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State of the Union
Donald Trump: America’s First Post-White President

Trumpism is not a simple retread of the white supremacy of the past, but a new form of the self-destructive politics of ressentiment.

Published on: November 29, 2017
Richard Thompson Ford is the George E. Osborne Professor at Stanford Law School and author of several books, including Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality and The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse.
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  • Paul Lies

    What is Trumpism?
    Stricter immigration ✓
    No more bad deals ✓
    Calls out biased lamestream MSM✓
    That’s about it. It’s very popular. When it comes to the bad trade deals he represents left and right alike. The Berniecrats and Greens were opposed to it also. The progressives also hate the lamestream for favoring the establishment, whether that’s neoliberal/clintonian garbage, or neocon McCain and Bush garbage.

    • SeaAyeA

      Funniest part is that those big ticket items have been popular for years and years. Trump just happens to be the guy who ran on them. It was surreal to see Trump win and then Obama try ramming through TPGarbage aka TPP anyway. And that’s supposed to be our hope and change president. No wonder progressives were so displeased. I’m not a green or other progressive yet I was displeased for some of the same reasons, too.

      • TPAJAX

        It’s corruption. That’s why Obama did what he did. That’s why you get Joe Biden out there making some speech about how he likes the middle class, and towards the end of the very same speech he talks about how much he loves TPP. No idea what he’s talking about.

      • Angel Martin

        “and then Obama try ramming through TPGarbage aka TPP anyway.”

        That fake ran on ending NAFTA. Just like Clinton in 1992, when he was “against” NAFTA as well. And Hillary, of course, was “against” the TPP.

        No wonder Trump won.

  • Anthony

    The Farrakhan analogy is both interesting and socially insightful – a comparison quite authentic in its parallels of class, rejection, and frustration. E.g., “Farrakhan was, like Trump, a skillful demagogue who exploited the frustration of people who had been treated with contempt by the powerful and privileged….Of course, unlike Farrakhan’s admirers, Trump’s hard-core supporters are white – members of a privileged class who have no need of the petty politics of ‘ressentiment’. Or are they….” (Richard Thompson Ford)

    For this purpose, the essay is worthy of a read whether you buy author’s premise or not: a valid anxiety where the American economy is leaving millions of them behind and as they sink into poverty and desperation, they face the indifference and contempt remarkably similar to that long endured by poor racial minorities.

    • VRL DC

      I am not convinced that the Trump Farrakhan analogy is insightful. Black America has always had a nuanced view of Farrakhan. Poor and working class blacks were never motivated by him, or responded to him the way the extreme Right has to Trump. Farrakhan has not only never been close to the Presidency, neither he nor any of his high profile followers have ever been remotely influential in national, regional or local politics (save Chicago). Farrakhan’s biggest difference from Trump is that Trump provides scapegoats to White America and caters to its fears by providing a pessimistic view of America that can only be solved by authoritarian action against the scapegoats. Trump wants his followers to pine for a time when they felt (rightly or wrongly) that they would be assured some contemporary version of the antebellum social contract: to always hold a social status above the Black slave. That contract seems to be void now as the former third world rises and we have had two terms of a Black President. Blacks always understood Farrakhan to be problematic regarding his theology (his religion has limited appeal to this day among Blacks), and his assessment of White America. However, Farrakhan’s focus has always been on the pathology that exist in Black America. He doesn’t peddle scapegoats to poor Blacks, he insist that the majority of their problems: crime, ignorance, poverty, substance abuse, obesity, etc., are the results of the failing of Black leadership to steer Black America away from the racial policy traps in America — most notably WELFARE (which should make him a conservative darling). Farrakhan insists that Blacks look inward to themselves to save themselves and solve their problems by becoming self-actualized social, civic, spiritual and economic actors. THAT is the appeal Farrakhan had to poor and working class Black, not mere demagoguery. Farrakhan said to Blacks, “if you fix yourselves the White man can’t stop your success,” Trump says, “THEY (whoever they are) are the reason you are fearful and you have been victimized by (pick any scapegoat) and none of your failure is your fault. That is the difference between Trump and Farrakhan, in my estimation.

      • Anthony

        We can agree to disagree; author’s analogy remains relevant by my lights but it has been more than a couple weeks since I read essay so your contention (black Americans’ nuanced view) may or may not amplify essay’s theme.

