Beyond Our Present Knowledge

When talking about revolutions of the mind, the most well known examples come from the past. The names that get mentioned are those like Galileo and Copernicus or, more recently, Darwin and Einstein. Most often, radical new theories and paradigms aren’t immediately recognized for what they are. It can take generations or even centuries for their contributions to be fully appreciated and for the full impact to be felt.

John Higgs argues that the entire twentieth century has been a period of rupture, when multiple lines of change merged. I agree with him. On a regular basis, I find myself wondering about how little we know and to what extent we are wrong about we think we know. There has never before been an era during which our understanding about the world and about ourselves has changed so dramatically and so quickly. And there is no sign in this trend abating, if anything quickening.

Some futurists see this leading toward a singularity, a tipping point beyond which everything will be transformed. It could happen. I wouldn’t bet against it. Still, I’m more neutral than optimistic about the end results. The future will be known in the future. The present is interesting enough, as it is, no matter where it will lead.

My focus has always been on a particular kind of thinker. I’m interested not just in those minds with a penchant for the alternative but more importantly those with probing insight. I like those who ask hard questions and considered challenging possibilities, throwing open the windows in the attic to let out the musty smell of old ideas.

That is why I spend so much time contemplating the likes of Julian Jaynes. Some consider him an oddball while others look to him as an inspiration or even a visionary. However you describe him, he was first and foremost a scholar of the highest order. Even as he crossed fields of knowledge, he presented his thoughts with firm logic and solid evidence. You can disagree with the case he made, but you have to give him credit for proposing the kind of theory few would even be capable of attempting. Besides that, he inspired and provoked other serious scholars and writers to take up his ideas or to consider other unconventional lines of thought.

For the same reason, I’ve had an even longer interest in Carl Jung. He was a similar wide-ranging thinker who came out of the psychological field, one of the greatest investigators of the human mind. He was likewise highly influential, an inspiration to generations of thinkers both within and outside of psychology. As I’ve mentioned previously, an unusual line of influence was that of his personality theory as it was developed by anthropologists in their own theorizing about and comparison of cultures. By way of Ruth Benedict and E.R. Dodds, that set the stage for Jayne’s focus on ancient cultures.

Let me share two other examples, limited to a single field of study. Corey Robin and Domenico Losurdo political theorists. The former made a powerful argument, in The Reactionary Mind, that conservatism isn’t what it seems. And the latter made a powerful argument, in Liberalism: A Counter-History, that liberalism isn’t what it seems. If either or both of them turn out to be even partly right about their theories, then much of the mainstream American discussion about ideology might be skewed at best and useless at worst. It could mean we have based nearly our entire political system on false ideas and confused beliefs.

While I’m at it, here are two more examples. More in line with Jaynes, there is Daniel Everett. And of an entirely different variety, there is Jacques Vallée. One is a linguist who was trained to become a missionary to the natives, specifically the Pirahã. The other was a respected astronomer who wandered into the territory of UFO research (an interest of Jung’s as well, as he saw it as symbolic of a new consciousness emerging). Both became influential thinkers because they came across anomalous information and chose not to ignore it. Everett more than met his match when he tried to convert the Pirahã, instead having found himself losing his religion and learning from them, and in the process he ended up challenging the entire field of linguistics. Vallée, a hard-nosed scientist, was surprised to see his fellow scientists throwing out inconvenient observational data because they feared the public attention it would draw. The particular theories of either Everett or Vallée is not as important as the info they pointed to, info that doesn’t fit accepted theories and yet had to be explained somehow.

That last example, Jacques Vallée, was particularly an out-of-the-box thinker. But all of them were outside mainstream thought, at least when they first proffered forth their views. These are the thinkers who have challenged me and expanded my own thinking. Because of them, I have immense knowledge and multiple perspectives crammed into my tiny brain. I’m reminded of them every time I read a more conventional writer, when all the exceptions and counter-evidence comes pouring out. It goes way beyond mere knowledge, as many conventional writers (including many academic scholars) also possess immense knowledge, but it’s conventional knowledge interpreted with conventional ideas, leading to conventional conclusions, serving conventional purposes, and in defense of a conventional worldview. Reading these conventional writers, you’d have no idea the revolution of the mind that has been occurring this past century or so and the even greater revolution of the mind yet to come.

