There are two narratives emerging to explain the shit-gibbon’s triumph. In one telling, the Democrats are to blame for driving white folks into the arms of the shit-gibbon. They’ve failed to address economic dislocation and spent too much time kowtowing to elites. They nominated an “insider.” To move forward, they must adopt economic populism to appeal to the shit-gibbon’s voters.
In the other telling, the shit-gibbon harnessed a wave of white nationalism and status angst that was heightened by eight years of a black president and the prospect of a woman president. A joint Russia-WikiLeaks project helped the shit-gibbon divide and demoralize the Democrats, and with an assist from the Beltway press, voter suppression and the FBI, the shit-gibbon won.
The first narrative seems to be gaining traction. But I think the second version is more accurate. The majority of white folks have been voting Republican since Nixon, and it’s not because the Republicans address their economic concerns. It’s because Republicans indulge rural America’s racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious intolerance and gun fetish in exchange for cart blanche to loot the Treasury.
The data just doesn’t support the “economic anxiety” or “outsider” explanations, since Republicans haven’t done jack-shit to address rural America’s plight and establishment Republican pols were returned to congress in even greater numbers. Also, the shit-gibbon didn’t garner as many votes as Romney or McCain, which wouldn’t have been the case if voters of all stripes were flocking to his “reformist” agenda. The scant voting data I’ve seen so far suggests turnout was down across the board, but rural voters went all-in for the shit-gibbon.
I think the voters who went gaga for the shit-gibbon voted for him because they share his worst qualities, and this Democrat ain’t getting on board with any movement to attract them. Yes, money in politics and wealth inequality are huge problems. Only one party recognizes that and has done anything to address it, and it’s the Democrats. The shit-gibbon vowed to undo the work Obama has done to address it during the campaign, and Hillary Clinton promised to do more. The shit-gibbon voters endorsed MOAR inequality.
I don’t know what the answer is, but the “economic anxiety” theory is bullshit on stilts, and I hope it doesn’t become the guiding principle of the party reboot. Maybe it’s simply a matter of choosing a candidate with charisma. The shit-gibbon apparently has it. Obama has it. Bill Clinton has it. GWB has it. Hillary Clinton doesn’t. It’s a dumb reason to disqualify someone, but we’re apparently a dumb country.