  • FriendlyGoat

    There is no “mystery” whatsoever concerning the resiliency of Trump’s base of support. The conservative side of our church community has been going stupider and meaner for years on end at the invitation of the ministries and media it listens too. They now believe not just a few falsehoods, but all of them spun by Donald Trump either before or after the election plus many spun by the GOP before Trump was a even candidate. It’s true that professional Democrats and even some professional Republicans have marveled that nothing (nothing) fazes these folks, no matter how far beyond the pale.

    We need to get past imagining that this is all (or even mostly) a racial matter. It is a religious matter. Too many of the “Christians” of America are now misled “Churchians” who are trying to trade the Savior they were given (and His spirit) for something more like a Warrior King who they imagine will kick all butts. The more outrageous their guy talks, the better they like him. This is not remotely “Post-White”. It is spiritual rot. We can re-visit the topic soon after the problem I am describing most likely elects Roy Moore too.

    • Tom

      So, somehow it would have been less spiritually rotten to vote for a woman who covered up her husband’s sexual predations, lies about nearly everything, and consigned a quarter of the country to the outer darkness? I realize you might not think so, seeing as you’ve done the last part yourself, but you should reconsider.

      • StudentZ

        Yes, actually. Trump is that bad.

        • Everett Brunson

          Hillary was worse Z. Her lies (Benghazi, the server, Uranium One, the Russia Reset, the corruptive agreement with the DNC, the Rape of Haiti by the Clinton Foundation, the pay-for-play, etc) all indicate a level of corruption this nation has never beheld. In no way, shape, form, or fashion would her election been better for the country than that of Trump.

          • StudentZ

            Those issues have been covered in depth elsewhere, so I doubt there’s anything I can say. I voted for her in the main election, but I’m not really a fan. Let’s agree to disagree, but I hope you will be as critical of Trump. I would have been quite critical of Clinton.

          • Everett Brunson

            No problem on agreeing to disagree. I think that, at this point, whether one falls into the Trump camp or the Clinton camp, it is at the visceral level now and no one is going to convert the other by logic or rhetoric. It is what it is.

        • Tom

          I would dearly love to know why it’s less bad to cover up for sexual predation than to do it yourself.

    • Gary Hemminger

      10 years ago only 30% of democrats were for open borders. Now it is like 50%. both the republicans and the democrats are at fault for our current dysfunction. And I don’t mean dem and republican politicians. I mean people like you that only blame the other side. You are the problem. Both the left and the right that only blame each other. That is the problem. End of discussion. Full stop. Look in the mirror and see what you see. An angry person.

      • Psalms13626

        A better response than what Comrade FG deserves.

        • the economist

          And still no singe piece of legislation

      • FriendlyGoat

        I am simply clarifying the “mystery” of who the solid Trump base is. Did you know that Donald Trump himself does not consider it a “mystery” at all? He has completely acknowledged it in places like CPAC and Values Voters. Only outsiders to their inside game are still goofing around with explanations like immigration, trade or so-called “working people”. Trump has told those such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell Jr., Franklin Graham and Tony Perkins that he will give them absolutely anything they ask and every action of his administration to date has confirmed this. It is the complete explanation of image maneuvers like Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the complete explanation of his proposed repeal of the “Johnson Amendment” to sell a tax reform which otherwise is a negative real outcome for most of the evangelicals. There is no reason for observers to be puzzling about this stuff. The conservative church was captured lock, stock and barrel. It delivered the election when no other block could. Trump will court it exclusively for the next one.

  • Tom

    This article is good until the second-to-last paragraph. The fact is that these people aren’t trying to “reclaim a superordinate racial status.” They’re trying to avoid being placed in a subordinate status, where they have all of the disadvantages of poverty-stricken minorities, and very few of the programs designed to help the latter.
    You want to take the wind out of Trump’s sails? End affirmative action.

    • StudentZ

      Or make affirmative action class- or income-based …

      • Tom Scharf

        Why this hasn’t happened already is baffling.

        • Boritz

          Could it be because those benefiting from it don’t want to give up the benefits and so far have have the political and cultural clout to block reforms?

  • Psalms13626

    More and more I come to TAI for the comments. Articles themselves have turned into endless circle jerk of members of Leftwing clerisy incredulous that they are not afforded the respect they think they deserve. We get it, TAI, we get it. We should be ruled by enlightened experts, otherwise who knows what mischief we might get into. Nobody is buying that bullsh!t anymore. The avalanche of sexual misconduct from the members of the impeccably Leftwing media establishment isn’t going unnoticed either.

