February 22, 2018

I Came for the Schadenfreude but Stayed for the Sympathy

I came for the schadenfreude but stayed for the sympathy.  Finished Donna Brazile’s Hacks and was unexpectedly moved by it, particularly the hell she went through with the DNC hacks and the fear and paranoia that ensued. Even her beloved dog died. Sure, some of hell was self-inflicted, like the infamous gift of debate question to Hillary, but then we all self-inflict pain.

Her fall from grace was so stark and humbling that she felt camaraderie with even her enemy, Trump voters:
In a way I want to thank Donald Trump for bringing me so low, because in that state of mind I was connected to my fellow Americans. Before the 2016 campaign, I had been doing well for a good long while, and then—poof!—it was over, and there was reason to think that it might not start up again. I know many of Trump’s supporters felt the same about their lives. This election burned it all down...—but after a firestorm passes what comes up first is hearty and strong.
Another interesting part was where after the election she gave the time to her students to educate her:
I wanted to know what the students thought. Since the pundits clearly had not known anything, perhaps these young people would be better at deciphering the loss than those of us who were paid big bucks to do this.
I learned two things from the students. One was that they disliked identity politics. They thought that Hillary spent too much time trying to appeal to people based on their race, or their gender, or their sexual orientation, and not enough time appealing to people based on what really worried them—issues like income inequality and climate change. 
Good to hear that even on the youthful liberal side of the fence identity politics is in some quarters passé.

The other thing Brazile “learned” was risible: “the misogyny of the media”, questionable on the merits and laughable because she said in the next sentence that she’d been preaching it to the class all year long, so I’m not sure how you “learn” something you’ve been teaching. And certainly if the press had even the faintest inkling that Hillary could lose they would’ve pushed her to victory. Bad polls were Trump’s best friend because though the media was fiercely against him it didn’t gloss over Hillary’s problems.

But ultimately this was a very human book and a siren call to end the tribalism that has infected our politics and which I am often guilty.

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