The answer is simple: yes. You would think to yourself that from 62,829,832 votes in favor for Trump, according to International Business Times, that there must be hundreds, thousands, even millions of voters with a slight sense of moral character, simply leaning towards the other side of the political spectrum. However, Jamelle Bouie says otherwise in his latest article, There’s No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter. The headline is already attention-grabbing enough, but reading the headline, “They don’t deserve your empathy”, you can sense a slight hostility from the author. Slight.
Again, the Establishment faces an issue that columnist Dave Barry mocked: “Do we truly believe that ALL red-state residents are ignorant, racist, fascist, knuckle-dragging, NASCAR-obsessed, cousin-marrying, roadkill-eating, tobacco-juice-dribbling, gun-fondling, religious fanatic rednecks; or that ALL blue-state residents are godless, unpatriotic, pierced-nose, Volvo-driving, France-loving, left-wing communist, latte-sucking, tofu-chomping, holistic-wacko, neurotic, vegan weenie perverts?” Instead, Bouie misses the complexity of an election, a tug of war between many forces at play; he would rather compare the Trump voters (keep in mind, who voiced their opinion through their right to vote in favor for a candidate who is restrained to the same, generic presidential powers as any other President) to extrajudicial lynchings of African Americans.
The analogy is borderline insulting to the near half-century worth of horrors committed in the name of “vigilante-style justice”. In the “absence of hard scientific studies of press coverage of lynchings”, Richard M. Perloff of Cleveland State University writes that at the turn of the century, “when vigilante-style justice was commonplace”, the victims of black lynchings were dehumanized, “predisposed.. to commit violence crimes … and sometimes self-righteously defended lynching of Black individuals” (Perloff, 2000). Whereas these reports of harassment and intimidation in the aftermath of the 2016 election are openly critiqued by the mainstream media and prompt discourse such as now, the lynchings of African Americans were a sensational albeit normalized epidemic (Perloff, 2000). Moreover, the “more than 300 incidents of harassment or intimidation reported” according to the South Poverty Law Center does not mean that the 62,829,832 voters are actively engaging in this, only that a fringe minority of Trump supporters have celebrated (as disgusting as that sounds) their victory through these incidents. In my opinion, if only half of Trump voters would engage in these incidents, the incidents would be in the thousands, no tens of thousands, and would not be exempted from the legal process, not like the extrajudicial mob action taken against African Americans.
Even more irrational is his quick dismissal of Trump’s victory through populism and anti-establishment rhetoric, tunnel-focusing on racist America. White nationalist America. Anti-Semitic America. Now, there is reason for millions of Americans to loathe Trump’s victory, whether the feeling emerges from his continued antagonism against the Roe v Wade ruling or his ludicrous campaign promise to cut “70% of [federal] regulations” that he identifies as economically stagnating. However, the understandably terrible incidents nowadays are incomparable to lynching for Christ’s sake. And it goes forth to project the problem with sliding this election under the simple box labeled “Racism” or “Sexism” or any other contrived deflection the Democratic establishment can offer from their humiliating loss and now reconstruction. At the end of the day, the “liberals” are not these righteous heroes of minorities who voted for a noble candidate and now these deplorable right-wingers just hijacked this journey and landed us in another chapter of America’s continued Dark Ages.
The reality is that in the 2016 general election existed two heavily disliked candidates, with Hillary “Crooked” Clinton and Donald Trump as the generally repulsive Republican candidate, and so of course, when it comes to the vote, it came to a single, uniform goal among the constituency: let’s not get the other elected. The Democrats will forgive Clinton for her hyper-hawkish tendencies and departure from more progressive policies, and the Republicans will forgive Trump for his problematic behavior because all that matters is not placing the those opposed to their interests in the White House; the result of this race is to be the Americans’ shared responsibility for nominating these two incompetent candidates and continuing to forgive their grievances for a miserable few years.
If rejecting all of this, should Clinton voters not deserve an ounce of sympathy in their disappointments, anger, or frustration when their allegedly “progressive” candidate and her campaign team initially called Trump voters ‘deplorable’, expresses hyper-hawkish tendencies, condescendingly mock the left-leaning Sanders camp, and has dubious connections with countries and companies that many have labeled as “pay for play” schemes? Humorously, in the 8.4K comments in this article, the top comments demonstrate more reason than this intellectually lazy article cooked up: that “it is extremely important for Democrats to emphasize with Trump because that is the core act of marketing… understanding what motivates your constituents” and that “you cannot win an election by blithely dismissing the voters’ perspectives or underestimating your enemy or putting your head in the sand and hoping demographics will save you like some sort of pundit John Mayer.”
- Bouie, J. (2016, November 15). There’s No Such Thing as a Good Trump Voter. Slate. Retrieved January 8, 2017, from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2017/01/democrats_don_t_have_a_religion_problem.html
- Perloff, R. M. (2000, January). The Press and Lynchings of African Americans. Retrieved January 08, 2017, from http://academic.csuohio.edu/perloffr/lynching/