Must Read: Jonna Ivin, "I Know Why Poor Whites Chant 'Trump, Trump, Trump'"

I’ll just leave this here. Truth is an amazing thing, innit?


A lot of what Ms. Ivin says rings true, but she does seem to be prone to trying to climb into other people’s heads: “This is what they’re thinking, and why.”

I’m too familiar with the inside of my own head (that is to say, after much introspection, I still haven’t the foggiest why I think the way that I do sometimes) to ever be confident in putting thoughts into someone else’s head.

It’s an interesting narrative, and a well-written one. But were each of the policies she mentions deliberately put into place to drive a wedge between poor white people and poor black people? Barring some very compelling citations, I don’t think she can know that. Are those policies the reason that so many are voting for Trump? It would take even more compelling citations to convince me of that, because now you’re not talking about the motivations for the actions of an elite few, you’re talking about the motivations for the actions of several million people.

I think that this essay is very compelling, and I must say that it treats with empathy and respect the people that Ms Ivin disagrees with, which is a welcome change from much of the other rhetoric that flies around in election season. However, whether the insights that she provides are actual truth, or just feel truthy, I can’t decide with any feeling of certainty.

As a poor white trash motherfucker no one cares about, it’s like that. Coming to Portland’s like that. Liberals are pretty much like that too.

That’s the face of poverty in Oregon. A little poor white trash motherfucker no one cares about.

There’s 300,000 of those little motherfuckers in Oregon right now. Not getting enough to eat.

But fuck that little racist sexist motherfucker… Amirite?

When gas prices went up, and rural folks were forced to pick between jobs and gas, some very liberal environmental shithead said… “Should have bought a Prius.” From the mouth of a veritable posterboy for Portland liberalism.

Wanna know if it’s true or truthy? Go talk to a poor white trash motherfucker no one cares about… It’s not like you have to look hard. They’re all the people you’ve been ignoring the existence of because it doesn’t fit a pleasant narrative.


Thank you for inserting yourself into my head. After all, I’ve just gotten through describing how even I don’t know how my own mind works. Surely you, a stranger at the other end of the Internet can describe for me what I’m thinking, and why, better than I can myself! Thank you, great psychic magician!


You seem to be reading into my comment a whole shitload of stuff that isn’t there. I’m not denying that poor people have it bad, that most politicians couldn’t care anyway, that Trump would almost definitely make it worse for them and Bernie has a much better shot at making things better, or that the life of a poor white woman in America is exactly how she describes it. I apologize if you took something different away from my comment.

I’m just wary of someone who says, “This is how [X large group of people] are thinking,” because people are individuals, and even the way I think myself can vary from one hour to the next.

I’m not saying that she’s wrong - in fact, I made especially sure to say that I don’t know if she’s wrong. She’s just electing to speak on behalf of a group of people who have not chosen her to speak upon their behalf, and whenever that happens, I am very skeptical of what that person says.

The stories she tells, her own story and others related to her - those I do not doubt in the slightest. However, the overarching story that she has written to give context to those stories - a story of politicians twirling their handlebar moustaches as they plot to get their victims to tie each other to the train tracks, of people voting for Trump because they think he’ll tie their “enemies” to the tracks for them… All I’m saying is while that story feels true, I’m not willing to accept it as fact without more than just a story that feels true to back it up.

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Sorry! I offend without effort.

So yes. Right. Not your head, and you got me. I made a ton of assumptions.

But it’s kinda obvious that right now there’s a huge divide between types of poor people. And playing poor people off one another is kinda how colonization worked. So it’s not like America was nieve about how to play that game as a country.

We did ditch the old regime. We certainly kept the old structure. Wasn’t it Washington who passed the first Naturalization act? Granting white people citizenship for just showing up?

I think to understand the origins of race baiting and politics, all we’d have to do is read stuff from the times. Mark Twain talked at length about the importance of race to the identity of the South. It’s what you do when you’re committing an apparent atrocity daily and fundamentally… You spin that shit to live with yourself. And they spun race into politics and religion and the court systems and everything else they could. And then got burned down.

But never reintegrated. In fact that effort stopped in about 1875 with political pressure from the south, backroom deals to pull Federal troops out of the South… And they tried to rebuild a way of life that was half excuse for an atrocity and half the only culture they knew.

And now, these folks have insane anachronistic ideas in their heads that become stock sentiments people in power manipulate because they are so very marginalized as a group of people.

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