The effects of this paradigm change will eventually be seen in the world around us, but it might take a while. If you live long enough, it will probably happen in your lifetime. Or if you exit stage left before the closing curtain, the changes will come for the generations following your own. Just don’t doubt a new world is coming. We are like the lords and serfs at the end of feudalism, not having a clue of the Enlightenment and revolutions that would quickly wash away the entire reality they knew. We aren’t just facing catastrophes in the world around us, possibilities of: world war, nuclear apocalypse, bio-terrorism, climate change, refugee crises, mass starvation, global plagues, robotic takeover, or whatever other form of darkness you wish to imagine. More transformative might be the catastrophes of the mind, maybe even at the level Julian Jaynes theorized with the collapse of the bicameral mind.

One way or another, something else will take the place of what exists now. Whatever that might be, it is beyond our present knowledge.

* * *

As a bonus, below is a nice personal view about Julian Jaynes as a man and a scholar. Even revolutionaries of the mind, after all, are humans like the rest of us. About the assessment of consciousness in the latter part of the essay, I have no strong opinion.

What It Feels Like To Hear Voices: Fond Memories of Julian Jaynes
by Stevan Harnad

40 thoughts on “Beyond Our Present Knowledge

  1. I spent yesterday comforting friends and being positive- today is apparently my own day to mourn. This was good to read- anything with a view out longer than five years and not overtly political is very good right now.

    • Believe it or not, this post wasn’t inspired or remotely influenced by any thought of Trump and the election. But now that you mention it, the conclusion of the post is relevant to the mood at present. It is a new age of American society. But I suspect electoral politics might be the least of our worries in the coming decades.

      I didn’t really have a point in writing this. It was just something that struck my mind this morning and so I wrote it out quickly before work. As for politics, I might let things settle a bit. I’m sure I’ll eventually write something about it all. But I have little opinion about Trump, I must admit. A Trump is a Trump is a Trump.

    • No, I wasn’t surprised at all. I was sort of expecting it. As I kept saying, Trump wasn’t a strong candidate, but lordy lordy was Clinton ever a weak candidate. No matter how hard it seemed like Trump was trying to lose, Clinton kept getting dragged down by the muck and grime she had surrounded herself in.

      On the morning I heard that he was elected, I was in a weird mood. I spend my life in a constant state of depression and so not much fazes me in a normal way. If anything, I felt bizarrely amused by it all. I have a dark sense of humor and it seems like American politics is the greatest joke of all time.

      I could hear the election results being spoken in the Rorschach’s voiceover in Watchmen. I’m thinking of the scene when he says, “A Comedian died last night, and nobody cares. Nobody cares but me.” This entire campaign season should have been narrated by Rorschach.

    • I don’t have the psychic reserves left in me to be shocked or even mildly surprised. For months during the primaries and following into the rest of the campaign season, I was overflowing with frustration and outrage. It pissed me off, all the endless lies, deceit, manipulation, collusion, and corruption. My emotional energy has been used up. Now I’m like, meh.

      Many on the outside of establishment politics saw what was coming, but the partisan Democrats were blind to the obvious. Why are we suddenly supposed to care now that it’s too late to change anything? Maybe the partisan Democrats should have been more concerned when they were fucking over the rest of us. The consequences are the opposite of surprising.

      I don’t like growing cynical. The status quo is tiresome. And, to be honest, I see Trump as the inevitable result of where the system has been heading for a long time. Even hope and change has become just more empty rhetoric. So, what is the antidote to cynicism?