    • D4x

      1 Maccabees 11:17 The Murder of Simon and Two of His Sons
      11 Ptolemy son of Abubos had been appointed general in command of the Plain of Jericho;
      he owned a great deal of silver and gold,
      12 and was the high priest’s son-in-law.
      13 His ambition was fired; he hoped to make himself master of the whole country and therefore treacherously began to plot the destruction of Simon and his sons.
      14 Simon, who was inspecting the towns up and down the country and attending to their administration,
      had come down to Jericho with his sons Mattathias and Judas, in the year 172, in the eleventh month, the month of Shebat.
      15 The son of Abubos lured them into a small fortress called Dok, which he had built, where he offered them a great banquet, having previously hidden men in the place.
      16 When Simon and his sons were drunk, Ptolemy and his men reached for their weapons, rushed on Simon in the banqueting hall and killedhim with his two sons and some of his servants.
      17 He thus committed a great act of treachery and rendered evil for good.
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/7d051cb5e09511534870af403effd0ffa349ba4eba3dfc0d7d324a75b016333a.png

      TAI, and Stanford Law School, are insane to employ this voice who gives ANY sheen of legitimacy to the 21st century Ptolemy, framed in a “conventional wisdom” that is an oxymoron: beyond radical, and, completely ignorant.
      There is no swamp for those who belong instead in Dante’s 9th circle, for the treacherous.

    • ——————————

      The only reason I ever came here was for the comment section.
      It was never for the eletist, Rube Goldberg – like, over-verbosity, of the TAI writers….

  • Gary Hemminger

    Pretty accurate article in my opinion. but with one big difference. Since being elected the market is up massively (and primarily I believe because with Trump the regulatory state has been put on hold). Growth for the last quarter was revised to over 3%. Obama never had a 3% quarter in his entire presidency. the democrats were saying that under 2% growth was the new normal, but now we just know that it was the regulatory state and Obama policies that caused this. Whatever Trump does, if the economy can grow at over 3% per quarter, will anyone want to unseat someone from power if the economy is good? Do people really want to go back to under 2% growth, which clearly would be the case with a President Warren or Sanders? I mean I think Trump is an idiot, but I vote with my pocketbook, and right now my 401K is up massively.

    Remember….it’s the economy stupid

    • AnonymoussSoldier

      That’s true enough, but we have to be careful about growth and the market etc. These things are more detached today than they’ve ever been in US history. In the 1950s or 60s saying that Wall Street was doing well was generally good news for all, and it was much more closely tied to Main Street doing well. Saying that in the 1990s was not quite so certain, and saying it today requires very, very careful examination of all the minutia and details. In fact, it hasn’t been true for about 20 years for millions of Americans. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d6a90a8ff1ec9f2174a0e0535e86403853ddfd7576e8a4170dc86a405310e41a.jpg

      • Psalms13626

        Very good point. Most of these gains go to people like me. Which is great and all, but at some point wealth needs to be spread around. Which is why we need a fast growing economy more than we need a fast growing stock market. Strong economy that is generating jobs for everyone, at every level of labor market, is a great societal good.

        • AnonymoussSoldier

          Yes it is, and the tragedy is that these were good jobs. So many people, erroneously, think we’re talking about making t-shirts or twisting the wrapper on a Hershey’s Kiss, or that it was the robots. Wrong and wrong. Although I don’t blame them completely because those are corporate propaganda talking points. In reality, we’re talking about electronics parts manufacturing, automotive, and higher end apparel to name a few, ie jobs that paid $1000+/week. They didn’t disappear, and they weren’t taken over by the robots. Maybe some day. But for now theyre simply outsourced to humans elsewhere at the expense of humans in America. Period. Whether one wants to think that’s terrible, or wonderful, is entirely up to their own mind. But those are the facts. Worst of all, so many millions of them were shipped to a strategic competitor and quite like future foe – China. That’s not in the national interest, and it’s not smart. It’s simply greed. Consequences are being reaped today by those displaced, and will very possibly be felt by all in WWIII.

          • Psalms13626

            Fast growing economy. You need to either employ people or give them a basic income. Since I think basic income is a terrible idea, I’m for giving people jobs.
            Labor intensive jobs will be done where the labor laws are least onerous. Human beings have been greedy for thousands and thousands of years.

          • CheckYourself

            And it was all the result of very specific, BAD, government policy. It wasn’t inevitable, or necessary, nor was it the case 30 years ago. Bill Clinton “delinked” China’s human rights record from US trade policy with the regime. He did it at the behest of corrupt, mega rich internationalists and certain ex-officials, like Kissinger, who loves the Chinese Communist Party and who has a career of bad deal making. It became so absurd that Clinton was selling off US nuclear tech to the CCP, and arranging meetings for Bill Gates and others with the Chairman/General Secretary of the party (at that time Jiang Zemin).

