On Infrastructure and Injustice

There is the issue of public infrastructure and who pays for it. My dad brought it up to me and it led to an argument. He couldn’t understand why there was a national discussion about fixing infrastructure. And he seemed to assume that it was citizens and local leaders demanding this. But I’m not sure why he made that assumption.

First, this ignores that it is being talked about because the Republican president made it a main point of his proclaimed agenda. Trump campaigned on progressive-sounding rhetoric, including a promise for a New New Deal program for rebuilding infrastructure. He and those representing him repeated this promise many times. So, considering Trump is now president, all of this is coming from a federal level. The kind of infrastructure being discussed is such things as bridges, the kind of thing that politicians like to focus on. But most people don’t sit around thinking about bridges.

That brings me to a second point. The kind of infrastructure that concerns people is much more basic. They want a paved road so that they can more easily get to work and more quickly get back home after work to take care of their family. They worry about affording basic healthcare for easily treatable diseases and having clean water so that their children don’t get brain damage from lead toxicity. They would like reliable access to electricity, phone lines, etc. These were the priorities of the New Deal and the War on Poverty. These are fairly basic things that we expect in a modern industrialized society, the prerequisite for a functioning social democracy for all citizens.

The people most effected with infrastructure problems are the poor. This leads to multiple problems in solving these problems. Many poor people live in poor communities, oftentimes because of a history of racial segregation. Poor communities have poorly funded governments. But more importantly, it’s not just poverty. It is how that poverty is created.

The government regularly gives away trillions of dollars of public wealth to corporations, not just subsidies and bailouts but even more through cheap access to natural resources on public lands, which is to say from the commons that belongs as much to future generations (not to mention the money spent help corporations on the international market, including using military force to ensure they also have cheap access to natural resources on foreign public lands). By the way, the infrastructure to access those publicly-owned natural resources is typically built by government for free, for the sole purpose of the benefit of wealthy private interests who just so happen to donate lots of money to key campaigns and political organizations. The poverty we have in the US is enforced by those in power, not natural or God-given.

People don’t have a right to demand that their government serves their interests, that is the argument my dad makes. It’s obviously an insincere argument. What he means is that he doesn’t believe a government should serve anyone’s interests but the privileged, the worthy and deserving, ya know, people like him. Everyone else should solve their own  problems or else suffer. But that is mind-boggling ignorance. Civil Rights leaders attempted to solve their own problems at a local level, but were met with resistance and oppression. Residents in poor communities dealing with lead toxicity have attempted to solve their own problems at a local level, but officials and governments have ignored them. It usually takes decades or generations of local struggle before higher levels of government ever take notice, assuming their is a large enough protest movement or legal case to force them to take notice.

The thing is my dad acts like we have a functioning democracy, even as he knows we don’t. Besides, the fact of the matter is that he doesn’t want a functioning democracy. His argument against federal government being involved in local affairs is an argument that the federal government should not be democratic, should not represent the public nor serve the public good, should not be of the people, by the people, for the people. But he can’t admit it, not even to himself, because his actual beliefs are so morally horrendous.

It isn’t just about federal government. The same argument applies at the state level and even further down. Why should state taxpayers help with the problems at the level of communities? As far as that goes, why should the taxpayers in urban areas of a county pay for the infrastructure of rural areas of the same county? Heck, why should the wealthy people in one neighborhood help the poor people in the same city have access to basic utilities? Why have public goods at all? Why not make every all infrastructure privately owned? Why have any government at all since, as the right-wingers claim, taxation is theft and government isn’t possible without such supposed theft? Why not instead have a world of individuals where it is a constant war of one against all? As Margaret Thatcher said, “there is no such thing as society.”

If you don’t have the money, then you shouldn’t be allowed to drive anywhere, drink clean water, or go on living — who is paying for that air you’re breathing, you pneumatic welfare queen! That is the principled libertarian solution. How dare those who suffer and struggle demand a basic response of human decency and compassion! It’s not the privileged controlling the government and the economy who are authoritarians. No, it’s the poor people crying out in desperation who are the real oppressors.

