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Stanford shocked by Trump win because it embraced ‘narrow definition of identity politics’


John Luttig of The Stanford Review has some bracing words for his community in the wake of Republican Donald Trump’s election:

Stop laying blame and start listening to those who differ from you, because your Facebook feeds “only emphasize Stanford’s own ignorance.”

In a Wednesday column, Luttig urges his peers who “felt like strangers in their own country” on Tuesday night to look at how the “globalization and multiculturalism” that benefits Stanford have laid waste to middle America:

President Trump speaks to a class of voters that have felt like strangers in their country for years. …

Stanford has come to embrace a particularly narrow definition of identity politics – one that almost exclusively focuses on the struggles faced by racial minorities and that refuses to acknowledge the plight of any group that does not fit in this reductionist narrative. …

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These blue-collar workers have been hit hard by the same globalization and multiculturalism Stanford students tend to equate with progress. … As factories gave way to datacenters and startups, the workers who suddenly found themselves without jobs could not reposition their careers.


Trump voters have justifiably concluded that being a “citizen of the world” – the great hope of progressivism – is to have no home, Luttig writes:

Unemployment rose, marriage rates plummeted, and intellectual talent was sucked out of suburban and rural communities into urban centers. Working class white America imploded. Disillusioned, it became the least likely demographic to vote in a presidential election. That is, until Donald J. Trump.

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Silicon Valley – and, more specifically, Stanford – took no notice. No bridges were blocked for these Americans. No rallies were staged. No sit-ins were organized. If anything, this group was demonized as complicit in a “racist” and “sexist” system of “white privilege”. Regardless of the truth of such claims, they undoubtedly rung false for voters who saw and felt their economic and social prospects recede irreversibly.

Luttig urges Stanford to listen to these voters, rather than double down on their initial reaction: labeling every Trump voter a bigot, telling whites they have “no right to vote differently than others,” and continuing to bellow that America is “permanently compromised and unacceptable.”

Read the column.

CORRECTION: The Review article is a column by a writer, not a staff editorial. This post has been amended accordingly.

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