Cautiously pessimistic

Unpacking the basket of deplorables: a reply on Trump voters, myths and myth-making

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Contrary to popular belief, not all American workers actually look like this.

The Workers Solidarity Movement recently published a piece by Andrew Flood analysing the make-up of the Trump vote. The article’s specifically intended as an intervention into a particular debate on the left, one that Flood characterises as being between “the Nostalgic Left” on the other hand, and “the Intersectional Left” on the other, with the idea that “the left needs to reach out, and listen to the concerns of” Trump voters cast as a symptom of people “dreaming of a mostly fictional past when a united (white male) working class was not distracted by what they term ‘identity politics’”.

I’m not convinced that the two poles Flood sets up are the most useful ones to be using here. In an equally polemical move, I would say that an equally useful distinction could be made between a Shouty Left, who start out from the proposition that they already possess the Correct Ideas and all that’s needed is to repeat them often enough and loud enough, and a Listening Left*, who accept that we don’t have all the answers, and that listening to others around us, even those we strongly disagree with, is vital if we’re to come up with an adequate understanding of the world around us, let alone to find appropriate ways of communicating that understanding to others.

Of course, part of the problem with using these kinds of deliberately loaded labels is that no-one actually self-identifies as “nostalgic” or “shouty”, so it’s important to be clear who exactly we’re talking about, which can be difficult in a social media age where we often come across opinions and worldviews in brief individual posts rather than in fully developed, easily-referenced, essays. So to be clear: even if Flood and the WSM aren’t starting out from an arrogant position of all-encompassing correctness, I think that running a piece that argues so strongly against the idea of even listening to the concerns of working-class Trump voters is definitely something that gives comfort and encouragement to people who want to think that they’re doing everything right already and have no need to listen to other perspectives.

The question of who, precisely, makes up the “nostalgic left” that Flood’s so keen to criticise, is left quite open: for a piece so heavily dedicated to arguing against a particular position, he doesn’t cite the people making the argument he wants to refute much. As far as I can tell, he mentions two specific examples of “nostalgic leftism”: one piece by Joan C. Williams, which to be fair does make the kind of argument he wants to criticise, although it does come from a fairly mainstream Democrat perspective, so its relevance to the class struggle left is arguable, and then later on he promises “an example that will make you cringe” of the nostalgic left argument for “turning a blind eye to white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia” , and then links to an argument about terminology by someone who doesn’t think the term “white supremacy” is used in a particularly helpful way. We can argue back and forth about whether or not that particular phrase is a effective way of conveying the meaning that it’s meant to, but either way it’s a bit of stretch to use an article that explicitly states “If something is racist, call it racist” as an example of people wanting to turn “a blind eye to white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia”.

So, all we know about the nostalgic left – what we could call “the subject supposed to want to appease racists” – comes from two articles, one of which doesn’t come anywhere close to making the argument Flood ascribes to it. This doesn’t feel like much of a basis for understanding the positions of what Flood describes as “a growing cacophony of voices [who insist] that in order to win [white working-class Trump voters] over the rest of the left has to abandon any major focus on other sections of the working class”.

So, for these reasons, I’m not sure exactly where the nostalgic left position on Trump begins and ends, so it’s possible there’s no overlap between the “nostalgic left” Flood attacks and the “listening left” I want to defend. But as I understand it, Flood’s insistence that “the position advanced by the nostalgic left that we have to focus on the concerns of ‘the neglected white working class’ has to be rejected… because it in no way can build class solidarity when it’s historic role is to destroy it” feels like a serious mischaracterisation of various pieces I’ve read that argue for engaging with the concerns of Trump voters, while not in any way making concessions to racism.

So, in the interest of clarity, a quick sketch of what I’d describe as some “listening left” positions, from people whose actual politics range from Sanders-supporting leftism to revolutionary anarchism, via however the IWCA describe themselves nowadays:

“What powered Trump to victory was a maintenance of the Republican coalition, and a hundred thousand voters in several economically depressed northern and midwestern states that had previously gone for Obama. There were racists, there were nascent fascists, there were diseased rich fucks — but, I am sorry to tell you, there were also people who’d have chosen a better option were it presented. If you can’t understand that, you risk two terms of this insanity.

