“Deplorables of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your insignificance.”
Whether it is communicated in those words or not, that will be the rallying cry of the newly emerging variant of fascism of which the Trump campaign and, God forbid, the increasingly likely possibility of a Trump presidency, is the most conspicuous, though by no means the only, expression.
The two images provide different perspectives on the underlying phenomenon. The first of these, a graph from a New England Journal of Medicine article by Anne Case and Nobel economist Angus Deaton has begun to function as something like a crucifix or garlic to ward away Clinton partisans who, when confronted with it, can only avert their eyes or be reduced to nothingness. That includes even the best of them, like economist Dean Baker who, when confronted with it yesterday on twitter, responded that Case and Deaton were “mak(ing) things up” citing in response a blog entry by the statistician and political scientist Andrew Gelman.
What Baker doesn’t mention, apparent in the subsequent discussion, is that Gelman largely backs down from his initial criticism and concedes that “Case and Deaton’s main results seem to stand up just fine.” Baker does not note this- passing on Gelman’s challenge as the last word. When even the most decent and honest liberals find it necessary to go to this extent to deny the facts and lash out at those attempting to make them aware of them, the picture on the bottom becomes understandable. The “deplorables” are a constituency whose suffering (made unmistakably and painfully visible in the Case-Deaton graphic above) is greeted only with sneers and derision by neoliberal elites like Clinton. What was formerly a vague disapproval on their part has now, thanks to Clinton’s notorious remark, been transformed into passionate hatred, possibly enough to get a few more million of them to the polls rather than stay home. That spells trouble for Clinton and, of course, for everyone else.
The problem is not so much Clinton and her circle who are a predictable consequence of the arrangement of institutional forces. Rather, those most deserving of contempt are union bosses like the AFT’s Randy Weingarten, former SDSer and AFSCME functionary Paul Booth and alt-media mavens like Katrina van den Heuvel who chose to sell Clinton to the left. They could have made enough of a difference to put Sanders over the top and chose not to.
And so, rather than celebrating a landslide victory for a resurgent left, we are desperately trying to ward off a victory for the far right, having only a weak, least worst candidate as our only defense against it.
Goddamn these people.