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“It Won’t Be Enough To Win”: Trump Considers Another Old White Male Politician For Veep

Donald Trump’s shortlist for VP looks like just another communications and demographic nightmare for the GOP. The main candidates that we know of so far appear to be Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and now appears to include Indiana governor Mike Pence:

According to two Republicans familiar with the meeting, the conversation between Trump and Pence lasted for more than an hour, and the governor was joined by his wife, Karen, as he visited with the real-estate mogul.

One person described the session as “warm and friendly,” while the other called it a “getting to know you thing, a chance for both of them to connect.” They both noted that the presence of Karen Pence is probably a sign that the Pence family is comfortable with the prospect of the Republican governor joining the ticket, although they said they have not spoken with her.

Both people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss their knowledge of the meeting, the location of which had been closely guarded for days.

Pence’s stock has been rising in Trump’s orbit, they said, describing him as respected by the candidate, despite Pence’s endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) in the Republican primary.

Trump’s camp says that he will pick a running mate before the convention. That would be common sense. Less commonsensical is Trump’s shortlist of older white male Republican government types as VP. Even Trump must realize at this point that political appeals to older white men won’t be enough to win him the election. He has to expand his base to have a prayer of winning that doesn’t depend on Hillary Clinton self-imploding.

Trump could try to win votes by expanding demographically by picking a woman or minority. The challenge for him there is that he has alienated most of the reasonably potential choices, from Nikki Haley to Meg Whitman. He could try to expand the map geographically by choosing someone from the midwestern states like Ohio and Wisconsin.

Or he could use the vice-president slot to communicate that he’s not your typical Republican politician by selecting someone from the business community, perhaps a tech entrepreneur.

But it’s not at all clear what Trump stands to gain from picking someone like Christie, Gingrich or Pence. The voters to whom those figures appeal, Trump already has. And that won’t be enough for him in November.

 

By: David Atkins, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, July 1, 2016

July 3, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Vice Presidential Nominee, White Men | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Exploitation Of White Resentment”: Donald Trump’s Ready-Made Constituency

There are competing narratives being discussed right now about what is driving the white male support for Donald Trump. Last weekend, David Atkins did a great job of articulating one of them.

In short, voters really are angry about the economy. They want greater security. They don’t want more jobs so much as they want answers for how their jobs are ever going to pay for the lifestyle and security they deserve. And they want justice and accountability against the people they believe have cheated them.

Another narrative about what is animating white male Trump supporters was recently described by Jamelle Bouie.

…we’ve been missing the most important catalyst in Trump’s rise. What caused this fire to burn out of control? The answer, I think, is Barack Obama.

Bouie goes on to suggest that, unlike the theories about this on the right, Obama has not implemented a radical political agenda. But there is something else at play.

We can’t say the same for Obama as a political symbol, however. In a nation shaped and defined by a rigid racial hierarchy, his election was very much a radical event, in which a man from one of the nation’s lowest castes ascended to the summit of its political landscape. And he did so with heavy support from minorities: Asian Americans and Latinos were an important part of Obama’s coalition, and black Americans turned out at their highest numbers ever in 2008…

For millions of white Americans who weren’t attuned to growing diversity and cosmopolitanism, however, Obama was a shock, a figure who appeared out of nowhere to dominate the country’s political life. And with talk of an “emerging Democratic majority,” he presaged a time when their votes—which had elected George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan—would no longer matter. More than simply “change,” Obama’s election felt like an inversion. When coupled with the broad decline in incomes and living standards caused by the Great Recession, it seemed to signal the end of a hierarchy that had always placed white Americans at the top, delivering status even when it couldn’t give material benefits.

In terms of the shock Barack Obama represented, I was reminded of something Jonathan Chait wrote after watching the movie 12 Years a Slave.

Notably, the most horrific torture depicted in 12 Years a Slave is set in motion when the protagonist, Solomon Northup, offers up to his master engineering knowledge he acquired as a free man, thereby showing up his enraged white overseer. It was precisely Northup’s calm, dignified competence in the scene that so enraged his oppressor. The social system embedded within slavery as depicted in the film is one that survived long past the Emancipation Proclamation – the one that resulted in the murder of Emmett Till a century after Northup published his autobiography. It’s a system in which the most unforgivable crime was for an African-American to presume himself an equal to — or, heaven forbid, better than — a white person.

