Trump’s victory last November has been the subject of more analysis than most of us can even fathom. The list of possible reasons range from the mundane to the conspiratorial to the bizarre, and, depending on one’s perspective, represent everything from the salvation to the doom of the nation.

This morning, a friend in one of my closed political groups shared a post he came across, one that shrugged off the (seemingly endless) Trump/Russia saga, explaining that he found it and the broader notion that Trump is a “traitor to Russia” absurd. Then, he expanded on why the Trump/Russia story is of no interest or consequence to him: it is an irrelevance amidst the deluge of antagonism he and people like him face from the Left on a seemingly daily basis.

Nestled within that post (which I’ve chosen not to share, because:) is the crux of his viewpoint, the title of this essay:

You leftists hate me. You make that clear each and every day.

Friends and readers, THAT is why Trump won, and THAT is why Trump’s supporters give him a pass on his nutty tweets, his foot-in-mouth, his prevarications, and the rest. THAT is why nothing that CNN, the New York Times, MSNBC, the major networks, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Vox or any of the other “mainstream” and left-leaning news and opinion organizations write, say, or report will make a difference to Trump’s followers, devotees, and supporters.

And, until the Left understands this sentiment and takes concrete steps to correct it, nothing will change.

The resentment that the Right has developed toward the chattering classes, the social justice scolds, and the Left in general is both undeniable and understandable. When people are told, daily, that they’re racists merely because of the color of their skin, that their beliefs are not just wrong, but evil, that they must accept without question a social justice agenda that’s so rapidly changing that even its adherents can’t keep up, that they must subordinate or abandon their values, beliefs, customs and practices to this agenda, and that nothing they do will ever be good enough, is it any surprise that they tune out? Especially when those accusations are deemed unfair and unjust?

That last bit is vital. We are not talking here about the blatant racists, bigots, white nationalists and other loathsome fringes. We are talking about average, workaday men and women, people who you’d be happy to share a dinner table with, people who simply want to live their lives and pursue their happiness without harm or ill intent to their neighbors. We are talking about people who are generally correct in believing they’re unjustly accused of Bad Things by the Left.

The key battles of the culture war have been won by people of a (traditionally) liberal worldview. While racism still exists, it’s a very pale shadow of the deep, institutionalized racism that spawned the civil rights movement. The same goes for gender equality, for gay rights, and for tolerance of minorities of countless sorts. Heck, even personal grooming and body modification has become a realm of tolerance, with long hair, beards, tattoos, piercings and the like now a “ho-hum” part of daily life rather than a reason to cross to the other side of the street. This victory has left the loony fringes in control of the machinery of the various civil rights movements, as the normal people recognized success and moved on, with predictably unfortunate results. The same goes for campus activism and for opinion journalism. In parallel, social media has desensitized us to each other’s feelings, and made the hatred my anonymous quotee pointed out too easy and too common.

Worse, the hatred for, lets call them “Middle America,” or “the masses,” or whatever term you want to use for people who are not left-liberal and in full conformity with the progressive agenda, manifests as a hatred for the nation itself, at least in what’s perceived as its current state. Whereas many deem the nation “flawed but good,” the controllers of the media narrative peddle a tale of “horribly broken and outright dangerous to every oppressed identity group we can think of.” Thus, my quotee’s final thought:

You hate me. You hate the country. I’ll take my chances with Trump.

I, personally, am not a Trump supporter. I didn’t vote for him, I don’t like his style of governance, I oppose the nativist elements of his platform, and I have concerns about his temperament (though not to the extend that many others do). But, the fact is, he’s the President, and I think the proper thing to do is judge his actions on their merits, wait out his term, and vote when it’s time to vote. But, that’s an aside to today’s matter, which is trying to understand why Trump’s backers aren’t receptive to the Left’s message or criticisms.

I get it, and have for a while. I’m not the problem, because I don’t have a blatant, condescending disrespect for my fellow Americans on the conservative side of the divide. In fact, while I disagree with them on many matters (including immigration, defense spending, gay marriage, the war on drugs, militarism, and protectionism, to name but a few), we share a common belief that core American values of individual liberty and limited government are superior to those cultures that do not share those values. I find that, increasingly, my fellow Americans on the liberal side don’t share that belief, and while that in no way drives me into the arms of Trump, I understand how it can do so.

“Know thine enemy” is a key tenet in both war and business. The problem is, though, that Americans should not perceive each other as enemies, even in disagreement. Many on the Right feel as if the Left considers them enemies, sad to say. Understanding this, and my quotee’s statements do so admirably, is a vital step in figuring out how to fix things, to narrow the divide and bridge the gap that exists today. So, if you are a progressive, a liberal, etc., befuddled by why Trump won and why he hasn’t been abandoned by his voters, consider the sentiment expressed by Mr. Anonymous at the top of this essay. And, then, ask yourself, is it true? Is it fair? And, do I want to do anything about it?

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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