A dream of death panels restored: We've never met Jonathan Capehart. Observed through the screen, he has always struck us as a very nice, good decent person.
He has also always struck us as a person who could write an opinion piece like the one which appears in this morning's hard-copy Washington Post.
It appears beneath an awful headline. To read the piece, click here:
"The real reason working-class whites continue to support Trump"
That's the headline above Capehart's piece. Questions:
Do some working-class whites support Donald J. Trump? Or do they all support him?
Are there various reasons for that support? Or is there just one real reason?
That headline blows past both these questions, in a way which reminds us of a highly counterintuitive point: In much of our upper-end journalism, practitioners seem to lack even the most basic intellectual scruples and skills.
That headline wasn't encouraging. In his actual text, Capehart says that someone has finally helped him understand Those People, the ones who didn't vote the way he did last year:
CAPEHART (6/7/17): Unlike anyone I’ve read or talked to since the November election, Justin Gest has helped me to really understand why President Trump won white working-class voters and hasn’t thus far lost their support. In the latest episode of “Cape Up,” we discuss the George Mason University professor’s new book, “The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality."As it turns out, Capehart's guru is Assistant Professor Gest, a youngish scholar who graduated from Harvard in 2004.
In fairness, a reader can't necessarily blame Capehart's column on Assistant Professor Gest. We have no transcript of the various things Gest may have said to Capehart. All we have is some quoted remarks, as selected by Capehart.
As quoted, Gest takes Capehart straight to the Those People Are Racists file. We expect to discuss this file in more detail next week. But Capehart is thumbing through it today, in a rather remarkable manner. When the rubber starts hitting the road, Capehart quotes Gest saying this:
CAPEHART: That doesn’t mean race doesn’t play a major role for the white working class. “Much of white working-class politics has been to create distinction with a group that they thought they were above,” Gest told me. “So much of American history has been white voters seeking to reinstate ways to subordinate people of ethno-religious and ethno-racial difference.”The highlighted statement is certainly accurate. That said, this statement about this nation's political history doesn't nail down any facts about votes which were cast last year.
Capehart isn't bothered by that as he paints with his very broad brush. Amazingly, astoundingly, he ends his short piece with this:
CAPEHART (continuing directly): Listen to the podcast to hear this important and provocative conversation about how economic dislocation and demographic changes are fueling discomfort and desperation among white working-class voters. While Gest says that both Republicans and Democrats have exploited these voters, he sees a way forward.According to Capehart, those remarkable highlighted comments represent Gest's "way forward." As quoted, it isn't quite a "final" solution, but it comes darn close.
“The only way of addressing their plight is a form of political hospice care,” he said. “These are communities that are on the paths to death. And the question is: How can we make that as comfortable as possible?”
Those highlighted comments are simply astounding. Did Capehart, an all-too-"Amurrican" journalist, actually notice or care?
Concerning what was actually said: What did the assistant professor actually say?
Capehart provides a link to his award-winning podcast, Cape Up. You can check what was actually said.
For ourselves, we were astounded and chastened by what appeared right there in the Post. Can a continental nation function this way?
We'd say the odds are not good.