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By Nora Cody.

Donald Trump didn’t just win, he won Bigly. Everyone I know is shocked, stunned, and deeply saddened, but in many ways we should have seen this coming. Conditions in this country have produced a potent list of ingredients that led to this disaster of a recipe.
First, and most importantly, we have the permanent loss of good working-class jobs through globalization. This is the song that keeps running through my head:
Now main streets whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain’t nobody wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back… to your hometown
Bruce Springsteen, My Hometown, 1984
That song is from 1984. We now have a second generation of white working-class people who perceive few options. What are those with a high school education or less supposed to look forward to? They are staring at jobs at Walmart or Starbucks, at best. This country is founded on the belief in the American dream, and when it hits you that that dream will never become reality for you, it is devastating. Many people of color have always been left out of the American dream, but for whites, this deadening realization was a new and enraging development. Who is offering solutions for these people?
The second, vital ingredient is the tried-and-true – racism, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny. Blame the other. By whipping up the deep bigotry among whites in this country, Trump made people feel, for a while, empowered and important again. People vote based on their gut feelings. It didn’t matter that Trump doesn’t offer any real solutions and that, in fact, his presidency will make his constituents worse off. What matters is that he tapped into sentiments that Clinton was not able to even come close to touching. Despair and anger plus bigotry, it’s a very potent combination.
Third ingredient: lack of any significant counter weight to this simple demagogic solution. In the past, the main organizing force that offered an alternative to white and brown working-class people was the labor union. The union was not only an organization that fought for them and their welfare, it was a political force as well. In a very practical sense, unions turned out the votes for the Democratic Party. But in between elections, they were there for the working people, looking out for them. This is a huge loss. And we don’t have anything to replace it in terms of a progressive force or movement. Bernie tried, but his reach was not great or broad enough and the momentum/organization not enough to sustain a clear alternative. And his base was too white.
So now what?
We have to organize and fight back, for course. We need to build a movement that is fighting for the basic rights of working people in this country – for a higher minimum wage, for healthcare, and for investments in job creation. Wherever possible we should support unions in their efforts to organize industries old and new. We need to build bases at the local level, elect local candidates as we build power block by block to take this country back.
We also have to, each of us, take responsibility to protect the rights and the lives of people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ  folk, etc. Whites should join groups like those in alliance with black lives matter.
Do not despair. Despair only helps those who seek to divide and conquer. Preach and practice love while we organize resistance. And take care of yourself. Do not sink into passive resignation. There are still millions of wonderful, strong, smart people in this country who want to work with you for a better world.
Nora Cody lives and works in Oakland, California. She has survived the presidencies of Nixon, Reagan, and the two Bushes.

Author

Anthony Cody
Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody worked in the high poverty schools of Oakland, California, for 24 years, 18 of them as a middle school science teacher. He was one of the organizers of the Save Our Schools March in Washington, DC in 2011 and he is a founding member of The Network for Public Education. A graduate of UC Berkeley and San Jose State University, he now lives in Mendocino County, California.

Comments

  1. Monty Neill    

    As we organize, we will also have to grapple with the fact that the Democrat party participated in delivering neoliberal economic devastation (e.g., NAFTA, among many). Tho the Rs were worse, Hillary took the hit for it (all that talk about ‘change’). The Dems are now a party of blacks, Latinos (multi-class) and the relatively better off workers doing OK under neoliberal globalization, with support from some major upper class beneficiaries of globalization (who also support Rs, generally speaking). Where is room for working class whites? The economic side is one piece, the other is how to address the all-too-common fallback to racism among whites (of all classes, wrong to just target working class whites). And there are the ‘social issues’ that remain salient among many. Tough complexities to sort out, never mind figure out shared strategies.

