Many in the Democratic Party and the Progressive movement believe it is foolhardy to go after the Trump voter. The Virginia vote cauterized that in the minds of many.
65.3% of whites, 59.6 of African Americans, 49.3% of Asians, and 47.6% of Latinos voted in 2016. And America is a majority white country where the systemic nature of voting rules also gives them the potential for higher voting rates. This reality will be so for the foreseeable future. There is a lot of talk about the browning of America that should drive people of color crazy. Many of these calculations are based on classifying a group of people as Latinos.
Latinos come in various races. A large percentage of them by the second generation are easily and willfully absorbed into the majority culture. So politicking under the false premise that America is browning to the point of people of color being a majority and thus making our politics more demographically fair is a pipe dream.
We should all know that race is a social construct. Because America continues to use pigmentation to divide and empower a few using the ignorance of the many, one must navigate politics to mitigate said reality.
Since power in many instances is race based, gender based, or some other based, we will have identity politics for the foreseeable future. The issue is ensuring it is done on a ‘moral’ basis.
Charles Blow wrote an excellent article titled “Resistance, for the Win!” I agree with the following.
That whole conversation about how we must reject “identity politics” left a lasting bad taste in my mouth. I will confess that I’m still smarting over the implication of those conversations, in part because as a black man in America, I have seen the corpse flower that can grow from that seed. …
But the fact that Democratic strategists were even thinking of actively courting voters who turn a blind eye to — or even actively cheer — Trump’s bigotry underscored for me the fact that for this party, principles can be situational.
This to me is not moderation but mollification. It is a crisis of conscience. I wrote in January that the Enlightenment must never bow to the Inquisition, and I hold fast to that position.
For me, there is no middle: If you are supporting Donald Trump, you are supporting Trumpism and all that goes with it. That means that you are supporting a modus operandi that attacks people of color on every term, but keeps white supremacists safe. You are supporting Trump’s demeaning of women. You are supporting his bullying. You are supporting his corruption. You are supporting his pathological lying.
However, I disagree with his following statement.
It is not the job of the resistance to drag you out of that. It is the job of the resistance only to be there when and if you tire of the darkness and crawl out into the light.
That is a recurring statement I hear in our Progressive circles for those who are ignorant of identity issues, willful or not. I am a man and a recovering sexist. I remember saying something sexist that I had no clue was sexist based on my upbringing in Latin America in a forum. Many women in the group slaughtered me after the meeting. When I asked for help to identify what I had said, I was told it was not their job to fix my problem. I genuinely did not know what I had done wrong until a kind woman took me to the side and explained why the statement that I made was wrong.
Some Trump voters are nonredeemable because they know exactly what they are doing. I have spoken to enough of them to know that others are programmed and spending the time to have them deprogram themselves with ones coaching is possible. It is time-consuming and many Progressives have no desire to do it and that is fine. It should not, however, be a spoken or unspoken policy to write-off any demographic group. More importantly, very few of the sick with a contagious, chronic disease are able to diagnose or cure one’s self.
Righteous activism is not easy. It requires work. Getting people to vote consistently is not easy but is no easier than creating relationships of trust with all people to influence what they do or how they vote.
In short, we should go after the Trump voter as hard as we go after the non-voters. Believing that in a country where race plays a significant role, that somehow people of color won’t have to worry about mitigating white racism, is flawed thinking. You see, racism is contagious. And today’s white allies under ideal conditions could succumb to the contagion. Progressives must go after every voter with a passion irrespective of race and not fall into the trap of what the electorate in states like Virginia look like or behave today.