Young voters support Sanders and socialism–but do they even know what socialism means?

The age gap in 2016 Democratic primary is well documented. Here’s just one example from the latest Morning Consult Poll:

Screenshot 2016-05-24 22.45.51

The age gap is commonly attributed to older voters fear of a self proclaimed socialist. They lived though the cold war and were strongly socialized into a belief in free markets. Younger voters, who didn’t live through the Cold War, have no such bias.

There is a good amount of empirical support for these claims. Sanders’ socialism seems quite central to his brand–it’s the top unaided response to his name according to a Gallup poll. Secondly, there is a large age gap around opinion of socialism. Again using a Gallup poll, 55% of voters age 18-29 view socialism favorably compared to just 24% of Americans age 65 and older.

Young voters support of Sanders and socialism more generally this trend is interpreted as an ideological shift to the left. But the evidence for the shift comes from faulty seat of the pants reasoning. It goes as follows: Bernie Sanders is a crotchety old man. There’s no reason that young people should like him based on anything other than policy. Plus, there more supportive of socialism. Thus, millennials must be more liberal than their older counterparts.

While people writing on the internet may be very logical, the average voter isn’t. Complicated post hoc justifications for voter behavior based on ideology are almost always wrong.

For instance, increasing millennial support for socialism is much less indicative of leftist leanings then it would appear. When millennials are asked to choose between capitalism and socialism, capitalism wins by 10 points. But when asked to choose between a government managed economy and a free market economy, the free market wins by 32 points. A 2010 CBS/NYT poll found that “only 16 percent of millennials could define socialism as government ownership, or some variation thereof.”

Rather than an increasing liberal ideology, support for socialism and by extension Sanders comes more from confused ignorance.

Perhaps policy specific polling questions could prove an ideological rooting in Sanders’ supporters. But even then respondents commonly pick candidates then pick policy positions that match those of their preferred candidate. Other times, answers to policy specific polling questions are simply reflexive. Answers are not indicative of sustained thought, and quickly change in response to new information. For instance, when Sanders supporters were asked how much they’d be willing to pay for his proposals, their answers fell well short of what would be required.

The bottom line is that most voters are ill informed and fickle about matters of policy. Ideological movements aren’t formed overnight. While millennial voters overwhelmingly go for Sanders , you can’t extrapolate an ideological movement from one election with only one alternative candidate.

Black Votes Matter

(Note: Polling data was released three days after this post was published showing that black millennials voted for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.)

There are various explanations as to why Hillary Clinton has maintained solid support among black voters this primary season. The stated reasons range from black pragmatism and the Clintons’ popularity with black people, to Sanders being out of touch with black voters, and the more provocative party capture thesis, which I have put forth. (Along with many others) With all the data showing Sanders under-performing with non-whites, perhaps the most interesting set of data concerns millennials. Here we observe this:

black millenials

The ratings from millennials do not correspond with the ratings from their elders:

Democrats' Views of Bernie Sanders, by Race/Ethnicity, January-February 2016

Democrats' Views of Hillary Clinton, by Race/Ethnicity, January-February 2016

Sanders has a higher favorability rating among black millennials than Clinton. Additionally, Sanders has outperformed Clinton among black millenials. Unfortunately, younger voters don’t vote at the same rate as everyone else, and by a wide margin. Take the New York primary for example, where voters under 30 only made up 18% of the electorate as opposed to the 45-64 demographic which made up 40%. Black youth turnout in particular is low, another fact ignored by Sanders critics. (*See expanded counterargument below.)

The age breakdown of black political opinion tells a slightly different narrative than the monolithic black vote story the media generally pushes. Why Sanders does better with young black voters such as me, is up for debate as there are many reasons. One organization, Black Lives Matter, has arguably been the most impactful protest movement on politics since the Civil Rights Movement. Demonstrations have changed to campaign interruptions, forcing candidates such as Bernie Sanders into having a more aggressive agenda combating structural racism. In what I would say is a strategic move, the organization has not formally endorsed a candidate, as members have exerted pressure on Secretary Clinton to come to terms with past policy positions on criminal justice and race.

