Friday, July 1, 2016

Two perspectives on lesser-evil voting: elite liberals, and the working class

Working class folks don't have much of a voice in our national political debate - except, that is, for those involved with professional wrestling. Despite their massive celebrity and platforms, professional wrestlers are often middle class at best - and even those who are wealthy are only recently wealthy. All of them, in any case, spent their entire lives immersed in working class culture, and so when they start talking about politics, you can hear the distinct echoes of a million struggling men and women all over America.

One fascinating example of this I noticed tonight when Steve Austin asked Bill Goldberg about the 2016 election:

I don't know how I've missed this before, but listening to the working class talk about the lesser-evil problem, you notice an unmistakable difference in tone from what we hear from liberal elites. Like most Americans, Goldberg isn't particularly happy about having to choose between Trump or Clinton. He feels trapped. He accepts the lesser-evil logic, as most Americans will, but he realizes the grim implications, and he accepts it with clear resignation and despair.

Compare this to how our liberal elites talk about the lesser-evil trap. Chait:
Blaming [Nader's candidacy for the election of Bush] is a “politically bigoted comment,” [Nader] tells Hobson, because “They are assigning a second-class citizenship to the third party.” (Actually, they are merely recognizing the fact that third parties do not have a chance to win the election, but can impact which of the two major-party candidates does win.)
Or Michael Arceneaux:
People who refuse to vote for a less-favored Democrat on principle...Do something besides pretending that your lack of vote does anything but suit your own moral superiority at the expense of others.
Neither of these people disagree with the Goldberg in principle - all three, for better or for worse, accept that one has a moral responsibility to vote for the lesser-evil. But while the latter clearly sees this as a horrific tragedy, Chait and Arceneaux voice no such misgivings. They are if anything pleased that the two-party system has once again engineered an outcome where decent people feel forced to vote for the neoliberal. Chait celebrates this logic as a "fact" in all of its merciless inevitability; Arceneaux searches sadistically for all of the monstrous implications he can tease out about people who try to escape from the two-party trap.

Once you notice this, you can't miss it. As lesser-evil voting pushes our country further and further to the right, liberal elites are forced to at least acknowledge its inexorable logic - but instead of decrying it, they reserve all of their animus for those who are being destroyed by it. This is a tone you never hear from the working class, for obvious reasons.