          • AnonymoussSoldier

            You, my friend, absolutely nailed it.

        • the economist

          So one piece of legislation? Still waiting.

        • Jeff77450

          If wealth needs to be spread around then it should be done voluntarily like Bill Gates and the ~147 billionaires (last I heard) that he’s recruited are doing and not forced.

          • CosmotKat

            These billionaires are doing nothing, but giving themselves huge tax breaks and the pretense of social consciousness, but really are simply political action by another and more lucrative (for them) means.

          • Jeff77450

            Highest earning 10% pays ~70% of all fed income tax. Lowest earning ~38-47%, estimates vary, pay none. The suggestion that the rich don’t pay their fair-share is preposterous as is the suggestion that taking less of their money is “giving” them money.

            There are, of course, other taxes each of which deserves a separate discussion.

          • CosmotKat

            I did not say the rich don’t pay their fair share. You did and you also set up billionaires for accolades when few are deserved and that is my point.

            The rich, like Bill Gates or George Soros or a Tom Steyer are funneling their wealth into foundations that are used for political action, not philanthropy. They cheat the tax man while maintaining access to their cash. Few billionaires have truly earned the admiration that comes with no strings attached philanthropy and Gates foray into education has shown that fools and their money are soon departed as his millions spent on education reform has yielded exactly zip and he’s gotten plenty of tax deductions along the way..

    • Psalms13626

      Well, Obama did have some quarters over 3%. 2014 was one such period. He never had a year over 3% and never had 3% growth in 3 consecutive quarters. To put it another way, if q4 comes above 3% Trump would have accomplished in hist first three quarters what what Obama never could do in 8 years.

      • the economist

        And still you can’t prove a single point. Just give one piece of legislation that was revoked and it’s positive effect on the economy.

  • Joe Eagar

    So, here’s a proposition: you cannot simultaneously believe that democracy is a legitimate way of ordering society and that “virulent racism” is endemic to American politics.

  • Everett Brunson

    I call bullshit on this whole article. It wasn’t the man’s race, it was his policies. And stop trying to paint Trump supporters as ignorant white rednecks. I have a Master’s Degree. I was a Trump voter. I am a Trump supporter.

    Was Trump the beneficiary of an angry electorate? You bet he was. Voters like me are tired of having hard earned tax dollars spent on social programs that do not work. We are tired of seeing our jobs outsourced. We are tired of being belittled by the coastal elites. We are tired of being beaten over the head with the latest SJW affront of the week. We are tired of being told patriotism and a love of western philosophy is bad. We are tired of being told the United States is bad. And we are tired of EVERYTHING being couched in racial terms.

    Mr. Ford is welcome to find his solace that everything he doesn’t like about Trump and his supporters is based on racial hatred. I hope it keeps him warm and cozy at night. Me? I don’t give a damn.

  • Jeff77450

    I’m not an expert on anything but I’ve come to believe that the main motivation for DJT’s base was the perception that neither party was addressing their concerns which are mainly globalism and out-of-control immigration. Constantly being mocked & denigrated, e.g. being called “deplorables” and references to “flyover country,” was likely a factor. Constantly seeing other groups “moved to the head of the line,” e.g. affirmative action for new arrivals, was likely a consideration too. So they collectively decided “Let’s throw a brick through the plate-glass window and see what happens. At this point what have we got to lose?”

    There is no such thing as white privilege, there is white performance. The truly incredible bounty provided by Western Civilization, unmatched by any other culture, testifies to that. (Jordan Peterson explains it better than I can: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfH8IG7Awk0&t=24s ) Watch a movie like _Saving Private Ryan_ or _Hacksaw Ridge_ and ask yourself whether you’re witnessing white privilege or white burden. –signed, a retired army master sergeant who served in seven third-world dystopias, four of them Islamic visions of what can only be described as Hell on Earth

    • Everett Brunson

      Jeff, I’ve found that losers always look for excuses–anything that might deflect blame from themselves–the Hillary book tour would be exhibit one. I suppose Ford believes ” vulgar attire” to be the ubiquitous Red MAGA hat. Yeah, that really equates to hats turned sideways (with the sales tag still attached) and drooping pants.

  • Mark Hamilton

    When all you have is a racial hammer….

    If you think Trump beating Hillary was all about (or even largely about) race, you are trying to see it that way and ignoring the obvious reasons that his supporters have been telling you since before he won the GOP nomination.

