The following article is a result of spending the past year conversing with Trump Campaign Supporters from many walks of life.
Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America. Many of my progressive friends are wondering “Why? He said the most obnoxious things.” My entire Facebook news feed is filled with inner city Progressives drawing the conclusion that Donald Trump won merely because half of the country are white supremacist racists, xenophobic, misogynistic etc. There is an absolute freak out about end times coming and the Trump Presidency being the apocalypse for the world.
So to break it down with their logic: “Donald Trump says bigoted and misogynistic remarks. He is a bigot. If you support him despite this bigotry, you are a bigot too. Half the country supported him. Half the country are bigots.”
This condescension and the self righteousness from my fellow progressives helped drive the masses to Trump. Progressive media and communities focused on the “isms” and “phobias” they would find in Donald Trump for the entirety of his campaign. Progressive left wing media cherry picked things Trump would say that were actually bigoted or questionably so.
Those who were not bigoted and were considering supporting Trump observed that the liberal media and left wingers were bent on framing them as racist just for having any kind of consideration for Trump. Any conversation where somebody confessed to sympathy for the Trump candidacy, would be stifled with charges of bigotry, sexism, ignorance.
Progressives and Liberals would talk about Trump supporters, conservatives etc. as if they were ignorant, uneducated, dumb, racist. Whether this is correct or not, to the Trump supporter, this comes off as pompous, pretentious etc.
“Trump taps into the frustrations of poor uneducated whites who don’t know any better and are racist. That’s why he’s winning. He is exploiting their hatred.”
Now that explanation isn’t entirely inaccurate. It can be accurate for a portion of Trump supporters. But it’s one accurate explanation being imposed on the rest of the population of Trump supporters. For the suburban middle class white man who supports Trump, or the Blacks/Latinos who support him, this is both an inaccurate and presumptuous way to write them off as “racist, and mindless hateful sheep.”
There also exists a population of leftists that had statuses like such:
“IF YOU SUPPORT DONALD TRUMP DELETE ME FROM FACEBOOK RIGHT NOW YOU FUCKING RACIST PIG”
Donald Trump could have lost this election and his support could have been contained not through censorship but through dialogue. If you attempt to silence Trump support through character attacks, and belittlement, that doesn’t change their minds. They grow frustrated with your inaccurate characterization of them and become even more stubborn in their convictions.
Let’s look at it this way: the attacks on Donald Trump revolved around insensitive things he said, the attacks on Hillary Clinton were on things she actually did while in political power. It is clear that while the modern progressive left wing placed a large emphasis on culturally/gendered insensitive remarks, everybody else placed an emphasis on past political records.
In other words: actions are louder than words.
At this point, you may think that I underestimate the potential dangers that come with Donald Trump’s unpredictability. I don’t. I did not vote for him. I wanted him to lose. I just don’t attribute his victory to “White America’s secret genocidal desires.”
What is Progressive Condescension?
Over the past few years, progressive politics developed a large emphasis on minority empowerment in the United States/Western world and aspired to achieve equal outcomes for people of all backgrounds. This is fair. There is nothing wrong with this.
However, as progressives began to examine the plight of minorities, namely African Americans, Latinos, LGBT, Muslims, there began a process of demonizing “White America”. The claims from the modern American left is that because of “skeletons in the closet of White America” such as slavery, displacement of Native Americans, U.S. imperialism, capitalist exploitation etc., white Americans are the ones enjoying the benefits of this dark history today whereas minorities have a harder time attaining the same level of success.
So after being indoctrinated into this belief, progressives began antagonizing white Americans. Do a Google Search of “Dear White America/People.” You will see articles in the form of letters addressing “White People” on how they should stop their casual unintentional racist remarks and be more sensitive to the plight of minorities.
While the intention behind this sentiment is noble, if you multiply this article by hundreds and have progressive discussions all around the country where whites are silenced in discussion by being told to check their privilege: you have discourse that becomes antagonizing to whites. You have progressive condescension to whites and/or males.
The definition of political correctness broadens. To express any sentiment of disagreement with Black Lives Matter, you are seen as a privileged white/non-black racist who does not understand the plight of Black America, or if you are black, a product of internalized oppression.