      Maybe that is why I write posts like this. There really are changes coming. Trump is no more than a speed bump on the road to who knows where. But one thing is for sure. We are on our way!

  2. I refuse to sit around worrying about Trump. In the famous words of Alfred E. Neuman, “What, me worry?” The problems with the US political system are much deeper and vaster than anything to do with electoral politics. Anyway, I’ve always assumed that presidents are mostly figureheads. Bush sr was maybe the last president who had real power. With Trump moving into the White House, my presidential figurehead theory will be tested.

    Whatever is the case, my sight has always been on bigger game. The world is more interesting than the carnivalesque spectacle we like to call politics her in the US. That was my point in this post. There are some fascinating things going on in the world. If there is any genuine hope to be had, it is to be found in wonder-filled curiosity and radical imagination.

    • It’s a tragedy of some sort. Maybe it’s the tragedy of the sad clown who gets a cream pie to the face. But the real tragedy will be if she still has any power and respectability left after this fiasco of a failure.

    • There is no reason to think that Bernie wouldn’t have beat Trump in a landslide. Bernie could have taken the good feeling many people still had about Obama and combined it with the populist outrage that was growing. It would have created a mix that would have made the Democratic Party dominant for a long time.

    • I don’t think the celebrity feminism harmed Clitnon’s campaign. It simply didn’t help her. It was irrelevant to all but a small part of the population. Even most women simply didn’t care about such bullshit.

    • I agree with that entirely. The political left better learn some lessons and do so quickly. Otherwise, the left will be dominated by the power of growing populism that will increasingly shift toward the right-wing. If they thought Trump was bad, just ignore demands for reform a while longer and we’ll see how bad it can get.

    • “Throughout the campaign, Clinton supporters have turned a blind eye to her failings. Somehow they were more horrified by what Trump may do than what Clinton already has done.

      “So yeah, we weren’t very excited about a Clinton victory. Nothing would change. America would continue to think itself a progressive democracy that voted in first a black man, and then a woman. The demon would continue to wear a passable face, remain…presentable.

      “We do not think Trump is any better, but we think a Trump victory would force the USA to admit to what it has become, and would allow other countries around the world to react appropriately now that the cover has been blown.”

    • Clinton lost many white working class areas that Obama had won. This included much of the Midwest, Rust Belt, and New England. Iowa, a white majority state, helped elect Obama and now helped elect Trump.

      Obviously, these whites who voted for the first black president (and in many cases also supported the Jewish candidate Sanders) can’t now be called racist for not voting for a white female candidate. The demographic category of ‘white’ must be a proxy for other factors.

      One example of this is that middle aged whites have recently seen worsening mortality rates, a pattern not seen among middle aged minorities. The very places that were experiencing these problems unsurprisingly went to Trump.

    • Those are part of the votes that Democrats lost by betraying Sanders’ campaign for reform. Sanders had won the working class white vote and rural white vote in many parts of the country. In fact, he had the strongest overall support from these voters than any other candidate.

      The unions have gone to Democratic candidates for a long time and the union leadership backed Clinton, but the union members had more basic economic concerns and so were persuaded by Trump’s rhetoric of economic populism. I find it funny that these whites are now being called racists even thought they gladly supported Democrats in the past, even after the Civil Rights movement and even with the first black president.

      I know the kinds of places these people come from. It’s not just rural areas or rather many of the rural areas used to be thriving communities and urban areas. The mining regions, heavily unionized and Democratic in the past, were also highly populated areas with bustling cities and towns, but now these dying towns are depopulated and suffering unemployment.

      In my dad’s childhood town (Alexandria, IN), it is now what many think of as rural because it’s one of those small dying towns with almost no downtown left and certainly few jobs left. It is in a farming state and surrounded by farmland, but there used to be major factories nearby and a bunch of small factories in the town itself. It was once a center of industrialization and there are still many previously unionized factory workers there, either retired or unemployed. They would have voted Democrat in the past, but I bet they voted Trump this election.

