It has certainly been fascinating watching the reaction to the Trump election victory, especially on social media. The overwrought expressions of hatred, name calling, and outright violence is precisely the reason Trump was elected president.
I was personally not surprised by the election results. When in the last few days of the campaign the polls indicated a close race, I knew there would be a large number of Trump supporters staying safely under the radar. Can you blame them?
I pretty much disengaged from the political discussions over the course of the election season. Once the party nominations were decided I said we get to choose between a crook and a clown. In that scenario, I’ll take the clown every time. I know what I’m getting from the crook, but a clown is always full of surprises. Hopefully, most of them will be good surprises. We’ll see.
So, why did Trump win? You can find far better analysis from folks a lot smarter than me all over the internet. What I can tell you is where I was coming from and also what I am not. I’d wager a lot of voters held similar views.
To begin, it will come as no surprise to regular readers that I tend to lean right. I’m certainly more libertarian in my world view than I am conservative. I believe the less government the better. I believe our political establishment is corrupt and is more interested in cronyism than in addressing the real issues that the majority of Americans are concerned about. Republicans are every bit as guilty in that regard as Democrats. I think this election represented a big “fuck you!” to the powers that be, and I’m so very happy to join in that chorus.
I’m also a white male. That does not make me racist, misogynist, homophobic, a xenophobe, or any of the other epithets that are hurled about whenever I have the audacity to disagree with the viewpoints of my progressive “betters”. I will not be told “to check my privilege” in an effort to shame me into silence. Maybe I’m old school, but making judgments based on the color of a persons skin is how I define racism. And by that definition, far too many folks on the left are every bit as racist as the KKK. I expect Trump got the vote of people like me who are sick and tired of being “othered”.
Of course, post-election the name calling from the left continues unabated. Their unwillingness to step back for some honest introspection does not speak well for the future of the progressive movement or the unity of the American people. At least one of my left-leaning Facebook friends [edit: turns out it is the son of my FB friend], Frank Jacquette, gets it:
Months and months ago, when the Republican primary was still a ten-person clown car and Trump was just starting to get some traction, I became worried that he had a serious chance of winning it all. What the DNC never seemed to understand is that people weren’t voting for Trump the Candidate, they were voting for Trump because he was the living embodiment of an idea. The idea was simple: “the system is broken, so let’s blow It up.” Competing on the strength of Hillary’s resume was never a winning strategy, because it couldn’t compete with the Idea. That’s why Trump’s personal flaws and insane attempts at policy never mattered. Bernie’s supporters bought into a more genteel version of the same Idea, so when the DNC engineered (or at least gave the suspicious appearance of having engineered) Hillary’s victory in the primaries, many of them weren’t going to just roll into line and vote for her. Gary Johnson also represented the Idea, but without the backing of the extremely well-entrenched two party duopoly never had a real chance. Take heart that not every Trump voter is a racist, misogynist xenophobe, but instead expressed fury and dismay at a broken system in the only forum where all of us are equal.
In the meantime, we have two years until midterm elections. We must do everything we can to ensure that we have good candidates available instead of the party-line caricatures we’ve been offered.
Frank brings up a valid point about what I think is the overriding reason Trump is president-elect. Hillary represented business as usual and the people wanted change. I was certainly no fan of Bernie Sanders’ socialistic model, but I would have loved to see him go head-to-head with Trump. When the corrupt DNC ensured that would never happen, there was only one anti-establishment candidate left on the ballot. Trump got just about the same number of voters as Romney in 2012. Disaffected Democrats stayed home in droves.
So to all of those shocked liberals wondering why Trump will be the President, I suggest taking a long hard look in the mirror.