Saturday, October 22, 2016

Old America vs. New America and the 2016 Election

I guess this is another way of talking about the Coalition of Restoration versus the Coalition of Transformation, which is Ronald Brownstein's formulation of the current realignment in American politics.

See Cathleen Decker, at LAT, "This election is much more than Trump vs. Clinton. It's old America vs. new America":
The contrast in the 2016 presidential election was as evident Thursday as it has ever been: Donald Trump spoke to a largely white audience in Ohio, a state that has traditionally picked presidents but finds itself somewhat marginalized this year.

Soon after, Michelle Obama, the nation’s first African American first lady, campaigned for Hillary Clinton in Arizona, a state where Latinos have changed the political environment so much that Republicans may well lose there for only the second time since 1948.

The dramas surrounding the Trump campaign have sometimes obscured an underlying reality of 2016: Trump and Clinton are running for the same job, but they are talking to and being sustained by two different Americas.

There’s the old one — a distinction not of age alone, but cultural perspective and outlook — that Trump appeals to as he courts white, rural voters and social conservatives. His support base is heavy with voters uneasy with the turns the country has taken in recent years and, broadly speaking, more comfortable with an era when white men like Trump ran things.

And there’s the new America, the one Hillary Clinton has homed in on with her appeals to women, gay and lesbian Americans, the young, and minorities.

Clinton is not a perfect representative of that new America  —  in part because of her long tenure on the political scene. But the themes on which she has conducted her campaign and popular surrogates like the Obamas have helped shore up her connection. So, too, has her historic reach to become the first woman president.

The focuses of the two candidates echo their parties’ strengths —Republicans with older and whiter voters, Democrats with younger, more culturally and racially diverse ones.

Their slogans also show their aim: Clinton’s is “Stronger Together,” an appeal to the patchwork of groups, many of them flexing new political muscle, that make up her base. Trump’s is “Make America Great Again,” a proposition that harks back to a time when a different, more homogeneous order prevailed.

Trump has never identified his target era, but his cultural references seem to push back decades. Thursday, at a rally in Delaware, Ohio, in a conservative and partly rural area north of Columbus, he brought up “The $64,000 Question,” a quiz show that went off the air in 1958.

In Arizona, before a diverse crowd of thousands, the first lady evoked groups that were often ignored in that era as she delivered a ringing speech on behalf of Clinton.

“We are a nation built on differences, guided by the belief that we are all created equal,” she said. “Hillary knows that our country is powerful and vibrant and strong, big enough to have a place for all of us and that each of us is a precious part of the great American story.”

At his rally, Trump spoke, as he almost always does, to a crowd made up almost completely of white voters. In what has become a common refrain, he framed the election in apocalyptic terms: “Either we win this election or we are going to lose this country,” he said.

To his followers, that threat is all too real. Judy Krauss, a 70-year-old retired teacher who attended the Trump rally, said she worries that “leftist liberals” are changing America for the worse.

“They’re already in the schools, already in the media, already in the Republican Party,” she said.

Michelle Churma, wearing a pin on her shirt with an image of a machine gun and the phrase “Plead the Second” — a reference to the 2nd Amendment —  said she feared the country would go “in an awful direction” if Clinton is elected.

“There’s an America that holds fast to the Constitution … the idea that everyone has an equal chance,” she said. The other believes “everyone has to have the same stuff … the government owes me.”

Earlier this fall, at a shopping mall not far from the rally site, representatives of the other America spoke of their discomfort with Trump.

“We’re married; he’s not OK with that,” said Terri Glimcher, 60, of Powell, Ohio, as she sat in the food court with her wife, Tammy McKey. They were able to marry after the Supreme Court legalized gay unions last year. “He wants to overturn that. And that’s scary.”

Downstairs in another part of the mall, Omeliah Nembhard, 21, said that she was no big fan of Clinton but that Trump struck at the fears of her immigrant family, which moved here from Jamaica.

“My family came here for opportunity, and Donald Trump is taking that away,” she said. “He’s taking America out of America. “

The version of America seen at the ballot box has changed dramatically over the years...
Still more.