      These people didn’t turn against the Democratic Party. Quite the opposite. They were betrayed and abandoned by the Democratic establishment. They don’t care what union leaders tell them to do. They aren’t stupid and are fully capable of seeing the obvious. Democrats have spent decades promoting neoliberal corporatism and it has screwed over so many people who now aren’t in a forgiving mood.

    • Knowledge of Hillary Clinton’s history did have an impact on the election. Blacks apparently didn’t come out in as large numbers to vote Democratic as they’ve done in the past. Oddly, almost 1 in 10 blacks voted for Trump. I bet black voter turnout wasn’t particularly high for any candidate. In the population in general, about half of eligible voters didn’t vote. It does seem that Clinton’s past was catching up with her.

    • If diversity is our weakness, then we are an inherently and fundamentally weak country. The US has been diverse it’s entire history. Despite the visions of WASP majority and dominance, the WASP demographic has always been a small population amidst diverse other populations.

  3. But race has been the bigger unifying issue among white people, and we’ve seen that with this election. White people supported the most affluent and out-of-touch white man with a platform that was mostly made up of racism and xenophobia; they can claim it was populism all they like, but that populism was framed in both racism (focusing on white middle class only) and xenophobia (ignoring the global poor and the finer points of globalisation, like that it’s not going away).
    East St Louis, Venice, and Cahokia are all majority-black (75%+) towns in Illinois. Alton, Illinois, is becoming more black (25%) than it had been in the past. The way that white people in those areas, the same white people who are fleeing to nearby 95%+ white townships/villages/towns/cities, talk about them is to relegate them to “dangerous.” They swallow the myth of the Black Welfare Queen wholesale, not taking time to even realise they’re the people who benefit most from social welfare systems. Black kids who go to SIUE (nearby university to all those places) get made fun of for “getting free tuition,” even when they don’t.
    This has been true even before the manufacturing decline. My grandfather, a particularly vile white man who will not be missed, has told me repeatedly about how he lived in East St Louis until the “blackies showed up.” He tells me about how “they caused problems” (refusing to check the facts, which I did, and it showed that white people were overwhelmingly being destructive toward black-owned properties during the time he was telling me about — it was “dangerous” because of black people, but they were under fire more). He rents houses, and he constantly complains about how his (white) renters don’t pay on time, are lazy and don’t work, and are misusing their benefits for alcohol; then, in the same breath, he’s complaining about black people on welfare. He blames black people for the “degenerate white people.”
    White people destroyed the city, picked up their resources, walked out. They overwhelmingly have done the same in other non-white cities; they intentionally segregated themselves, even when it would benefit them to work with non-white people of the same class.
    Class may be part of it, but it’s not the largest part. Even in these places, the racism is there (both covertly and outwardly); white people want their pain centered without considering the pain they’ve already inflicted on others (or the pain they’ve benefited from, should they not have inflicted it directly).
    The class excuse would work if it was primarily about class. It’s not. And I’d say the same of the use of feminism. White people, white women, white working class people… Those who voted overwhelmingly seemed to prefer the racist fascist cheeto who has long been a hypocrite on economic issues that impact working class people, meaning they actively are choosing a system designed to benefit them (somehow).

    • A comment I left at that post:

      Let me point out something. There has been a strong division on the political right. Many Republicans didn’t vote for Trump and many non-Republicans did. It’s hard to figure out who all of these people are and what motivated them.

      My lifelong Republican parents, born and raised in conservative Indiana that went to Trump, didn’t vote for Trump and instead voted for Libertarian Johnson. My second cousin, also from Indiana, is a kind, tolerant, intelligent, and college-educated family man who normally votes Libertarian but this time voted for Trump — mainly as a fuck you vote, I suspect.

      A couple other Trump supporters I know are standard Republicans from Ohio and they are simply partisans with no ill-will toward minorities, as far as I can tell — their daughter married a Hispanic. I know some other Trump voters as well, from various other places and they aren’t extremists. But I also know many conservatives like my parents who didn’t vote Trump.

