I posted this on Facebook a bit ago and thought it was worth sharing here.
Last night, we ate dinner at a brewpub type place in a middle/upper-middle class Indy suburb. Half the TVs were on sports, half on the election. The crowd there looked pretty typical for a weekday night. But every time the TVs (most on Fox, some on MSNBC) gave a state to Trump, the place erupted in cheers like the Colts had just scored a touchdown.
These folks are not monsters. They are not all racists, sexists, and xenophobes. They are your neighbors and friends. They go to your house of worship. They are the cashiers you exchange pleasantries with at the grocery store.
What many of them are, I suspect, is tired of being told that they are racists etc because they do not completely buy into the (liberal) elite agenda. They are tired of being called backward because of their religiosity or their gun ownership. They are tired of being told others know better how to raise their kids than they do. They are tired of working hard, raising their kids, participating in their communities, and then being told they are the problem. And they tired of empty promises that they could keep their plan and see their costs go down.
Have some of them said racist/sexist/xenophobic things? I’m sure some or many have. But when they are continually told by elites that they are monsters, you can imagine their desire to lift a middle finger would be intense. Trump, to some degree because of his own unwillingness to accept the moral code of the elite (abhorrent as his behavior is and was…), became a vehicle for that response.
With that in mind, I hope for two things in the months and years to come:
1. I hope that elites, especially on the left, consider their own partial culpability in this outcome. Demonizing basically good people is never a good way to persuade them to see the world differently. Stop with the name-calling and start engaging those friends and neighbors in actual good faith conversation. You don’t have to accept the worldview of Trump voters as right (I sure don’t), but you do need to engage in ways that don’t condescend and demonize.
2. I hope that my progressive friends will see the light on the importance of constitutional checks on executive (and legislative!) power now that someone else holds that power, including the ability to issue executive orders. I hope they see the value of obstructionism. I also hope that they see the common ground they share with libertarians and that we can work together to resist any GOP/Trump overreach on war and civil liberties and immigration, and perhaps even on the economy.
We share your fears of Cheeto Mussolini. Let’s work together to limit the damage.
Finally, as Sarah Skwire noted to me earlier, let’s hope this victory takes the alt-right out of the world of libertarianism once and for all. You can have them, Republican Party.