A viral leftover from last night.
“People have talked about a miracle. I’m hearing about a nightmare,” he said early Wednesday morning. “You tell your kids: Don’t be a bully… don’t be a bigot.. do your homework and be prepared. And then you have this outcome.”
“You have people putting children to bed tonight, and they’re afraid of breakfast. They’re afraid of ‘How do I explain this to my children?’ I have Muslim friends who are texting me tonight, ‘Should I leave the country?’ I have families of immigrants that are terrified tonight.”
He continued, with wet eyes: “This was a rebellion against the elites, true, it was a create reinvention of politics… but it was also something else.”
“We haven’t talked about race. This was a ‘white-lash’ against a changing country … against a black president in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes.”
The “white-lash” theory is complicated, per this morning’s “odds and ends” post. Trump did swamp Clinton among working-class whites, although their share of the electorate has been shrinking steadily since 2004 and went on shrinking yesterday. Hillary also underperformed Obama with blacks and Latinos nationally. It’d be interesting to see a model estimating how much more decisively she would have needed to win blacks in Michigan and Pennsylvania and Latinos in Florida to have changed the outcome of the election. None of that contradicts Jones’s “white-lash” point per se, but it’s a big-picture reminder that whites weren’t the only group to support Trump in the numbers he (barely) needed to win. And remember, as of right now, Clinton is more than six million votes behind Obama’s 2012 national vote total. We’ll need to wait until all the votes are in and the data nerds get cracking on demographics to see how many “missing Democrats” there were and who they ended up being, but what are we to make of white 2012 Obama voters who went for Trump or stayed home this time? “White-lash,” or discontent with the country’s direction? (In fairness to Jones, he’s not offering “white-lash” as a comprehensive theory of what happened, just one part of the puzzle.) Nate Cohn notes:
Clinton suffered her biggest losses in the places where Obama was strongest among white voters. It's not a simple racism story
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) November 9, 2016
Kind of important to the “white-lash” theory. But that’s not the reason to watch this clip. Watch it to experience the palpable distress he feels at the other party’s victory, which many Trumpers also would have experienced had Clinton been a bit stronger in the Rust Belt and pulled it out. It’s an election-night ritual since 2004 (at least) that half the country suffers a sustained panic attack upon realizing that the other guys will control the White House for four years. That’s not healthy and it can’t go on indefinitely; like a bad marriage, chances are it’ll dissolve eventually, more or less messily. I had the thought last night before the first results came in, when most of the world still expected a Hillary victory, that if Democrats won the presidency again — especially if they won easily, with lots of Latino support — right-wingers would conclude that they’re doomed to Democratic rule forever and would start talking more seriously of secession. Not very seriously, but seriously enough to move the Overton window a bit and put that idea on the perimeter of the mainstream long-term.
The irony of the outcome last night is that I think it’ll make the left, which otherwise would have scoffed at secessionist blather, consider the merits of the idea more carefully if and when the right finally does gravitate to it. (Which it will in 10 or 20 years’ time, if Latinos remain solidly Democratic and give Dems a chokehold on national elections as their share of the population grows. The country will be “white-lash”-proof eventually, although it’ll take longer if white college grads grow more heavily Republican as a reaction.) If the choice is between certain Democratic rule and a national crack-up, Dems will obviously prefer the former; if the choice is between national crack-up and probable Democratic rule with the risk of an occasional Trump presidency (or worse) thrown in, well, then they have something to think about. As a pre-Trump Republican once said, a house divided against itself can’t stand. Either the panic-attack cycle ends or we’re on a long slope to dissolution. Frankly, I wonder if we’d be much further along that slope if the blue areas and the red areas were contiguous and could be separated neatly into two nations.
There’ll be stops along the way for possible alternative solutions before then, though. Case in point: If Hillary holds on in the popular vote, as seems likely, expect to see a lot of political energy spent by the left over the next four years on the idea of getting rid of the electoral college and replacing it with a national popular vote for president. Democrats are too weak at the state level to make that scheme viable now, but they won’t always be. And having lost two presidential elections in the last five cycles despite winning the popular vote, they’ll remember this when they are.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 9, 2016