Skip to main content

A quick note about tribalism, politics, and Tucker Carlson

Since I started opining about politics four years ago, I've worked hard not to be a mindless hack. For me, that's meant trying to adhere to a few principles, and to analyze accordingly: If that meant Democrats ended up on the wrong side of the analysis, fine. If (less frequently) Republicans ended up on the right side, well, that was OK too. The important thing was to eschew tribalism and be intellectually honest. And if a few liberal friends rolled their eyes at me when I struggled with whether Barack Obama deserved my vote, I could live with that.

Then Tuesday happened.

And then George Will explained that the only reason the nation might re-elect Obama is race: We don't want a black man not to succeed. As though the president hadn't actually lost electoral support because of his skin tone.  It was amazingly patronizing, and it had the side benefit of letting Will avoid analyzing other reasons the electorate might not want to see Republicans in the White House, or confronting the idea that George W. Bush really damaged the GOP brand that badly.

And then, on Facebook, I witnessed an acquaintance muse that the only reason Obama is still alive is because (presumably politically correct?) would-be assassins didn't want to be responsible for killing the nation's first black president. (Those comments, thankfully, were later deleted.) As though President Obama doesn't actually face an unprecedented number of personal threats each day.  As though white guilt is the only force behind Obama's success.

And then, on Twitter, The Daily Caller, and Fox News, I watched the Republican establishment try to characterize a five-year-old speech by President Obama as somehow showing his "real," anti-white racism. (It didn't.) We watched anchors on Fox News tried to assess the president's "authentic" accent, as though he'd been shucking-and-jiving in front of a black audience. We watched, basically, as the GOP tried again to scare white voters with a niggerized cariacature of the president.

And, when asked what evidence for that cariacature was contained in the president's actual, four-year record of governance, conservatives were mostly silent. Except to warn we'd find out about the "real" Obama in his second term.

And I gained clarity.

There are good reasons to criticize President Obama. There are good, conservative reasons to criticize President Obama--if you really believe in limited government, ending or reducing the entitlement state, in lower taxes, there are good, principled reasons to oppose the president.

But the GOP establishment isn't betting on those reasons to carry the day. They're hoping to terrorize voters with trumped-up racial fearmongering.

And I don't want them to win.

I don't want people who buy this stuff to be on the winning side. I don't want people who sell this stuff to be on the winning side. I don't want Hannity and Carlson or any of the Breitbart crew to taste the champagne on on election night. I want them to lose, I want them to lose badly, I want them to be humiliated, because as bad as the last decade has been in this country, it's worse yet if a final, desperate roll of the Southern Strategy dice proves successful.

I don't like this side of myself. I want to be too rational to give into base tribalism. But more than that, I don't want them to win. So thanks, Tucker. Thanks, Hannity. Thanks, Drudge. You've given me clarity I didn't have before. I unambiguously want President Obama to win re-election. We'll deal with the fallout from that later. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yoga

I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Interesting:
Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…