Work is the Antidote to Trump

FDR would pimp-slap the lot of us right now.

Thomas Frank, in a piece that went all over the place and which I think has some things mostly right:

In fact, to judge by how much time he spent talking about it, trade may be his single biggest concern – not white supremacy. Not even his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border, the issue that first won him political fame. He did it again during the debate on 3 March: asked about his political excommunication by Mitt Romney, he chose to pivot and talk about … trade.

It seems to obsess him: the destructive free-trade deals our leaders have made, the many companies that have moved their production facilities to other lands, the phone calls he will make to those companies’ CEOs in order to threaten them with steep tariffs unless they move back to the US.

I grew up in one of the industrial towns devastated by NAFTA and the manufacturing decline in the 1980s before that and the labor collapse of the 1960s and 1970s before that, and I can tell you lots of the places where Trump is the strongest were already so fucked by the time the Great Recession came along that they barely noticed.

There was no Internet bubble in these places. There was no housing bubble, no tech boom to go bust. There was no better to which there could be a worse. This isn’t a recent thing.

Nobody has done dick for these people, who are poor, white and “poorly educated,” and for the past 40 years only Republican politicians on the fringes of acceptability have even bothered to talk to them. I’m not excusing their racism but I am excusing the fact they have time on their hands to get pissed off. They’re out of work. They’re mad about it.

The Carrier executive talks in that familiar and highly professional HR language about the need to “stay competitive” and “the extremely price-sensitive marketplace”. A worker shouts “Fuck you!” at the executive. The executive asks people to please be quiet so he can “share” his “information”. His information about all of them losing their jobs.

So as much as I worry about the reckoning with all this hate if Trump is defeated this summer or in November, I think it can be blunted pretty quickly.

We need to solidly win the next election (and probably the three or four after that on every level) and then we need to give as many people as we can fucking jobs right away.

Give people work and 90 percent of them screaming about immigrants and walls and the Islamic Menace will go home. They will be earning again and feeling good about themselves again and contributing again. They won’t be isolated from society anymore. They will see and talk to people not like themselves every day and that doesn’t fix every kind of hate but it fixes the kind that comes from insecurity and helplessness.

Ninety percent of the attendees at Trump rallies will go home. And we have law enforcement to deal with the other 10 percent.

We have mechanisms for this. We have a whole society built to deal with this. We just have to show up for it. We don’t need to “save” the GOP and we don’t need to have a national therapy session and we don’t need to worry any more than we ever did about God or guns or gays. We need to put people back to work.

Don’t make him come back from the dead and do this himself. Listen to that badass. He might.

A.

One thought on “Work is the Antidote to Trump

  1. gratuitous says:

    Anyone remember the 2010 campaign? Certainly the Democratic party pooh-bahs don’t. The Republicans campaigned on one big issue: Jobs. Oh, if only the people could turn out those awful Democrats, the Republicans would grab the levers of congressional power and create so many jobs, your biggest conundrum was going to be whether to work for a fortune in a remote place or work for a little less in paradise. Anyone remember that?

    This would seem to be a tailor-made (another job!) issue for the Democrats. The Republicans were big on talk of jobs, but in six years, where is their jobs bill? Why haven’t they done a damn thing except to vote to “repeal” “Obamacare” a gazillion times?

    Think running on a jobs platform might get a vote or two?

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