Leah McElrath Profile picture
Dec 13, 2017 26 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
You say you are “soul searching,” @jjz1600, but you need to be looking at WHO actually voted in Jones.

(Hint: It wasn’t the WWW.)
I appreciate your responding, and ITA about both/and.

Let me ask you something: How do you understand the turnout by Black Alabamians last night? What is your view on what prompted that level of engagement by Black voters?

(Since you don't know me and don't have context for reading my tone: this is a sincere query. And I am choosing to ask it publicly via quote tweet because this is an important dialogue for many of us on the left, NOT to put you on the spot.)
And I'm asking my followers:

PLEASE do not use this as an opportunity to pile on.

We NEED to have this conversation and get to a point of shared reality on the left – one that is solid and flexible enough to bear disagreement and discourse.
I was hoping you would reply, James, but perhaps you are otherwise occupied.
Black Alabamians did not turn out in the numbers they did nor vote Democratic just BECAUSE they are Black.

Black Alabamians turned out in the numbers they did and voted Democratic because they UNDERSTOOD THE STAKES.

The (often multi-generational) experience of being Black in the Deep South informs the engagement and pragmatism of Black voters.

Black Alabamians understood the stakes in the election more than any other group BECAUSE THEY LIVE WITH THE CONSEQUENCES of Trumpism every day.
(In addition, Black voters in Alabama were mobilized via comprehensive efforts by Black organizations and direct person-to-person contact by organizers aligned with Democrats. The below thread by @AlGiordano is a #mustread.)

In contrast, white voters with their Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, SSDI, SSI, and ability to support their families at stake clearly did NOT appear to understand what was at stake for them.

Why not?

THAT is a question worth discussing.

Black Alabamians did not vote Democratic and turn out the way they did BECAUSE they are Black.

They voted Democratic and turned out because the EXPERIENCE of being Black informs how Black voters make their decisions.

NOT their skin color.
What is often unfortunately and derisively referred to as "identity politics" needs to be understood as "experience politics."

We ALL live different EXPERIENCES – and those experiences are informed by a wide variety of factors.
Which brings us back to your original query:

What informs the EXPERIENCE of white working class Alabamians is VERY different than what informs the experience of WWC in PA, WI, MI, etc.

Which means the answers to engaging those voters are DIFFERENT.
Contrary to longings among some socialists – and especially since the destruction of the labor movement and the weakening of unions – there has not been a "white working class" common experience, shared reality, or "identity" in the US.
White, non-wealthy Alabamians identify more as "Evangelical Christians" than as "working class."

The *experience* within white "Evangelical Christian" churches is deeply brainwashing (not hyperbole).

(I refer folks to #YouDontKnowEvangelicals & #EmptyThePews for more info.)
For the most part, the mainstream media and political operatives have OVER-emphasized Trump's focus on the white "working class" and UNDER-recognized his VERY strategic targeting of white Evangelical Christians.

It is a HUGE MISTAKE to conflate the two groups.
Trump used DIFFERENT language and (false) promises in his speeches which spoke to DIFFERENT •subgroups• within what is being mistakenly called the "white working class."
To appeal to Rust Belt white laborers, Trump had language about trade.

To appeal to Appalachian white laborers, Trump had language about mining.

Both were covered a lot in the news.

But those parts of Trump's stump speech were NOT how he appealed to Southern white laborers.
To appeal to Southern white laborers, Trump had language in his stump speech about...repealing the Johnson Amendment and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The connection of those aspects of his campaign and white Evangelical Christians was minimally explored.
Hell, most Americans don't even know what the Johnson Amendment is.

(Or are aware of the fact that the GOP is attempting to repeal it within their #GOPTaxScam.)

And few non-white, non-Evangelical Christians understand why the Israeli capital matters to those outside of Israel.
In short, white American laborers are far less homogeneous in their EXPERIENCE than socialist theory would have it.