Perhaps the specter of “calm, dignified competence” reminds you of someone. I have often said that freeing Black people from slavery and giving them civil rights were the first two challenges to the racism that was embedded in this country’s founding. But going from Black people as equals to Black people as leaders is the one Obama put on the table. Even a lot of people who don’t consider themselves to be racist have struggled with that one.

But we really don’t need to see the arguments made by Atkins and Bouie as opposing one another. That is because this country has a very long history of using racial resentment to exploit the economic anxieties of white working poor people. That is the basis on which the modern Republican Party was formed with the advent of the Southern Strategy. But it goes back much further than that. Tim Wise points out that it was the very reason for the development of the concept of “whiteness” in the late 1600’s to use racism as a way to divide and conquer.

Over this country’s history African Americans have gained their freedom from slavery, fought for equal rights, and even risen to positions of leadership. The one thing they can’t do is change the hearts and minds of white people who insist on blaming them for their insecurities. That is on us. Until that happens, the Donald Trumps of the world will have a ready-made constituency to exploit.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, May 12, 2016

May 14, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Trump Supporters, White Men | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“He’s Eliminated Any Margin For Error”: There Aren’t Enough White Dudes In America To Elect Donald Trump President

It’s not a secret that Donald Trump is not very, and is not likely ever to become, popular among minority voters. He’s also given women a lot of reasons to dislike him for his porcine ways, and they have reciprocated with some terrible favorable/unfavorable ratings. A recent ABC News–Washington Post survey showed Trump at 29/68 among white women, a demographic group that only one Democrat (Bill Clinton in 1996) has carried since the 1960s.

Yes, of course, Trump is reasonably popular among white men, and some would argue that his piggy-piggy baiting of women could help him push his margins in his honky-bro base even higher, especially in a race with Hillary Clinton where the Democrat would likely self-identify strongly with the offended. But there are only so many voters, and when you write off too many of them you eliminate any margin for error.

Ron Brownstein shows how narrow Trump’s path to a general-election victory will be unless something fundamental changes:

[I]f Clinton matched the usual Democratic performance with non-white voters and also carried even half of white women, Trump would then need to win more than three-fourths of white men for a national majority, a daunting prospect.

“A daunting prospect” is one way of putting it. “Impossible” is another. Ronald Reagan won two-thirds of white men in his 1984 landslide victory over Fritz Mondale. Is Trump supposed to beat that? Seriously?

No, Trump’s not going to carry all of the white men in America, particularly since he strikes many of the younger bros as a cartoon-villain representation of everything they dislike and fear about the baby-boom generation. So he’d be wise to explore ways to kiss and make up with the majority of Americans he’s disrespected.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, May 5, 2015

May 6, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Election 2016, White Men | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“I, For One, Am Sick Of Waiting”: The Overwhelming Urgency Of Hillary Clinton’s Cabinet Promise

The other day Hillary Clinton made the kind of pledge that makes waves, but which should not, in all honesty, have to be made at all: “I am going to have a cabinet that looks like America,” she said to Rachel Maddow at MSNBC’s Democratic town hall, “and 50 percent of America is women.” I all but swooned.

Government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people should, by definition and without need for further clarification, represent all the people — though of course, when President Lincoln said those words in the killing fields of Gettysburg, the majority of people living in America (all women, millions of enslaved and free African Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Native Americans) couldn’t even vote. Fulfilling the Constitution’s promise that we will together build “a more perfect union” is clearly an ongoing task.

But okay, here we are. It’s 2016 and a mere 96 years after the 19th Amendment declared that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged… on account of sex,” we have a very real chance of electing a female president. Shirley Chisholm paved the way in 1972, and Clinton herself came pretty close in 2008, but now it really might happen.

To be sure, representation doesn’t require some kind of one-to-one proxy arrangement, and I’ve already argued that feminism doesn’t require a blood oath to candidate Clinton. I’ve felt very well represented by many men in politics — not least President Obama and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin — and rest assured that if the 2016 election had come down to Carly Fiorina and Any Male Democrat, I would have very happily (and with a certain degree of urgency) voted for Any Male Democrat.

Ideally, with no legal obstacles in the way, meritocracy would work as intended and the most qualified people would rise to the top of their respective fields as a matter of course. Easy-peasy, no quotas or sweeping pronouncements necessary. We can see how well that’s worked out for women in business, academia, the legal system, Hollywood, sports, journalism, punditry, and Clinton’s chosen field of endeavor, politics.

