The Connection Between Anti-Globalism and White Nationalism

Jamelle Bouie has written another important piece titled, “Government by White Nationalism Is Upon Us.” You should go read the whole thing. But there is one snippet that stood out to me. To the extent that there were actually Obama voters who supported Trump, this probably explains it:

As he did during the campaign, Trump may adopt slogans and ideas from the left and right, not because he’s really a conservative or really a liberal, but because white nationalism exists outside the familiar divide. It confounds the left-right spectrum as we understand it in the United States.

Trump’s appeal has been most broadly based on his anti-trade and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Some on the left have welcomed his anti-globalism while condemning his white nationalism. But there are important ways that the two are tied together. That was my point a couple of months ago when I asked, “Who Are the Elites?”

If we look back over the last couple of centuries, the world has been dominated by white people in the Northern Hemisphere. Initially that was a result of colonization. But after WWII, it centered almost exclusively on the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Just as a transfer of power is building up in this country, something similar is in the beginning stages of development on a global scale…

The movement someone like Steve Bannon wants to ignite is centered on the need for white northern countries to assert their nationalistic power in a world where black and brown people are just beginning to threaten their dominance. It is within that framework that Russia becomes an ally and China a threat.

To demonstrate, I posted this map showing the countries where GDP is growing the fastest (orange):

It is worth noting once again that in 2015, the number of people around the globe who lived in “extreme poverty” (less than the equivalent of $1.90 a day) fell below 10% for the first time. Zach Beauchamp explained why.

The global decline in extreme poverty is inseparable from the global trading regime. When poor countries can sell cheap goods to rich countries, or bring in a lot of foreign direct investment, growth skyrockets. This means more jobs, better government services, and thus less poverty.

That is not meant to suggest support for any particular trade agreement (i.e., TPP), but simply to reinforce the fact that people like Steve Bannon are hoping to fuel a white nationalist movement by drawing on our fears about globalism at a time when countries in the Southern Hemisphere are in the beginning stages of asserting their power in the world.

Just as we are seeing with demographic changes here in the U.S., major shifts are underway globally. Folks like Bannon are very aware of that and are in the process of staking their claim to ongoing white dominance by stirring up fears about globalization. As liberals, we need to be clear about how we position ourselves against those efforts.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.