My dad (and people like him) don’t understand and don’t want to understand the very system he benefits from. But on some level, I know he understands. That is the thing that bothers me. My dad is not ignorant, even when he pretends to not know something. I know what he knows because of past discussions we’ve had. Yet each new discussion begins from a point of feigned ignorance, with a denial of what had been previously discussed. It’s frustrating.

If my dad didn’t have his privilege, if he and his family were being racially oppressed, economically segregated, and slowly poisoned by the only water they have access to, if he and his neighbors were politically suppressed and if the government refused to even acknowledge his existence other than to hire more police to keep him in his place, if there had been a long history of political failure at the local level, if wealthy and powerful interests almost always got their way no matter the harm to local residents, would my dad honestly resign himself with libertarian moral righteousness that it was all his fault and that he must be punished for his suffering because his poverty is proof of his inferiority? Would he watch his loved ones suffer and do nothing? Would he just lay down and die? No, he wouldn’t.

It’s not just conservatives such as my dad. I see the same thing with disconnected liberals, in their attitude toward poor people when they vote the wrong way or when a homeless camp appears in a nearby park, and then all the good liberal intentions quickly disappear. I see how easy people are turned against each other, no matter their ideology. And I see how easy ideology becomes rationalization. It reminds one of how quickly an authoritarian government can emerge.

As the desperate unsurprisingly act desperate, the upper classes will demand a response and it won’t be to help alleviate that desperation. It will be a demand for law and order, by violent force if necessary. Put them down and put them in their place. Put them in prisons, ghettos, internment camps, or maybe even concentration camps. Just make them go away or somehow make them invisible and silenced.

The line of thought my dad is following down can only lead to one place, increasing authoritarianism. Without a functioning democracy, there is nowhere else for our society to go. Either that or eventually revolution. So, apparently my dad is hoping for an authoritarian government so oppressive that it effectively stops both democracy and revolution, forcing local people to deal with their own problems in misery and despair. That is the world that good citizens and good Christians, the good people like my dad, are helping to create.

What happens when those who could have done something to stop the horror finally see the world they have chosen, their beliefs and values made manifest?

But Then It Was Too Late

They Thought They Were Free
by Milton Mayer
ch. 13

Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.

What then? You must then shoot yourself. A few did. Or ‘adjust’ your principles. Many tried, and some, I suppose, succeeded; not I, however. Or learn to live the rest of your life with your shame. This last is the nearest there is, under the circumstances, to heroism: shame. Many Germans became this poor kind of hero, many more, I think, than the world knows or cares to know.

* * *

Later on, I was able to have a more fruitful conversation with my dad. That emphasizes what was so frustrating in that argument earlier. I know he is capable of understanding the point I was making. But something about it so often triggers him. It’s so easy for social conservatives to fall back on such things as Social Darwinism, as almost a default mode.

It’s not like I’m a great defender of big government. Most people aren’t for big government on principle. Few would turn to a government any larger than is necessary. The first response the average person has is to seek what solutions might be had nearby. They only turn elsewhere when all immediate possibilities are frustrated or denied. This isn’t about big versus small government. It’s simply about government that functions democratically, on any and all levels.

So, I finally found a way to communicate this to my dad. But it is always a struggle. If I don’t frame it in the exact right way, he reacts with right-wing ideology. I have to put it into conservative terms of community and social fabric.

I find that a shame because the framing I’d prefer is simple honest concern for other humans, as if they mattered. I don’t want to live in a society where I have to carefully frame every argument in order to not accidentally elicit knee-jerk prejudices. I wish we were beyond that point. I wish we could have discussions that went straight to the problems themselves, instead having to first somehow prove that those suffering are worthy of our compassion.

I did apologize to my dad for getting so upset with him and lashing out at him. It’s not what I want. But these debates aren’t academic. It’s real people suffering, millions of Americans. These people don’t care if it is local or national government that helps them solve problems. They just want a better life for themselves and their children. That shouldn’t be too much to ask for. I have no apology for caring.

