn't sound even a little deplorable, does it?

1 comment:

Tam said...

"Voter turnout, and hence the percentage of eligible voters who choose the winner, is higher in presidential elections. Nonetheless, these numbers are still quite low, especially given the enormous significance attached to them. Ronald Reagan won in 1984 with the votes of 31 percent of those eligible. This was deemed a gigantic landslide and a wholesale repudiation of progressive politics by Americans. Donald Trump won in 2016 as the choice of 26 percent of eligible voters, which was likewise seen as a tectonic shift in the views of U.S. citizens. (In 2020, Joe Biden won as the choice of 34 percent of eligible voters.)"