This maybe one reason why young black voters don’t have as high of an opinion of Hillary Clinton as their parents. The protest sentiment in the millennial generation has been strong, drastically changing views on racial inequality. This is true especially for millennials born after 1990: the demographic has become well acquainted with decentralized protest movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, the former of which has the same class rhetoric as Sanders. (Think of the infamous “1%”)

Sanders has much more of a populist and grassroots campaign than Hillary Clinton’s establishment “connections” campaign. This raw progressive feel to the Sanders campaign makes it to a small degree like Obama’s in 2008. What makes Sanders seem more accessible to young voters is how closely he resembles these grassroots progressive movements, as he allowed a black woman to interrupt him and take the mic during a rally. A hard-head like Trump would have certainly engaged in a physical and verbal power struggle with any protester that did that. Black millennials Feel the Bern because like their white peers, they are seduced by Sanders’ populist appeal. Black Lives Matter has forced both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to answer to their support of the Violent Crime and Control Act of the 90’s, or the “crime bill.” But as I have noted, their rhetoric and reasons at the time differed greatly.

This may play some role in why the younger black “protest generation” supports Sanders more and Hillary Clinton less than the older black cohorts. Terms like “super-predator” have done some damage to Hillary Clinton’s reputation with black folks. Activists have seized on any opportunity to challenge both candidates in proving that black voters and lives matter. It is not just activists who have challenged politicians either. Black intellectuals such as Ta-Nehisi Coates have as well, as he wrote a damning critique of Sanders’ racial views despite his support for him. No matter how tough the scrutiny though, it is of my opinion that the black community should hold all politicians accountable to their promise of ensuring black progress and prosperity. No matter how “well they get things done”, or how progressive they proclaim to be, the decisive yet precious black vote should never be taken for granted.

(*Counterargument: One could argue he should have been able to excite his base more, but it is hard to overcome the astonishing 58% black millennial turnout for the first black president in 2008, the highest black youth turnout in history. Black political apathy among millennials is rooted in the reality of vast racial inequality at the end of the second term of the first black president. Cynicism towards our two-party system is summed up by this question: If institutional racism exists during the era of the first black president, what could a white progressive do to dismantle it?)

(Update: A new Reuters poll was recently released, surveying the racial attitudes of supporters of the candidates in 2016. Sanders’ supporters were the least racist in terms of anti-black racism, with Clinton supporters at times being more racist than Republicans such as Kasich in categories like criminal stereotypes. As many have claimed, Sanders might have been awkward with black voters, but his supporters certainly were the most consistent in rejecting racism despite their struggling explanations for the black vote. Maybe millennials are dramatically less racist after all, or at least liberal millennials.)

How to Interpret Polls


More polls have come in showing Trump close or even ahead of Hillary Clinton. Are they to be believed? Rather than breaking down each poll individually as in my last post, I thought I’d put together a rubric for judging all future presidential polls.

Minority Vote Share

The easiest way to spot a suspicious poll is to check the minority vote. Nate Cohn points out a particularly egregious example:

Rather conservatively, Hillary Clinton should be getting 90% of the black vote and 75% of the hispanic vote. Polls that show any more of the minority vote going to Trump are inflating his performance.  It’s not necessarily a sign of fraud, but more the difficulty of getting high quality samples of demographic subgroups, especially non-english speaking hispanics. 

Composition of the Electorate* (See Update for Corrections)

Polls generally don’t break down what portion of the electorate each demographic group makes up. However, you can infer it from the demographic breakdown from its topline results.

In 2012, President Obama lost white voters by 20 points but beat Mitt Romney by 4 points on the backs of a 82% of the nonwhite vote. It’s almost certain Trump would have to beat Romney’s margin among white voters significantly. While some may question the presumption that Clinton will motivate as many minority voters to turnout as the so called Obama coalition in 2012, there are a lot of factors in Clinton’s favor. For one, the share of the minority electorate grows by about 2% every four years due to higher population growth relative to whites. Secondly, there’s a good chance that hispanics will increase their democratic vote share compared to 2012 in response to the unique vulgarness of Trump’s call for mass deportations.

