Diadem wrote:Marx famously said that religion is opium for the masses. That's not very kind to religion, but it's not very kind to the masses either. He's basically calling them addicts whose brains are too addled to know what's good for them.
That quote requires a lot of context for the modern reader. In Marx's day, Opium was the extra-strength painkiller that was used for surgery rather than a recreational drug. He wasn't referring to the religious as junkies and religion as an addiction, but rather that the proletariat's lot in life was filled with so much pain that they had to turn to strong painkillers in order to keep their sanity.
I stand corrected.
I don't think that undermines my overall point though. That voting is more about identity than policy, and that while evaluated on their merits the left's policies may be better for the working class, their identity politics are aimed solidly against them, and this costs them.
I'm guilty of this myself. I'm angry, furious even, at all the assholes who voted for Trump. And I have every right to be. They have made a terrible decision that is going to be disastrous for hundreds of millions of people all over the world. But my ranting about it is never going to change anyone's mind, and being called an asshole is only going to drive Trump voters more solidly into his camp.
It helps to remember that these people aren't inherently evil. They genuinely think that what they are doing is right. They are misled. Yes, some of them are horribly racist, but that too is part identity politics, and part being misled.
The Dutch version of Trump is called Geert Wilders. And Wilders and Trump are quite similar in many, many ways. But before Wilders, back in 2002, we had a different politician who attracted this group of voters. His name was Pim Fortuyn. He was not a politician, and came seemingly out of nowhere to win a huge share of the electorate, riding a wave of anti-establishment sentiment. Sounds familiar? But the interesting part is that he was a completely different person. He styled himself as a dandy, he even employed an actual butler. He was flamboyantly and openly gay, to the point where if he started talking about his sex life journalists were all "That's nice Mr Fortuyn, but can we go back to policy now?". With the notable exception of his anti-immigration stance, his politics were quite left-wing, he often attacked Labour for undermining the welfare state.
So we have someone with a completely different personality, and a completely different set of ideals, attracting the exact same group of voters.
It's not about the minutiae of Trump's persona, and it's certainly not about any of his proposals. It's about identity.