These are the facts of Trump’s narrow electoral victory. He did not win the popular vote. He won where it mattered, among people who don’t feel they matter…

Some media hacks may cover themselves by saying all Trump supporters are racists, comfortably deferring some uncomfortable questions about the situation we face. But the hardcore white nationalists nesting in the Trump camp certainly do not think that to be the case. They fear the day Trump is found out to be a fraud, who will not be bringing any factories back — but by then, they hope the window will have been cracked enough for their beliefs to have slithered into the White House, respectable and airbrushed…

No more of this narrow view of either wooing or abandoning “the white working class,” either. The zero-sum, emotionally bankrupt thinking on race that has dominated this country — one in which African-Americans see their voting rights stolen, while white Americans are incited against “welfare cheats” and other euphemistic scapegoats while further immiserated themselves — must be smashed. It is time to defend and support the entire working class — the black working class, the Latino working class, indigenous Americans, and the white working class.

There is no need to pick and choose between helping one group to the detriment of another; an alternative vision will answer Trump’s bigotry with an abiding antiracism, a radical compassion capable of freeing all Americans from the indignities of life today in this country.” (Dan O’Sullivan)

“But it is the very refusal to compete for the lost that allows a con man to take them. Rage is a consequence of a depraved world. Rage harnessed uncontested in the service of evil is a failure of our politics. Donald Trump has turned a significant number of Americans to against their own interests, against fellow citizens even more vulnerable than they are. He did it in part because his opponents did not make a serious effort to turn them back the proper away against their masters, in part because his opponents were themselves of that master class, as responsible as anyone for the depravity that Donald Trump exploited. This is the political reality…

To merely wish away this rage is the politics of oughts. To merely condemn its most vulgar elements is the politics of failure. Either we can affirm the dignity of all people or we can leave them to the seduction of demagoguery. We must tell them that they have been misled, been turned against their brothers and sisters by those who would rather see us fight amongst ourselves than fight against the powerful, or we must consign ourselves to the barbarism that Donald Trump has brought us.

…The task before us is to create it even though it will be difficult and despite the fact that it would involve fighting for those who have abandoned themselves to the primal satisfaction of hatred. This is not rewarding racism. It is not indulging it—no left can make such a concession without profoundly betraying its commitment to the dignity of the oppressed. It is only the willingness to say to the behemoth that there is another way, a better enemy to fight. It is the commitment to organize all comers, to recruit them into the cause of their own liberation, even if they are not the allies we would like to choose. We ought not have to, but we know that the world demands it. The only alternative is failure. The only alternative is to allow the rot of bigotry to plant itself even deeper in their souls, uncontested, and mobilized in the name of evil.” (Emmett Rensin)

“…unlike traditional conservatives, Trump’s rhetoric has actually appealed directly to the white working class. He claims that he opposes free trade agreements like the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and has said that NAFTA was a mistake. But beneath this populist rhetoric lies a bleak reality – Trump, like all politicians, is just one more opportunist intentionally playing towards the worst elements in our society. He makes appeals to the concerns of white working folks, by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals”, and threatening to make a registry of Muslims in this country. But we have seen where those policies take us and we do not want to even begin to go down that road!

…This is an open call to all pissed off white working people. This is an open call to ignore the rhetoric of the alt-right, to ignore the false allegiances that the rich whites try to get us to buy into, to ignore the illogical and ridiculous race-baiting from the ignorant among us! This is a call to reject the IDEA of whiteness; that is, to reject the idea that our allegiance is somehow determined by what skin we have, even when our real living situations are so different. This is an open call to no longer ignore the fact that our real allies are not determined by skin color, but by our social conditions. Our real enemies are mostly white English speaking Christians. Our allies are folks of all colors who are forced to work for a living, to provide for their families and keep a roof over their heads.” (Redneck Revolt)

“for someone to be able to offer a scapegoat for a problem, there has to be a real problem. My white coworkers know that for white working class people, our incomes are stagnating, our drug addiction is rising, and our life expectancy is declining- as they are for working class people of color. We know that industries that once defined the character and culture of the blue collar American worker are phasing out, and taking the towns built around those industries with them. We know that the discourse around rural and working class whites is a discourse about ‘white trash’, ‘rednecks’, and ‘hicks’, the deplorables who represent everything ugly and backwards about America- often spoken by wealthier whites from metro areas whose racism is more polite but also carries the clout of greater economic and political power, the ability to lock people of color out of housing and jobs while touting the benefits of a shallowly defined ‘multiculturalism’. When Trump comes along and offers a solution, even a false one, even a racist one, people in places like the Rust Belt and Appalachia bite. It’s wrong- but who else is offering a solution? The Democrats offer more ‘free trade’ deals, and the Left isn’t strong enough to offer much of anything.

