[Marxism] The key to understanding America’s red-blue split isn’t ideology or culture. It’s economics. - The Washington Post

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 9 06:47:18 MST 2018

(An rather obvious article by John J. Judis that is still worth reading. 
It rules out the possibility that Red State bastions of support for 
Trump can become the shock-troops in an assault on austerity. Wiki 
states that Judis was a founding editor of Socialist Revolution (which 
was later renamed Socialist Review and then Radical Society before 
ceasing publication in 2009). In the 1970s he was a founding editor of 
the East Bay Voice. He moved to Chicago in December 1976 to become the 
foreign editor of In These Times, a democratic socialist newsweekly. 
Wiki didn't mention it but Judis was also signed an open letter 
denouncing the Sandinistas in 1983 that included Paul Berman, Charles 
Krauthammer, Martin Peretz and other fuckwits. Naturally, this was just 
the gesture that helped him land a job at the New Republic that leaded 
in turn to work at the Washington Post.)

Many Americans (primarily but not all white) who once lived comfortably 
in older Midwestern and Southern towns have had important parts of their 
identity stripped away by the transformation of the U.S. economy. Many 
of them once enjoyed lifetime employment from the same company and could 
identify with that company — whether it was General Motors or Sears. 
They also may have enjoyed the protection and solidarity of belonging to 
a union. They lived in neighborhoods and frequented the same bars, 
restaurants, churches and bowling alleys. They and their friends had 
gone to the same high schools and followed the same local teams. They 
owned their homes and protected them by owning guns. Many of the men had 
served in the armed forces and belonged to veterans’ groups.

Move ahead to now: The company has left. The union is gone. The 
neighborhood is gone. Many of the working-class whites, like the Trump 
supporters in Ohio I interviewed for my last book, have moved to nearby 
suburbs, where the main public square is the shopping mall. As 
identities made possible by the old jobs and the old economy have faded, 
other identities — ones often associated with hard-line conservative 
politics — have both endured and filled the void: strong identification 
with the traditional family, with the home (for which these voters see 
gun ownership as an essential means of protection), with church and 
religion, with the flag and the nation. Interwoven among these 
identities are ones that are fundamentally rooted in resentment: toward 
undocumented immigrants whom they believe their taxes subsidize; toward 
both legal and undocumented immigrants who they see as upending the 
mores and language of their hometowns; toward those minorities who, in 
their minds, benefit unfairly from affirmative action; and toward 
distant elites in the cities who project disdain for them and their way 
of life.


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