Documentation. Witnesses. Facts. Truth. That's what they're afraid of.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Flurry of Post-Mortems

I'm still mostly holding off on my own final post-mortem, particularly on aspects that are based primarily in the numbers, until all votes have been counted, and recounted where applicable.

But that's not stopping plenty of other insightful writers from doing so, and I thought I'd share them for the readers and for posterity in my indices, with little comment from me (yet).

Dana Milbank wrote a piece about how voter suppression won the election for Trump. A couple of key points:

Though it’s difficult to quantify the effect of voter suppression in 50 states, Hajnal reports in a new study that after Texas implemented a strict voter-ID law, Latino turnout dropped sharply between 2010 and 2014, and the gap between white and Latino turnout increased by 9.2 percentage points. In the rest of the country, the gap between white and Latino turnout decreased over the same period.
Wisconsin adopted a tough photo-ID law, and in Milwaukee, where a large number of African Americans don’t drive or have licenses, turnout declined in 2016 by 41,000 compared with 2012, a 15 percent drop. Turnout was significantly lower than in 2004 and 2008 as well. The dropoff was steepest in the poorest precincts.

Martin Longman puts a more personal spin on it, but arrives in the same place:

It’s very difficult for Americans who live in car-based communities to understand and avoid being judgmental about mass transit-based communities. In 2004, I was working out of a North Philadelphia office in a heavily black neighborhood. I needed dozens of workers, so I had a lot of interviews and hiring to do. And I had a lot of paperwork.
When I placed an ad in the paper for low-wage temporary work, a line formed down the stairs from my second story office and half way around the block. The applicants ranged in age from 16 to 60, but most of them were under twenty-one. They did not drive. Their families did not own cars. Some of them had photo IDs from school or even from a library or gym, but almost none of them had a driver’s license.
There were no banks in their neighborhood, but an inability to open a bank account was the only liability I could detect. They simply did not need a driver’s license, and the younger among them didn’t need a photo ID to go out drinking or for any other purpose.

bspencer at Lawyers, Guns, and Money gives a more comprehensive take in five points. An example:

5.) As I mentioned on twitter, I counted on a sort of latent, self-preservational snobbery kicking in with potential Trump voters. It’s not that I thought we’d get many switchers. But I thought a fair number of R-leaners might find him too vulgar, too stupid, too buffoonish to vote for in the end. I’ve learned that that was wildly naive…and this loops around to my first point–R’s will LITERALLY vote for anyone who runs with an “R” after his name. Literally anyone. Even a Nazi!
Whatever else is true or false, this one I'll stand by even before the votes are done being counted. If the numbers of Rs that voted for Trump were even ten points lower than they turned out to be, that statement holds true.

Finally, David Roberts at Vox (which has been incredible as of late) goes both broad and deep and delves into nearly every single aspect of the election, comparing them to his prior assumptions. There's so much there (I read quickly in general, yet this thing probably took me the better part of half an hour to get through), but I just want to highlight a bit of his conclusion:

This feels like a black swan event to me, an unlikely concatenation of circumstances that offers a last gasp to forces in American life that are inexorably fading.
But that feeling? That gut sense that “it’s going to be okay”? I no longer trust that feeling. At all. (It’s only us white guys who got to feel it anyway.)
It’s possible that white nationalism is an ineradicable element of American life. It’s possible American institutions have failed so thoroughly that some sort of illiberal strongman is inevitable. It’s possible that further Republican gains could give them control of enough states to start passing constitutional amendments returning the US to the 19th century. It’s possible that a terrorist attack under the coming administration could cause panic and backlash that leads to a police state. It’s possible something as bad as or worse than internment camps will come along, or widespread racial violence.
I don’t expect that stuff to happen, and I’m certainly not predicting it, but you can damn well believe I will never again take those possibilities lightly. There are no guarantees America will be okay.

As I've said, I personally felt that we were enough past these nationalist and racist attitudes that 2012 was the last time those could win a Presidential election. The question is, were we just a little early on that call, could our assumptions have been totally wrong, or is something different in play?

Ari and I are working on a way to figure that out to whatever extent we can. We'll keep you posted.