Don’t be so quick to dismiss Trump voters as unreachable
Charles Rex Arbogast / AP

People’s World readers offer their take on a number of recent articles featured in our pages. The comments below have been proofread and edited for length. Join the discussion on the PW website and on Facebook. Your thoughts could be the next to appear in this space.

Re: Values Survey: Immigration and cultural issues lock in Trump voters

Cameron M. Orr says:

I am not surprised Reid was pessimistic. Many people are. Pessimism is also part of the ideology of the ruling class that has to be resisted.

This problem has to be considered from a historical and scientific perspective, and I would add, one would do well to talk to progressive people who are familiar with parts of the country where right-wing ideology is strong, rather than merely shaking one’s head, throwing up the hands, and wagging the finger.

As a person who grew up in a right-wing ruled county, I do not see the problem as being mysterious or natural. It is very obviously manufactured. Segregation plays the main role, and is a product of 80 years of racist housing policies. In part, the New Deal, a product of progressive labor struggle, was nonetheless exposed to being dismantled by virtue of the discrimination inherent within it. For working people who have mortgages or have paid them off, the issue of property taxes has also been cleverly and deceitfully used by racist right-wingers to cut taxes for the rich and destroy the public sector. (In my opinion, working class mortgage holders with foreclosure and eviction being held over their head should not have to pay taxes on the bank’s property.)

While being cut off from the experiences of African-American, Latinx, Asian, and South-Asian working people, working class whites in Republican ruled parts of the country are also fed a daily onslaught of extreme right-wing news, including from sources that make Fox News seem centrist and reasonable by comparison. Without segregation and the constant and vicious barrage of racist and anti-communist misinformation, it would not be possible to confuse people about their basic class interests to the extent that many people are. In addition, right-wing evangelical churches connected to networks of corporate-funded NGOs play the main role in providing education, community centers, some health services (especially “health clinics” for pregnant women which are in reality anti-choice, right-wing activist centers) and other services in the near total absence of a public sector, and fill in the vacuum left by a lack of class consciousness to explain the conditions of the people with a racist and sexist morality play. An urban-rural split, combined with a kind of elitist attitude that is frequently exhibited on liberal corporate media, further entrenches structurally manufactured cultural divides which are then totally mystified and naturalized by ruling class ideology.

Corporate-friendly Democrats would do well to honestly evaluate their record in building unity between Black, Brown, and white workers; and between urban and rural workers on both a policy and ideological level. Attitudes like those displayed by Reid’s are part of the problem. Those who sow division should not try to wash their hands of its bad effects.

Bernie, despite some of his blind spots, including a failure to mobilize his campaign in African-American communities, showed that white workers can be won over to a progressive platform. Obama’s campaign, mobilized by a Labor-Civil Rights grassroots coalition, showed the same. If that coalition had been structurally integrated into the Obama administration rather than dismantled after the election, and if Democrats had passed the Employee Free Choice Act in the two years they had to pass it, the future could have been different and the outcome of 2016 might have been altered.

A better analysis of why Clinton was unable to garner the level of enthusiasm necessary to overcome racist voter suppression and beat Trump needs to be offered. While 30 years of right-wing and sexist assault on her character certainly played a role—as did racist assaults on the Obama legacy by the right wing, and the bank bailout and other concessions to the right by the Obama administration itself that left so many feeling betrayed—I would wager that Clinton’s choice to compete during the campaign on the basis of saber-rattling against Russia rather than championing the progressive platform that had been won by Labor (including Fight for $15), Black Lives Matter, other grassroots, and Bernie forces, was a factor in failing to win over many working class whites in isolated parts of the country.

Continuing to emphasize the alleged “Russian collusion” issue above that of racist voter suppression as a factor in the outcome of the elections, and continuing to frame this alleged problem as one of “working with the enemy” rather than as corruption issue, will have the effect of continuing to sow confusion and division in the country. It will continue serve as a useful distraction by the ruling class from other issues of major concern to working people, such as wages, working conditions, rent, homelessness, discrimination on the job and throughout society, police brutality and mass incarceration, environmental destruction, education, healthcare, peace, and many other issues.


Re: The Soviet past we never knew

Rama Kant Sharma says:

C.J. Atkins’ article is a pleasant piece to a man of my generation from India born in the early 1930s. Stalin and the USSR were all universally praised by Indians and British rulers for dogged resistance to German invasions in early 1940s, and the system of socialism was credited for its strength in all Allied nations. The start of the Cold War began in earnest with all the hatred and anger when China was ushered in as a communist-led state in 1949. The refusal to recognize Communist China by the United States and its use of its veto power to keep China out of the UN in particular endeared China to all nations in Asia and the Third World. In the wide world of neutral nations and colonial countries, anti-communism was a trend mostly limited to ultra-rich families. News of two-year full paid leave for women after childbirth in the Soviet Union was an unbelievable feast to the ears of starving millions in Third World. The supremacy of the public sector was never a question for a majority of the people there.

The fierce resistance of monopoly capital and financial magnates in developed nations is holding back the desire of people to move to state-governed and state-managed capitalism under parties of socialist orientation. A century is too much time to wait for socialism to win over the whole world.


Re: Slaves of the tribe: The hidden history of the Freedmen

Marilyn Vann says:

Many thanks Mr. Johnson for covering the story of the Freedmen of the Five Tribes and the fight for enforcement of 1866 treaty rights… The fight, as you can see, is not over as we have those within the Cherokee and Seminole Nations who want the freedmen to be driven out and/or to only hold second class citizenship. In the other tribes, such as the Creek Nation, there are many who oppose citizenship of the freedmen, falsely claiming that ancestors of the freedmen were “squatters” “renters”, etc.


Re: AFL-CIO calls for a break with “lesser of two evils” politics

Barb Guest says:

Unions represented about 14.5 million workers in 2016, while the total number of wage and salary workers in the U.S. in 2016 was estimated at 136 million. The reason unions would want their own Labor Party is to woo the Red or Blue parties as they have always done. This is not getting the money out of politics. Start thinking outside the box. Develop the “ideals” that workers believe in. I believe the Green Party is already addressing many of those ideals. You don’t need the labels of Progressive or Liberal or Conservative or Neo-con (or more media madness). We need to understand that the American worker, whether union or not, needs to have a wage that is a living wage. We need to have hope. Hope that our life can improve, that we can meet all of our needs, and even perhaps earn some “disposable income” for a change.


Re: AFL-CIO calls for a break with “lesser of two evils” politics

Mark Romankiw says:

While the Green Party is strategizing on how to become a viable third party so they can have a seat at the adult’s table during presidential elections, the Republican Party is working to eliminate democracy altogether.

Even if Greens achieve their objective to replace the Democratic Party as the major opposition political party, it will be irrelevant because Republicans will have stacked all of the courts with reactionary judges and gerrymandered the House so Republicans will always control the agenda.

Elections have consequences, and Jill Stein interloping in the 2016 election put reactionaries in control of our destiny for at least the next 30 years, regardless of whether Democrats take back control of the Senate and White House in 2020. As long as there is a Green Party to split the progressive vote, Republicans will remain in control of everything. It’s going to get real bad for a whole lot of people, and may never get better.


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