There are two questions that voters in the US from the left of center are asking themselves: Who are these people who voted for Trump? And why did we not prepare ourselves at all for this conclusion? The word “devastation” only starts to approach the wide-spread feeling of the moment among those I know. We did not know how widespread anger is against elites, how deep the anger of white men is against feminism and the civil rights movement, how demoralized by economic dispossession many people are, how exhilarated people are by isolationism and the prospect of new walls and nationalist bellicosity. Is this the new “whitelash”? Why did we not quite see it coming? LIke our friends in the UK after Brexit, we are now skeptical of the polls: who is asked and who is not? Do people tell the truth when asked?
Is it true that the vast majority of voters were white men and that many people of color sat this one out? Who is this angry and nullifying public who would rather be ruled by a mad man than a woman? Who is this angry and nihilistic public who blames the devastations of neo-liberalism and deregulated capitalism on the Democratic Party candidate? We have to think now about populism, right and left, and misogyny – how deep it really goes. For better or worse, Hillary is identified with establishment politics. But what should not be underestimated is the deep-seated rage and anger against Hillary, partially the result of a rank misogyny and the revulsion against Obama, fueled by long simmering racism.