Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: 2016 Election

Why Kanye West Likes Donald Trump

Kanye West is getting a lot of heat for appearing to come out as a Donald Trump supporter. Kanye is a much better poet than he is a prose artist, and when he speaks extemporaneously he tends to ramble. This often causes him to make flippant comments which become defining soundbites, drowning out the rest of what he says. Many people would be disinclined to take him seriously, and I’m sure some of you question whether this is a suitable topic for this blog. But there’s value in dissecting the views of people who seem politically unsophisticated–this is the only way we can come to understand the people outside of our bubbles. Read the rest of this entry »

Barack Obama’s Role in Giving Us the Trump Presidency

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius is remembered as a great philosopher and successful military commander, but he is also remembered for picking his feckless son Commodus as his successor, an emperor who infamously cared more about making showy performances as a gladiator than he did governing the empire. Barack Obama is still a popular president–his favorability rating is +10 and his job approval rating is +8. In recent months many pieces have been written lamenting his imminent departure, and many more will likely be written before January. But no matter how likeable Obama is or how well Obama governed while in office, the fact that he could not ensure the election of a competent successor counts against his legacy. How did Barack Obama end up giving us a Commodus? What, if anything, could Obama have done to avoid this?

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The Electoral College is a Distraction

There are some people who feel that because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, Donald Trump’s victory in the electoral college is illegitimate. This is a very poor argument–there are many much more interesting grounds for challenging Trump’s legitimacy than the electoral college.

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The False Dichotomy Between Economics and Racism

In the wake of the Trump victory, some pundits have written pieces arguing that Trump’s win was not down to economic distress, but instead due to hostility to immigration, diversity, and social change. In some cases these pundits explicitly call the election result a “whitelash” and accuse Trump supporters of racism and xenophobia. Unfortunately the dichotomy they are drawing between economic explanations and racial explanations is deeply misleading, and stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the ways class and race intersect, both in America and throughout the western world.

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Don’t Hate Trump Voters–Hate the System that Creates Them

I’ve been disappointed in my side over the last 48 hours. On social media aggressive posts are circulating personally blaming and shaming Trump supporters for Trump’s victory and for criminal acts motivated by hate. Columnists are lashing out, reductively attributing Trump’s victory to racism and sexism alone on the basis of exit polls which show the same kinds of gaps in support among the races and the sexes that we’ve long seen in previous races dating all the way back to the 70s and beyond. The last time women were more likely to vote for a Republican was 1960 (when they skewed slightly toward Nixon) and black voters haven’t gone for a Republican since before the New Deal. Too many people are doubling down on the same failed strategy that brought us to this pass. But just as importantly, by blaming the voters as individual agents, these people are contradicting fundamental left wing principles.

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