    • Suzy Dixon

      You know something is wrong with the Democratic Party when lifelong Dems from the 60s and 70s voted Trump, or simply abstained from voting for POTUS in disgust. I personally know 17! such voters. They all say, without exception, that they don’t recognize the party anymore. 9 out of 17 voted trump. Their reasoning rested on two issues (expressed by other commenters here) 1. Bad economics and trade. 2. Unfair or otherwise bad immigration. In other words, you can’t be the party of the worker and simultaneously be the party of outsourcing and illegals. It’s so simple.

      • Mark Hamilton

        Right and I know quite a few people that voted for Trump either because Hillary was an unacceptable alternative or because the GOP is in effect as bad as the Democrats on the issues you just raised and so why not blow the whole thing up. As I have seen written elsewhere, this is akin to voting for Trump as the murder weapon of the UniParty. That’s more or less why I voted for him.

        The simple reality that some people refuse to acknowledge because it is not the preferred narrative is that the leadership and power brokers of both major American political parties support policies that are rejected by large numbers of their respective voters. This is how you end up with Bernie Sanders coming reasonably close to winning the Dem primary and Trump actually becoming President.

        • AbleArcher

          Yeah and don’t forget that Hillary and her friends rigged the process. The court found “palpable bias” against sanders and in favor of Clinton in the lawsuit. We all knew it before the court found it though. Then came Brazile explaining a little better how the scheme worked. Of course it was the money. Perhaps most interesting was finding out just how much debt obama left the DNC with. The guy who oversaw the party losing 1000 seats across all levels lol.

        • Tom Scharf

          What the establishment fails to recognize is that voting for Trump was never about Trump, it was about them (the establishment). The fact that it makes them lose their minds is a big part of the motivation to vote for Trump. I voted for Trump because I just don’t like these people at all, and the way they have responded only affirms that it was the correct vote. Unbelievable entitlement. Trump’s an idiot and we have to live with this, but these arrogant people in charge need to be given a heaping spoonful of humility.

          • Mark Hamilton

            I’d say they need to not be in charge period. Their policy preferences are a disaster for this country. Since they are incapable of changing their minds, we must remove them. It is simple self-preservation. Otherwise, the hollowing out of America (and Western Civilization generally) will continue.

          • StudentZ

            Trump will just make it worse, though. Yesterday, students at my university protested the tax reform because it will effectively impose an additional tax on graduate students who make next to nothing. How is he not representative of the arrogant upper class you despise? I ‘m sorry, I just don’t understand the logic behind that argument at all.

          • Everett Brunson

            “…will effectively impose an additional tax on graduate students who make next to nothing.”

            How so? I’m interested.

          • StudentZ

            I made it seem as if I know more about it than I do, but I believe they were responding to a letter the president of the university sent to all faculty, staff, and students rejecting the plan. Protests were small but they occurred across the country yesterday. The main objections are outlined in the following letter:

            http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Documents/Letter-on-House-Tax-Cuts-and-Jobs-Act.pdf

          • Tom Scharf

            Few Trump supporters are going to respond to crocodile tears from academia. Academia wrote endless open letters disparaging Trump and his supporters prior to the election and, as they say, elections have consequences.

            I think the grad student thing is overblown, their “free” tuition is now taxable but there is no compelling reason why that loophole should ever have existed in the first place. If they are still truly poor, they won’t end up paying taxes anyway. This just puts them on the same playing field as people who work at McDonald’s. Academia need only restructure how they “pay” grad students and this can be resolved. I don’t expect your typical grad student to be fond of anything Trump does.

          • Everett Brunson

            Pretty much the same that I saw when looking at the actual letter (Thanks to Z again for providing).

          • Everett Brunson

            Thanks Z–the link made all the difference. Here’s my take, for what it’s worth:

