Robert Reich Tries to Educate a Trump Supporter, but Instead Reveals the Shortcomings of Liberal Rhetoric

Robert Reich's unproductive conversation with a Trump supporter is indicative of larger problems that liberals must confront.

Robert Reich's unproductive conversation with a Trump supporter is indicative of larger problems that liberals must confront (via juggernautco and victoriabernal on flickr).

Public policy wonk-person Robert Reich shared a Facebook post a few days ago about his encounter with a Trump supporter, which garnered 250,000 likes and 80,000 shares. The Trump voter says: Trump’s a winner, being clearly rich. Reich chides him: Don’t you know that Trump is actually a failed entrepreneur, only rich because he inherited a huge sum of money, and actually his business has been publicly subsidized by New York City? He’s not a winner, and you’re not voting for one. Drop the mike, educated.

This illustrates the most popular liberal, anti-Trump rhetoric that I see around me, especially because it’s making use of facts while avoiding the tacit ground underneath: If only you knew the facts, if only you were educated, then you would choose Hillary Clinton over this con artist. I sometimes see this with people who connect with education studies without being within them (sometimes, folks who find out I’m in education studies): Education is vastly important, they say, and those people who are going to vote for Trump are doing so because they haven’t gotten enough of it.

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East Baltimore Urban Renewal

Washington and Ashland Ave Batimore

The corner of Washington Ave. and Ashland Ave. in August 2011 (top) and September 2015 (bottom). Via Google Street View.

This was originally written in November 2014.

Johns Hopkins University Hospital sits directly next to a very poor East Baltimore community. The hospital campus faces inward with iron fences and private guards in kiosks surrounding the entrances. The subway system reaches the campus and goes no farther. In March 2014, The New York Times ran an article in the Arts & Design section about a redevelopment project in this neighborhood that included a new public school operated by Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and Morgan State University. Like most writing about poverty for an audience with no real interest in poverty, the article conveyed how difficult poverty is to solve, creating no expectations that what followed would solving anything, and served to bolster the reputation of a prestigious institution. JHU, described as a “great university,” was attempting a “grand urban experiment.”

The new K-8 school is one part of a greater redevelopment project and serves as the Arts & Design “hook,” since it contains supposedly innovative things like “a community center, library, auditorium, and gym” that are actually standard in properly funded public school facilities. Past these benefits (and buried in the article), is the price the community paid for this project:

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