That was a really good read. Interesting dialog, for sure. And I think you really nailed it on the tribalism issue.
Politics is necessarily tribal. Always has been. But the politicians who win elections are usually the ones who bring tribes together, not drive them apart. That’s one of the reasons why some of the same people who voted for Trump in 2016 voted for Obama in ’08 and ’12. Obama marketed himself as someone who genuinely cared about everyone and as a leader who could negotiate the maze of social and cultural barriers standing between Red America and Blue America, and it worked to perfection. Trump went the opposite route in ‘16, but it only worked for him because the progressive movement as a whole — and even Obama himself to some extent — had already done the same exact thing, albeit in the exact opposite direction. They ditched the unifying framework that made Obama a star and shifted their attention to tribal, partisan conflicts they believed they could exploit for their own gain. Now many of them are demanding to have their cake and eat it, too. They want to be able to continue trivializing the pain and suffering of rural white voters while simultaneously insisting that those same voters place their faith and trust in the Democratic Party. And that’s definitely not going to happen.
I think most liberals get that, though. Progressives, I’m not so sure. Some of them obviously don’t, like pretty much everyone who writes for Salon and talks about rural white folks as if they’re all worthless trash. The ones who maybe do get it seem hesitant to speak up, probably out of a well-founded fear that they’ll be banished from their “tribe” for doing so.