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America’s Original Identity Politics | by Sarah Churchwell | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
The logic of exceptionalism is embedded in the American imagination: one set of rules historically applied to white American men, another set to all other people in the country, who were not recognized as full citizens—which is to say, as fully American.

To this day, the American common man remains strongly coded in racial, classed, and religious terms. The common man is not, for example, commonly understood to be a Muslim. He is understood to be a coal miner from West Virginia, despite the fact that American Muslim men are much more common, statistically speaking, than West Virginian miners. These are the voters we’ve heard from endlessly over the last two years, the white working-class men of so-called “Trump country,” especially the white men without a college education who voted for Trump by a margin of 71 percent to 23 percent. The reasons for their choice have been hotly debated, including the erosion of perceived power, economic stagnation, cultural backlash, racial bigotry, gender bias, and evangelical social agendas. Yet Trump’s election was also widely perceived as an anti-elite insurrection, one that was treated as an anomaly, instead of as the latest in a series of populist surges in American history that have sought to “restore” a power to the common man that he perceived himself to be losing to other less-deserving groups.
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26 days ago by petej

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