|Hashtagdion on the Facebook feed of Stop Telling Lies|
In this election cycle in which many straight white men behaving badly (and some black men, and some old boys of the other gender, and some LGBTQ folks) are bringing terrible shame to themselves, I think constantly of how prescient theologian Beverly Wildung Harrison was. As she showed us in her classic essay Making the Connections, oppressive social -isms do not exist in isolation from each other. They are always connected.
Racism links to misogyny connects to homophobia is related to heterosexual male entitlement undergirds militarism feeds economic exploitation of the poor. Men who are racist are predictably misogynistic and homophobic.
Harrison's insights were for a long time resisted and ridiculed by an academic religious establishment heavily dominated by straight white males. But her insights have turned out to be right on target, and what has happened this election cycle with straight white Trump-supporting men behaving badly due to their out-of-control misogyny combined with out-of-control racism richly illustrates her point. Here's some good commentary on these matters I've spotted in the past few days:
Dylan Matthews notes that the media have served the American public very badly this election cycle by creating a false narrative about white voters experiencing economic stress and choosing Trump as their savior for that reason:
The press has gotten extremely comfortable with describing a Trump electorate that simply doesn’t exist. Cottle describes his supporters as "white voters living on the edges of the economy." This is, in nearly every particular, wrong.
There is absolutely no evidence that Trump's supporters, either in the primary or the general election, are disproportionately poor or working class. Exit polling from the primaries found that Trump voters made about as much as Ted Cruz voters, and significantly more than supporters of either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Trump voters, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver found, had a median household income of $72,000, a fair bit higher than the $62,000 median household income for non-Hispanic whites in America. . . .
Even in the general election, while support for Trump is correlated most strongly with party ID, the second biggest factor, per the analysis of Hamilton College political scientist Philip Klinkner, was racial resentment. Economic pessimism and income level were statistically insignificant.
The message this research sends is very, very clear. There is a segment of the Republican Party that is opposed to racial equality. It has increased in numbers in reaction to the election of a black president. The result was that an anti–racial equality candidate won the Republican nomination.
Paul Krugman comments on the preceding Dylan Matthews piece in a tweet:
A plea to stop, er, whitewashing the nature of Trump support: it's not the economy, stupid https://t.co/gO40R8MWUf— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) October 15, 2016
Amanda Marcotte notes the confluence of racial hostility and toxic misogyny among Trump supporters:
With the benefit of hours-old hindsight, it now seems inevitable that, with less than a month to go before the United States likely elects its first female president, the top trending topic on Twitter would be #repealthe19th. The hashtag was started by angry supporters of Republican candidate Donald Trump in response to a FiveThirtyEight analysis by Nate Silver showing that Trump would win in a landslide if women didn’t have the right to vote. That led to this demand, facetious or otherwise, that the United States end women's suffrage.
For good reason, Trump's rise has largely been attributed to the forces of white nationalism engaged in a backlash against the first black president and growing racial diversity. But the past couple of weeks have demonstrated that this election is also a referendum on the question: Are women people?
Something particularly chilling about #RepealThe19th trending as women come forward to say they were sexually abused by a powerful man.— Angus Johnston (@studentactivism) October 13, 2016
In surveying Trump's close ties to the alt-right, Sarah Posner and David Neiwert also point to the link between racism and misogyny among Trump's supporters:
The alt-right's memes and other cultural markers—from the echo (now also used by Jews and others pushing back on the meme) to the use of "Shitlord" as an honorific to describe alt-right true believers—can be inscrutable to outsiders, and have served as a kind of secret handshake for alt-right cognoscenti. It all stems from one core issue. "Race is at the foundation of everything to the alt-righters," says Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. "They have this idea that white people and white civilization are under assault by the forces of political correctness."
Some of the memes hijack popular culture, using Taylor Swift's image to promote "Aryan" beauty or attacking Star Wars for including a central black character. Others are expressions of a fixation on masculinity, such as "cuck" or "cuckservative," used to suggest that mainstream conservatives are spineless cuckolds. Others tap into deep veins of American racism, such as the term "dindu nuffin" (caricatured dialect for "I didn't do nothing," used to describe African Americans, especially Black Lives Matters protesters). Spencer says these memes have "power" and are "a way of communicating immediately."
Charles Pierce — Please, God, no more learned thumbsucking pieces about the economic insecurity that drives people to be wild about Donald Trump:
I finally went to bed on Tuesday night because I couldn't stay up late enough to see if CNN had found a busload of Carmelite nuns who revealed that Donald Trump had groped them all in a slot parlor in Laughlin, Nevada. Every time I got up from the work I was doing, and I passed the television set, there was another woman telling the same story about a grotesque encounter with the stubby fingers of the Republican party's nominee for president. They were trampling out the vintage where the Gropes of Wrath were stored, over and over again. . . .
The accusations are more than serious. The accusations are deadly. But the campaign, the Republican campaign for president, is now long sunk past serious and has descended into low, baggy-pants comedy. The candidate should be mocked. His party should be mocked. His supporters should be mocked. (Please, God, no more learned thumbsucking pieces about the economic insecurity that drives people to spend 20 bucks for a Hillary Sucks But Not Like Monica T-shirt that they can wear to their kid's christening.) The only thing the Republican presidential campaign is good for any more is a laugh. The only thing the Republican presidential candidate is good for is a cell.
I love how Charles Pierce continously pokes fun at the obtuse beltway media as they try to peddle the stolid (and false) notion that Trump's supporters are largely motivated by economic insecurity. Here's his wry comment on the news this week that armed thugs have been seeking to intimidate folks at the campaign office of Jane Ditmar (Democrat) in Virginia:
Once again, economic insecurity manifests itself in so many strange ways.