Below is an excerpt from a longer post that will appear on my blog tomorrow.
In thinking about the outcome of this election, it seems clear – to me anyway – that the way many white voters processed the words, actions, and optics of the Obama presidency over two terms figured prominently in their political calculus this year. In contrast to many on the left, it wasn’t the administration’s language and practice of universalism – the framing of social problems and articulation of political solutions that have general application across the population to the neglect of a focus on specific forms of injustice and discrimination that are embedded in the daily experience of many peoples and communities – that commanded their attention.
What did was something very different. In their reading, they believed the country, with the president as maestro-in-chief, was squarely on a forced march to a multi-racial, multi-cultural, politically correct egalitarian society. And for them, this was a direct challenge to America as they knew it and their place in it.
Moreover, in Hillary Clinton, that “nasty woman,” that “crook,” that “liar,” and that “criminal,” they saw someone who would continue the transformation that the president had set into motion.
This isn’t to say that all white people in general or all white workers in particular shared this point of view; they didn’t. A substantial minority were of a different mind and cast their vote for Hillary.
Nor is it to suggest that economic discontent didn’t figure into the thinking of Trump supporters; it obviously did for many. But even here, it seems fair to say that these discontents, real as they are, were cognitively and emotively filtered through and modified by the lens of whiteness, maleness and masculinity, nativism, an idealized past, and cultural resentments generally.
If the above captures the election’s dynamics, then the main turf on which this election was contested was one of clashing visions of tens of millions.