• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous supporter has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Political Is Personal

Republicans Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, of New York and California respectively, both facing federal indictments, were re-elected to congress this week. Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hoff thwarted his democratic challenger and was elected to the Nevada state legislature. Hoff’s profession wasn’t enough to turn republican voters away, nor was the fact that he has been dead for several weeks.

Here in Buffalo local democrats responded to the Chris Collins re-election with moral indignation and invectives hurled at the rural people of Western New York, the “ignorant inbred hicks” and “racists.” Overwhelmed by the apparent stupidity many ask “How could this happen?” and this sentiment is echoed nationally. But we should suspect that many of the well over 100,000 people who voted for Collins were not making a calculated preference based on policy that somehow went awry due to some mental deficiency. They, like many republicans who continue to support what is essentially a doomsday cult, are only acting in their personal best interest given their sense of self and immediate social environment. Note this is not what WE perceive to be their best interest, be WE don’t matter, and neither does Chris Collins, in a traditional sense that is. Republican voters care less about Chris Collins, his policies or transgressions, they care much more about the tears and outrage of “libtards” who continue to dismiss and denigrate rural people. This is the wave Trump rode to power and the strategy has diffused through the party. Collins had the gall to get back in the race after his arrest, he had the guts to fight on. The liberal “PC” crowd was really going to hate that, and that’s exactly what makes he and the legion of lying white men in power today so irresistible. It is not about policy or truth, it is about defiance. Their defiance has been adopted as a mascot to represent those who feel disregarded and devalued in a society where culture is generated in cities and reluctantly absorbed in the hinterlands, and where technology makes old ways of understanding obsolete. But I don’t mean this to be an excuse.

The personal is political but the political is likewise personal. Trump raises the social status of his adherents. No one joins a club to lose status. The answer to combating this poor citizenship is to focus on just this point. John voted for Chris Collins. John has family, friends, and coworkers. Some in each category don’t agree with John, and they could make this known, but most choose not to. They try to make the political impersonal. They tolerate John, or maybe they think he’s generally a nice guy. Or maybe they see his MAGA hat and assume he’s too far gone to engage with. But this is an error. John can be shunned, denied affection, abandoned, challenged to defend his position, ridiculed, and otherwise tirelessly engaged. This can happen in front of the children, over Thanksgiving dinner, at the park or the grocery store, right before bed, or just before the alarm clock rings. The political is personal. And John should be held accountable for his actions. We shouldn’t expect to win John over with logic or a better argument, but we don’t have to. John will change course when he realizes that he has lost respect among those who matter to him and he feels that by changing course that respect can be regained.

Will this work for every Trump supporter? No. In fact it may accelerate polarization and political tribalism in some cases, but that’s what we have regardless. Furthermore, the oft repeated pattern of moral outrage and name calling has proven ineffective at best and at worst will play into the hands of republican strategists now planning Trump’s run for a second term.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail