Dealing with America’s realities
Here we are: almost half way through the year. We’ve left the fantasies of Christmas far behind. By now, July fourth reminders are in every aisle of the supermarket and we are all Real Americans. Paul Krugman reminds us of reality, where “defining oneself at least in part by membership in a group is part of human nature.”
Even if you try to step away from such definitions, other people won’t. A rueful old line from my own heritage says that if you should happen to forget that you’re Jewish, someone will remind you: a truth reconfirmed by the upsurge in vocal anti-Semitism unleashed by the Trump phenomenon.
So group identity is an unavoidable part of politics, especially in America with its history of slavery and its ethnic diversity. Racial and ethnic minorities know that very well, which is one reason they overwhelmingly supported Hillary Clinton, who gets it, over Mr. Sanders, with his exclusive focus on individual inequality. And politicians know it too.
Indeed, the road to Trumpism began with ideological conservatives cynically exploiting America’s racial divisions. …KrugmanNYT
The acceptance of Trump as a viable candidate has relied on the streak of self-indulgence and cynicism peeking through the curtains of Christmas and the glorious Fourth. By now we should be willing to do something about inequality and racism. But the latest presidential campaigns positively depend on racism and income inequality as major “base” issues in the very unequal America.
… This is going to be mostly an election about identity. The Republican nominee represents little more than the rage of white men over a changing nation. And he’ll be facing a woman — yes, gender is another important dimension in this story — who owes her nomination to the very groups his base hates and fears. …KrugmanNYT