      Many people are simply frustrated and outraged, simple as that. But of course the bigots tend to be among the most vocal. It made it difficult for many on the right to figure out who to vote for, as most people have no desire to be associated with overt bigotry. Even most of those who voted for Trump admitted that they didn’t particularly like him as a person nor thought he represented them, stating that were primarily motivated by voting against Clinton.

      Most eligible voters didn’t feel like they had a good choice. Lesser evilism is hardly inspiring, when both candidates are this bad. So, nearly half of eligible voters didn’t vote at all.

    • An odd example is that college-educated black women were several times more likely to vote for Trump than those not college-educated. Plus, a significant number of Hispanics, including college-educated, voted for Trump.

      As for the majority of eligible voters who are white, they didn’t vote for Trump since the number who voted otherwise or didn’t vote at all was massively larger. The votes that went to both Clinton and Trump combined were the minority of eligible voters, as compared to those who voted third party and didn’t vote.

      Obviously, there is more going on. That is particularly true when you understand that the Clinton New Democrats was built on racism and fueled by dog whistle politics.

  4. Crafting political arguments to different communities is, granted, an important component of any political discourse. But the drive to see this work as some sort of zero-sum game, that we must abandon traditional left constituencies in order to appeal – to “bring in” – constituencies at best suspicious of and at worst openly hostile to those traditional constituencies is a betrayal worthy of Judas Escariot.
    I’m going to be as clear as I possible can on this point. What the “It’s really more about class, not about race (or gender or other things)” people are engaging in is nothing more than a call for the outright gentrification of the American Left.
    The Democratic Party is not Williamsburg. It cannot be gentrified.
    That they do not understand this is not a defense against the cultural salience of white supremacy, it is a demonstration of its salience. Those who would abandon people who stand in line for five hours to vote are not the great defenders of the demos that they believe themselves to be. They are, at best, delusional.
    This is why I will never donate one penny to Jacobin – a publication that employs writers who I think have not just important but critical things to say – so long as Conner Kilpatrick is on its editorial board.
    This is why, when Glenn Greenwald and Lee Fang act shocked – shocked, I say! – when Jonathan Wiesman tweets, “Defeated Dems could’ve tapped Rust Belt populist to head party. Instead, black, Muslim progressive from Minneapolis?” all they will ever get from me are eye-rolls.
    This is why, when white Gen-Xers and Millennials who have fled their white suburbs to Brooklyn or East Austin or the Bay Area now insist that the American left must pivot away from the diverse spaces that give them political, social, and economic succor in order to breach the insularity of the segregated communities of their youth, my response will always be “Yeah. I’m sure you’ll get right on that.”
    I still live in the same whitewashed, super-segregated post-war suburb in which I was born. Trump won my county by over 5%. I’ve been making these exact same appeals to family and co-workers for years – decades – and the one thing I can tell you is that it has been lonely and dispiriting work, and work you can’t do from a Wi-Fi cafe in Greenpoint. My one source of solace is that, as a teacher, I have made it my responsibility to see that the children of these communities will not be as insular as their parents.
    So you want to come back to suburban and rural white America and rescue them from what segregation has incentivized them to believe about their country? Great. We could use more of you.
    But don’t be deluded for a single second that while you’re doing that, enemies of democracy will continue to suppress your current neighbors. That they will be held up as the source of white economic resentment, and not its solution. And anyone who situates themselves on the left who councils that suppression, or at best turns a blind eye to that scapegoating? Well, there’s a word for what you have become.

    • It’s the same basic argument that left-wingers like Sanders and his supporters are racists and anti-feminists. This ignores the fact that he won the majority of young blacks, young Hispanics, and young women. The young voters have called bullshit on such arguments. Unsurprisingly, a larger number of Millennials voted third party this year compared to last election.