  2. Susan Lee Schwartz    

    My piece at Oped http://www.opednews.com/articles/How-Could-This-Happen-The-by-Susan-Lee-Schwartz-Citizens_Democracy_Democrat_Election-161109-261.html
    here it is
    I cried last night… and this morning I figured it out. I am no pundit, ‘merely’ a former teacher and a playwright) , born in 1941, who sees what is afoot on our national stage.
    Here are the factors that led us to the triumph by a monster. If Trump won, it is because of these things — my humble analysis, about this assault on our electoral process, — after watching the enormous and carefully planned, successful assault on something else which was granted to our nation by our founding fathers— our institution of public education.
    * First of all, the CRUCIAL FACTOR is THE enormous pain of our people,! In a nation that is vastly ignorant about our history AND uninformed about what is afoot NO ONE- not the DNC–, paid attention to the PAIN of the masses of our people – the middle class, which was not just hurting, but impoverished and robbed of their homes, their livelihood and their future, as the GOP gave us INCOME INEQUALITY ON A MASSIVE SCALE.
    Do not miss that link, even if you do not read the rest of my analysis. Trust my voice… go there, because it is THE reason why the people voted for Trump! You will not forget that last chart at the link… because that is WHY Trump won, and why Bernie would have won, if the DNC had not did its corrupt little thing.
    The middle class has been torn apart with austerity. The GOP made the people suffer — while allowing two trillion dollars of our GNP to be sent out of the country and blaming Obama.

    This made it so easy to for the media — which is totally owned by the oligarchs — to use the POLLING DATA — by all the self-appointed PUNDITS — to hide the reality:
    “The numbers weren’t just a poor guide for election night — they were an off-ramp away from what was actually happening,” said Jim Rutenberg: “The misfire on Tuesday night was about a lot more than a failure in polling. It was a failure to capture the boiling anger of a large portion of the American electorate that feels left behind by a selective recovery, betrayed by trade deals that they see as threats to their jobs and disrespected by establishment Washington, Wall Street and the mainstream media. Journalists didn’t question the polling data when it confirmed their gut feeling that Mr. Trump could never in a million years pull it off. They portrayed Trump supporters who still believed he had a shot as being out of touch with reality. In the end, it was the other way around.”

    Never forget the reality , which is that “In the next Congress, the very survival of the court as an independent body will be at stake, as will our democracy — and the President will pick the justice.

    * The SECOND CRUCIAL FACTOR was the MEDIA’S Hatred CHANT:
    Todd Gitlin’s: What’s Behind the Hillary Hatred Syndrome? is a really a smart analysis, and many of the quotes below are taken from it. “The media obsession damaged her reputation, but the obsessives were not original: They were cringing before the Republicans’ tar-and-feather job —the fixation on emails, which had long been an addiction among Republicans and the right-wing media, suddenly became an addiction in the mainstream media as well. According to a Lexis-Nexis search, The New York Times, to cite one example, had seven stories that month with “Clinton” and “emails” in the headline. More important, most news sources reported erroneously that Clinton was the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI.”

    I read constantly, on all blogs and commentary threads, the tirades of bright people who made it sound as if she was responsible for everything that went wrong. Nick Kristoff, says in an article about her strengths:
    ”One of the great misperceptions of this political year, among many Democrats and Republicans alike, is that Hillary Clinton is a third-rate candidate with no core or convictions” He goes on to say: “The public perception of her seems to me a gross and inaccurate caricature. I don’t understand the venom, the “lock her up” chants, the assumption that she is a Lady Macbeth; it’s an echo of the animus a lifetime ago some felt for Eleanor Roosevelt.(When Roosevelt spoke up for Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor, a letter in The Los Angeles Times thundered: ‘When she starts bemoaning the plight of the treacherous snakes we call Japanese (with apologies to all snakes), she has reached the point where she should be forced to retire from public life.’ Strong women sometimes drive people nuts.) In fact, what makes Hillary Clinton tick has always been a 1960s-style idealism about making the world a better place!”
    I say: WHAT what MADE DONALD TICK — the LITTLE SQUIRREL RUNNING IN CIRCLES IN HIS BRAIN , YELLING “ME, ME, ME!”

    THIRD CRUCIAL FACTOR: was the INTERNET RANTS. The media was ‘worked’ in tandem with the internet!
    THE INTERNET followed the lead of the “Media organizations [which] followed the lead of Republicans whose bitter partisanship was, and remains, unparalleled — “consider the flood of abuse directed by the Republicans at Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three colleagues in 2012. Raked over the coals by Republican inquisitors in Congress who could never make a case that she had acted wrongly in Libya — and who, for that matter, never acknowledged that they had cut security funds for American embassies”

    I read the endless ‘killery chants, even here at Oped, (where I consider the readership and editorial staff intelligent and well-read) insinuating that SHE DID IT… as if she made ALL the decisions — as if she were the president. But asTodd Gitlin points out at Bill Moyers: “… a secretary of state is not a president! She is a former secretary of state running for president… Clinton had to face long-drawn-out accusations of vastly greater malfeasance than when the 1983 bombing of the American Marine barracks in Beirut resulted in the killing of 241 American servicemen and women. After that massacre, conducted on Ronald Reagan’s watch, a single Democratic House subcommittee conducted a six-week-long investigation. After the killings of the four Americans in Benghazi, the Republican-led House conducted seven investigations, one of which lasted three years; the Republican-led Senate conducted another one.”

