An omen

An Omen. Since omens are inherently nonscientific, the cognoscenti can stop reading right here. Last night I bought some beer at the package store I always go to. It’s run by a seriously large Polish guy, an immigrant like my late grandmother. I’m always interested in his take on things. He said he thought Trump would be the next president. The store is in a heavily latino neighborhood (mostly Puerto Rican). Given what Trump has said about Mexicans, I pressed him on it, but he wouldn’t budge, and said the people in the neighborhood liked Trump.

Flashback to my late grandmother, running a drygoods store in a little New Jersey town in the 40s and 50s. Family lore has it that she was certain that Truman would win in 1948, despite every poll to the contrary. She said “they’re talking Dewey but they’ll vote Truman”.

People in retail (particularly those running the show) talk to anyone walking in the door. They see a far wider mass of humanity and interact with many more people in the course of a day than you and I.  Think about Pauline Kael’s remark that she didn’t know anyone who’d voted for Nixon.  Probably in upper Manhattan she didn’t.

 

An omen? Perhaps.

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Comments

  • Bryan  On March 17, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Latinos aren’t really as homogeneous a group politically as one might believe. For example, Puerto Ricans are US citizens by birth and Cubans have had special status in immigration law, so immigration is not as big a concern to those groups as to Latinos of Central American descent. While the broader society may lump some of these groups together, sometimes they will see themselves as distinct. This is worth noting when discussing the appeal of a candidate like Ted Cruz (a descendant of Cuban immigrants) to the broader Latino community.

  • luysii  On March 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Excellent points. Yet I would have expected some degree of Latino solidarity against Trump’s attacks on Mexicans. Certainly true for religious groups (Muslims, Christians, Jews) despite nationality. Probably true for Europeans as a whole (look at their response to the flood of nearEastern immigrants). We’re starting to see some generalized Asian pushback against the gross discrimination they experience in elite college admissions. It isn’t a Chinese, or a Japanese, or a Korean, or a Vietnamese thing.

    • Bryan  On March 17, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      70% of Asian Americans support affirmative action versus only about 13% opposing (http://aapidata.com/asian-american-voters-2014/). Perhaps a vocal minority who oppose affirmative action may get more publicity, but the fact remains that the vast majority of Asian Americans support affirmative action.

      Back to the original point: I would have expected some Latino solidarity as well, but given the anecdotal nature of the claim, it’s unclear how true the statement is in the first place.

  • luysii  On March 17, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Please. “70% of Asian Americans support affirmative action”. That sounds exactly like what those of us in the civil rights movements heard 60 years ago. “Our nigrahs were happy until you outside agitators came in and stirred them up”. I don’t believe it, and even if true, it will change.

    Having a good deal of experience with Chinese culture, they are very likely to say what they think the pollster wants to hear.

  • Curious Wavefunction  On March 20, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    Truman did a whistle stop tour across the country in 48 while Dewey got cocky and essentially stayed at home. I wonder if Trump will do the same if he’s the nominee (cocky arrogance is not exactly alien to him).

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