January 4, 2016

Chuck Todd partnered up with Esquire Magazine's Richard Dorment to explore the question of angry white voters on Meet the Press Sunday morning. In the process he and the panel managed to miss the point entirely. Again.

The survey, conducted by NBC News, SurveyMonkey and Esquire magazine, asked some vague but provocative questions. Surprise! More Republicans are angrier than Democrats. I could have told you that without a poll. Also, white people are angrier than people of color, and white women are slightly angrier than white men, according to this poll.

All of which should not surprise any of us. There are a lot of reasons for voter anger right now. Women might be angry about how conservatives have targeted their reproductive rights, and that may be true of white women even more than white men. People may be angry about conservatives trying to take their health care away, or the way they block minimum wage increases. Income inequality. Racism. Criminal justice inequality. Gun violence. General right wing lies and fear mongering.

Yes, there are plenty of reasons for anger.

According to Dorment, people get really fired up over the "lost American dream."

"I mean, when you look at all the ethnicity, whites are the angriest of all Americans, with white women in particular being the angriest subgroup. But when you asked them why, the majority of white men and women get really angry when they say that the American dream is not what it used to be," Dorment explained.

"That America's leadership role in the world is not what it used to be. And that life didn't turn out for them the way that they thought it would be. This is the anger perceived diminishment."

"And it's why a slogan like 'Make America great again,' resonates so strongly with, you know, white, middle-class voters," he concluded.

It's remarkable to me that this is delivered with a straight face, as if there is no racial component to it at all. Go back and look at those Cruz supporters I wrote about last week again and remember that these angry Republicans are the people the panel is discussing.

This isn't rage over anything specific. It's white, racist rage which has been shaken, stirred and heated up by a year's worth of a ridiculous Republican primary nomination race.

And yet. At no time was there any suggestion that those angry white Republicans might be driven by racist impulses. Eugene Robinson came close, but danced away from it at the last minute. Because the survey questions were framed around how they feel today as opposed to a year ago, one might assume the never-ending Republican primary outrage machine might have something to do with it, but there was never even the hint of same.

Here's the panel discussion:

Chris Matthews claims it's "economic nationalism." As if in this past year, and this past year alone, jobs have suddenly found their way to China. Never mind the drop in unemployment rate to 5 percent, because white people are angry about having to compete for jobs. Or something.

Eugene Robinson timidly reminds the panel that the country is "less white," which is the only allusion to the race component baked into this survey.

Sara Fagen thinks the angry white women are rising over not really advancing in the past 25 years while having to care for aging parents and children. I'm sure there's some truth to that, but how about offering up the ACORNing of Planned Parenthood and constant assault on women's reproductive rights as a possible reason for increased anger?

Everyone's favorite neocon hack, Jennifer Rubin, wraps up the package by advising everyone that it's about the Mooslims.

"We have a president who seems to be kind of almost indifferent to attacks on American soil, when he seems to be ridiculing the American people for being concerned and says it's cable TV," Rubin said. "People do get angry about that. And he doesn't, the lack of national leadership, on the other side, I don't think you can ignore sort of the culture of the right, which has become perpetually angry. Which is the talk show television sort of culture."

Well, she could be one for two on that. But of course, Fagen jumped right in on the warmongering side, agreeing earnestly that yes, yes, the President was a big fat wimp on foreign policy.

In truth, it's more likely the cable TV culture of outrage has more to do with things than the reality of what the President has or has not done with regard to terrorism.

As a white woman, I'm going to tell this panel exactly what makes me angry.

I'm tired of the manufactured outrage and selective focus on people of color as the cause for terrorism while they overlook -- on a daily basis -- the real terrorists. The real terrorists, to me, are the senators and congressmen and candidates who promise their angry base they'll send women's rights back to the dark ages, they'll make sure we and our children have no access to health care, and delegitimize our President at every turn.

The real terrorists pretend we all need guns to survive in a democracy and buy politicians to make sure we can't keep our children and loved ones safe from a Bad Guy With A Gun.

I'm tired of the constant bullshitbabble they pass off as political punditry. And I'm angry that they want more war in the Middle East. I'm pissed off that they suck up to Bibi Netanyahu and his warmongering ways while demonizing people as "radicals" who don't happen to be white.

Those things piss me off. They will continue to piss me off. And not one of those panelists articulated my rage, because they're all looking through the lens of right-wingers who worship at the throne of Herr Trumpf.

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