Interestingly, one way I got my dad’s mind onto a new track of thinking is by sharing a passage from a book. It was something I had read yesterday, about old school progressives. For some reason, maybe because of the framing of religious moral reform, the following passage was able to shift our dialogue.

American Character
by Colin Woodard
pp. 134-135

When another terrible depression shook the country in 1893, reform movements sprang up across its northern tiers. Like the Massachusetts Brahmins, these turn-of-the-century Progressives weren’t opposed to free-market capitalism or Lockean individualism, but they did believe that laissez-faire was destroying both. Their philosophical mentor was the sociologist Lester Ward, the son of old New Englanders who had settled in the Yankee north of Illinois, and who became the greatest foe of Herbert Spencer and the social Darwinists. “How can . . . true individualism be secured and complete freedom of individual action be vouchsafed?” Ward asked in 1893. “Herein lies a social paradox . . . that individual freedom can only come through social regulation.” He elaborated a theory of collective action to maintain the conditions required to keep individuals free:

Such a powerful weapon as reason is unsafe in the hands of one individual when wielded against another. It is still more dangerous in the hands of corporations, which proverbially have no souls. It is most baneful of all in the hands of compound corporations which seek to control the wealth of the world. It is only safe when employed by the social ego, emanating from the collective brain of society, and directed toward securing the common interests of the social organism.

It was in essence the approach Massachusetts had been taking for decades, which would now be adopted by insurgents in other parts of Yankeedom (Jane Addams in northern Illinois, Charles Evans Hughes in upstate New York, and Robert LaFollette in Wisconsin), the Midlands (William Jennings Bryan in eastern Nebraska), and New Netherland (where Herbert Croly helped found the New Republic in 1914 and from whence came the movement’s greatest figures, Al Smith and Theodore Roosevelt).

Teddy Roosevelt, who served as president from 1901 to 1909, broke up Standard Oil, Northern Securities (which controlled both the Great Northern and Northern Pacific railways), the American Tobacco Company, and other great corporate trusts; intervened in a major mining strike to secure a solution beneficial to workers; and founded the National Park Service, national wildlife refuges, and the U.S. Forest Service. He presided over the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906, and the Hepburn Act, which regulated railroad fares. His goal, he told a rapt audience at the laying of the cornerstone of the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 1907, was to restore the spirit of the early Puritans, who yoked the individualistic Protestant work ethic to communitarian goals and institutions. “The Puritan owed his extraordinary success in subduing this continent and making it the foundation for a social life of ordered liberty primarily to the fact that he combined in a very remarkable degree both the power of individual initiative, of individual self-help, and the power of acting in combination with his fellows,” he said. “He could combine with others whenever it became necessary to do a job which could not be as well done by any one man individually. . . . The spirit of the Puritan . . . never shrank from regulation of conduct if such regulation was necessary for the public weal; and it is this spirit which we must show today whenever it is necessary.”


36 thoughts on “On Infrastructure and Injustice

  1. Judging by what Trump is doing, it is not likely that taxpayers will get a good deal. Trump’s cronies though probably will. He is pursuing P3s (Public Private Partnerships). They are almost always a rip-off for taxpayers. Purely publicly funded infrastructure, provided the money is spent correctly has a huge multiplier.

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel became notorious for ripping off his citizens with bad deals.

    Meanwhile in Iowa, and this may affect you:

    • I doubt that much if anything good will come out of the Trump administration. It matters little what he promises. He, his family, and his cronies will benefit. The American public won’t.

      Yes, meanwhile in Iowa… and indeed it affects me. I’m unionized and I know many other people who are. I was talking to a friend who went to a labor union meal yesterday and she said it was an unhappy event.

    • I’m for all kinds of pubic transportation. Cities and countries that don’t build public transportation are going to have increasing problems in the future, as populations grow and become more concentrated, and as climate change and alternative energy became more central. There is no way to avoid it.

