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08 November 2016

Politics as Owning vs. Working

Today is Election Day here in the U.S. My wife shared an interesting perspective on the campaign with me last week that I thought I'd relate here. She likened Trump supporters to "owners" and Clinton supporters to "employees." She explained that by "owners" she meant that Trump supporters seem to feel a sense of entitlement, that the nation belongs to them. While it may have some connotations of exploitation that aren't intended in this instance, by "employees" she meant that Clinton supporters seem to feel an obligation to work for the collective good, that we're in this together. It reminded me of the famous line from Kennedy's inauguration speech when he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Core Trumpists are white men without college degrees, those who once were quite privileged but have since seen women and people of color rise to greater levels of equality and who live in a world where a high school diploma is no longer sufficient for prosperity. Core Clintonistas, on the other hand, are by definition a diverse coalition. It's not difficult to see how the former are struggling to come to terms with the challenges to their status and how that challenge can feel like a threat at the hands of the former. Owners and Workers--I think it works pretty well.

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