In fact, Clinton’s candidacy is its own a cautionary tale against such magical thinking. American women have had the vote for 96 years, and in that near-century of time, there has been a single viable female presidential candidate — not once, but twice. The same woman.

During that near-century, how many women have served in cabinet positions? Writing for The Washington Post, Paul Waldman did the math and the answer is dismal: 29 — eight of them in the last eight years. Alongside 509 men. No woman has ever served as secretary of the treasury or defense.

Humanity will not quietly shed centuries of cultural expectations, social conditioning, and institutional structures (such as, for instance, the rules that until the mid-20th century kept women out of America’s top law schools, which have always served as political launching pads) just because a few good laws are in place and a few nice things are said about equality. Consider that five decades after the Voting Rights Act was passed to ensure African Americans equal access to the most basic right and responsibility of citizenship, the battle to strip that right is once again underway. Human progress is not inexorable — we have to fight for, and then defend, every inch.

Classes of people who have been systematically prevented from participating in the fullness of civic life require more than good laws or good intentions. They require policies and actions that help mitigate the wrong that has been done. Put another way: If the only people in your professional contacts list are straight, white men — you need to start calling people you don’t know.

I would argue that the entire country — men, women, and children; black, brown, and white; straight, gay, and other — would benefit if we were to allow ourselves the wisdom, creativity, and experience of a genuine cross-section of our citizenry. You get a better country! You get a better country! Everybody gets a better country!

But honestly, much as I like sounding like Oprah with the cars, that’s not even my point. My point is that women — some of whom are black; Latina; gay; handicapped; Sikh; Muslim; and every other systematically underrepresented group in this country — have the right to be fully represented in America’s democracy. We are 50 percent of the country. We deserve to have a voice commensurate with our numbers.

And anyway, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did exactly what Clinton is proposing when he took office. When asked why, he shrugged and said: “Because it’s 2015.”

Come on, America, let’s get on it. We’re already a year behind Canada. And I, for one, am sick of waiting.

 

By: Emily L. Hauser, The Week, April 29, 2016

May 1, 2016 Posted by | 19th Amendment, Hillary Clinton, White Men, Women in Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Donald Trump’s Narcissistic Delusion”: Incapable Of Assessing His Candidacy Beyond A Dominant White Male Perspective

Donald Trump rose to the top of the pack of Republican presidential candidates with his inflammatory rhetoric about Mexican immigrants. It looks like Hispanic Americans haven’t forgotten about that.

Registration among Hispanic voters is skyrocketing in a presidential election cycle dominated by Donald Trump and loud GOP cries to close the border.

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials, projects 13.1 million Hispanics will vote nationwide in 2016, compared to 11.2 million in 2012 and 9.7 million in 2008.

Many of those new Hispanic voters are also expected to vote against Trump if he is the Republican nominee, something that appears much more likely after the front-runner’s sweeping primary victories Tuesday in five East Coast states.

A whopping 80 percent of respondents in a poll of registered Hispanic voters in Colorado and Nevada said Trump’s views on immigration made them less likely to vote for Republicans in November. In Florida, that number was 68 percent.

Note that the 80% of registered Hispanics in those states said they are less likely to vote for Republicans…not just Donald Trump. So his rantings are not only affecting the presidential race, but could also have an impact down ballot.

As November looks likely to be a contest between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there are whispers of a possible landslide election in the making. It is interesting to note that the Republican Party had a moment of sanity immediately following the 2012 election when they published the infamous “autopsy” suggesting the need to do better outreach – specifically with women and Hispanics. But Donald Trump is succeeding in the Republican primary precisely because he is so intent on alienating those two groups (among others).

There are those who expect that Trump will somehow “pivot” during the general election and increase his appeal beyond the angry white male Republicans who are the base of his support right now. What is important to keep in mind, however, is that Trump is incapable of assessing his candidacy beyond the frame of a dominant white male perspective. That’s why he continually suggests that women, Hispanics and African Americans “love” him despite reality. He won’t feel the need to pivot because he honestly thinks he’s already arrived. In other words, he is living in a delusional world that reinforces his narcissism.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, April 28, 2016

April 29, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hispanics, White Men | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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