These Disunited States: Daily Bullshit, July 9, 2016 (updated)

Updated for a Salon story on a way how systemic racism functions in law enforcement.[1]

Horse race

Given political polarization, economic insecurity, and racism, all driving a level of anger in the citizenry not seen since at least 1968,[2] important questions arise as to whether either major party candidate is the person to deliver needed change. Do we really think that conservatives will be any more accepting of Hillary Clinton than they were her husband or Barack Obama? Do we really think Donald Trump can mend the fences between Blacks and the criminal justice system? Do we really think either of them will reduce economic inequality or even ensure a basic level of financial security for people in the U.S.? Do we really think either of them can bridge the ideological divides in this country?

The problem with the 2016 election isn’t just that both major party presumptive nominees are so intensely disliked.[3] Given available governing ideologies, the problems facing the country would be difficult even with far better candidates than the ones on offer. So first, it isn’t just a question of which candidate a plurality of voters dislike the least, or second, even whether either of presumptive nominees is even remotely capable of rising to this particular occasion, but third, whether the needs of this country are so far beyond the realm of the possible that even a far better candidate than the ones we have on offer could rise to this particular occasion.

Niall Stanage, “American anger boils over,” Hill, July 9, 2016,

Hillary Clinton

Julian Hattem, “Seven ways FBI contradicted Clinton’s email claims,” Hill, July 9, 2016,

Systemic racism in law enforcement

When I took a social inequality class a few years ago—I was still attending California State University, East Bay, at the time—the instructor explained that systemic racism is about how racism can exist even if none of the players is themselves racist, that, among other things, it can exist in the laws or regulations that are enforced. That’s a rather abstract definition and, at the time, I didn’t really see a concrete picture of how this works in practice.

That’s changing. Daniel Denvir’s article explains how “broken windows” policing disproportionately affects economically displaced Blacks.[4] Mother Jones had an article last year that they reposted in light of recent unrest about how police departments driven to raise revenue turn to the most vulnerable in society.[5] I don’t imagine for a second this is a complete picture, I know I have more pieces at hand, and some of this requires me to give the matter some thought and put some of those pieces together. It’s harder for me, a white, because I can never really walk in a Black man’s shoes. But I’m getting closer.

Daniel Denvir, “Criminalizing the hustle: Policing poor people’s survival strategies from Eric Garner to Alton Sterling,” Salon, July 8, 2016,

  1. [1]Daniel Denvir, “Criminalizing the hustle: Policing poor people’s survival strategies from Eric Garner to Alton Sterling,” Salon, July 8, 2016,
  2. [2]Niall Stanage, “American anger boils over,” Hill, July 9, 2016,
  3. [3]Dan Balz and Scott Clement, “Poll: Election 2016 shapes up as a contest of negatives,” Washington Post, May 21, 2016,; Michael Barbaro, “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Are Winning Votes, but Not Hearts,” New York Times, March 15, 2016,; Justin Carissimo, “Too many people would rather see a giant meteor strike Earth than Clinton or Trump as president,” Independent, July 3, 2016,; Christian Christensen, “Dear Global Progressives Who Wanted Bernie Sanders to Drop Out and Support Clinton,” Common Dreams, June 10, 2016,; Michael Brendan Dougherty, “The existential despair of Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump,” Week, June 9, 2016,; William Douglas and David Goldstein, “Will Sanders voters ever ‘Feel the Bern’ for Clinton?” McClatchy, May 24, 2016,; Clare Foran, “Unity Won’t Come Easily for Democrats,” Atlantic, May 24, 2016,; Jonah Goldberg, “A Four-Way Race for President Is Possible,” National Review, May 25, 2016,; Lauren McCauley, “‘Rigged’ 2016 Election Has Voters Feeling Helpless, Unheard, and Ashamed,” Common Dreams, May 31, 2016,; Patrick O’Connor, “Poll Finds Lack of Enthusiasm for Clinton and Trump,” Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2016,; Julie Pace and Julie Bykowicz, “Animosity Toward Hillary Clinton, Fuels Republican Unity,” Talking Points Memo, May 28, 2016,; Andrew Prokop, “Poll: white men really, really don’t like Hillary Clinton,” Vox, June 15, 2016,; Robert Reich, “Those who expect Sanders supporters to switch to Clinton may be in for a surprise,” Raw Story, April 25, 2016,; Emily Schultheis, “Poll: More than half of voters wouldn’t back Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton,” CBS News, April 18, 2016,; Gerald F. Seib, “Voters Harbor Differing Concerns About Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,” Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2016,; Nate Silver, “The Hidden Importance Of The Sanders Voter,” FiveThirtyEight, May 19, 2016,; Byron Tau, “More Americans Consider Third-Party Options,” Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2016,
  4. [4]Daniel Denvir, “Criminalizing the hustle: Policing poor people’s survival strategies from Eric Garner to Alton Sterling,” Salon, July 8, 2016,
  5. [5]Jack Hitt, “Police Shootings Won’t Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People,” Mother Jones, September/October, 2015,

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