If Donald Trump becomes president of the United States, it will now be largely thanks to the army of sanctimonious, virtue-signalling left-wing commentators who are unwilling to (or incapable of) grappling with the roots of his appeal
Donald Trump’s path to victory in November leads directly through sanctimonious, fatuous, hectoring, intellectually snobbish attitudes like that shown in the image above, currently being widely circulated on social media.
Writer Andy Borowitz, wringing his hands about the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, pompously warns us:
Stopping Trump is a short-term solution. The long-term solution – and it will be more difficult – is fixing the educational system that has created so many people ignorant enough to vote for Trump.
One does not have to be a supporter of Donald Trump to realise that this is exactly the kind of morally certain, unfoundedly intellectually superior leftist bilge which could yet deliver the presidency to the unstable, egotistical reality-TV star.
It is the kind of toxic mindset which endlessly repeats to itself that the only reason someone might disagree with the pro-Identity Politics, pro-illegal immigration status quo is through a mental defect of some kind.
If Andy Borowitz were capable of extricating his head from his own posterior for a few short seconds, he might note that the median annual income of a Trump supporter is around $72,000 while that of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters is just $61,000 – a whole $11,000 more. In other words, Donald Trump supporters are so ignorant and uneducated that somehow they manage to out-earn the highly “enlightened” supporters of the two remaining Democratic Party candidates.
And yet the myth persists of the Trump voter as a knuckle-dragging, uncultured simpleton who has been led astray by Evil Right Wing lies and propaganda, while even the most air-headed of Clinton or Sanders supporters is preposterously transformed into a high-minded philosopher, imbued with deep wisdom and knowledge. What dangerous nonsense.
More odious still is the implication that Trump supporters need to be “re-educated” – that their political views and priorities are somehow invalid, and that rather than openly debating and examining those views in the marketplace of ideas, the holders of Trumpian views should be quietly taken aside and indoctrinated with “good” left-wing ideas.
It is the easiest thing in the world to make a snap judgement that those people who hold differing views do so out of either ignorance or malevolence. This is an emotional comfort blanket which the American (and British) Left cling to ever-more tightly, but which now increasingly threatens to suffocate them. Assume your opponent is stupid and the best you can hope to achieve is a loud shouting match. Actually take the time to understand your opponent’s arguments and put yourself in their place, and real political dialogue becomes possible.
People support the candidacy of Donald Trump for many reasons. Some are highly disaffected conservatives or anti-establishment types nursing a “let it burn” attitude toward Washington D.C. in general. Some are dispirited social conservatives who sense that they have lost the culture war and see in Trump someone who may not share their values, but who will nonetheless give their un-magnanimous liberal foes a good kicking.
Yes, some are racist and some are Islamophobic – though this critique of Trump supporters by the New Republic is little better than Borowitz’s own fatuous take. Others simply hold the position that people who are illegally present in the United States should not be conferred with the comfort and security of American residency or citizenship. Some are very wealthy and others are very poor. And crucially, Trump supporters are drawn from every level of educational attainment.
It may be technically possible to fix the educational system so as to stop producing people likely to support Donald Trump, as Borowitz wants, but it would mean the creation of a nationwide network of leftist madrassahs, places where conservative thought and academic freedom were utterly banished, which would hardly be conducive to liberal democracy.
If Andy Borowitz really wants to fix a festering national trend, he should worry less about an educational system which sometimes has the temerity to produce Donald Trump supporters, and more about the growing inability of American citizens to handle exposure to contrary ideas without resorting either to unbearable condescension or shrill demands for the offending speech to be banished.
For as long as Democrats and assorted anti-Trump forces assume that conservatives and others who disagree with them do so merely through lack of education, they will continue to underestimate their opponents – in this case, with potentially disastrous consequences.
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