And – BECAUSE they are white – they have the privilege of FORGETTING they are white and focusing on experiences OTHER than the impact of their race on their lives.
Furthermore – because they are white – they have also internalized a less acknowledged aspect of racism and its role in class-based oppression:

White laborers believe their white privilege is FAR more protective than it actually is.
Lyndon Johnson and John Steinbeck each astutely observed how the ideology of racism not only oppresses PoC, but also serves to oppress white laborers very effectively:
To begin to close this thread:

Due to a variety of factors and influences, there is not currently a shared EXPERIENCE – or the •perception• of such by those affected – of being "white working class" in the US.

There are MULTIPLE experiences and related superseding identities.
In addition, white voters from ALL socio-economic classes tend to overestimate the protection white privilege affords us.

"Voting against one's interests" AND political purity tests are BOTH symptoms of white privilege and a delusional overestimation the protection it provides.
So how do we as progressives go forward?

As a start:

1. We stop using the false construct of a homogeneous WWC.
2. We start enlisting white Americans who have been/will be adversely impacted by GOP policies to tell their stories.
3. We continue supporting/investing in PoC.
Embracing the reality of our PLURALISM – not chasing divisive and exclusionary populism – is the way forward for the Democratic Party.

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More from @leahmcelrath

Oct 9, 2018
There is still disinfo and agit prop going on (which @attackerman and @kpoulsen do a good job putting in context here) but some good news:

“Researchers: No Evidence That Russia Is Messing With Campaign 2018—Yet”


A couple of factors to keep in mind:

Trump has the U.S. bully pulpit now and is doing a better job sowing domestic and international division than Putin could have ever hoped for.

There are more mechanisms in place that would result in retaliation for direct interference.

No matter what the results are on November 6th, I would anticipate there will be a POST-election psy ops effort to try to cast doubt on the outcome and integrity of the electoral process.
Again: I would anticipate that no matter the results. It’s low-hanging fruit for Putin.
Read 4 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
Trump campaign aide Rick Gates sought proposals for social media manipulation (including creation of fake online personas) and opposition intelligence gathering from Psy Group, an Israeli intel firm

(Trump referred to as “the Lion” in proposals 🙄)

(Those of you who’ve followed me a long time know I have speculated in the past about Israeli versus/in addition to Russian involvement in the social media psy-ops during the 2016 election. Remember all those hashtag “MAGA” troll/bot accounts that had hashtag “StandWithIsrael”?)
Helluva kicker on this story:
Read 10 tweets
Oct 7, 2018
@RadioFreeTom Similar to Trump admin stripping immigrant children from parents: the message is “we can and will target anyone.”

@JKhashoggi didn’t identify as a “dissident,” was supportive of the monarchy, and only sought reform.

MBS apparently believes Trump and Bibi will turn a blind eye.
@RadioFreeTom @JKhashoggi (And MBS is likely correct he will do this with impunity. The context, of course, is the recent imprisonment of numerous female human rights advocates and charging them with serious crimes, seeking the death penalty for at least one - all without meaningful U.S. response.)
@RadioFreeTom @JKhashoggi It’s a horrific but efficient tactic in terms of political economy:

Target one low/non-threat critic to silence all criticism.
Read 7 tweets
Oct 6, 2018
.@JKhashoggi was an journalist with the @washingtonpost.

He entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, went missing, and is now reported to have been killed inside the consulate.
Thread with more information and context on the reported but UNCONFIRMED assassination of @washingtonpost journalist @JKhashoggi

If news re @JKhashoggi proves true, his assassination is an dramatic expansion of Saudi Arabia’s already Draconian war on dissent.

If MBS gets away w doing this w impunity (meaning Trump/Bibi turn a blind eye), some others in the region will follow suit.
Read 6 tweets
Oct 5, 2018
I hope @SenatorCollins is proud of doing her part to promote rape culture.

Just read these (TW for sexual violence survivors):
And more, @SenatorCollins.

You actively promoted rape culture today.

Read 4 tweets

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