      It would be wiser to start building that pubic transportation before the problems became overwhelming, not after. But no one has ever suggested the US is a society full of wisdom. I’m hoping other countries will set good examples, not just in public transportation, and US leaders will finally get a clue. With that in mind, It’s nice to see our Southern neighbor doing something along these lines, at least in one city.

      • It’s unsurprising that, among all of Trump’s campaign promises, the one that gets majority support is rebuilding US infrastructure.

        He is going to have an angry public if he fails to do the one thing that Americans most care about, in terms of what could possibly get done at this point. Infrastructure is so basic and has been placed so centrally in public awareness because of the lead toxicity problems across the country, largely caused by old infrastructure that should have been replaced decades ago.

        This isn’t one of those invisible problems that people won’t notice. As it worsens, it will have a negative impact on people’s daily lives, such as with those people in New York City. If a government can’t even offer reliable public transportation in a city dependent on public transportation, people won’t feel overly forgiving.

  2. I think if people’s amygdalas malfunctioned (part that controls fear and threat) you would see less bigotry and group bias based on factors outside peoples control like race and color and ethnicity

    But you’d also have more people Darwin awarding themselves 😝😝😝😝

    • Liberals on average have smaller amygdalas. Not malfunctioning, though. Liberals don’t necessarily Darwin award themselves at higher rates. But they do have higher rates of addiction, alcoholism, etc which may be related.

      • Remember reading about this lady with a damaged amygdala who had literally no fear lol.

        I imagine if amygdalas were smaller we’d see less bigotry. However we may see more risky shit etc. all in all survival traits like distrusting the unknown unfortunately have created shit like bigotry.

  3. Funny story from a guy at a lecture in st

    He talks about fluid populism, like the race factor in trump vdijg real but not inevitable depending . For example the people who voted Robert Kennedy in primary but voted George Wallace in the election.

    Anyway funny story time.

    Dude talked about meeting an Alaskan trucker. Dude was looking at him very intensely and suspiciously like “you don’t support Hillary do you? You support trump? I like trump. Good businessman. Will be good for country”

    “Well… actually I like Sanders.”

    Trucker thinks for a minute “well that’s okay” he shrugs

    • Human identity can shift much more easily and quickly than we realize. Identity is dependent on conditions. Change those conditions and identity follows. There is no such thing as an inherent identity. What unites and divides people can be determined by many factors.

  4. Before the advent of the automobile, neighborhoods were rarely strongly integrated where transit was not cheap and available. The help had to be near their work.

    Pockets of low rent housing grew alongside high ticket neighborhoods to accommodate the servants and hired help that ran the big houses in cities such as Boston, where the buses and subways brought Irish and black workers only a small commute at best from east and south Boston to their tonier boss’ homes (and yes, until Joe Kennedy’s generation, blacks and Irish were about on par here). It was even more in proximity in the south, where the poor people and the rich houses were nearly cheek and jowl to one another, so the mammies could roll out of bed to come dress their white babies for school in the mornings.

    Good roads and cheap cars, and the promotion of bus systems even in the most sprawled out of southern cities (where often they are only used by minorities, and whites with any income at all wouldn’t be caught dead using transit). This is part of why the bus boycott was a significant act in our civil rights protests here. That was how the black population got cross town to work, and mostly still is.

    As the car took over, poor neighborhoods near upscale white neighborhoods got bought out and gentrified, giving minorities longer and longer commutes to service jobs in urban cores. There are no rent controls in most of our cities, and our minorities are relentlessly held poor by institutional racism, as a whole.

    So the natural tendency is for any neighborhood with people of color in an urban setting to be one that is really crappy and undesireable, crime ridden, and unsuited to the incursion of gentrifying yuppies who are afraid of gunfire at night. And the bus rides to minimum wage part time jobs in the city (without benefits of course) get longer and longer.

