Republican use of “radicalism and racism” is not “merely responding to its base, but [the GOP] has actually created it,” states a recent piece in the Nation that laments the need to “care about miserable white people” simply due to their “disproportionate political power.”
The Tuesday essay titled “Do We Really Have to Care About Miserable White People?” and penned by the Nation national affairs correspondent Joan Walsh, bears the subheading “Sadly, yes, because they wield disproportionate political power.”
Do We Really Have to Care About Miserable White People? https://t.co/Xk76n1bXvu
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) October 25, 2022
The piece begins by describing the “endless stories about the white voters who elected Donald Trump dying ‘deaths of despair,’” with rising rates of suicide, drug overdose, alcohol-related liver failure, and Covid deaths in their voting districts.
Walsh cites a New York Times analysis alleging on Monday that white residents of districts represented by those Republican House members who voted not to certify the Electoral College results on January 6, “are becoming a minority more quickly” while struggling more both economically and socially.
She describes these white voters as “the sad sacks who drove the House Republicans’ election denial caucus.”
According to Walsh, because many of these districts “are based in the former Confederacy,” the fact “shouldn’t be surprising,” adding that “when you perceive yourself as outnumbered, and somehow unfairly so, I guess it’s easier to give up on the promise of democracy—especially when your leaders are telling you to.”
Despite “disabling racism afflicting so much of the white working class,” the leftist political pundit lamented that though Democrats do “a lot,” none of it appears to have helped attract more people from that voter bloc.
“I truly thought Democrats could appeal to more of these voters with redistributive economic policies that would promote a more egalitarian society—better health care, more funding for education, forgoing the obsession with the budget deficit, [and] becoming the party of labor unions again,” she wrote.
She also claimed to “understand why people are tired of all this reporting about down-on-their-luck white people,” stating, “it hasn’t helped us figure out what to do about the hold they have on our politics.”
Walsh, citing another Times story, insisted that Republicans “prey” on such people with rhetoric “that has gotten uglier.”
As a result, she concluded that “We sometimes act like the GOP is merely responding to its base, with all of its radicalism and racism,” however, she explained, “it has created its base.”
“Yes, there are political and material conditions that are making the white working class more miserable, and more extremist,” Walsh wrote. “But there’s a feedback loop with its Republican leadership designed to stoke that extremism, and to make them see Americans who disagree with them as not merely wrong but evil.”
Walsh maintained that “decades of dog-whistle politics and coded racism gave way seven years ago to the explicit racial appeals of Trump,” with his voters “told the enemy is stealing their jobs, their schools, their hometowns—and in 2020, the election.”
In response, some Twitter users accused the author of “racism.”
“What on earth is wrong with you? Would this be ok if you substituted any other race in your racist title, or is just anti-White racism acceptable these days?” asked one Twitter user.
What on earth is wrong with you? Would this be ok if you substituted any other race in your racist title, or is just anti-White racism acceptable these days? pic.twitter.com/iiwGSXzYtV
— Zander (@pszalai123) October 25, 2022
“Tell me you’re racist without telling me you’re racist,” wrote another.
Tell me you’re racist without telling me you’re racist.
— Cynthia Kukman (@CocoPoppy2022) October 26, 2022
“While Kanye is swiftly condemned & contracts canceled for his comments, anti-white racism is unique in America in that it is 100% culturally acceptable, institutionally-backed and heartily applauded,” another user wrote.
While Kanye is swiftly condemned & contracts canceled for his comments, anti-white racism is unique in America in that it is 100% culturally acceptable, institutionally-backed and heartily applauded. Do We Really Have to Care About Miserable White People? https://t.co/dd3ZooYDfC
— Brett Craig (@bac37) October 25, 2022
In June, a Nation essay claimed a Supreme Court ruling defending a football coach’s right to pray on the field after games is “not about freedom” but about “coercion,” expressing disappointment that a “white Christian” taking a knee in the name of “freedom of religion” is considered a “hero” while a teen protesting “police getting away with murder” is told to “shut up” and play.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.