Finally back to my election post-mortems! Here’s the prior in the series:
- Sunday, 8 November: White women, do better
- Tuesday, 10 November: Let’s call a thing a thing
- Wednesday, 11 November: What if voter suppression impacts voting trends?
So, one of the things that’s been pissing me off this election season is all the calls for liberals and progressives to dig deeper and understand the Trump voter. NY Times think pieces on how we don’t understand America if we don’t understand Trump’s appeal. CNN op-eds on how we need to listen differently. Politicians and pundits alike have been telling liberals to reach out, to empathize, to build bridges.
And why has this been pissing me off? Because 4 years ago, after Trump won in 2016, democrats, liberals and progressives were inundated with the exact same advice. Listen. Learn. Understand. Build bridges.
It’s almost like there’s certain groups of (*cough*white*cough*) people who want to make sure they stay at the center of the universe and the center of all American discourse.
Hogging the spotlight, as it were.
The rudest of my shoulder-angels wants to reply to these appeals with a brusque
…but I’m going to rise above that coarse instinct to give a more measured articulation of why I am not currently buying this particular bill of sale.
The first reason is my general resistance to always being the one expected to go the extra mile to understand and adapt to the needs of groups of people who are making absolutely zero reciprocal effort.
It’s the Gen X conundrum, all over again.
But this goes beyond my generational programming. My resistance to this particular bill of goods is also a rational response to what, insidiously, is an unfair and disingenuous request.
I can ruefully look back and see how almost-universally vicious Tr_mp and his supporters were about “drinking liberal tears” and “owning the libs”—never mind the very, very real uptick in acts of anti-semitic and racist crime that occurred in the first few weeks after the 21016 election. And this level of vitriol has continued unabated from Cheeto POTUS all the way down through his constituents for the past 4 years. And suddenly these folks need the kid glove treatment?
I’m with Joe Berkowitz (inflammatory headline notwithstanding):
With all due respect, which is none whatsoever, the way Trump supporters feel at this moment bears no relation to how Hillary Clinton voters felt in 2016. None whatsoever. It’s a false equivalence that lets the MAGA faithful completely off the hook for everything they’ve supported over the last four years
And with Wajahat Ali:
Just as in 2016, I don’t need Trump supporters to be humiliated to feel great again. I want them to have health insurance, decent-paying jobs and security for their family. I do not want them to suffer, but I also refuse to spend any more time trying to understand and help the architects of my oppression.
As I look ahead to the new few years, I imagine myself wasting a lot less time and energy trying to woo MAGA and swing voters and redirecting my political energy towards combating voter suppression in its many forms.
Given the significant percentage of MAGA voters who hold proudly to their myopic, limited worldviews, I might also respectfully suggest that instead of us lefties always needing to go the extra mile to learn and understand different perspective—maybe it’s time for the righties to take some time to learn about perspectives that aren’t their own.
I know this is most likely a vain request. (I can’t even call it a “hope” because that would imply a much higher sense of likelihood than I actually feel.) I still think it’s more than an appropriate request to make.
- Spotlight: Pixabay, open license.
- “Meet me in the middle”: photo taken by the author, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.