… When poor white folk start realizing that our interests aren’t with a racist, capitalist power structure, and are with people of color who we work and live alongside, and when we stop acting as attack dogs and start acting in solidarity, that’s when we can be part of making something great. That’s why I’m going to keep listening to, and talking to, and helping and relying on, these coworkers- because if people hadn’t listened to and talked to and worked with me, I’d probably think exactly like they think today.” (Patrick O’Donoghue, First of May Anarchist Alliance)

“Once the ‘white working class’ is deemed a distinct political entity apart from the working class, you’re already on deeply dangerous ground. If the left designates that entity as the enemy, the road to fascism – de-globalised capitalism and racial tribalism – is effectively built” (The Independent Working Class Association)

All these perspectives share an emphasis on the ideas of listening to Trump voters and taking their concerns seriously, in the way that Flood seems to regard as inherently dangerous, but I don’t think any of them really fit his depiction of the “nostalgic left”. Even the IWCA piece, by far the most polemically opposed to “identity politics”, is very clear that the answer has to be a return to working-class politics, not treating the white working class as a separate entity.

So much for the preamble, now onto the actual argument. One of the first things to note is that Flood slides from saying that nostalgic leftists see the Trump vote as expressing some kind of “working class anti-establishment rebellion” – which I think is a broadly fair characterisation – to saying there’s a narrative of “masses of otherwise progressive working class voters opting for Trump on economic grounds” – which would be a daft claim, and I don’t think I’ve seen anyone making it. Saying someone is anti-establishment, or that they’re not so inherently and irredeemably racist that they can never be won to any form of progressive politics ever, is not the same as saying they’re currently conscious progressives (whatever that term even means); but Flood seems to think it’s important to spend a great deal of time responding to this particular point.

Flood offers the observation that “[i]t’s certainly not the case that the ‘white working class’ is the section of the working class hardest hit by neoliberalism”, which is true, but again it’s a rebuttal of a case I’m not convinced anyone (other than actual serious white nationalists) was making. The point is not that white working-class folk are uniquely devastated, or that they’re suffering more than anyone else: the point is that they are suffering, and Trump made a pitch to alleviate that. Other sections of the working class may well be suffering more, but, in the absence of a real radical challenge to the status quo, no one is or was making a serious effort to mobilise those sections.

The main part of Flood’s article is an extended statistical analysis based on exit polls, aiming to show that Trump voters hold right-wing views. There are a few problems with this – for one, it seems to be based on a fairly static view of consciousness. If there was that simple a correspondence between what people say now, what they do, and what they might think or say in the future, we could simply conduct one big poll, note that about 99% of people would indicate their view of anarchist communism as being unfavourable or highly unfavourable, and then just write the whole thing off as a bad job, because everyone is a hopeless reactionary who doesn’t agree with us.

It’s worth recalling the work of the great US Marxist Martin Glaberman here:

“When the ballots were counted, the membership of the UAW had voted two to one to reaffirm the no-strike pledge. It was rather reasonable to draw the conclusion that the consciousness of auto workers was that they placed patriotism before class interest; that in a major war workers should not strike; no matter what the provocation, war production had to continue.

There was, however, a slight problem. Before the vote, during the vote, and after the vote, the majority of auto workers wildcatted. What then, was the consciousness of the auto workers? Were they for or against the no-strike pledge?

…Were they patriotic or class conscious? It seems necessary to say, as a start, that what workers do is at least as important as what workers say. But much more than that is involved. The whole idea of consciousness is more complex and is a much larger totality than simply formal statements of belief, which would be sufficiently dealt with by having a survey, or that postcard ballot, or whatever…

It is also true that many workers have very reactionary views on a whole range of subjects, like race, sex, age, skills, and soon. Workers are not the noble savage, all pure and honest and forthright and revolutionary. But reality, which is a 36 second job for the rest of your life, reality, which is sabotage recorded every single day in the Chrysler plants in Windsor, Ontario, is a reality which forces workers to behave in contradiction to their own stated beliefs. Unless that behavior is included in the under-standing of their consciousness, there is no sense of what the working class is capable of doing, or the ways in which it explodes, or the ways in which strike waves or wildcat strikes appear. And it is that reality which sustains the belief that the working class is a viable force for social change.”

