At first, it was entertaining to watch the talking heads try to make sense of the election results that they had been so wrong in predicting.
Then, it got scary.
As the results came in, and it became clear that Donald Trump would win the presidency, it seemed as though a light bulb flashed in their heads: Half of America is sexist and racist. Nothing else could explain this election of such a vile creature to the highest position in the land.
The musician Moby posted a meme that captured the consensus grief: “America, you are so much more racist and misogynistic than I’d ever imagined.” People wept in public at the clear evidence that America hates women, Hispanics, African Americans, Muslims, and LBGT types.
It is an understandable frustration considering the kind of rhetoric that Trump has espoused over the last year. The thought is that, since some 60 million Americans voted for a misogynistic, xenophobic bigot, some 60 million Americans must be misogynistic, xenophobic bigots. As an emotional Van Jones put it: “This was a white-lash against a changing country. It was a white-lash against a black president, in part. And that’s the part where the pain comes.”
But can that really be the explanation?
First of all, if it were simply a racist referendum against a black president, it would have happened in 2012 for Obama’s second term. If it were a sexist referendum against a female leader, then why did so many vote for a female vice president in 2008? Why were there so many black, Hispanic, and women votes for Trump?
Ultimately, if it really were the case that half of America was so bigoted, we’d be facing a problem so great that not even the Constitution could save us.
Perhaps there is another explanation.
Revolt of the Masses
The fact is, this election mirrors a pattern that we’ve seen across the globe in the last several years. We saw it in Brexit; we saw it in the bailout referendum in Greece. What links these is not sex or race, but economic hardship and a general populist rejection of a globalist, anti-traditional modernity that is being force-fed to average people. And, though race and sex play a factor here, it is lazy to simply vilify half of America as bigots and blame them. The issue is deeper and requires a subtler analysis.
The best pre-election explanation of the Trump vote came from Michael Moore, who, despite his crassness, nailed the sentiment of a vast contingent of middle-Americans, who have for several decades now been trampled on and overlooked in favor of an increasingly hostile liberal elite.
As Moore puts it: “Donald Trump came to the Detroit Economic Club and stood there in front of Ford Motor executives and said ‘if you close these factories as you’re planning to do in Detroit and build them in Mexico, I’m going to put a 35% tariff on those cars when you send them back and nobody’s going to buy them.’ It was an amazing thing to see. No politician, Republican or Democrat, had ever said anything like that to these executives, and it was music to the ears of people in Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — the ‘Brexit’ states.”
The revolt is about a group of people who have been disenfranchised by decades of laws that have marginalized them in favor of the formerly marginalized. As pointed out in works like Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, Charles Murray’s Coming Apart, and J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy, since WWII, the United States government has engaged in a systematic dismantling of white middle class America, through taxes, regulations, globalism, multiculturalism, political correctness, and a destruction of fundamental Christian values of marriage and family. And this vote for Trump has been a natural rebellion against that effort.
Remediation of Remediation
In this light, it is clear that sex and race do play a role in this election, but it isn’t so in the way that the Left presents it. That is, it’s not an antagonism against women, Hispanics, African Americans, Muslims, and LBGT types, but rather a defense against them. The straight white Christian male has been vilified and dumped on for decades now, and has been persuaded to conform to a world that hates him. For many, it is not antagonism, but rather self-preservation.
Granted, the various penalties and punishments levied upon straight white males has been based in legitimate grievances. The underprivileged and minority groups have been badly treated for centuries. But the reparations have taken the form of similar bad treatment, so-called ‘remedial discrimination’, thus presenting a second wrong to make right. Moreover, it has been levied against people who had nothing to do with the original bad treatment, creating a sense of great injustice among the new victims of discrimination.
Regard Lena Dunham’s blithe request that straight white men become extinct. Evidently, though it has long since been atrocious to suggest such a thing for women and minorities, proposing the wholesale extermination of straight white males is considered progress.
It turns out, if you vilify, castigate, belittle, and dehumanize a people long enough, they will get sick of it and fight back. It is curious that liberal elites could not predict that.
And so now it seems as though straight white males are the underclass, and are the disadvantaged ones who now seek justice. The pendulum of discrimination has swung back the other way. Take, as an example, how one group has thought it necessary to develop a scholarship for underprivileged whites. The mere sound of it is like a foreign language. And yet, if we can get beyond the initial shock of the concept, we see that it actually makes sense. If everyone else has one, why not for whites? They are poor and in need of assistance too. Everyone says discrimination is bad, but they practice it blatantly in effort to support everyone other than white males. It only makes sense that such a group will do what they can to protect and support themselves.
This election (and other similar referendums around the globe) are a statement that this group has had enough of the hatred and conformity, and is now fighting back. It is about sexism and racism inasmuch as this group has been the victim of institutionalized sexism and racism for decades, and are now finally done putting up with it. Some will say that, as evidenced by this election, half of America is sexist and racist. But, if they say that, then we’d have to admit that actually the whole country is sexist and racist because Hillary’s plan would have further continued the remedial discrimination that has plagued a population since the ’40s.
As David Wong of Cracked put it, “It feels good to dismiss people, to mock them, to write them off as deplorables. But you might as well take time to try to understand them, because I’m telling you, they’ll still be around long after Trump is gone.”
Moore’s video linked above ends abruptly when Moore says voting for Trump and sticking it to the system will feel good. But he doesn’t end there. In the full documentary, he goes on to say that it will feel good for a while, but that it will be a short lived euphoria that will be followed by the same issues that led them to voting for Trump in the first place.
In other words, a Trump victory is a band-aid that will leave the real wound festering.
Moore has never been more correct. That is because the policies that Trump will instate might help the straight white male contingent for a while, but will also swing the pendulum back the other way to oppress the others.
And so we will shortly be in another situation that will require more reparation. It will be an endless tug of war that can only leave a lot of people muddy. Soon, Trump supporters will see that he was not the answer, and that the only thing that can truly solve this riddle is if we finally get rid of all discrimination, direct and remedial. Only then can we actually achieve true equality and find peace between our diverse populations.
Perhaps this election will help people realize this. It won’t be easy, and Americans of all stripes will need to ‘deal with it’ for it to work.
May heaven help us.