Monday, December 19, 2016

F This Bubble B.S.

First rule of post-election punditry: find a master narrative.
Second rule of post-election punditry: blame the loser and her supporters.

The current discussion, moving from the old Real America one, is on how the Democrats live in a bubble which is why they were surprised by Trump's win.  Let's unpack this, shall we:
  1. Everyone was surprised, not just Democrats/HRC voters.  Trump was surprised.  His Russian pals were surprised.  It was a surprising outcome.  
  2. The election was close (despite Trump's landslide assertions) so THERE IS NO MASTER NARRATIVE.  Sure, HRC may not have been the best candidate the Democrats could run, but she got more votes than anyone in history besides Obama (of course, inflated by population growth, but not a trivial thing either).  She did very well in states that the Democrats had done poorly in--her margin in Virginia is apparently rather historic.  She also lost in states that were thought to be sure things.  She ran a lousy campaign in Wisconsin and Michigan, but she dedicated much effort to states she lost.  Comey!  Russia and Wikileaks!  A press that covered her seriously and her opponent much less so.  Not much had to be different for HRC to win and the pundits speculating about a GOP civil war.  
  3. The big change in the last weeks was Trump breaking through what had been seen as his maximum vote share.  So, if we want to blame anyone for Trump winning, how about we blame those who .... voted for him?  
 Which gets me to this bubble bullshit.   There has been a picture going around with the percentage of votes going to HRC in the cities/towns with Ivy League universities.  Yes, she got tons more votes in those places than Trump did.  But it means mostly nothing--that the Ivy League is in the Northeast, which went heavily for HRC.  That the students at these schools actually come from lots of places.  That educated people and younger people tended to vote for HRC.  Oh, and non-whites voted for HRC.

The whole bubble idea is that a bubble exists where people only interact with people who are like themselves, which limits how much they can understand and empathize with those who are different.  And so, we are back in Trump-esque projection-ville as the cities and suburbs these days are diverse, as is the Democratic Party, while the rural areas/exurbs are very homogeneous--white and Christian.  Which candidate was the candidate of empathy?  Which candidate was the candidate of fear of the Other?  Yeah, exactly.  So, this whole bubble thing is exactly backwards. 

This is part of a larger effort to blame Obama and the Democrats for the rise of Trump.  Sure, Obama's win in 2008 may have led to a growth in white nationalism, but isn't that the white nationalists' fault for being intolerant and fearful?  Did Obama govern in any significant way to harm whites?  He didn't take their guns, he didn't try to pass any major affirmative action legislation, and his executive orders on diversity tended to focus on LGBT who, dare I say it, exist everywhere, not just in the cities. 

So, excuse me if I scoff at those who blame the progressives/liberals/center-left/whatever, but Trump won the GOP's nomination and then the general election by promising to be right wing.  If people didn't believe him, that is their fault. But his cabinet picks indicate that he is following through on being more right wing than we could have imagined/feared. 

Perhaps because there is no master narrative, we all have some responsibility, but the HRC voters can be certain of one thing--they didn't choose Trump.  Which means that most of the blame should be directed elsewhere.

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