Politics in America

“Trump’s victory among the “white working class” was both economic resentment and racist-nativist conservatism…”

Trump’s victory among the “white working class” was both economic resentment and racist-nativist conservatism, because for American populists — from Andrew Jackson to William Jennings Bryan to Donald Trump — the two are intertwined with each other.

On the one side: the Jeffersonian, rural values of Middle America. White, Christian, straight, male dominated. The men were men, the girls were girls. Honest pay for an honest day’s work. Never mind Jim Crow, or genocide of Native Americans, or violence against women. Focus on the Norman Rockwell paintings (as unironically perceived, not as actually painted), the small-town values, the steel mill.

On the other side: Hamiltonian, urban values of the coasts. Not white, not really Christian, not quite manly (“cosmopolitan”). We coastal elites think we oppose the malefactors of wealth, one-percenters and corrupt politicians. But from the outside, to populists, we look like two sides of the same coin.

Structurally speaking, “Jews” — not real Jews, but the fictive Jews who populate the writings of Henry Ford, Father Coughlin and Breitbart commenters — are obviously part of the latter camp. But we are worse, because, while we appear white, we are in fact traitors to the white race. We don’t make anything real; we are parasites, middlemen, capitalists.

George Soros — again, not actually, but as depicted by bigots — is the perfect exemplar of this type. He’s foreign, he’s made his fortune as a money trader (not a builder like, say, Andrew Carnegie or Trump himself), and now he’s poisoning the well of America (anti-Semitic pun intended) by undermining “real” American values with liberalism: multiculturalism, non-patriotism, disrespect of cops, human rights, political correctness.

But it’s also possible to have populism without actual Jews — even, if you like, anti-Semitism without Jews. All the slanders against Soros also apply to Barack Hussein Obama: foreign, multicultural, liberal, et cetera. Obama isn’t Jewish, of course, but he is “other”: African American, deemed “Muslim,” called “not an American citizen.”

And, of course, the slanders apply to Hillary Clinton, too.

Jay Michaelson, “Sorry, Jews. Steve Bannon Is Not an Anti-Semite, and This Story Is Not About Us.”, The Forward (10 December 2016) [http://forward.com/opinion/356390/sorry-jews-steve-bannon-is-not-an-anti-semite-and-this-story-is-not-about-u/]