Here’s an example of a poll with a questionable racial composition, showing Trump with a 2 point advantage over Clinton despite a lower share of the white vote than Romney.

White Vote 2012 (Romper Center) R- 59 D- 39 Overall Result D+4
White Vote 2016 (NBC/WSJ Poll) R- 57 D- 33 Overall Result R+2

A polster might defend their racial composition of the electorate by claiming that Trump’s candidacy is so unique that the normal demographics of race don’t apply. Maybe Trump’s racial dog whistles will bring out racist whites who usually don’t vote, decreasing the minority percentage.

Luckily, the evidence so far points against that interpretation. Despite Trump’s claims to the contrary, he does not seem to be expanding the party. While turnout in the Republican primaries was much higher than in past years, almost all the new primary voters voted in past general elections. There’s also no relationship between primary turnout and general election results. Plus, if there’s to be an increased racist vote share minority turnout will likely go up in response as well.

The Center for American Progress’s report on the demographics of the 2012 election finds that undercounting the minority vote share is a consistent problem for pollsters:

“Prior to the election, many prominent national surveys were drawing likely voter samples that projected the minority share of voters to remain static or even decline relative to 2008. Gallup estimated minority voters around 22 percent, Washington Post/ABC around 23 percent, and the Pew Research Center around 24 percent. Virtually no pollsters had the minority share reaching the actual 28 percent.”

In 2016, it seems that many polling outfits haven’t learned thier lesson.

Another way of looking at the composition of the electorate is by party identification:

This is not appropriate. The composition of the electorate by party ID varies based on the candidates in the race and is not predictably fixed year to year like race. Given the pollster is acting in good faith, claiming a poll is biased by the Party ID structure is spurious. 

It’s also important to note demographic variables aren’t independent of one another. For instance, if assumed the racial component of the electorate seems wrong, this will also be reflected in Party ID. You cannot add multiple overlapping errors in a poll’s electorate composition.

Gender Gap

Gender will be particularly salient in 2016 since we have one female candidate and one in misogynist candidate. On one hand, it’s likely that a female presidential candidate will suffer at the polls due to sexism. On the other hand, it’s likely that Trump will suffer for comments like: “Women–you have to treat them like shit.”

How these countervailing factors will balance out largely depends on the respective strength of partisanship, sexism, and anti-sexism. Republicans will have to weigh their partisan loyalty with their desire to condemn sexism. Sexist democrats will have to weigh their partisan affiliation with their desire not to vote for a women. (This is not an election year that will make you feel good about American Politics.)

In 2012, Obama won 55% of women and 45% of men. Thus far, it appears that the partisan and misogynist forces may have a slight advantage over the anti-sexist forces. The latest Washington Post poll (Trump +2) gives Trump 57% of the male vote and 38% of the female vote, with 8.5% undecided.

Bernie Supporters

As the Democratic primary drags on, many Sanders supporters refuse to support Clinton in a general election. All the evidence from past divisive primaries suggests that Sanders voters will eventually line up behind Clinton. But that is not guaranteed, and there is some suggestive evidence to think this time is different.  

Tracking the opinions of Sanders’ supporters in future polls will be critical.

One way of tracking this would be to look at the portion of Democrats voting for Clinton. But Bernie’s unique electoral coalition makes that method wrong. Many Bernie supporters are independents, hence Sanders’ poor performance is closed primaries.

To properly assess how Sanders’s supporters are voting, the poll must specifically break down that group of voters. The write up of the latest NBC/WSJ poll illustrates the point:

While Democrats are backing Clinton by an 83 percent-to-9 percent clip, just 66 percent of Democratic primary voters preferring Sanders support Clinton in a matchup against Trump.”

As the Republican race has been over for a month now, Republicans have had time to unite around Trump. The continuing contentious Democratic primary will advantage Trump in the weeks to come.

Update 6/27 (Original 5/23)

Demographic Breakdowns Based on Exit Polls are Bad

Unfortunately, some evidence has come to light that renders some of my analysis here incorrect. Nate Cohn has written a long feature in the NYT demonstrating that the white vote in 2012 was larger than what was found in exit polls.

