I have been very struck by the overwhelming Whiteness of support for the candidacy of the archeo-socialist Bernie Sanders to the presidency of the United States of America. This support even extends into Europe among young, hip, English-speaking watchers of the Daily Show.
This Whiteness has been evident in polls and voting. Sanders has done consistently poorly with Black and Hispanic voters as compared to Whites — which does not bode well for him when the primaries shift to states with large non-White populations. Blacks and Hispanics support Hillary Clinton more than two-to-one over Sanders, while Whites are almost evenly split between them. Sanders is absolutely dominating among the young, winning 84% of votes from 17 to 29 year-olds in Iowa. (Feminist Hillary supporters have tried to drive to a wedge between White women and Sanders with the so-called “Bernie bros” meme, but it really has not worked.)
The stark Whiteness of Sanders support was also extremely apparent his “America” campaign ad:
The ad does not present any political arguments as such, but summons a compelling feeling of home: Rural farms, renewable energy (wind), organic stuff, wholesome families, happy White people, coffee shops, laptops, hipster glasses, old folks dancing, etc, to the tune of Jewish folk rock stars Simon & Garfunkel’s 1960s hippie song of the same name. “Welcome home,” the ad seems to tell its well-thinking White viewers. Yes, welcome to the Whitopia of Organic Communism.
(Incidentally, the obscene comedy show South Park has also been pointing out this White liberal longing for an authentic “home,” which is simultaneously nice and superficially multicultural/multi-class.)
The Sanders ad really struggles to include non-Whites in it (you can only make out a couple of people of color out of hundreds of faces). In response, the Clinton campaign predictably accused Sanders of racism: “From this ad it seems Black lives don’t matter much to Bernie Sanders.”
Ads are projections of what campaign consultants think potential supporters want. And I think they achieved that brilliantly in this ad. (Of course, very few Sanders supporters are aware of just how implicitly White their dream of “organic communism” is . . .) All this very strongly recalls the recent visit California commercial almost exclusively featuring attractive White people doing White people stuff like biking, rock-climbing, camping, and snowboarding.
The Sanders ad very clearly highlights both the idealism and decadence of the more dedicated White liberals. There is an unbearable softness to it all, a world in which everyone will be nice, no one’s feelings will ever be hurt (even by reality . . .), no hard decisions will be made, and everyone will be both physically and economically secure to enjoy their lattes and free WiFi. The world would be so safe everyone may as well be high on marijuana (and many would be).
Of course, Black murderers and Muslim gang-rapists simply do not exist in this mental universe. Neither, for that matter, do Jewish power brokers. (Jews, 2% of the U.S. general population, astonishingly make up all seven of Hillary’s top seven campaign contributors, the odds of this occurring by chance being absolutely infinitesimal.) There is a hopelessly naïve and infantile quality to Sanders supporters.
Also compare Sanders’ ad to Hillary’s repulsive campaign launch ad, an ode to hollow post-menopausal ambition and rejection of Core Americans in general.
So what is going on?
Interestingly, Pew Research points out that while Democratic Party supporters are becomingly increasingly “liberal,” Whites are much more likely to use the term than Blacks or Hispanics. There has been an astonishing increase in the proportion of self-described liberals among White Democratic voters, from just 28% in 2000 to 50% in 2015, whereas the proportion has remained basically unchanged among Blacks and Hispanics. More generally, youth and education correlate with liberal identification.
I suggest that the support for Sanders reflects the rise of a new generation of sheltered (often superficially) idealistic young White people who have been raised on Jon Stewart Liebowitz and Noam Chomsky. They are soft by temperament, pushovers even (see how two loud Black women were able to simply shout Sanders offstage), eager for the nanny state’s protective embrace. They have grown increasingly dissatisfied by the contradiction between, on the one hand, their soft personality and the egalitarian ideals promoted in their universities and TV sets, and, on the other hand, the increasingly plutocratic and ethnically-chaotic reality that is twenty-first century America. Sanders embodies their striving to make reality conform to their ideal, whereas the warmongering shill Hillary is deeply unattractive to them.
Sanders’ brand of ideological and moralistic politics does not resonate with Blacks or Hispanics. There is a big difference in quality between White and Black or Hispanic support for the Democrats. For Blacks or Hispanics, this is relatively rational, as the Democrats promise a softer approach to crime and ever increasing wealth transfers from the White majority. For Whites, this support, I believe, is more ideological and idealistic. Many Democrat-supporting Whites are in tax brackets which might not economically benefit from liberal tax policies. (Then again, many of these Whites are likely to be in education or government, and thus benefit.)
The Whiteness of #FeelTheBern is unbearable precisely to these same White liberals, who quite self-righteously think of themselves as the least racist of all people. (Try googling “unbearable Whiteness” to witness all the different issues that guilt-ridden White liberals have wrung their hands over.) But the reality is that support for Sanders to a large degree reflects a particular White subculture. Both the Trump and Sanders campaigns are examples of implicitly White identity politics — but of radically different kinds.
Therefore, if Whites (as Paul Krugman urges) were to be reduced to a minority in America and the country were to be transformed, in Barack Obama’s words, to “a hodgepodge of folks,” we can be sure that Sanders’ latte liberalism will be politically impossible. I doubt this reality will convince very many Sanders supporters to embrace White identity. But they must know, somewhere in their lower brain centers, that their dreams are much more likely to be achieved in a country with the demographics of (pre-invasion) Sweden rather than those of Brazil.
There is no getting around it: Any kind of authentic social justice and social cohesion is only possible in a ethno-culturally cohesive and solidary nation.