    • Much of that is artificially created. The US government heavily promoted suburbanization and car culture through subsidized cheap gas and mass road infrastructure. And there were other forms of official and semi-official forms of enforced segregation. It didn’t happen naturally, requiring immense effort and costs to maintain. I get the sense that we are misunderstanding something about our own human nature, such as looking how ancient people seemed to have no comprehension of much of what we consider identity politics with often much more vague and fluid identities, at least within the multicultural empires.

  5. Of course people self-select and sort, but doesn’t it also seems likely that urban forms do have an effect on segregation.

    For example, dense, walkable cities with mixed use, retail, and a mix of rentals, condos and single family housing seem to attract a much more mixed and diverse population than suburban tract housing. It’s certainly possible for zoning to cause economic mixing or economic segregation — look at ultra-wealthy all-white communities or the concentrated and racialized poverty of old-style New York and Chicago housing projects. This economic segregation also turned into racial segregation.

    This trend continues in less extreme scenarios— zoning smaller housing mixed in with larger homes. Having transit and walkability and eliminating parking requirements, even designing roads as connected grids rather than isolated developments and cul de sacs— won’t these things all increase mixing among people?

    i would also posit that urban forms which are more “outward facing” — shared spaces, front yards vs. back yards, etc., do a lot more to encourage desegregation In the long run.

    i don’t think the OP was suggesting something fast and coercive, he or she was pretty specific about it being a gradual change.

    • Differences are created and maintained by how and what we perceive and how we organize. That can be according to residential location, socioeconomic class, accent, or almost anything. It’s not one thing. But the more a society creates artificial distinctions and enforce them, the more identity politics will dominate.

    • My dad used to visit his grandmother in Mississippi during Jim Crow. It was in a hotbed of the Klan. But my dad was just a boy from a small Midwestern town, albeit a sundown town. He didn’t understand any of it and, of course, no one talked about it. He has a clear memory of seeing a water fountain with a sign that said ‘Colored’.

      I’m not sure he comprehended what that meant and he probably didn’t ask. There was a culture of silence at the time and no easy way to find out what was going on in the world. Media was highly filtered and censored back then without any such thing as internet or much in the way of alternative media.

  6. Alaska was s state where Johnson got almost 7 percent of the vote and stein didn’t do terribly either. It seems third parties did better out west

    Appearently third parties were popular with millennial rust belters that voted. The region that flipped to truml from being democrat usually

    It’s hard to say because the rust belt did give trump his victory but the margin of victory was pretty small in those states as well. Factor in voter turnout and trump hardly got a mandate

    • I was looking at public opinion polling.

      A large majority of Americans think the federal government is corrupt, along with big biz that they see ruling it through bribes. They see elections as being rigged. And they don’t believe that either of the main parties can change any of this toward the better. Basically, most Americans realize we live in a banana republic and they are correct about that.

      It’s unsurprising that most eligible voters don’t vote. Many don’t even bother registering. Even among those who do register, only about half end up voting. It’s slightly higher for presidential elections, but not by much. This low voting rate was apparent this past election. It really was an election determined by non-voters.

      If Sanders had been nominated, I bet we would have seen the highest voter turnout in a very long time. The fact that the DNC and the MSM did everything in its power to ensure Sanders wasn’t nominated simply added to the mistrust and anger of the American public. Most Americans simply want a functioning democracy with honest elections. I’m not sure why that is considered asking too much, just because it would make our overlords unhappy.

      There are only two options going forward. We either get a real election or bad consequences will follow, whatever they may be. There is no third possibility.

  7. “St Louis Detroit and Cleveland were destroyed by racism and segregation. Rich people wanted to divide the black city from the white suburb by dividing and conquering the working class who worked in rust belt factories. Both whites and blacks were brought in from the south to work in these mills.

    The entire cities of STL and Detroit are black and considered as ghetto by the public, plus Detroit’s infrastructure is being destroyed by environmental racism.

    Arabs live in an area of detroit called Dearborne where they are portrayed as a brown peril invader and a demographic threat by both blacks and whites (sound familar?). Arabs, like Asians in LA, are appointed as a barrier race between the white section and the black section. The city also poisons the water in black neighborhoods.