    I remember, once, when I dared to post a link to a memorabilia piece about Hillary, I was attacked, and it was insinuated that I had “hacked Oped,” when all i was doing was pointing out that I remember her— as first lady and my senator ! Even Rob wanted to know why I posted a positive piece about her.
    It was the media & the internet that did this, allowed opinion to stamp out truth!

    The FOURTH CRUCIAL FACTOR was the DNC’S BLINDNESS: What to Blame for and Who’s To Blame: Excoriate the DNC by our own Rob Kall, who nails it. For goodness sakes, there was Bernie — the charismatic, wonderful human being, whose reputation and experience was unassailable, and he had roused the very people who turned to the liar Trump, in order to get “the change” he offered. Even as the press pointed to his ’socialistic’ ideas, the DNC ignored the ’social’ movement of our masses, the “society” itself, the democratic party organization listened to the voices in their own head, and gave the nomination NOT to the man who could and would beat Trump, but to HRC!

    There is A FIFTH FACTOR — she is a woman. Americans have gotten used to female secretaries of state but a PRESIDENT? “To use the metaphor du jour, the glass ceiling that used to hang over the State Department was smashed to smithereens. They went after her. “A Democrat running for president is going to be smeared by the Republicans. This goes without saying. But a Democratic woman running for president gets extra layers of smear,” says Alexandra Petri: “It is pretty funny. She must be a super-powerful woman to inspire so much fear and fantastic theorizing.” Petri’s article begins: begins: “Before Time, Before the Earth Was Made, Before Matter and Being and History: Hillary Clinton (Lucifer, Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies, Prince of Darkness, Satan, She Whose Many Names the Cats Scream in the Night) is cast out of heaven for overweening hubris. She is condemned to lie in eternal torment in a lake of fire surrounded by her fallen angels, or, alternatively, to run for a major office while female. For thousands of years she lies outside time, smelling of sulfur, before deciding to undertake the second option.”
    Yeah, and she eats babies.

    FINALLY, and many of you wont like this — and yes, I know, Yes, I know all about th e IDEAL and principles that underly our very democracy –such as our rights to be free to vote our conscience. But our freedom was at stake here.” I do not admire the noble idealists, who ignored the monster at the gates, and patted themselves on the back as good citizens, saying: ‘we gotta vote our conscience’ — even if we throw away our vote in this year when a dangerous fascist was running! That did it… those precious votes, squandered by people who supported could not possibly win— an ignorant idiot (what’s a ‘leppo’)? and to a jewish woman who NOBODY KNEW.

    I gotta go, and get some tissues to dry my eyes, because I love my sons and my grandkids, and this fraud, this climate-change denier, this sick, ill-tempered liar, this ignorant child with a finger on a button that can loose Armageddon, is going to determine their future.

  3. jessewalking1    

    With you all the way Anthony and Nora. I knew my walking days for justice were not going to end regardless of who won this election. I was already planning my return to Selma in March, Already writing to report a crime to the next president in October.
    > http://childrenaremorethantestscores.blogspot.com/2016/10/dear-next-president-i-am-reporting.html >
    I already announced I am walking for equity and justice in CT come April, going to Seattle with the BATs. Tell Nora I am in this building a movement fight. Tell her the word despair is not a word in this Walking Man’s vocabulary.
    Bravo Nora and Anthony for keeping our eyes on the prize,
    Jesse The Walking Man Turner

  4. Jack hassard    

    Thanks, Anthony for posting Nora’s comments.

  5. VanessaVaile    

    Thanks for Nora’s reminder — I survived Nixon, Reagan, two Bushes too. Time to pick myself up and get moving…again…and as often as it takes

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