It’s also the case that a lot of Flood’s statistics could be used to make exactly the opposite argument – it’s easy to imagine someone going through the same numbers and coming out saying “look! 27 million Trump voters were bothered by his treatment of women, 35% of them don’t want to see the wall built, the majority of them don’t want to see undocumented migrants deported and 12 million of them admit the criminal justice system does not treat black people fairly – this is not a homogeneous reactionary mass, it’s a complex coalition with real fault lines, so let’s set about breaking it apart.”

Flood also raises the question “why focus on the 22% of the working class that voted Trump rather than the 78% of the working class who did not?”, which honestly feels like one of those questions that kind of answers itself: if you feel that people being mobilised in support of divisive reactionary politics is a problem, then that tends to lead to a focus on those people who are being mobilised in support of divisive reactionary politics, more than on those who aren’t. Or to put it another way: the wheel that squeaks gets the grease, shy bairns get nowt.

Creating a massive problem for someone has traditionally been a reliable means of getting their attention: this is why employers are usually more willing to bargain with strike-prone workforces than well-behaved ones, why striking workers in turn tend to focus their attention on scabs more than on those who respect the picket line, and why a party host might focus on the one guest who’s being sick all over the carpet, no matter how much of a statistical anomaly they might be when compared to the vast majority of entirely well-behaved guests who aren’t vomiting anywhere.

EDIT: There was a bit here where I thought Flood got some numbers wrong, but it turns out I got the wrong end of the stick. I’ve edited it out because the point I was making was wrong, but thought it’d be more honest to leave this note in than to pretend I don’t get stuff wrong.

Approaching the end of his statistical analysis, Flood restates the claim that “a growing cacophony of voices on what I’ve called the Nostalgic Left insists that in order to win this section over the rest of the left has to abandon any major focus on other sections of the working class”. It would be good to see where exactly this claim is being made, and by who – the arguments I’ve seen have tended to be less about wanting to focus on reactionary white voters (let alone imaginary liberal Trump voters) over workers of colour, but more about favouring material class politics over a symbolic politics of representation, or even over anti-working class neoliberalism.

This is especially confusing as Flood himself writes that “the calculated gamble that the orientation the Democratic Party once had to industrial workers could be dropped and replaced by appeals for an identity plus ‘decency’ based vote didn’t work out. But to a large extent this wasn’t a tactical decision, Clinton’s neoliberalism was at the center of her politics and the central plank of neoliberalism in the US was the sacrifice of relatively well paid blue collar jobs” – an argument that seems very close to the case I’ve seen made by various sources I’d class as “listening left”, but that I suspect Flood would view as “nostalgic”. If people argue for a break with the disastrous combination of neoliberalism plus appeals to identity and want a revival of something like the old orientation to industrial workers, is that inherently nostalgic (leaving aside the question of whether it’d be remotely desirable to do this via the Democrats)?

Flood also says “[i]t’s a minor aside, but the Trump voting segment of the working class… are also not in the cities. Only 16 million of Trumps voters lived in the cities as against 14 million in rural areas even though twice as many people live in the cities in the US.” I think this isn’t a minor point, it’s actually quite crucial. If Trump voters just consisted of the worst 22% of dickheads found in any given social situation, then the argument for writing them off would be fairly sound (and they also wouldn’t be much of an electoral force); looking at the actual geographical breakdown of the vote, we see that to reject the idea of trying to win Trump voters over means to write off huge areas of the country. The classic example of what happens when radical workers in the big cities take action in a context where there’s a huge gulf between them and the rural population was France 1871; I’m not sure that a strategy of ignoring rural areas would work out that much better today.

Flood also argues against the idea that significant numbers of white working-class Obama voters switched to Trump, repeatedly stating that this apparent phenomenon was more likely to be a result of Obama voters staying home while “Trump energised a set of racists who didn’t vote last time around… energised racists and misogynists who hadn’t voted last time… got out to vote this time”. This point is worth picking up: accepting that Trump enthused voters who don’t normally vote, the question has to be asked: is it their racism, their misogyny, or their opposition to free trade that drove them?