From the article:

New analysis by The Upshot shows that millions more white, older working-class voters went to the polls in 2012 than was found by exit polls on Election Day. This raises the prospect that Mr. Trump has a larger pool of potential voters than generally believed.

The wider path may help explain why Mr. Trump is competitive in early general election surveys against Hillary Clinton.

Exit polls are only one source of information about the racial composition of the electorate, and they are a relatively bad one. The census (which asks if you voted), government voter file data, and post election polls are better sources of information for finding out who voted.

Why are exit polls bad? They use a cluster sampling technique that emphasis partisan accuracy, not racial accuracy. Exit polls select precincts that are representative of a state based on party ID, attempting to get some precincts heavily democratic, heavily republican, and some that swing between the two. Nothing is done to ensure these precincts are also representative of the state’s racial composition.

Unfortunately, precincts tend to be very biased representations of the electorate. Since people tend to live with people who are of thier own race, (for reasons that occur both naturally, (check out the Schelling model) due to people’s race/classism, and from U.S government policy) voter precincts are very homogeneous. Getting an accurate sample would require targeting precincts on the basis of race or sampling a very large number of precincts. (Perhaps it can’t even be done by random sampling.) But the status quo of exit polls just tries to ensure the accuracy of partisanship.

The census, voter files, and post election polling come with thier own problems, but the NYT models show that exit polls almost certainly overstate the size of the minority electorate. Therefore, my analysis of the racial composition of the electorate is overstates the amount of possible bias for Clinton.

The difference isn’t huge but it is significant. Rather than 39% of whites voting for Democrats in 2012, the Upshot estimates that number at 41%. Furthermore, whites likely made up a larger portion of the electorate than the exit poll estimate of 72%, but the Upshot isn’t providing that number easily.

The bottom line is that the white portion of the electorate is likely higher numbers based off exit polls and 2016 general election polls are probably not showing the widespread bias that the Center for American Progress (and me) thought they were. Since all demographic information on the composition of the electorate comes with problems, it doesn’t seem appropriate to judge polls for bias on this compositional criteria. There’s just too much uncertainty.

Trump tries to adjust poll based on Party ID

What I wrote a month ago:

“The composition of the electorate by party ID varies based on the candidates in the race and is not predictably fixed year to year like race. Given the pollster is acting in good faith, claiming a poll is biased by the Party ID structure is spurious.”

On the other hand, Trump seems to believe the pollster did violate my assumption:

Draw your own conclusions.

Couldn’t help but notice that the second tweet speak of “poles.” I’m an absolutely atrocious speller and even I can do better than that.



Sanders has an ineffective and hypocritical plan to combat poverty

Bernie Sanders greets you with this image when you visit his website:
Screenshot 2016-05-21 14.11.03.png

It’s an appealing idea that the vast majority of Americans probably agree with. The problem is that it excludes the vast majority of people in poverty.

Sanders commonly talks about how it’s shameful that the United States has 46 million people living in poverty, a rate much higher than other developed countries. But according the the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, out of those 46 million, less than 5 million are full time workers, or less than 10% of the total poor population.

Part of the reason so few poor people are not full time workers is that they can’t find work. But even if you give a full time job to every poor person looking for one, it still leaves out more than 80% of poor people.*

Screenshot 2016-05-22 13.52.18.png

By saying “no one working 40 hours a week should live in poverty” Sanders at best ignores the plight of the non-working poor and at worse implies they deserve their fate. By only addressing the working poor, he excludes 38 of the 46 million people in poverty.


But worse than Sanders’ ineffective plans at combating poverty is his rank hypocrisy.

While he campaigns against President Clinton’s welfare reform in the 1990s, that law did a lot to help the working poor. The basis of criticism of welfare reform is that it helped the deserving (i.e working) poor but made things worse for those deemed undeserving.

While Sanders campaigns against the welfare reform law, he has no alternative welfare plan. Worse, his rhetoric emphasizing the “working poor” reinforces the division between the deserving and undeserving poor that was the basis of welfare reform in the first place.

