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Comments: Week of November 28, 2016

1. In the last issue, Jonathan Chait took on, in a sweeping essay, the question of what a liberal response to the Trump presidency might look like (“Citizens, United,” November 14–27). “What worries me most,” commenter MoneyMatt responded, “is not what Trump may do as President, but that the public at large won’t care … My sister-in-law (who lives in Michigan, and voted 3rd party) didn’t even know about the Trump bus tape until a week after it was released, she just wasn’t paying attention.” And commenter stan4math worried that, despite Chait’s call to arms, Democrats wouldn’t rally. After all, he wrote, “where were the demonstrators when the Senate refused to act on Garland’s nomination? … As it was with George W., Trump and his GOP enablers will be popular no matter what they do, because the average American likes a tough-talking leader and has no patience to actually read a news story and make logical conclusions. The Democrats’ best bet is to find a leader who can out-Trump Trump: a slick, popular actor or former athlete who is quick to speak and never apologizes for what he says. Or wait for the next economic meltdown and be there to pick up the pieces.” Many readers agreed that Obama would have to lead the charge. “Yes,” tweeted Slate’s Jamelle Bouie, “Barack Obama deserves a break from politics — but we need him now as leader of the opposition.” “Feels so selfish to ask him for more,” responded @ jasonpwoodbury, “but there’s no doubt how badly we need him.” Others were just encouraged by Chait’s underlying optimism. Tweeted @runwithskizzers: “This piece gives me some heart.”

2. The last issue included a conversation between WNYC’s Rebecca Carroll and CNN contributor Van Jones on race’s role in the 2016 presidential election (“Is Bigotry a Parking Ticket or a Capital Offense?” November 14–27). “I am willing to hope for the best and prepare for the worst, both,” said Jones in the interview. “If you look carefully at what’s going on, it’s not all good and it’s not all bad.” Many readers appreciated Jones’s even-keeled approach — and his assertion that “the mere reality that the vast majority of all communities of color voted one way and the majority of the white community voted the opposite way for three elections in a row means something. But it certainly doesn’t mean that every white person who voted for Trump is a racist.” “Van Jones is brilliant,” wrote commenter jenninnyc. “Liberals (and I am proudly one of them) criticize conservatives for their lack of an open mind and, in some cases, their ignorance. But isn’t it just as ignorant to presume something as terrible as racism (not structural racism, mind you, but individual racism) on 58 million people?” Commenter marshalljohnson agreed: “I am grateful that Van Jones is trying to create a bridge between those who feel unseen and unheard on both the right and the left. Nobody else in the public eye is trying as hard as he is (other than Obama) and he has a gift of being able to have his message heard by many Trump supporters. He is trying to help heal our country. That being said, it is frustrating that those who voted for Trump appear to be indifferent to the people who will be actually hurt (not their feelings hurt but their lives) by his election.” Commenter tuhaybey wrestled with the sense that Trump’s voters should be held responsible for the president-elect’s pronouncements. “Being a bigot is attacking or demeaning a demographic group. By that standard, yes, of course every person who voted for Trump is a bigot. They attacked black people, immigrants, Muslims, women, the disabled and Hispanic people on [Election Day].” “It’s not that they attacked us with their vote,” responded chulacabra. “The better analogy is that they threw us under the bus with their indifference. Getting what they wanted was more important than standing with the vulnerable (probably because they themselves believe they are vulnerable). What makes it even more screwed up is that they refuse to believe that people like me are now in danger because of this election. So while they didn’t ‘attack’ us, the effects are the same.”

3. “Now we’re faced with a clear reality: one group that hates us all,” wrote Rembert Browne in his essay on the implications of Trump’s election (“The Intersectionality of Hate,” November 14–27). Some readers disagreed with Browne’s assertion in the longer online version of the story that anti-Trump white voters didn’t try hard enough to “convert a few family members by November 8th.” “We tried to do it,” responded gmg22, “and they just DID. NOT. LISTEN. My mom tried everything she could think of to get my aunt (Trump supporter in Michigan) to see the light. Did not work. When my uncle opens a convo with me by asking me if I know how many people Hillary Clinton has murdered, it’s my fault that I couldn’t then persuade him to vote for her? … I am happy as a white person to take larger responsibility for white supremacy, and to fight it wherever I can find a way. But I am not going to be on the hook for this. We DID try. We will keep trying.” Other readers expressed gratitude for Browne’s perspective. “This is one hell of a commentary,” wrote designnmind. “A very worthwhile read.”