This question is hard to answer in the abstract (and, of course, there’s never one simple answer to these things), but I find it hard to imagine too many bigots looking at the record of the GOP up to 2008, or 2012, and thinking “nope, this party is not nearly racist or sexist enough for me, I’m going to stay at home until someone really racist comes along”. As much as the Republican establishment might like to insist otherwise, out of his racial bigotry, his horrific attitudes to women, and his preference for protectionist economics over free trade, it’s only the latter that marks Trump as being meaningfully outside the mainstream Republican consensus.

Rounding off this section, Flood reminds us that “having voted once for a black man isn’t a magic ‘not a racist’ card” and compares it to the clichéd “I’m not a racist but…”. At this point it’s crucial to work out what we’re actually talking about here: if the question is “do I want to invite this person round my house for tea”, “would they make a good and productive member of a Marx reading group” or “are they likely to be among the 144,000 blameless ones mentioned in Revelation 14” then sure, having voted for Obama in 2012 is not really enough to make the cut.

But if we’re talking about strategy, then the difference between “ideologically motivated racists who will always act in a racist way in pretty much any given situation” – who, to be clear, definitely do make up a chunk of the Trump vote – and “people who will act in a racist way in some situations, and then not in others” is quite an important one, even if the latter still don’t get their official “not a racist” cards.

The strategy of the Steven Bannons and their ilk has to depend on finding ways to bind together the waverers – the sometime Democratic voters, those who aren’t that keen on building a wall – with the hardcore white nationalists, solidifying this loose coalition into a coherent social and political force. If we want to block and disrupt that strategy, we can’t afford to start off by treating these differences as if they don’t matter.

Flood does also warn against the “headline bias” of attention-grabbing, unusual cases, pointing out that stories of people who always vote Republican voting Republican are less newsworthy than stories of people who usually vote Democrat voting Republican. There’s a lot of truth to this, but it is also the case that if we’re even marginally concerned with explaining the election result, then stories of people acting the same way as they always do have less relevance than stories of people acting differently to how they did in 2008 and 2012.

Later on, Flood asserts that he doesn’t think it’s worth trying to win over Trump voters, or even particularly “listening to their concerns”, and then confusingly reminds us that “white supremacy coupled with a ‘red-scare’ has been very successful at smashing working class organisation which hadn’t inoculated itself against the reassertion of white privilege”. This is, of course, entirely the point: if we want to build lasting organisation that’s not destroyed in this way, we need to inoculate against the reassertion of white privilege, and we can only do that by engaging with the people it seeks to mobilise. Convincing undocumented migrants, or urban black workers, that white supremacy is a bad thing may be a lot easier than making the same case to rural white workers, but if we want to prevent reactionary formations like the Klan or the militias from recruiting, then there’s no alternative to engaging with the base they want to mobilise.

Flood looks at how highpoints of struggle like the 1984-5 miners’ strike can change consciousness, and then asks how “those on the left advocating ‘take the concerns white working class Trump voters seriously’ see it working out” outside this kind of situation. This is the big, important question, and without some kind of answer this whole discussion’s pretty pointless. I think there are quite a few examples that are a lot more relevant than Flood’s suggestions of hoping something like the miners’ strike happens again or “sending college students from the cities to the rural areas to leaflet the houses of the workers in their 50’s and 60’s who voted for Trump”.

From what I’ve seen, the best worked-out appeal to rural white workers has been in the form of Redneck Revolt and their John Brown Gun Club project, which includes having a presence at the kind of gun shows where anti-immigrant militias try to recruit; their general orientation is summed up in their “To Other Working Americans” piece mentioned above. As a historical guide, I think the memory of the Young Patriots who worked alongside the Panthers and Young Lords is another useful reference point.

For a relatively contemporary example, I think there’s a huge amount to be learned from the activity of the (now sadly defunct) Phoenix Class War Council around the start of this decade, who set about trying to fracture the anti-immigrant movement in Arizona. Taking up the contradiction of right-wing libertarians who fancied themselves as government-hating freedom-lovers, but were also prepared to back repressive state action against migrants, they pushed hard on the ideological divergences between the patriotic libertarians and the more openly fascist elements of the anti-immigrant movement, encouraging people to choose between their belief in freedom and their commitments to white supremacy. The result of this was that some right-libertarians who’d started off as part of the anti-migrant movement were prepared to join in with anti-fascist actions called by anarchists and indigenous people and took up defence of migrants against state repression as part of their ideology, while fascists were driven off from events where they’d previously been welcomed.