        • I also voted Stein. But I don’t care who knows. I think I’ve probably already made my voting intentions clear, at least in terms of not voting Clinton. I’m pretty sure my vote is balanced out by my Republican parents who voted Johnson. I guess we are now a third party family, united in our dislike of the party nominations.

    • I read that comment again. The more I thought about it, the less clear it became to me. I’m not sure the exact argument and conclusion being made. Who exactly is suggesting abandoning whom? And which demographics is being assumed as “traditional constituencies”?

      Both parties used to be big tent parties, each with both a right and left wing. Democrats, of course, have traditionally had the most diverse constituencies.

      But the most traditional constituency of the Democrats would be working class whites, especially the unionized workers of the Midwest and Appalachia. And if we are to go back to really old school, the traditional constituency of Democrats were the Southern whites, an important voting bloc for Democrats until the Civil Rights movement, a demographic temporarily won back by Bill Clinton.

      It was only mid-20th century when blacks became a more important demographic for Democrats. Traditionally, blacks were Republicans. The last traces of the old black Republicans was only fully expunged with Reagan’s election.

      So, speaking of a traditional constituency, whose tradition is being referred to?

    • It’s nothing new. I’m not sure what is ever done about reactionaries, of the old or new variety. They are never a majority. And they only get heard when asshole good liberals undermine and attack demands for reform. Partisan Democrats have made themselves illegitimate and so, by their actions, proven the reactionaries right. The best response is to stop being stupid arrogant assholes.

  5. It sounds like minorities may have cost Clinton a victory in Florida:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article112080317.html

    Trump’s support among Cuban-American voters in Florida was at 52 percent, up from 33 percent in September, the story said.

    Pollsters say it’s hard to pin down what exactly caused the shift among Cuban-American voters, but Obama’s most recent decisions on Cuba most likely hurt Clinton in Florida.

    Granted, a Florida International University Cuban Research Institute poll released in September showed that 54 percent of Cuban Americans in Miami support Obama’s — and Clinton’s — stand that it’s time to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba. But the poll included recently arrived Cubans who aren’t yet eligible to vote.

    If it had been a poll only of Cuban-American voters, the result would have been different. The same poll shows that older Cuban Americans — who tend to vote in big numbers — are more hard-line toward Cuba, and are at least twice as likely to oppose Obama’s normalization with Cuba than younger and recently arrived Cuban Americans.

    In conversations with many Cuban Americans, I found that even among those who cautiously support Obama’s normalization with Cuba, many say he’s offering too many concessions to the island’s dictatorship without getting anything in return. Resuming diplomatic relations was OK, they say, but why keep making unilateral gestures in the absence of any political opening on the island?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianne-nienaber/did-trumps-visit-to-littl_b_12930834.html

    The litany of Clinton Foundation abuses and failures in Haiti were all too familiar for many with knowledge of events since the 2010 earthquake. A plague of cholera, rigged elections, $13 billion in reconstruction aid that vanished, and a gold mining contract tied to Hillary Clinton’s brother, were well known and well covered even before WikiLeaks exposed the inner workings of the Clinton Foundation. Still, the list of U.S. abuses in Haiti was not resonating with Americans, despite extensive coverage by the “paper of record,” the New York Times.

    https://www.algemeiner.com/2016/11/14/florida-tells-an-important-story-about-jewish-support-for-trump/

    Given the wild card of Obama’s tumultuous relationship with Israel, a more accurate understanding of the Jewish vote in 2016 is yielded by discounting the 2012 election. The new calculus reveals a potentially strong Jewish vote for Trump — and Florida, a hotly contested state that Clinton was favored to win but ultimately lost, supports this analysis. […]

    Opposition to the Iran deal within the organized Jewish community achieved a level of unity unseen since the days of the movement to free Soviet Jewry. Nearly every major Jewish organization from far-right to center-left opposed the Iran deal, as did every major Israeli political party.