            Section 1002–I don’t think this one will affect donations all that much. Foundations which provide donations are not
            subject so I would expect no change. Individuals–not so sure here. I have made $130,000 plus the last five
            years. AND in the last ten years have never been able to take advantage of itemized deductions despite some
            HUGE medical bills. So I don’t believe this will affect many in th be sub $250,000 range. For those multi-
            millionaire individuals–I think they like having their names on buildings. BUT, they may be right on this one.
            Section 1002-Lifetime Learning Credit–sounds to me like it will affect the professional student the most, but I can see
            where it may affect Grad Students, but not exactly sure how. Most people that go back for re-training or another
            degree usually don’t have that large an income in the first place. So not sure if this one has any legs.
            Section 1204–According to the letter this would only affect students who earn below $80,000. The $2,500 deduction
            loss would be more than offset by the doubling of the personal exemption from $6,000 to $12,000. Sounds to me
            like they come out ahead.
            H.R.1–sounds like tuition waivers and tuition exemptions would be treated like ordinary income. Not sure this will
            survive once the bill goes to conference. I imagine the Senate version would win on this.
            Section 117(D)(5)–it looks like they may be right on this one. I take exception to their claim that 57% of the
            recipients were in STEM fields–that doesn’t track.
            Section 1303–that one is totally bogus unless the Universities are projecting a mass migration from state-income
            tax states to non-income-tax states, which I think is silly. There would be no decrease in state funding due to
            the tax bill provisions.
            Section 3601 (H.R. 1) Not sure–but do you think this is payback against the Sander’s debacle in regard to the
            bonds/financing for their New England College (the name escapes me).
            Section 5103–they don’t say what the size of the excise tax would be, so hard to comment on it. Once again
            though, according to the letter it affects just 160 institutions–so hard to say.

            All in all, I’m not sure the Grad students should be that up in arms about it. I do see where the major institutions
            may be afraid their cash cows will dry up. BUT, I would encourage the BIG Private donors to make their donations through newly founded foundations. That would still give them the tax deduction and the universities their monies.

            Thanks again for the response.

          • StudentZ

            I appreciate the analysis. The Senate plan supposedly ensures tuition waivers are tax exempt, so that seems to be an improvement over the House bill (maybe). There is a lot to respond to here, but I think I got a bit carried away commenting again, and I don’t have a lot of time. I’m a full-time civil engineering student (I had a liberal arts degree and started over as an adult). In my previous life, I was a grad student for a year, and my small stipend basically exempted me from taxes. However, PhD students and some research associates might actually make just enough for the change to be a real issue. Also, since STEM students receive more funding in general, I don’t have any trouble believing the 57% statistic, personally.

            The problem with the personal exemption argument is that everyone in a certain income bracket receives that benefit, including people who choose to work for a company instead of entering grad school. Consider civil engineering students. When you get a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, you take the FE exam to demonstrate you have a basic understanding of fundamental principles. Then you have a choice: you could either gain four years of experience working in the field, after which you take the PE exam to get a professional license, or spend at least two of those years in grad school. Most employers and professional associations would prefer you did the latter. In fact, some members of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) want grad school to be a mandatory prerequisite for obtaining a license. The problem is that there are very few incentives to go to grad school. You do a lot of work for little pay, and it’s stressful. Plus, many students are exhausted after four years of undergrad. Some employers, including an environmental engineering firm I worked for as an office assistant, offer thousands in tuition benefits to encourage employees to improve their skills. In my case, I was able to take a few classes. However, I will still owe more than $2,000 a month in loan payments when I graduate. If you make those payments less affordable, tax tuition waivers, and thwart programs that offer tuition assistance, you are basically discouraging students from entering grad school. Why? What is the justification?

          • Everett Brunson

            ” Why? What is the justification?”
            I actually don’t see the justification Z. What you and I are talking about is a mere drop in the bucket when it comes to the whole budget. I do find those in the Senate are usually more mindful of things like this than one’s in the House. Here’s hoping they work out a compromise.

          • CosmotKat

            “BUT, I would encourage the BIG Private donors to make their donations through newly founded foundations.”

            This is a loophole that needs to be closed. These are political action donations disguised as charitable giving to a foundation that supposedly does work for humanity. Right…….and let me sell you shares in the Brooklyn Bridge.

          • Everett Brunson

            CosmoKat, you think I’m any smarter than half the accountants in the country? I imagine the moment the Senate Bill passed, before the ink was dry. there were legions of CPAs figuring out how to ace the system.

          • CosmotKat

            I’m sure you are right in that regard however; the rich use foundation giving to get around campaign finance laws and political donation constraints to fund what is essentially political action organizations disguised as non-profit community service.

          • Anthony
          • SqueakyRat

            Very simple. Almost all grad students get tuition waivers from their universities. That is, they never see any of the money, and they have to do a good deal of very ill-paid teaching, but they don’t have to pay any tuition. One version of the “tax reform” will make the value of that tuition waiver part of their taxable income. So: you don’t have any money, but you now have to pay income tax on a huge new amount.

          • Everett Brunson

            I still haven’t gotten a peek at what is coming out of Conference but have opined that in the end it may not make a difference in regard to the Grad students. Income brackets will either be at 4, 7, or something in between. With the increase of the personal exemption to $12,000 and the low bracket the Grad students find themselves in–there may be no net change. Too, if the $2,500 interest exemption remains on student loans they might still end up in refund “territory”.