In the time between starting this piece and finishing it off, It’s Going Down have put up a new interview with the Pacific North-West Antifascist Workers Collective, a group who are organising against racism and fascism partly within the unions (mainly in construction), but also by trying to counter the recruitment of white supremacist prison gangs, and encouraging people to leave these organisations: supporting prisoners in hosting study groups for those who want to question racist ideas, and providing networks of material support for recently-released inmates, as a way of undercutting the white racist gangs who recruit by doing the same thing.

Admittedly, due to the laws barring felons from voting, members of nazi prison gangs are unlikely to actually be Trump voters, but the work of trying to undermine white supremacist gangs and support members who leave could definitely be ridiculed using precisely the arguments Flood uses: after all, statistics show that the vast majority of American workers are not members of white supremacist prison gangs, and when polled those who are tend to display undesirable attitudes on a whole range of issues.

Flood stresses that “a Trump voter outreach strategy would be very very vulnerable to making compromises that would re-enforce the very problem of white supremacy and misogyny that helped him win the election in the first place… a left that puts that section of the working class in the centre of its messaging will rightly lose everyone else.” I’m not convinced that this is at all a fair characterisation of the arguments put forward in, say, the M1AA or Redneck Revolt pieces. Of course it’s possible that Flood’s been reading different, and much worse, stuff than I have, but unless he’s completely oblivious to the perspectives being put across by those comrades then it seems odd to just ignore them.

Flood stresses that “a Trump voter outreach strategy would be very very vulnerable to making compromises that would re-enforce the very problem of white supremacy and misogyny that helped him win the election in the first place… a left that puts that section of the working class in the centre of its messaging will rightly lose everyone else.” I’m not convinced that this is at all a fair characterisation of the arguments put forward in, say, the M1AA or Redneck Revolt pieces. Of course it’s possible that Flood’s been reading different, and much worse, stuff than I have, but unless he’s completely oblivious to the perspectives being put across by those comrades then it seems odd to just ignore them.

It would be really helpful to have a few more citations here so we can get a better understanding of who exactly Flood is arguing against, but all this section provides is the outright nonsense of mentioning an article arguing about the usefulness of the term “white supremacy” when applied to Bernie Sanders – an article that explicitly states “[i]f something is racist, call it racist”, and, for that matter, does not mention Trump or Trump voters at any point – as proof that people want to “turn… a blind eye to white supremacy, misogyny and homophobia” in order to court Trump voters.

Flood again reiterates his opposition to “[f]ocusing on the particular grievances of white workers”, but, unless we’ve been reading completely different stuff, that doesn’t seem to be an argument that anyone is making. I’ve been reading a lot more people saying things like “It is time to defend and support the entire working class — the black working class, the Latino working class, indigenous Americans, and the white working class” and “This is a call to reject the IDEA of whiteness; that is, to reject the idea that our allegiance is somehow determined by what skin we have, even when our real living situations are so different. This is an open call to no longer ignore the fact that our real allies are not determined by skin color, but by our social conditions. Our real enemies are mostly white English speaking Christians. Our allies are folks of all colors who are forced to work for a living, to provide for their families and keep a roof over their heads” and “When poor white folk start realizing that our interests aren’t with a racist, capitalist power structure, and are with people of color who we work and live alongside, and when we stop acting as attack dogs and start acting in solidarity, that’s when we can be part of making something great” and “working class people of all colours must unite against the exploitative, oppressive ruling class… our fight is a class struggle not a race struggle”.

It seems odd that Flood, in his mission to debunk the supposed myth of progressive Trump voters, can provide so much detailed statistical evidence, but so little evidence of people making the arguments he wants to demolish. His analysis of the polls may demolish some myths, but it’s hard to avoid the feeling that the lengthy evidence-free sections of his argument may be building up a few other ones.

*which is a really horrible term and I’m sorry for using it, but I couldn’t think of a better term to describe the position I’m trying to talk about – Quiet Bat-Left, anyone?

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