Democrats ignore important issues like economic inequality at their own peril. Racism is important but it’s forest for the trees issue. More persons of color will benefit in the short and long run from addressing economic equality issues than by fighting white supremacists. Bannon and Trump get it and they bamboozled their followers into believing they would improve the economy. Of course history will show they didn’t improve economic opportunities for people of any color and they made racism popular again, but Democrats can give them license to do more of the same by chasing identity politics.
“The longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em,” he said of Democrats. “I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.”
But there are many more voters in Trump’s camp who still consider themselves Democrats. Some live in the much-discussed zone of despair, places where opportunities for people without a college degree are few, and the opioid epidemic rages. These folks are persuadable, if the message is economic hope — something that Obama understood, and Hillary Clinton never did.
This doesn’t mean that Democrats should not speak out when a cop kills someone for driving while black. Nor does it mean that Democrats should not join with progressive institutions — the military and forward-looking corporations among them — when Trump turns back the clock on transgender rights, or equal opportunity.
But you can’t bang just one drum. Trump has said demonstrably racist things many a time, from his birther obsession to his taco bowl tweet. He still won, “on a straightforward platform of economic nationalism,” as Bannon noted.
“As long as Democrats fail to understand this, they will continue to lose,” he said.
So, even though Trump now threatens to shut down the government that he runs over his insane and unpopular border wall, even though he’s told 1,000 verifiable lies since he’s been in office, his horrid character will not be enough to help the forces of good.
What if Steve Bannon Is Right? https://nyti.ms/2w3gRt6