            What I do like about this change is that the University Systems will be forced to put an actual value on Graduate student teachers, adjunct professors, and TAs. These people deserve benefits and employer contributions SS, Medicare, and Medicaid. I also think that if the “teachers” do not receive remuneration, the Universities be forced to pay at least the amount to be with-held for federal taxes.

    • StudentZ

      What are you responding to? The point of the article was that it wasn’t about race. Overt bigotry, to the extent that it has emerged, masks deeper problems.

      • Mark Hamilton

        The article itself is to an extent pushing back on the same notion I did, although the author leaves plenty of room for racial animus to be a driving factor in Trump’s appeal. He compares Trump and his supporters to Louis Farrakhan and his supporters. He’s basically saying Trump’s appeal is not “just” white supremacy, it’s that his white supporters are left behind economically and see him as their champion. There is some truth to the second part, but very little to the first part.

        Racism as a motivating factor for conservative, Republican or right-leaning voters is largely a fiction of the Left, told relentlessly to make lefties feel superior and keep minority voters tethered to the Democrat Party. While racism surely exists and many Americans may have racial hang-ups to one degree or another (on both sides of the political aisle), it’s not what drives people to the polls. If anything, political liberals are much more like to vote based on racial thinking than political conservatives. At any rate, Trump got elected by carrying red states and bursting through the “blue wall” in the Rust Belt.

        The Rust Belt didn’t vote Trump because racism. That should be obvious, but the Left prefers a narrative that flatters their own prejudices. Hence, racist deplorables and Russians apparently pushed Trump over the top.

        • StudentZ

          I think there are popular narratives that gain traction in different circles, but I’m not sure how representative any of these narratives are. For starters, there are way too many different interests and divisions on the so-called Left and the Right for those broad categories to be meaningful. Second, I think some chalk up the Trump phenomenon to racism because he has reinvigorated some racist fringe groups and those who vehemently object to his position think his supporters are irrationally acting against their own interests. They can’t fathom why anyone would support him. It’s not necessarily arrogance as much as a fundamental disconnect between people who never interact or who are inclined to make sweeping generalizations about others.

          • Mark Hamilton

            A lot of truth there, but I think people who can’t fathom voting for Trump often have a blind side to why Hillary ought to have been morally unacceptable in pretty much any context ever also.

          • StudentZ

            I can’t speak for everyone, but I live in a state where Bernie Sanders won the Democratic caucuses with 61.6% of the vote. More specifically, I live in Minneapolis, which is located in District 5, where the percentage of voters who favored him was even greater at 64.9%. Trump, on the other hand, came in third place in the Republican caucuses (after Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz) with 15.6% of the vote in my district and 21.3% of the votes in the state. While Clinton still wound up with 63.8% of the votes in my county, she barely won the state and she was not particularly popular here (at least not the way Obama or Bernie Sanders were). I’m sure there were people who hated her for the DNC debacle.

  • Anthony

    For the record, Richard Thompson Ford’s essay is not about white privilege nor racism, per se, aiding in Trump’s election – his (essay’s) focus is resentment (ressentiment) and underlying social/psychological motivations. Essay ought to be measured on its premise.

  • Tom Scharf

    This article was much better than the headline would suggest, which suggested yet another vile race-baiting diatribe in a sea of the same.

    The author makes a valid and insightful point, that Trump was elected in spite of his obvious character flaws. Of all the horrible words that have been written on this subject, this article rings true and I suspect most Trump supporters are nodding their head in confirmation. Many white people do now know what it is like to be looked on with scorn by an alleged superior group that has power and wants to keep it. They are walking in the shoes of others and don’t like it. Coming Apart documented many of the same points, that the lower white class now has the same pathologies of the lower black class that preceded them.

    A day may come when the lower white and black classes join forces and today’s ruling class will be unceremoniously shown the exit door. Today’s ruling class uses race as a wedge to delay the formation of class based politics, but it looks increasingly desperate and hysterical.

    • Kathy Hix

      Damn! I can only up vote this once!

  • Angel Martin

    The author makes an important observation re Trump vs. Farrakhan, Marion Barry, Harold Washington, Kwame Kilpatrick, Coleman Young et al.

    Their core voters never rejected them, despite their flaws, since they spoke out defiantly, and with populist showmanship, on behalf of their supporters.