    Portland and Austin is where young white boys go to become a hipster. Portland and Austin are not economically strong cities. They are just a hipster hub, both inside and out. The original redneck population has been pushed out to the suburbs by hipsters.

    • The environmental racism pisses me off more than anything. That is harming people in a very direct way. The pollution and toxins increase the rates of so many health conditions, developmental issues, neurocognitive problems, and psychiatric illnesses. The chemicals damage people on all levels.

      Doing that to entire populations over multiple generations is pure evil. And then those people are kept there through racism, economic segregation, and lack of opportunities. They are stuck as they and their children are slowly poisoned.

      I’ve told you about my friend in Portland. She was born and raised in Iowa, a fairly typical white Iowan. Since she moved to Portland, she has become a bit of a hipster. She married a guy with a tech career who was making good money. Before divorcing him, she had become a middle class housewife whose entire life became consumed by middle class hipsterdom.

      She is getting to the point, after the divorce, where she can barely afford living there. She might have to move out to live with the rednecks.

      Here is my favorite singer who was born in Oregon:

  8. There is a way out, but it will take some time. Google “New Urbanism” and some of the principles behind it. Here is a video by BPS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f80zBco_-VY Most likely the locus for future demographic booms will be small cities with an emphasis on high trust community building, predictive crime and reliable mass transit infrastructure.

    The obsession with suburban America is an obsession with a dream. As we all know with dreams, one eventually wakes up from them.

    • There aren’t many options for possible futures. New urbanism is the most likely possibility.

      Mass urbanization is a trend that has been happening in the Western world five centuries, as feudalism and subsistence farming ended. Most Europeans were urbanized in the 17th and 18th centuries. Also, most European countries are too small for the population size to allow suburban sprawl. They’ve had a longer time to develop good public infrastructure and public transportation.

      Another possibility is eventual population decline and radical decentralization. Technology could make cities as we know them obsolete. If you could produce and provide everything you need (food, water, energy, healthcare, etc) at the local level, then the issue of transportation becomes less relevant for everyday concerns. We are already moving in that direction.

      Then again, that same technology could simply make cities more attractive. People living in cities would never have to leave to go anywhere else, as even farming could be done in urban areas. It would be a self-contained society. It might mean the return of city-states which could entirely replace present nation-states, especially the neo-imperial nation-states like the US.

      One thing is clear. Suburbs are obsolete. They are dependent on government subsidies and externalized costs. Even rural areas these days have become almost entirely dependent on big government funding to pay for much of their roads, bridges, utilities, healthcare, unemployment problems, schools, etc. There are few self-sustaining and independent yeoman farmers left in the world. And there are even fewer isolated hunter-gatherer tribes. Almost everyone is on the grid and so dependent on the larger political and economic system.

      The question is whether that larger system can become more localized. For these changes to happen, cities will need to gain more independence and autonomy. Right now, big biz controls the federal and state governments. Big biz can stop cities from passing laws that would allow cities to do what needs to be done because there is no big profits to be had from local populations taking care of their own problems, such as producing their own power and providing their own internet service.

      There will be a power struggle. It’s likely for a new system to form that either a revolution or civil war will need to happen… or else some kind of societal breakdown.

  9. “I’m not buying it at all. I’m especially not buying the idea that everyone who surrounded Hillary would have some kind of moral high ground. I’ve seen the implosion among liberals that followed Trump’s win, and I was surprised by some of the racism, hatred, and intolerance coming from these so-called liberals. “Liberals” just seem to hide it better, unless they get flustered and emotional, then it all comes out.”

    I got no disagreements here. I wanted to vote for Bernie, but had to “settle” for Stein because I was disgusted by the DNC and Clinton’s voter suppression tactics. It’s dirty politics as usual.

    However, I think the logic mistake here is you’re conflating all anti-Trump protestors with the segments of extremist SJWs who are the racist liars, especially that abhorrent Berkeley protest. There are other legitimate peaceful protestors with issues that does concern all citizens and all of humanity.

