race, their arrival here preceded the Africans brought to labor, primarily in the fields.
When Hillary Clinton declared that Trump’s supporters were ‘a basket of deplorables’, a code switch that backfired on her, she may have been quoting a page, or two, or even 200 from Ms. Isenberg who lists dozens of similar, and more provocative labels for this group - who have been with us since the founding of the country.
There are far worse descriptors for the lower class whites peppered throughout Isenberg’s book - the class that ultimately voted Trump into office - now euphemistically referred to as the ‘forgotten Americans.’
It is worth noting that democratic, electoral politics as practiced in the USA, has always been messy. But is has seldom been democratic.
But back to Andrew Jackson and Trump. Jackson - a well-known fighter, Indian-remover, and slave owner, represented a man of the times. According to Isenberg, his “lying and boasting made up for the absence of class pedigree. He used duels, feuds, and oaths to rise in the political pecking order in the young state of Tennessee.”
Isenberg goes on to say that during his campaign for president, Jackson did not stand for universal suffrage - only for the few, and he had little interest in getting nonslave owners, nee non-land owning whites suffrage, but instead “the attraction to a certain class of land-grabbing whites and the embrace of rude instinct of masculine liberty.” Is the picture coming in any clearer? I give Trump props for knowing just enough history about Andrew Jackson to have borrowed a few pages from his book: emulating oafish behavior is ok in the end if it gets you elected; “speaking your mind’ really means speaking their minds (“Lock her up”, for example); exercising a strong arm is an admirable trait and is to be admired, and, to quote Isenberg again, “his (Jackson’s ) utter lack of civility made him the voice of the non-elite outsider.”
And about Trump, Isenberg says that every time he spoke, he forged a bond with ‘working class’ voters despite his wealth, his upper class distinctions, and his gold-accented Louis XIV furniture.
They did not care because he rejected PC etiquette; he was one of them!
The other night, when former president Barack Obama received the Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award, he advised us in his acceptance speech, to have the courage to call out hate not just in others, but also face hate in ourselves. I was reminded of what I used to think about whites - until I read Isenberg’s book! And then I looked around ...
OMG. I live in Texas!