    I would make one other point: the “first wave” of globalization and deindustrialization hit blacks in urban areas via the 1965 Immigration Act, along with the closing of urban manufacturing plants in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

    If the economy gets worse, much more radical white leaders than Trump are liable to take charge. How ironic that the progressive elite may one day look back at Trump as “the last reasonable Republican”.

    • Anthony

      The author nor essay says anything about Harold Washington (late Mayor Chicago), Kwame Kilpatrick, Coleman Young (former Mayors of Detroit) so conclusions drawn are extrapolation more than germane to premise of Richard Thomas Ford’s intent.

      Equally, golalization/deindustrialization (most people, historically, have reacted defensively when they believe economics/social conditions disfavor) as agents of socially corrosive economic forces inducing radical leadership or behavior is neither new to the United States nor elsewhere in the world. What has happened when people look back is (as when the constitutional republic faced threats from extremists on both the left and right) they seek to inform on the basis of historical hypotheses not universal propositions.

  • Joey Junger

    This article shows nothing but the resentment of the author, although I must confess Mr. Ford is pretty good at the blackety-black game, though he’ll never make as much off the racket as a Ta-Nehisi Coates. What is the blackety-black, you ask?

    “For many American blacks, especially elite blacks like the Obamas, nothing exists outside their own blackness. Their blackness is endlessly interesting, endlessly fascinating to them. They can never get enough of thinking about it, talking about it, reading and writing about it.

    “If they write a book, it’s about their blackness: Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father, for example. If they write a college paper, it’s about their blackness: Mrs Obama’s Princeton thesis, for example, the seven words of whose title contain the word “black” twice. If they read a book, it’s about blackness. I’ve spent many, many hours riding the New York subway. Sitting next to a black person who’s reading a book, I take a peek: two times out of three it’s some black author writing about blackness.

    “Black black blackety-blackety-black. It fills their consciousness and absorbs their attention. What on earth must it be like to so trapped like that, such a prisoner of your own skin? I can’t imagine. I guess, just as the T-shirt slogan says: It’s a black thing; I wouldn’t understand.”

  • Fat_Man

    What I do not understand is why TAI is publishing bilge like this. TAI would never publish Richard Spencer. Why do they publish somebody who peddles the same kind of hateful racism that Spencer peddles?

    • Gary Hemminger

      I don’t see any inherent racism in this.

      • Fat_Man

        If you don’t, you are as bad as the author.

  • VRL DC

    This article is kind of unfortunate. First, it attempts to equate Donald Trump (a rich White man who put himself without much effort in a position to win the GOP nomination, and then with some help from Dems into the Presidency) with Louis Farrakhan — a VERY marginal social and religious figure who at the height of his popularity had no path (even with Black People) to political success of any kind, much less as a Presidential candidate. To dredge up Farrakhan is tantamount to the cheapest of all rhetorical boogeyman shots, especially since the two are not racial mirror images in relation to their constituencies. Second, it seems to place the appeal of Trump at the feet of White, rural voters — minimal analysis of the exit poll show this is false. Trump won big with White rural working class voters for sure, but he also won with Whites across socioeconomic and educational lines, and incidentally won a majority of White women. All of this occurred while making homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted, racist and misogynistic appeals addressing only the fears of Whites — not their aspirations or hope for a better America, but one where they would be assured a pre-Obama Era expectation that Whites will always get the jump ball every time. This is the point this article misses, and it teases at a greater question: Why have marginally qualified, morally challenged, ethically lagging, mediocre-ly educated, Whites with noteworthy family dysfunction, able to be taken seriously on the political stage as National politicians (Palin comes to mind), but no such equivalent exists in Black America? Obama couldn’t be “state school,” with a teenage daughter with out-of-wedlock kids and pit bull puppies, nor could he have been remotely reminiscent of Louis Farrakhan who is used as a horrible straw man by this author. Even it you go there, there is a MAJOR difference between Trump and Farrakhan — Farrakhan (see him on You Tube) lays the problems of Black America at the feet of the failings of black people and their lack of investment and attention to their economic and spiritual life — that is definitely NOT the message Trump gave to his so-called “people” in White America.

  • Honestly, I am sick and tired of this growing obsession over racial politics from both the left and the right. Can we all just move beyond defining each other and ourselves by our ethnic background, for God’s sake?

    I personally think in America, we should strive to transcend race above all, focusing on what we share in common rather than what makes us different from one another.

  • FluffyFooFoo

    Trumpism is more like the Protestant Reformation. It is just time for Rome’s comeuppance. Indulgences ain’t going to work anymore, boys.

  • Proud Skeptic

    This piece is unworthy of this website. I really miss Walter Russell Mead.

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