To hear Liberals tell it, Donald Trump was the creation of a white, angry backlash to a black, progressive President and the women running to succeed him. Progressives simply pushed too hard for policies that alienated white America.
Well, the second part is certainly true. But, the first part is a lame excuse for why the Democratic Party is at its lowest point in modern times. White America did not get tired of progressive policies. Heck, many of these white Americans were 2 time Obama voters. No, they got tired of being lied to by professional politicians and threw their lot in with a non-politician. For better or worse.
In the fullness of reality, when Democrats and progressives have time to contemplate their doldrums, even they probably admit to themselves they created Trump. No, not the massive rallies and celebrity status Trump used to catapult himself to the White House. But they certainly created the socio-economic, cultural and political environment that fueled his rise.
For the last decade (if not longer) the general view of Liberals has been, “You disagree with us, your racist, bigoted, misogynistic, stupid,” etc. Unsurprisingly, many Liberals believed these views were inseparable from the GOP and when the party embraced Trump it only confirmed their views. Never mind, a mere 8 years ago the Democratic nominee claimed to be pro-life and against gay marriage and abortion.
It is not surprising traditional GOP partisans fell in line with Trump. He said the right things and campaigned on GOP themes. But the Left’s disdain for disagreement and anything right-wing extended far, far beyond plain old partisan politics.
On college campuses, for years on end, conservative speakers and groups have been harassed. Safe spaces and transgender studies were treated as if they were/should be the norm. College went from being a place to explore and challenge one’s ideas to catering and nurturing a sycophantic group-think mentality.
In the arena of culture, Democrats and progressives used the courts and government as a cudgel to implement their social agenda. You don’t support gay marriage. You homophobe. You oppose abortion. You want women barefoot in the kitchen. You didn’t vote for a black man. You racist.
On issues touching every sacred facet of American life from contraception to religious liberty to your kid’s bathroom the Left used government policies to implement their agenda with ruthless efficiency. It is thus little surprise after issues like the Little Sisters of the Poor and transgender bathrooms that evangelicals embraced a man who has been married 3 times and bragged about groping women. The alternative was far, far worse to one’s most scared way of life.
Ultimately, these factors helped Trump unite the traditional wings of the party but since 2004 they have not been enough to win the White House. It was the Left’s smugness on economic issues, class and gender that ultimately drove many Obama voters to Trump.
We are not talking down the line Conservatives here. Again, many voted for Obama twice. But after 8 years of broken promises from Obama and Democrats, being ridiculed for lacking a college education and living in white “only” communities and being told to vote for a crony, corrupt woman for President, because, well if you don’t you gate women, something had to give. Even the term given to many of these voters, non-college educated, suggested they were not smart and that a college education was the end all be all (I will be sure to tell that to all the degree holders in Portland looking for work).
This dynamic helped Trump forge his candidacy around a white identity politic and a restoration of America. The media never took this seriously and from day 1 they and academia acted as if white America was acting like an unhinged child. Countless were the stories of how Trump rallies were filled with white hillbillies wearing shirts proving they hated women and were racists.
But, these rallies would never have occurred if the Left did not practice activism in absolutist form. The refusal to consider other viewpoints combined with name-calling and economic/judicial browbeating led to only two choices for many Americans, retreat or retaliate.
Trump appealed to the latter category. To anxious evangelicals he promised to defend their religious liberty. To worried small business owners he vowed to defend their livelihood. To rural and suburban, Midwestern America, Trump talked about the thing they cared most about, the economy. Clinton prattled on about a “fair economy” when all these voters heard from her was more identity politics and a candidate out of touch with Americans with living a heroin epidemic, a plant shutdown and women dying younger and younger.
The data suggesting Trump was on the right track and Clinton the wrong is clear in hindsight. A majority of Americans, even among many those that voted for Clinton, showed the economy was their most pressing issue.
Clinton’s theme of “stronger together” played well in blue states and the Northeast but the evidence of its failure can be found in Luzerne, PA, Kenosha, WI and Trumbull County, OH. Luzerne had not voted Republican since 1984, Kenosha 1984 and Trumbull since Nixon. All 3 went Trump by high single to double-digits.
The media amplified the cultural and ideological divide between America in a way Trump could drive a truck through. His anti-PC rhetoric only infuriated the liberal elite and they in turn fed into his mantra of the game being rigged and the powerful leaving behind the rest of America.
It did not help Clinton that WikiLeaks and “independent” journalists showed how much collusion there was between the Left and the media. When it became clear the DNC rigged the game against Sanders and how CNN had knowingly employed the interim DNC chair for months (including leaking her debate questions) even non-traditional GOP voters took notice.
In essence, the media was seen as an extension of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic machine. Donald Trump amazingly ignored it and instead waged a scorched earth campaign against Clinton. Millions were spent defining Trump well after he was already defined.
Despite efforts by the media to ignore Clinton’s failings, voters showed time and time again they had serious concerns about her trustworthiness. Clinton never led Trump in trustworthiness, even after the Hollywood TV tape came out. Her campaign blithely went on trying to run out the election clock.
All this might still have been able to be overcome if Clinton was not such a horrific candidate. Not a single day after getting Sanders to endorse her candidacy and pledging to get America working again she held a rally at a Planned Parenthood Clinic and doubled down on the identity politics white America so loved. She did not mention jobs a single time.
Ironically, liberal America shuddered at the authoritarian nature of the Trump candidacy. But, they never looked in the mirror at their own party. This might best be exemplified by a John Podesta email where he railed against young, hippy Sander voters and how they didn’t know what was good for them.
In their zest to nominate Clinton she was referred to as the “presumptive nominee” despite the fact Sanders was still campaigning. Super-delegates flooded to support her before even a single vote had been cast in February.
Clinton was widely seen by almost every media outlet and political analyst to have won the Presidential debates. Huffington Post and Vox went overboard with their comments on Trump and how articulate and strong Clinton was. SNL, as funny as their skits were, made it seem like the election was in the bag for Clinton.
The idea of Trump winning was absurd. Women and men who are college educated could not possibly vote for this man. But they did and combined with the rest of America gave Trump the biggest Republican EC vote total since HW Bush in 1988.
Even the protests that have been spawned since Trump won vindicate many Trump voters view of the Democratic Party and liberal America. Yet again, they are refusing to bow to anybody who disagrees and seek to use bullying and lobbying to throw out the opinions of others who disagree.
Compromise is a 4 letter word among the modern Left. In turn, many Republicans began to feel the same and Trump was able to build a durable electoral coalition because of it. Trump deserves a lot of credit for winning. But, to be fair, the Left deserves a lot of credit for losing an election they should have won.