    The analogy here would be to equate the KKK with all pro-Trump supporters. There are legit blue collar workers who just want decent jobs in the rust belt. And they would’ve voted for Bernie if it were not the DNC dirty politics.

    • I doubt many anti-Trump supporters are extremist SJWs. The one thing Trump has done is unite a great diversity of Americans (and non-Americans around the world) in opposition to him. Those who are against Trump come from across the political spectrum, including many conservatives and libertarians.

      As time goes on, even more people will be united in opposition. He might end up uniting nearly the entire country in hatred of everything he stands for. There aren’t many people who will want to continue supporting Trump’s endless narcissistic blather and proud incompetence. It just gets plain depressing, even for the most loyal authoritarian follower.

    • It’s amusing that WASP bigotry had the unintended consequence of promoting ethnic and racial diversity.

      “A second unintended consequence of the law stemmed largely from a political compromise clearly intended to have the opposite effect. The original bill provided a preference for immigrants with needed skills and education. But a group of influential congressmen (conservatives allied with the Democratic chairman of the House immigration subcommittee) won a last-minute concession to prioritize admission of immigrants with family members already in the United States, believing it would better preserve the country’s predominantly Anglo-Saxon, European base. In the following years, however, demand from Europeans to immigrate to the United States fell flat while interest from non-European countries—many emerging from the end of colonial rule—began to grow. New and well-educated immigrants from diverse countries in Asia and Latin America established themselves in the United States and became the foothold for subsequent immigration by their family networks.”

    • I have one particular criticism of that article. The author asserted that, “Exit polls show that the majority of Trump’s supporters were White, and that the majority of Whites — both men and women and across all income brackets — voted for Trump.”

      But that isn’t true. There is no data that shows the majority of whites voted for Trump. Rather, the accurate statement is that the majority of whites who bothered to vote chose Trump. In a country where so many people don’t vote or often even register, great care should be taken in making generalizations about entire demographics. Those who vote rarely if ever are representative of those who don’t vote, two very different populations.

      Few people ever bother to ask about those people who didn’t vote (or, in cases such as ex-cons, can’t vote). Why didn’t those non-voting whites look to Trump as the great white savior? Combined with whites who voted for other candidates, most whites didn’t vote for Trump. Wouldn’t that be a key thing to be clear about before making assertions that inform one’s analysis and conclusions?

      I looked at all of this data earlier. It’s not hard data to find, if one is willing to dig through various sources. It does take some work, but this is info anyone has access to. I’m surprised that I’ve never come across anyone else, not even among journalists. who has bothered to do what I did in the following post.


      “There are over 245 million white people in the US (77.7% of the population). And the vast majority of those are non-Hispanic whites (62.6%). That is about 200 million more whites in the US than in 1900 and so not exactly a shrinking population in terms of raw numbers. In fact, among children born in the US in recent years, 50.4% are non-Hispanic whites. Even the foreign born fertility rate shows that non-Hispanic whites aren’t that far below Hispanics of any race (1.94% vs 2.46%).

      “About 183 million non-Hispanic whites are 20 years old or older. And about 156 million non-Hispanic whites are eligible voters. That is a large chunk of the population that is eligible to vote (69% of the electorate), but a larger part of the population doesn’t vote. A little over half of all eligible voters cast a ballot. So, maybe 90 million non-Hispanics voted. Just to be on the safe side, will round it up to an even 100 million.

      “So, how many white people voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election? Well, 58% of registered whites voted for Trump, although I’m not clear if that includes or excludes Hispanic whites. Assuming that is non-Hispanic whites, that means Trump won 58 million non-Hispanic white votes. That is only about a third of the eligible voters in that demographic.

      “The vast majority of non-Hispanic whites did not vote for Trump. He is not the candidate of white people. He does not have a white mandate. Most Americans, including most most whites despise Trump, the most unpopular candidate since data was kept and now the most unpopular president (even Nixon was more popular when he was first elected). Trump hasn’t come close to being seen as a white savior.”

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