Categories
Diary

Populist Correctness

At last! A neologism for a concept that I have long believed needs to be named and critiqued.
In a discussion about political correctness on the Ezra Klein Show podcast, journalist Adam Serwer describes what happens when members of a politically powerful group get outraged. When candidate Barack Obama said that certain people ‘cling to guns’… when candidate Hillary Clinton called a segment of the electorate ‘deplorables’ … when Labour MP Emily Thornberry posted a picture of white van and an English flag on the streets of Rochester… they were vilified.
Yet somehow, none of these furore were coded as Political Correctness, which was something I moaned about at the time of the Thornberry gaffe. It seemed to me then, and now, that the label ‘political correctness’ is a right-wing stick with which to beat minority group concerns, an act of dismissal and de-legitimisation.
Serwer says that we need to give a name to the kind of right-wing outrage that comes when one of their groups is shown disrespect. He suggests ‘populist correctness’ which sounds just right to me.

Categories
Diary

Brexit Plus Plus? Here's What Happen's Next, America

The day before the U.S. presidential election, Donald Trump declared that the result would be poll-defying “Brexit Plus Plus” election upset.
He was sort of right, in that he pulled off a surprise electoral college victory (although, since Hillary Clinton won the popular vote Mr Trump’s ‘plus plus’ suffix might be said to be inaccurate).
Americans would do well to remember that the surprise ‘Leave’ vote in the UK on 23 June was not the culmination of a chaotic political period, but the beginning of one.  

Categories
Diary

Clinton Will Probably Win The Popular Vote. What Should That Tell Us?

This morning I’ve kept my eye on a particular part of a particular web page: the New York Times popular voite forecast.  As I type, it is showing a narrow win for Hillary Clinton, and she is ahead in actual reported votes by 0.1%, which is about 135,000 votes out of 118 million cast.

popular vote margin
The New York Time projection of the popular vote margin, as of 9 November 2016, 13:20 UTC

Remember that there are about 241 million people of voting age in the USA, and 59 million of them voted for Donald Trump.  That means that less than a quarter of all Americans pro-actively voted for someone with insular and openly racist policies and a demonstrably sexist character.

Categories
Diary

Why Hillary Clinton Will Win

Despite having written very little on this blog about the United States Presidential election, I’ve been following it closely.  My main source of news and commentary has been podcasts: The FiveThirtyEight weekly round-up in particular.  But I’ve been reading mainstream news sites and blog commentary too.
Even as she makes history as the first woman to run for president, and even as she prepares to become the first woman to take the office, Hillary Clinton is still the victim of sexism.  Most analyses attribute her lead to the to the failings of her opponent: Donald Trump is egotistical, misogynist, racist.  He is under-prepared and has led a shambolic campaign. There is an implication that Clinton—a historically unpopular candidate—is not winning on her own merits but because The Donald has thrown the election to her.  In another year (so goes the argument), against another candidate, she would lose.

Categories
Diary

These Two Photos Show Eight Years of Change

New York Magazine has a long feature on the eight years of Obama’s America.
The first illustration in the piece is a compelling diptych of President Obama: two portraits taken eight years apart.  The difference is stark.  His hair has turned grey and his face is rumpled.

03-obama-opener-revised.nocrop.w1024.h2147483647.2x
President Barack Obama, by Dan Winters

However, the photograph that really brought home for me the changes of the past eight years was one taken on inauguration day in January 2009.  Its a version of an image that I’ve commented on before.
Inauguration party, 2009.  Chicago Tribune/MCT
Inauguration party, 2009. Chicago Tribune/MCT

At first glance, the image looks modern.  People mediating their own experience of the moment via a glowing rectangle.  Taking their very own version of a famous photograph.
But when you compare it to the photograph below, taken in 2016, the inauguration image suddenly looks horribly dated.
clinton-selfie
Hillary Clinton waves to a selfie-taking crowd at a recent campaign event in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Barbara Kinney