LISTEN: Why ignoring the rise of U.S. white nationalism was "a pretty bad strategy"

Author Tim Wise visits "The Chauncey DeVega Show" to talk racism, white privilege and the politics of Trump

By Chauncey DeVega

Senior Writer

Published June 25, 2017 6:30AM (EDT)

Donald Trump   (AP/Charlie Neibergall)
Donald Trump (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Anti-racism activist, author and scholar Tim Wise joined me recently for a conversation on this week's edition of "The Chauncey DeVega Show." Tim Wise is the author of numerous books including his most recent, "Under the Affluence: Shaming the Poor, Praising the Rich and Sacrificing the Future of America." He is also the subject of a great new documentary called "White Like Me."

In our conversation, Wise shared his insights about white identity politics, the resurgence of "white nationalism" as something "respectable" under Trump's regime, questions of empathy (or not) for Trump's "white working class" voters and the white backlash to Barack Obama.

Wise also made the following observation about the so-called "white working class," the depths of despair in red state America, and Trump's public:

One of the most highly correlated factors with Trump support, on a county-by-county basis, is the level of opiate addiction.

In a sense, Trump is the perfect candidate. Here is a guy who comes along and essentially is a walking, talking opioid. He’s somebody who comes along and says, just like heroin does, just like OxyContin does, just like all these opiates do, he says, “I can take away your pain.” Not only can I take it away, I can tell you what the source is and you just take me or in the case of an election, you vote for me and you won’t have to be in pain anymore. But just like an opiate, he doesn’t really solve the problem of these individuals.

This week's podcast also features Maya Rupert. She is the author of a great essay at The Atlantic about questions of race, gender and representation in the new Wonder Woman movie.

You'll also hear my thoughts about Comey's testimony before the Senate and why it is all empty theater. I also share some new research that further demonstrates the power of racism, nativism and bigotry among Trump's "white working class" voters.

By Chauncey DeVega

Chauncey DeVega is a senior politics writer for Salon. His essays can also be found at He also hosts a weekly podcast, The Chauncey DeVega Show. Chauncey can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

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