“Reverse Racism” becomes a thing. Racism against whites is called “reverse racism” rather than “normal” or “forward” racism. This entire phrase serves as yet another form of condescension against whites. If you want to make it better: racism against whites is not only called “reverse” racism, the identity politics progressives start propagating that it doesn’t exist. You can’t be racist against white people, because racism is institutionalized oppression against different racial identities which white people never face. This redefinition itself is a result of once again: identity politics. It’s an attempt to remove whites from victimhood and keep the focus on victimhood on minorities.
The Grievance Of The Working Class Citizen
So imagine this. You’re a working class white male. You struggle for your living because after the local factory and mall shut down, the job market began shrinking in your community. You go through all this struggle in order to make ends meet. And here progressive media comes along, saying that you have privilege that you’re born with because of your skin color, and obtaining wealth is easier for you as a result of it. Your existence is a product of centuries of whites oppressing minorities and you are being antagonized for their actions. You read an article from the widely renowned NY Times called “Dear White America” which treats you like a pompous and wealthy individual who is unaware of his/her racism. Your struggles are completely disregarded because you, the white person, are so low in the hierarchy of victimhood, that your problems therefore have low priorities, due to being riddled with “white privilege.”
It sounds condescending doesn’t it?
Imagine a candidate with enormous energy comes to you and says something that sounds like this: “the establishment and media has forgotten you. I haven’t. We are going to bring jobs back from China and Mexico so you can go to work. We are going to make America great again.”
I’m aware Donald Trump has said many more things, many of which are offensive to minorities including myself. But the center theme of his message is how the system crippled America, working class citizens have been left out and abandoned as a result of it, and he will fix it. He will not be politically correct while addressing it and deal with it head on.
Then the definition of political correctness expands to the point that you, as a white male, are quick to be called racist or privileged in a discussion with progressives. The media focuses on microaggressions of the easily offended college students who are privileged to feel victimized by what cultural clothing people wear for Halloween while you have to struggle to make ends meet. And here’s a candidate, saying “I have all the answers. I have no time for political correctness. We have lost many jobs to foreign countries. We will restore America to its greatness and make America great again.”
Who seems more appealing? The side that is condescending towards you/white people you know (if you’re a non-white Trump supporter) or the side that worries about the impact of being offended, racist remarks, and disregards your struggles?
And now let’s add this with a progressive in a Facebook comments section of a famous page’s post saying “you white supremacist asshole. You’re privileged so you do not understand the struggles of being a minority in America. This country is built by and for white people and supporting Donald Trump perpetuates that system.”
And to top it off, the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton has stated that you are among the “basket of deplorables”. This Democrat Party completely abandoned and insulted you while focusing on pandering to inner city progressives. Whereas the Republican candidate, an outsider of the establishment and one who has no time for political correctness tells you “I will make America great again, and we will win.”
Does a vote for Donald Trump really seem like a surprise at this point?
Trump’s campaign appeal is more than just racism. It’s a reaction to the dominance and extreme righteousness of inner city progressive ideology. For many who do not fit into this population, this cultural shift and ideology is seen as attempting to impose a shift on the rest of the country’s values, calling everybody outside of their bubble racist, oppressive, ignorant etc. And the Democrat party pandering more to this sentiment rather than those outside of the bubble: which happens to be the rest of the country.
That is one reason why we see the reactionary support to Trump after he proclaimed himself as anti political correctness (which they interpret as left authoritarianism/progressive condescension.)
Chalking it up to “this country’s racist” isn’t a complete answer but one of many. Racists do support Donald Trump, but we need to isolate them from the rest and address them accordingly rather than paint an entire population with a broad brush. Just as we should not blame all of Muslims for terrorism, we should not blame all Trump supporters for racism. We need to isolate Islamists from the rest of Muslims, and target them accordingly. This also goes for the need to separate white nationalists from the rest of the Trump movement and address them accordingly. Throwing the term racist around will make the word meaningless and half the country tune us out.
This was the election of reactionary identity politics, and the social grievances that comes with it.
If a progressive wants to fight for minority rights/empowerment throughout this Trump presidency, or they want to re-elect another candidate in 2020, then dismissing half the country will not cut it. That’s the hard truth. It hasn’t worked before. It will not work in the future.
What do you think? Feel free to comment below. Don’t forget to follow me at: