At this point, I realize I’m having as much effect as shouting at clouds, but until the left, construed broadly, begins to understand that Democrats win 25% – 35% of the white racist vote, we’re going to continue to get maudlin pieces about how Americans didn’t reject racism in the 2018 election. The problem is not said maudlinitude, but that the inability to realize that some white racists vote Democratic in spite of and in opposition to their racism means we fail to comprehend why some people, racist or not, vote Democratic.
By the way, if you don’t believe what I wrote in the first sentence, take a gander at this figure from around May 2016 (for those keeping score at home, Sanders supporters inexplicably weren’t included, but they clocked in slightly lower than Clinton supporters). And remember–this is all supporters, not just white ones (so Clinton’s numbers are probably pretty close to the non-Trump Republicans):
Other surveys with different methodologies have similar results. The point is this: white Democratic racists are an integral part of the Democratic coalition (e.g., there are probably as many Democratic white racists as there are Democratic Latinos, possibly a few more). Yet they aren’t voting based on their racism (which is good!). My point isn’t to welcome racism with open arms, or argue that Democrats should try racist appeals–not at all.
It would have been wonderful if Republican Iowa congressman and elite racist Steve King had lost, but I think a large fraction of the white Democratic vote, and not just the racists, didn’t view this election through that prism. Do I like how ‘bigotry adjacent’ too many white people are? Of course not, it’s despicable (maybe even deplorable?). But you work with the electorate you have, not the electorate you wish you had. Many of them responded to something else–racism was orthogonal to their decision. Figure out what that is (I have ideas about that!), and do more of that. If a racist wants to back candidates who would do things to mitigate racism (and a bunch of other bad -isms), why shouldn’t we encourage them to do so?