  6. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/commentary-the-unbearable-smugness-of-the-press-presidential-election-2016/

    It’s a profound failure of empathy in the service of endless posturing. There’s been some sympathy from the press, sure: the dispatches from “heroin country” that read like reports from colonial administrators checking in on the natives. But much of that starts from the assumption that Trump voters are backward, and that it’s our duty to catalogue and ultimately reverse that backwardness. What can we do to get these people to stop worshiping their false god and accept our gospel?

    We diagnose them as racists in the way Dark Age clerics confused medical problems with demonic possession. Journalists, at our worst, see ourselves as a priestly caste. We believe we not only have access to the indisputable facts, but also a greater truth, a system of beliefs divined from an advanced understanding of justice.

    You’d think that Trump’s victory – the one we all discounted too far in advance – would lead to a certain newfound humility in the political press. But of course that’s not how it works. To us, speaking broadly, our diagnosis was still basically correct. The demons were just stronger than we realized.

    This is all a “whitelash,” you see. Trump voters are racist and sexist, so there must be more racists and sexists than we realized. Tuesday night’s outcome was not a logic-driven rejection of a deeply flawed candidate named Clinton; no, it was a primal scream against fairness, equality, and progress. Let the new tantrums commence!

    That’s the fantasy, the idea that if we mock them enough, call them racist enough, they’ll eventually shut up and get in line.

  7. http://www.theledger.com/opinion/20161112/editorial-democrats-demographic-debacle

    Yet for generations now, the Democrats have pigeon-holed voters into various demographic boxes — black, Hispanic, gay, disabled, etc. — and then encouraged and expected them to vote en masse for their alleged interests, as found in the Democrats’ progressive remedies. Working- and middle-class whites who resisted, for example, affirmative action, multicultural education, amnesty for illegal immigrants, or gay rights were marginalized as outside the mainstream.

    Clinton exhibited this when she dumped “half” of Trump supporters into that “basket of deplorables,” meaning they were “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.” She then suggested that these Trump backers were “irredeemable” and “not America.”

    What’s compelling about the argument that Trump is somehow responsible for unleashing these voters’ contempt is the willful dishonesty to not acknowledge other trends.

    Exit polls, admittedly not all that reliable but still the only available barometer, noted that Trump received 8 percent of the black vote. According to the website blackdemographics.com, which tracks voting trends among blacks, that was 25 percent more than Romney received in 2012 and doubled Sen. John McCain’s tally in 2008. (Further perspective: since 1980 no Republican has received more than 12 percent of black votes.)

    Trump also pulled 29 percent of the Hispanic vote, which was two percentage points short of McCain but two points better than Romney.

    Trump also garnered 42 percent of women’s votes, which was comparable to McCain (43 percent) and Romney (44 percent). In fact, Clinton failed to get the same share of women’s votes as Obama (54 percent to 55 percent), despite the history-making prospects of her candidacy.

    True, Clinton trounced Trump among these groups of voters. Yet the fact that he performed nearly as well, or outperformed, the last two GOP candidates who didn’t run such supposedly “racist” or “sexist” campaigns suggests the current Democratic blame game doesn’t hold water.

    Democrats must do some soul-searching here.

    Their party once celebrated and banked on lesser educated, middle- and working-class white voters, and tapped them to challenge the GOP’s standing as the party of the rich. But for several election cycles, Democrats have become steeped in identity politics that promotes the laudable goal of diversity and inclusion yet excludes, forgets, or ridicules the ideals of the “deplorables” who gravitated to Trump. Now, Democrats want to cry bigotry when these voters go with Trump and vote their interests exactly as Democrats’ other constituencies.

    Trump once told these disaffected voters “I am your voice.” So, did they respond because of “racism” (even though millions of blacks and Hispanics did as well) or because they knew Democrats wouldn’t listen to them? The Democratic strategy may be to just wait until these voters fade away. But that might take a while, and Democrats, if they truly believe in tolerance and diversity, and winning elections, might want to find a way to appeal to them.

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