It's time to stop visiting diners in rural Iowa
First off, apologies for no self-care thread this weekend. Your friendly neighborhood librarian had other things on his mind.
I woke up this morning to these two tweets by the inestimable Nate Silver:
Our own Ruth Crocker avers that the media spends so much time on Trump voters because they think themselves junior Margaret Meades and Trump voters as a newly discovered tribe in Borneo.
However, the Fourth Estate doesn’t have the protections of the First Amendment to gawk at the geek show. They have those protections to fully inform the electorate so that, as self-governing sovereigns, they have the information they need to make reasoned decisions at the ballot box.
Now, I am not saying that Trump voters should be ignored. We ignored them until they washed over us in a wave of vitriol and animus. But by focusing solely on these people, the press has missed the true motive force of the first two years of the Trump regime: The Resistance.
Even Richard Nixon wasn’t met by the protests which met Trump at his inauguration. Not only the country, but the world rose up in revulsion. Resistance began as soon as the election was declared in November 2016. Those who voted against Trump knew that nothing but maximum effort would suffice if the country were to be saved. No American president before Trump engendered such immediate opposition. (No, not even Barack Obama. Remember, the Tea Party was far from a grassroots movement.)
Yes, it’s instructive to suss out what drove Trump voters. But by focusing almost entirely on Bud from Kenosha, the press missed what was really happening in the country. It’s why the press was surprised by the victories of Connor Lamb, Doug Jones, and Ralph Northam. It’s why the press kept downplaying the 40+ seats Democrats flipped in special elections. It’s why, despite all the polling, Democrats were still looked upon as slight underdogs for the midterms. “Surely Trump will be able to mobilize his lumpenproletariat and sweep all before him!”
He didn’t. The Resistance not only held firm, but gave Democrats almost as many votes (60 million) as Trump received in 2016. Trump voters were the story of 2016; the Resistance has held the motive force in American politics ever since.
Perhaps it would behoove the press to now focus on the voters which gave the House to the Democrats. For all his rallies, Trump has shown himself to be a spent force. He is nothing but bluster and fraud. So are his followers. They’re nothing but racists and bullies, and they don’t hold the nation’s fate in their hands. They were overwhelmed two weeks ago, and don’t look as if they’ll regain the initiative.
Instead of visits to truck stops, how about visits to those feared cafes? Visits to parks in LA or New York City? Taking the pulse in formerly red suburbs in the South which this year voted like their cousins in the North? After two years of laser-like focus on rural America, perhaps now it’s time to turn attention to the real “forgotten America”: the one standing against indecency and fascism.
It’s worth a shot.
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