The Most Interesting People I Know

21 - Malaika Jabali on Identity Politics and Myths About the Midwest

February 8, 2020

Malaika Jabali is an attorney, activist, and writer based in New York. She is a contributing writer to Essence Magazine and a frequent contributor to the Guardian. Her work also appears in Current Affairs, Jacobin, the Intercept and elsewhere. Malaika is my first returning guest, and I was very happy to have her back. Since we last spoke, she has written extensively about the 2020 candidates and deepened the reporting that began with her excellent Current Affairs feature The Color of Economic Anxiety. That article won the award for best General Feature from the New York Association of Black Journalists. Last week, Malaika released her first film, Left Out, which challenges many of the assumptions about what working class midwesterners want out of their politics. The 8 minute film is available for free on YouTube and well worth your time. We discuss it as well as: 

How economic anxiety can depress voter turnout, the underrated importance of people who voted for Obama but didn’t turn out in 2016, assumptions made about midwesterners, the myth of the moderate Democrat, Malaika's advice for 2020 candidates, the lack of diversity in early primary states and how it impacts the nominating process, why black voters don't like Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden's implosion, Bernie's campaign and rhetoric around race, whether Bernie is a class reductionist, how he could be better at speaking to the intersections of race and class, identity politics as it was originally conceived and how it has been misappropriated, the false choice between emphasizing identity based oppression and solidarity, and the lack of representation in socialist groups like the DSA.

You can find Malaika on Twitter: @MalaikaJabali and me: @GarrisonLovely

I’ve also created an email address for the show. I welcome any feedback, guest ideas, or just a hello at mostinterestingpeople27 [at] gmail [dot] com 


Show notes:

Malaika’s work:

The Color of Economic Anxiety

Pete Buttigieg has a race problem. So does the Democratic party


Other links:

Economic anxiety vs racial resentment:

Time to Kill the Zombie Argument: Another Study Shows Trump Won Because of Racial Anxieties — Not Economic Distress

No, It Wasn’t Just Racism

The Missing Obama Millions

For elites, politics is driven by ideology. For voters, it’s not.

Black Futures Lab Census

Most Iowa Democratic caucus-goers support a single-payer health-care plan

Experiments show this is the best way to win campaigns. But is anyone actually doing it?

How Bernie Sanders Evolved on Criminal Justice Reform

Joe Biden: “I love kids jumping on my lap”

Phillip Agnew's 'With These Hands' – Powerful Bernie Rally Moment

The force of Operation POWER

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