Since the dust from this election settled, many have reflected on the extent of their own participation in the process. This Working-Class Perspective features Jack Metzgar expressing regret for not engaging members of his white working-class family and community about their support for Trump, and explaining what unmotivated him in the first place.
My gripe with much of the punditry is that they so routinely mistake one part of the white working class for the whole, thereby stereotyping a class of people with whom they have little direct contact or knowledge. I insist on the value of using a union organizer’s approach when discussing the politics of working-class whites. Following Andrew Levison’s three-part breakdown, based on opinion research, one part are unreachable conservatives who can never be won over, but you must work to “neutralize” them in order to reduce their influence on others. Calling them boilerplate names rather than engaging their arguments doesn’t accomplish that, however, and it may actually increase their influence. Another part consists of solid supporters, and you need to enlist their activity and leadership in persuading “the persuadables,” which is the third part that Levison calls “on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand thinkers.”
The Working-Class Perspectives blog is brought to you by our Visiting Scholar for the 2015-16 academic year, John Russo, and Georgetown University English professor, Sherry Linkon. It features several regular and guest contributors.