Author: Zach Goldberg

Serwer Error: Misunderstanding Trump Voters

A little over a month ago, the Atlantic published a long article by senior editor Adam Serwer entitled “The Nationalist’s Delusion.” The essay provoked considerable discussion and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell described it as “mandatory reading.” Serwer challenges the narrative that Trump’s unlikely electoral triumph was propelled by the economic estrangement of white working- and middle-class voters. Rejecting this account, Serwer instead holds pervasive and deep-seated – if implicit – animosity towards non-white minorities primarily responsible for Trump’s election. To borrow a neologism from MSNBC’s Van Jones, the 2016 election outcome was just a case of ‘whitelash.’ Concerns over lax immigration policies, the flight of blue-collar jobs, Islamic terrorism (and the political obscurantism surrounding the subject), and a stifling culture of political correctness were all simply a pretext for the maintenance of white supremacy and racial inequality. A key data point Serwer draws on to support this claim is Trump’s s ‘sweeping victory’ across all income categories of white voters (emphasis added): Trump defeated Clinton among white voters in every income category, winning by a margin of 57 to 34 among …