The New York Times account of Sanders’ press conference on poverty illustrates the tension well:

“What welfare reform did, in my view, was to go after some of the weakest and most vulnerable people in this country…scapegoating people who were helpless, people who were very, very vulnerable…What we are going to do in this country if I have anything to say about it is to say if somebody works 40 hours a week, that person is not going to live in poverty,” Mr. Sanders said , adding that he would raise the federal minimum wage to $15.”

While rallying against Clinton for scapegoating the weakest and most vulnerable in society, he continues to reinforce the notion that only people who work full time deserve not to live in poverty.  

People who don’t work are not undeserving of aid. They are commonly students, caregivers, elderly, children, or disabled. To combat poverty and bring the U.S closer to other developed countries, you have to help everyone in poverty, not just those who work.


*Another problem for Sanders’ strategy on poverty is his plan,  (A $15 dollar minimum wage) could increase unemployment. While it certainly would raise a lot of incomes for those that can find jobs, it could make a of people too expensive to employ.

Princeton economist Alan Krueger pioneered the research showing that modest minimum wage increases has little effect on employment, but even he thinks $15 dollars is too much. While Dr. Kruger is a Hillary supporter, his view represents an emerging consensus among left wing policy analysts.

If Kruger isn’t left wing enough to trust, Matt Bruenig should be. He’s a socialist who just got fired from his job for his avid support of Sanders and the poor on Twitter. In his post on the minimum wage, he supports a formula that would set the minimum wage at 50% of the median wage in each minimum wage zone, indexed to inflation. Even in states with high median wages like California, this would come out to less than $15 dollars an hour. In states with low wages like Wisconsin, it’s comes out to less than $9 an hour.

While the minimum wage should be increased, it shouldn’t do all the work in helping the working poor because it would make it hard to find jobs. It instead should be used in conjunction with wage subsidies and a more robust welfare state. My point: even Sanders very limited plan to combat poverty is flawed.


Minor Point About Polls

If Sanders would be nominated, he’d have to swing all the superdelegates to him, overturning the popular vote and pledged delegate totals. The only argument he has is his superior electability.

Sanders electability argument hinges on his superior general election numbers.

From Vanity Fair, here’s the plan from the Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver.

“’If you can’t come to them and say, we won the popular vote, you have to honor the will of the people . . . how can you flip them after the primaries?’ he asked.
‘Well, because they are going to want to win in November,’ Weaver insisted, arguing that even if Sanders wasn’t a winning candidate among the Democrats, he would perform better against Trump in the general election.”

If you’re a Sanders supporter and want to help him get nominated, it follows that you should want to make Hillary Clinton’s general election poll numbers worse than Sanders. You do that by answering pollsters and telling them you’d vote for Sanders in the general but not Clinton. As a Sanders supporters, even if you really intend to vote for Clinton come November, claiming you won’t is the only way to help Sanders get nominated. This is one more dynamic that could be suppressing Hillary Clinton’s polling. 


Maybe Marx Isn’t Irrelevent—Conspicious Consumption Makes the Case for Higher Top Marginal Tax Rates

It used to be (and perhaps still is) fashionable among the well to do to have fancy dinner parties with silverware made of real silver.

Most cutlery is made of stainless steel. It works quite well–lasts a long time, is easy to clean. Real silverware certainly doesn’t help you eat any better. While it does have a slightly superior aesthetic it has to be polished frequently to make it look any better than it’s stainless steel counterpart.

So why do people use real silverware instead of stainless steel? It’s not because the expense and hassle of polishing is worth the extra shine. It’s because it shows others they can afford it! (That’s why it’s only brought out for dinner parties.) It’s an example of conspicuous consumption–goods that are only bought to display wealth.

In fact, if real silverware didn’t exist, people would be better off. Rich people wouldn’t have to buy an otherwise pointless good and go through the trouble of polishing it. No one would think “huh, this guy isn’t using real silverware he’s must not be as rich as me” because no one would have it. On the other hand taking it away from one individual person would make them worse off.

Unfortunately there’s no time machine that could go back in time and uninvent real silverware. But government could tax the rich enough that no one could afford it.

