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United States

Nov 10, 2016

Trump: it wasn’t the economy, stupid — it was racism

Blaming "neoliberalism" from Trump (and Brexit) misses the point that racism is a potent factor and has a complex relationship with the economy.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Anti-racism and anti-Trump supporters protest outside the US embassy in London
Anti-racism and anti-Trump supporters protest outside the US embassy in London

So what happened?

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14 thoughts on “Trump: it wasn’t the economy, stupid — it was racism

  1. Damien Flattery

    “Voter perceptions of control and sovereignty are crucial”…

    Like anti-dumping laws?

    1. Marilyn J Shepherd

      All this bullshit about sovereignty is demented, it’s a line in the sand and does not over come human rights.

  2. Will

    While I completely respect BK’s work, I can’t help but feel this is a straw-man argument to defend the indefensible – specifically, neoliberalism. Yes, obviously racism is a potent ingredient here. But casually so? The combination of low-taxing, pro-corporate, pro-immigration, anti-social spending policy mix that roughly defines neoliberalism, and which crucially above-all promotes globalisation, is clearly the fundamental causal factor. To say a victory of Trump is a victory for whites doesn’t mean that those whites aren’t resentful of globalisation and its neoliberal apologists. Call it liberalism if you prefer, but the globalisation-smashed UK and US middle and working classes have voted for wholesale policy change over continuity, one that favours ‘us’ rather than ‘them’ (and so which emits a strong essence of racism), even if that may turn out to be a wildly self-damaging economic experiment.

  3. klewso

    So what happened?
    Well among other things – with something like 56%(? lowest since Bush-Kerry ’04?) of eligible voters turning out – over at Limited News the parrots are squawking about “media elites out of step with voters/ignore the silent majority at your peril”?
    According to Limited News’ Curry or Maul analysis :-
    Trump’s 47.5% of the vote trumps Clinton’s 47.6%? Thus (of that 56% of eligible voters) Trump’s 26.6% of the eligible vote trumps Clinton’s 26.656% – which equates to a Trump “majority”?
    As judged by certain Murdoch wall-eyed political accountants – edited as they are.

  4. bushby jane

    I thought Zoe daniels’ assessment although simple explained it quite well: Clinton lost because she is a Woman called Hilary CLINTON.

    1. Marilyn J Shepherd

      Hillary decided it was her turn just because she is Hillary so she got the nomination and then did nothing at all.

  5. Marilyn J Shepherd

    The white southern states that twice voted for a black president dropped a white candidate for a white candidate. How on earth can you buy into the nonsense the problem was racism?

    1. Will

      Perhaps because it’s better than admitting that neoliberal policy settings can be technocratically rational and yet socially explosive at the same time? (Hence it is the racism of the proles rather than fast-tracked ‘creative destruction’ of the principled that is to blame.)

  6. Woopwoop

    In the last eight years, profits have rise far, far, more than wages, which have virtually stagnated. Is it not understandable that this is resented?

  7. Dog's Breakfast

    Stop Press: Keane claims neoliberal policies not to blame for voter discontent.

    World agog!

    Racism is the easy target, I just don’t buy it.

    Jaysus BK, there is a huge difference between neoliberalism, or if you wish to use the word liberal economics, and rational economics. The cross-over is minimal. Equally, equating the performance of an economy with the lived experience of the masses is a fundamental flaw that I do wish you would get over. The vast majority of the growth is going the tiny minority of the people. The macro is not the micro.

  8. klewso

    Clinton couldn’t mobilise or motivate enough Democrats to bring themselves out to vote for her (I thought Jeremy Paxman put it pretty succinctly when he gave an appraisal of her lack of appeal – “a machine-washable politician who’s come out of some Tupperware catalogue”, shop-soiled by Washington, oozing a sense of entitlement).
    Another million would have made a real difference
    Another candidate of either gender could well have done that.
    Another woman may well have broken that glass ceiling.

    Now they look like they’ll be stuck with a Supreme Court with vacancies filled by Trump to suit his vision – to go with the likes of Palin as Secretary of the Interior?
    Fantasia – “Welcome to the United States of Fracking America …. brought to you by The (Sorcerer’s) Apprentice ….. a new broom.”

  9. Aussiewatch

    It is so difficult to analyse and understand this promotion of a person who has displayed ignorance, misogyny and who has played the political game so well. He tuned into the pain, the sense of betrayal and disappointment the general US population is feeling. The Democrats surely let their ‘believers’ down, maybe through their choice of nominee or through their ignoring the cries for help from those who were suffering from this pervasive ideology of ,dare I say, neoliberalism.

  10. Joe Fitzpatrick

    The problem with this analysis is that it treats the US as a homogeneous electorate, rather than wildly varying states and economies. Where is income the lowest in the USA [2014 figures]? 50. Mississippi (Trump), 49. West Virginia (Trump), 48. Arkansas (Trump), 47. Kentucky (Trump), 46. Alabama (Trump), 45. Tennessee (Trump), 44. Louisiana (Trump) …