Reflections on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review’s fifth emergent conversation reflects on the recent U.S. presidential election, presenting a variety of perspectives on the social conditions of the election results and its possible implications. It is provided as part of PoLAR Online’s mission to provide spaces for new conversations and debates related to political and legal anthropology.

The Nastiest Candidate Won. Now What? | by Marc Edelman


In the end it was filmmaker Michael Moore who got it right. It wasn’t Nate Silver of, with his sophisticated polling models, or Nobel Prize winning economist and liberal pundit Paul Krugman, who confessed on election night that “I truly thought I knew my country better than it turns out I did.”

“Trump’s election,” Moore declared in October, “is going to be the biggest ‘fuck you’ ever recorded in human history.” A “fuck you” to media and political elites who, Moore observed in July, inhabit “a bubble that comes with an adjoining echo chamber where you and your friends are convinced the American people are not going to elect an idiot for president.” [Read the full text]

Race and the 2016 Election | by John Hartigan Jr.


The urge is almost irresistible. The question presses, “What does the 2016 election say about race relations in the United States?” And the answer seems simple: Trump’s campaign allowed for, even encouraged, white supremacist voices and discourses to filter back into the mainstream media, and whites voted for him in large numbers. Therefore, white racism put Trump in the White House. But not so fast.

Understanding the significance of race in any context, let alone at the scale of such a large nation, is not usually that simple; and the tendency toward reductive, emphatic assertions about racial matters may easily do more harm than good. With elections, these issues are particularly complicated. [Read the full text]

The Wizard of Oz Moment in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections | by Brooks Duncan

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 10.52.36 AM.pngSometimes the truths can be told in children’s stories or in fantasy literature or in comic release where there are outlets to reveal what is fearful or taboo. Some children’s stories are about Western politics, like Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz and George Orwell Animal Farm and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Others are often so disguised or far removed from their times that some of the deeper points go by without notice. Now, as the social fissures and dislocations from the failures of globalization and corporatism with a “representationally diverse” face begin to shatter the fabric of our lives, and as the daily events of collapse and political revolts and angst begin to play out around the world, one hears the macabre echoes of the children’s stories, comedies, and magic realism. [Read the full text]

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