Conservatives, moderates, and the less-political understand this, but what happened in November was only an election. Even if it was a more-consequential-than-normal event in American politics, Donald Trump beating Hillary Clinton was only an election.
Barack Obama, the most politically and culturally radical figure to grace the top of the American ballot, won twice. His election and re-election were exceptionally consequential events, and the “fundamental transformation” Obama practiced upon the country alienated a large swath of its people on every possible level.
And yet those of us who opposed him survived. Our opposition never ceased, but life went on. We went to work, fell in love, celebrated Christmas, attended church, followed our favorite football team. Politically the past eight years have been difficult, but we got through it — wiser, tougher, more circumspect, more committed politically.
Does anyone see evidence the Left, in the aftermath of Trump, can cope in such a way?
That evidence isn’t easy to find.
Instead, what we see is an increasing spectacle of an entire political movement departing from the ranks of the sane. We’re seeing the implosion of the Democratic Party and the American Left.
We saw, in the days following Trump’s victory, actual rioting in American streets — complete with property damage, physical injuries, even shootings. We saw Democratic mayors refusing to put a stop to what they euphemistically called “protests” but were clearly much more.
We’ve seen a ridiculous scam of a recount foisted on the election commissioners of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania on the part of Green Party candidate Jill Stein — a hopeless exercise bound for little more than a fundraising bonanza at the expense of traumatized and stupid Democratic voters. Predictably, Stein’s recount has amounted to nothing — in Wisconsin, Trump is actually gaining votes on Clinton.
We’ve seen an unprecedented campaign of harassment delivered against presidential electors pledged to Trump, with private citizens volunteering to facilitate our democratic process subjected to letters, emails, and even phone calls from unhinged Democrats demanding that they repudiate their pledge and vote for Hillary when the Electoral College meets Dec. 19. It’s an even more hopeless attempt to steal the election than Stein’s recount, as there is no chance of securing 37 faithless Republican electors to cast ballots for anyone other than Trump and even less chance those 37 would support Clinton. Even if Trump were to somehow fall under 270 votes, the election would merely go to the House and its GOP majority.
It isn’t hard to figure how that would go.
But the calls, letters, and emails don’t even reflect an honest effort at persuasion — something notably worth discussing shortly. Instead, they come off more as therapy for the politically bereaved.
Here’s a sample — it comes from one of the more than 50,000 (yes, 50,000) emails received by one Louisiana elector, Garrett C. Monti. On Wednesday, a “citizen of the United States” named Robert K. Olivieri, offered a missive containing the following colorfully insane passage…
Donald J. Trump has been on a campaign to try and make the American media out to be an outlet of false stories, where in fact, he has been the one who has been deceiving the American Public. This, along with Trump’s mocking people with disabilities and many other people who are not like him, is of great concern because Hitler and other Dictators have used this same technique.
I also strongly believe there are many other facts that high ranking officials have to prove I am in line with the justifications of this letter. It is my recommendation, in lieu of believing Donald J. Trump is a Traitor to the United States, that he be arrested for conspiring against the United States to gain favor with again, our adversary, Russia and their President Putin.
In conclusion, I think President Obama needs to put the National Guard on HIGH ALERT while America’s turmoil is handled effectively and a determination has been resolved who is the Legal President of the United States.
Meanwhile, the college “safe space” crowd has responded to Trump’s election by demonstrating the utter worthlessness of American higher education culture by hosting cry-ins and other departures from normality.
And the social justice industry has completely lost its mind — so much so that the Christmas favorite “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is now beyond the pale thanks to its promotion of rape culture. Apparently it didn’t occur to any of those involved that this kind of behavior is why they lost in the first place.
It isn’t like the “responsible” types are faring much better in their coping. The Democrat media has decided that “fake news” is what delivered Trump the election and has embarked on a campaign, aided by Facebook, to sweep hoax sites and their clickbait from the internet. This isn’t completely without merit, mind you, but when it’s Breitbart and the Daily Caller and RedState being savaged as Fake News while Media Matters and the Daily Kos are not, well…
What much of this comes down to is a fundamental problem with American progressivism — and that problem is identical to that of its siblings in Europe. Angelo Codevilla, who several years ago in these pages wrote a perfect exposition of the dichotomy in this country between the “ruling class” and the “country class” which so perfectly flowered in Trump’s victory, penned an excellent piece at the Claremont Review of Books tracing the history of political correctness to the early 20th-century Italian communist writer Antonio Gramsci and his emphasis on the construction of “cultural hegemony” for the collectivist side. Writes Codevilla…
What serves progressive revolutionaries’ interests is not in doubt. Although each of progressivism’s branches differs in how it defines society’s “structural” fault, in its own name for the human reality that it seeks to overcome, and in the means by which to achieve its ends, progressives from the 19th century to our time are well nigh identical in their personal predilections—in what and whom they hate even more than in what they love. They see the culture of what Marxists call “bourgeois morality” as the negation of their identity and authority. That identity, their identity, is to be promoted, endlessly, by endless warfare against that culture. That is why the cultural campaigns of otherwise dissimilar progressives have been so similar. Leninist Russia no less than various Western democrats have tried to eradicate religion, to make it difficult for men, women, and children to exist as families, and to demand that their subjects join them in celebrating the new order that reflects their identity. Note well: cultural warfare’s substantive goal is less important than the affirmation of the warriors’ own identity. This is what explains the animus with which progressives have waged their culture wars.
Yet, notwithstanding progressivism’s premise that individual minds merely reflect society’s basic structure and hence are incapable of reasoning independently about true and false, better and worse, reality forces progressives to admit that individuals often choose how they think or act despite lacking the “structural” basis for doing so, or that they act contrary to the economic, social, or racial “classes” into which progressive theories divide mankind. They call this freedom of the human mind “false consciousness.”
Fighting against false consciousness is one reason why Communists and other progressives end up treating cultural matters supposedly “superstructural” as if they were structural and basic. They do so by pressuring people constantly to validate progressivism’s theories, to concelebrate victories over those on the “wrong” side of history by exerting control over who says what to whom.
It was a revolt against that cultural hegemony — the media elites, Hollywood, the social-justice mob, Black Lives Matter and La Raza, academic tyranny — which most plainly contributed to Trump’s victory. Without it he couldn’t have survived his high negatives with the voting public.
But the problem, as Codevilla notes, is that because progressives spend so much effort trying to enforce their hegemony by shutting down opponents as racists, sexists, homophobes, and other revanchists and deplorables, they’ve lost the ability to defend that hegemony from honest critique. It turns out that you simply can’t sell two plus two equals five to rational humans unafraid of you — and when Trump came along and called out the lies and stupidity of the elites, the Left and its candidate were then forced to persuade in order to win.
Which they cannot do. Decades spent shutting down arguments doesn’t prepare you to win them, and no one is much swayed by accusations of deplorability.
So it is a time for gloating, and rejoicing at the end of the Hard Left’s power. And for celebration of their time in the wilderness — such as it will be, because many of them retain comfy sinecures in universities, media and even, increasingly, within the ranks of corporate America.
That time may be long. A political party headed by Keith Ellison and Nancy Pelosi is not a party poised for success anytime soon.
But a note of caution is in order — the pendulum will inevitably swing the other way. And should it swing to this despondent, dyspeptic, and dysfunctional collection of crybullies and thugs, the screaming of the Left might well be warranted in the other direction.