If tax rates on the highest earners meant that rich people would simply cut back spending that has no other use than showing how rich they are, no one would be hurt. Taking away the same percentage of wealth for everyone doesn’t change anyone’s position on the hierarchy.

If this sounds a little too good to be true it’s because it is. The problem with the logic thus far is rich people don’t spend most of their money on stuff that’s like real silverware. Real silverware is unique for being purely about displaying your wealth–it has no other purpose. Most stuff rich people buy has some purpose outside just displaying wealth. There are few goods that are purely about conspicuous consumption.

Take a Ferrari sportscar. Sure a large part of the point of buying a Ferrari is to display your wealth. But it’s also functionally better than your average car. It goes faster, it travels smoother, and needs less maintenance. If we raise taxes so no one can afford them, it’ll lower their happiness.

But the upshot is that a significant portion of a rich person’s spending is just about displaying wealth. Sure you’ll go a little slower if you don’t have a Ferrari, but at least no one else has one!*

*Obviously higher taxes won’t make Ferraris unaffordable for everyone, but it doesn’t change anyone’s position in the wealth hierarchy. Before and after higher taxes, any given person’s conspicuous consumption is equal to their peers.

**Apparently Marx didn’t invent conspicuous consumption, but I’ll give him points for the general sentiment.
***This article was inspired by the Econtalk podcast with Robert Frank

The Role of a Politician’s Identity: Intellectual Wars on the Left

The intellectual frameworks that feminism and Africana studies present to progressive politics inform Democratic politicians of the rhetoric, policies, and practices necessary to achieve racial and gender equality. Much like how labor movements and socialists have shaped the left, black, feminist, and black/feminist scholars are responsible for making the Democratic Party the “party of minorities, women, and marginalized groups.” I briefly discussed this perception of the Democratic Party in Race and Political Context: The “First Black President” Reconsidered. One of the challenges for politicians on the left whose identity falls into one of these marginalized categories, is demonstrating the extent to which they advocate for their group.

Senator Cory Booker had his racial identity challenged when running for mayor of Newark. His opponent, incumbent mayor since 1970, Sharpe James, referred to him as “the faggot white boy.”  Attacking a candidate’s racial, gender, or religious identity, in my opinion, is morally repugnant and should be off limits in even the most vicious attacks. It is unacceptable that Republican politicians claim that female politicians “play the women card” and wouldn’t get 5% of the vote if they were men. It insults not only the candidate, but voters who make educated political decisions. There does exist however, an appropriate way for one to assess a politician’s relationship with their marginalized identity. I openly admit, that as a black person, it is extremely uncomfortable for a white person to engage in such criticisms of a black politician. As I examine Hillary Clinton’s relationship with feminism, I will try my best to restrain my criticisms, as those who are not white men understand that feeling of violation or misunderstanding that minorities and women experience when assessing candidates that descriptively represent them.**

**(Side note: For a white person to attack a black politician the way Cornel West has, calling Obama a “Republican in Black Face”, would be racist and exemplifies why people should tread lightly in their identity critiques. The sensitivity of this issue is defined by the implications of identity based criticisms. A white politician questioning Cory Booker’s blackness is profusely much worse than a black politician doing the same.)

Ta-Nehisi Coates took the first black president to task on how he addresses black people, specifically black men. Coates rightly notes that some of the president’s comments on the black community mirror conservative dogma on black cultural pathologies. Other black political commentators such as Michael Eric Dyson have also criticized Obama among other black politicians and figures. Such black intellectuals reject the emphasis on blaming the black community for its own problems. Dr. Dyson accuses Obama of “racial procrastination”, claiming that the president has been slow to respond to racial issues, and in affirming the concept of black empowerment. These scholars however, realize that black politicians operate under the constraints of white supremacy. This means that black politicians run the risk of getting attacked in a way described in the prior paragraph, or accused of political favoritism, helping others who share their identity.

Similarly, female politicians such as Hillary Clinton operate under the constraints of patriarchy. As I said before, I as a man feel that it is out of place for me to delegitimize Hillary Clinton’s feminism, to belittle her identity as a woman. But I do recognize and understand feminist critiques of Clinton. Just as black scholars have critically analyzed Obama, feminists have expressed concern with the way Hillary Clinton articulates her policies and views.

Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric on abortion for example, has generated the ire of pro-choice feminists. On abortions she has said they should be “safe, legal and rare, and by rare I mean rare.” Dr. Tracy Weitz states the consequences of what this means:

“…rare suggests that abortion is happening more than it should, and that there are some conditions for which abortions should and should not occur…It implies that abortion is somehow different than other parts of healthcare…We don’t say that any other medical procedure should be rare.”

It would be asinine to compare Republican anti-abortion rhetoric to what Hillary Clinton has said, but it is clear that there is a degree of stigma that she articulates. I realize and accept that just like Obama’s relationship with white voters, Hillary Clinton wants to maximize her chances by not angering men, or conservatives. It is unfortunate that the constraints of patriarchy, just like those of white supremacy, force female politicians into holding their tongue on certain issues. But the question becomes, could Hillary have avoided saying that? Could she have avoided saying that much like Obama could have avoided saying:

“If Cousin Pookie would vote, if Uncle Jethro would get off the couch and stop watching SportsCenter and go register some folks and go to the polls, we might have a different kind of politics,”

Admittedly, my colleague Jack makes some great points against feminist Gal Collins, in Billary. But as I noted previously, a good amount of male voters will only see Hillary Clinton through a lens that only captures the success of her husband. Conversely, as Trump has foreshadowed, the negatives of Bill Clinton’s administration will also be used against Hillary. As Jack rightly proclaims, Hillary Clinton is not responsible for her husband’s policies. Unfortunately however, as we have seen with liberal attacks against Hillary Clinton that unfairly tie her to her husband’s policies, Republicans will undoubtedly do the same. By clinging to Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton will get a boost in the polls. But even with Bill Clinton’s popularity, it is still unclear if this will be as effective and practical as conventional wisdom says it will be, especially with a loose cannon such as Donald Trump being her opponent. The free-trade bashing demagogue will certainly go after Bill Clinton’s most famous trade policy, NAFTA. That along with Hillary Clinton’s  support for free trade deals makes for a much more precarious election.

Returning to feminism, and the specific issue of Hillary Clinton utilizing Bill Clinton, Jack says that on misogyny “If she can cancel some of that out by appealing to people who think Bill will be running the White House behind the scenes, all the power to her.” But for many feminists, this area is just one of many where Hillary Clinton appears to be lacking. Jack says that “The ultimate feminist move for Hillary Clinton is to become the first female President…”, but several other groups of feminists would beg to differ.


Because of the long argument in the comments section, here’s a summary of the complicated points of the post:

My thesis: people outside of a marginalized group need to be careful and sensitive when discussing certain issues relating to the group, and additionally aren’t allowed to comment on *certain* things. Additionally, marganlized (black, women, gay, etc) perspectives have inherently more value when discussing their marganlization.



For Jack in the comments section, besides the Ras Baraka video I posted, this would be another example of something a white person shouldn’t say regarding blackness, as I stated in my existential argument. Note that it would be acceptable for a black person to say this, but not a white person.

Additionally, a white person criticizing Beyonce for not being vocal on racism since the start of her career is another example of the privilege bias. A person outside of a marginalized group can be an ally of the community, not a part of it.


To better illustrate everything I said in this article, specifically the added conclusion with Beyonce, if the white author added to her article and stated that Catherine Pugh, the black woman running for mayor, would be a bad politician for the black community because she didn’t address race enough, that would be an inappropriate thing to say. As a white person she cannot make those value based judgments for the black community. If Pugh won the mayor race and black vote, it may mean that symbolic successes such as descriptive representation are valued by the black community in a way that she can almost never understand. This point is similar to the historic election of Obama, the first black president, considered “deracialized” or having a “post racial, colorblind campaign.” A white person in 2008 saying Obama should not be elected by the black community because of a lack of race specific appeals has no say in the internal struggles of the marganlized community. As I said quoting this tweet:

Here’s a prime example of the paradoxical and paternalistic nature of outside support of marganlized groups