How to get a Republican to agree with you.
In the aftermath of the election, like many other Democrats, I turned inward for reflection on why we lost. In search of answers I read a parade of editorials, lost myself in a flood of post election media coverage and analysis, many of which provided the introspective flogging that I was looking for. My candidate was “scandal plagued”, carrying decades of political baggage, perhaps I just chose wrong, should have gone for Bernie, right? It could of been our policies, they just didn’t resonate with those White Working Class voters they keep talking about. Perhaps our party focused on the poor, and neglected the middle class, as one article eloquently let me know. A week passed, and some of my self blame was diverted to other elements of this drama. It became clear that Hillary had won the popular vote by a substantial margin. Was this not a sign that the electoral college was to blame, should it be abolished? Then there was the Russian hacking, and the Kremlin backed effort complete with state sponsored fake news, part of a larger geopolitical stunt to weaken NATO states. As frustrated as I was that 3 million extra votes were not enough, and incensed at the external shenanigans of Putin’s regime, I was still in doubt that these factors should be blamed for the totality of the loss. If it was not a close election in the first place, these little shoves would not have had much effect.
This snapshot of my conflicted psyche is probably familiar to many. If one thing is certain, a willingness to question ourselves has at once opened a constructive conversation and also cracked open our vulnerabilities to those that want nothing more than to exploit our uncertainty. Now as we begin to regain our footing, and harden our resolve to resist, we are confronted with voices that wish to inform us that we are still clueless as to why we lost, “The white working class is incompatible with those who have taken over the left” says Milo, the alt-right provocateur and recent pedophile apologist. Who on the left isn’t touched by the Breitbart star’s concern for the national appeal of the progressive cause? Then you have Dave Rubin starring in viral video’s explaining why he “Left the Left”, because clearly, we have become intolerant and incapable of listening to our ideological opposites. Lets humor their assertions long enough to ask, what are their conclusions? It seems our only recourse is to abandon our values, and fall in line, otherwise we’ll never win another election again. I’m sensing an agenda here. The last six years is supposed to tell us everything we need to know, which amounts to: the progressive cause is dead, the voters have spoken, and now we need to support our President. I would have to admit, if you had to pick a handful of years to make such an argument, the last six are a great choice, just make sure you don’t include anything prior. Yes, conservative pundits are busy planning the next thousand years of harmony, given to them by hapless liberals that just don’t understand how the real world works.
The only problem with this vision is that it ignores a history littered with political swings in both directions, and the reality that people will actually expect their elected leaders, now predominantly from a single party, to make their lives better. The conservative establishment that has been piling in on the Trump bandwagon will have to contend with a collection of messy circumstances. This includes the inability of walls, immigration bans, and trade wars to do anything but slow growth and make life more difficult for those without the resources to float above the chaos. While some may never admit that the ideas were questionable in the first place, those fickle voters will find ways to allocate blame on those that led the country astray. If you can’t blame the concept, you can always fault the execution of the plan, and in this case we know who is signing those executive orders.