Donald Trump Victory Reaction: Jessica Valenti’s Insults and Self-Righteous Outrage Will Not Win Back Trump Voters

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Hating on Trump supporters may feel good, but it comes at a high price

Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti prefers to wrap the comforting blanket of moral outrage tight around her and hunker down for a long and dehumanising war of attrition against Donald Trump supporters rather than put the national interest and social cohesion of America over her own short-term desire for catharsis.

Following on from the Mike Pence / Hamilton the Musical saga, in a piece entitled “Vote shaming Trump supporters is fair. What they have done is shameful”, Valenti spits:

You don’t get to vote for a person who brags about sexual assault and expect that the women in your life will just shrug their shoulders. You don’t get to play the victim when people de-friend you on Facebook, as if being disliked for supporting a bigot is somehow worse than the suffering that marginalized people will endure under Trump. And you certainly do not get to enjoy a performance by people of color and those in the LGBT community without remark or protest when you enact policies and stoke hatred that put those very people’s lives in danger.

Being socially ostracized for supporting Trump is not an infringement of your rights, it’s a reasonable response by those of us who are disgusted, anxious, and afraid. I was recently accused by a writer of “vote shaming” – but there’s nothing wrong with being made to feel ashamed for doing something shameful.

Before concluding:

Whether it’s Pence at a play or your Trump-voting uncle at Thanksgiving, there are people right now who should be made to feel uncomfortable. In a time when there is so much to protest, so much work to do, the booing is necessary – shame on us if we ever stop.

Valenti has learned nothing – absolutely nothing from this election. She would rather stew in her own ideological bubble, wallow in her own supposed victimhood and demonise a vast swathe of the country for their decision, yet expect these people to listen to her advice when it comes to picking a candidate in 2020.

Or perhaps Valenti doesn’t actually care whether many of the Trump supporters actually vote for her favoured Democratic candidate. She would be more than happy for them to sit at home on election day 2020, let down by Trump and unmotivated by anyone else, their lives continuing to become steadily worse, their economic position and job security still being eaten away without any attempt at remedy from Washington. Perhaps Valenti is fine with all of that – I doubt that she personally knows or counts among her smug little friendship circle a single person like those she is busy demonising in her Guardian column.

Valenti tries to invoke the politics of victimhood to make Trump voters (too often portrayed as a homogeneous bloc by leftists who would otherwise recoil from stereotyping) seem like the cruel oppressors here. Yet she is blind to the possibility that people fortunate enough to live in New York City and act on stage in the biggest hit musical theatre show of the decade – and the Brooklyn-dwelling US Guardian columnists who cheer them on – might be the ones with privilege and airy disregard for those without power and influence in the modern world, rather than a a hateful white, male auto-assembly worker in Michigan or a call centre worker in Wisconsin.

Being the bigger person means having empathy for those who disagree with you, even those who spurn and insult you at times. It means having the humility to consider the possibility that while Donald Trump may indeed be a bad president-elect and a worse man, many of the people who voted for him did so not as an endorsement of his worst qualities but through lack of a less-flawed messenger for the ideas he advocated which (rightly or wrongly) resonated with people. It means having the courage to consider that maybe some of those ideas might actually have merit.

Jessica Valenti does not need to be the bigger person today. She can probably afford to indulge in her Trump tantrum – which unfairly targets millions of decent Americans along with the man himself – through inauguration day, and perhaps a little longer. And to be clear, this blog is not suggesting that Valenti has no right to be upset by the result, or to express her objections to Donald Trump, just that she should find a less bitter, more constructive and narrowly-targeted way to do so.

But if Valenti and her fellow left-wing anti-Trump cohort want to win back political power, it would help an awful lot if she, together with many of the other transparently privileged media commentators and celebrities in the country were to put a sock in the tirade, get out of Trump voters’ faces for a few minutes and actually considered trying the Good Cop approach to outreach and persuasion for a change.

But who am I kidding? She won’t do it. After all, it just feels so good to stamp one’s feet and shout at the Evil Bad Men (and self-hating women) who picked Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. And the pursuit of that warm glow of self-righteous outrage blinds the Jessica Valentis of this world to the fact that with every new column, they only strengthen Trump’s support and set themselves back even further on the path to genuine political renewal.

 

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Top Image: Pixabay

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Meet Donald Trump, Special Snowflake

Donald Trump’s reputation as a brave warrior against political correctness is a big fat lie – he has always been happy to use free speech-busting, SJW tactics to attack and silence his critics

In a move which perfectly illustrates the yawning chasm between the “two Americas”, the cast of hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” saw fit to deliver a rather patronising end-of-show lecture on equality, diversity and tolerance to vice president-elect Mike Pence, who was sitting in the audience.

Telling the audience that there was “nothing to boo” (many of them seemed to disagree, and heartily booed Mike Pence when he first took his seat in the theatre and again when the cast addressed him as he was leaving), cast member Brandon Victor Dixon said:

Vice-president elect Pence, we welcome you and we truly thank you for joining us at Hamilton: An American Musical. We really do.

We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir.

But we truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us.

We truly thank you for sharing this show — this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men, women of different colors, creeds, and orientations.

It is actually not a bad speech, and was certainly delivered with an eloquence and dignity which has been largely missing from both sides of this dismal presidential election.

One can take issue with the idea that people need to be constantly nurtured by successive presidential administrations and “protected” by government, but Donald Trump has said enough inflammatory and offensive things on his path to the White House that nobody can say that all of the trepidation is unjustified, or that some people are not in legitimate need of reassurance – either because of things that the president-elect himself has said, or by irresponsible scaremongering by those opposed to Donald Trump.

And yes, one could also rightly point out that it doesn’t say much for America’s social cohesion and inclusivity when the producer of Hamilton: An American Musical could authorise such a speech in the sure knowledge that the words addressed to Mike Pence would speak for every single one of the cast and crew (as they almost certainly did). How many Trump voters or conservatives in general work in musical theatre, or dare to admit their political preferences if they do?

As Brandon Victor Dixon boasted, there was indeed every kind of diversity standing on that stage at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. Every kind of diversity apart from intellectual and political diversity.

But of more interest than the cast’s speech itself, though, is the response it provoked from president-elect Donald Trump, who now seems to have been given back full control of his Twitter account after anxious aides confiscated his devices in the closing days of the campaign to prevent any final day gaffes or Twitter wars.

Trump clearly did not take kindly to seeing his future vice president lectured on American values by a cast of musical theatre actors, and fired off this angry tweet:

And then this one, when the rage had still not subsided eight minutes later:

The theatre must always be a safe and special place? Really? I can think of at least one American president in history who had a decidedly unpleasant experience in a theatre, 151 years ago. And during his pivotal and historic presidency, Abraham Lincoln withstood insults and diatribes far worse than anything ever levelled at Donald Trump, and did so with infinitely more grace.

But mark what we are witnessing here: Donald Trump, slayer of political correctness, fighter of censorship, champion of free speech and supposed scourge of the Identity Politics Left, now using exactly the same language of grievance and victimhood to portray himself as a victim in a bid for the moral high ground.

Jonah Goldberg warned months ago that while Donald Trump is quite happy to profit from being seen as an anti-PC warrior, he is also ruthless in using PC tactics himself when he feels under attack:

This idea that Donald Trump is against political correctness is just a fiction. He’s against being held accountable to people to political correctness for himself but he is delighted to use the exact same bullying tropes of political correctness against other people. He’s done it against me when he tried to get me fired from National Review, saying I was insulting to women and that I have to apologise or resign or be fired because I was so insulting to women. What did I do that was so insulting to women? I said that Donald Trump is staying up late into the night like a teenage girl, tweeting. Which was A, accurate, and B, accurate.

During the primaries when Jeb Bush had a completely understandable and forgivable gaffe about women’s health issues, for weeks Donald Trump was talking about how horrible Jeb Bush was on women’s issues, playing these politically correct cards. He’s a nearest weapon to hand arguer in all things because he does have no philosophy, he has no intellectual grounding whatsoever.

And again here:

Nor is he the enemy of political correctness they make him out to be. Trump is perfectly happy to invoke and deploy PC arguments and standards against his opponents, he just wants to be immune from their sting himself.

And now, perhaps, people will start to realise that the man they just elected to the White House is not actually for free speech and against censorship and thin-skinned intolerance in principle, but only when those behaviours stand in his way or threaten to make him look foolish.

In this way and so many others (like the laughable idea that he is a conservative, and that his miraculous Damascene conversion from being a stereotypical wealthy New York liberal is in any way sincere), Donald Trump has conned his way to the White House. And as we have seen, his impulsive nature means that President Trump will inevitably react to events before his aides can restrain him or urge him to rise above minor slights and insults to portray a presidential calmness. Therefore, it will not be long until Trump is exposed as the thin-skinned, criticism averse, dissent silencing authoritarian that he is.

Inauguration Day itself will be one of the first big challenges – there are plans afoot for millions of protesters to descend on Washington D.C. and numerous other cities to voice their opposition to the supposed Trump agenda. Will Trump be seen tweeting responses and insults to the protesters from the presidential platform now being built on the steps of the Capitol, as he watches the inauguration festivities taking place? Will he demand that the National Mall be made a “safe space” free of political dissent as he and Melania take the limousine drive down to the inauguration site?

For those who have so far been willing to overlook them, Donald Trump’s grave character defects were always going to be exposed by events. And now it seems that we didn’t even have to wait until he placed his hand on the Bible and gave the oath before the portrayal of Trump as a happy warrior against censorship was exposed as a sham.

This probably will not bother Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters just now. While the president-elect demands safe spaces for himself, he at least continues to throw rhetorical bombs at all of the “right” people to keep his base happy. But one day that will change.

In a couple of years, when Donald Trump’s political agenda is quite possibly mired in gridlock and the Republican Party faces a difficult set of midterm elections, some of those Trump supporters, unhappy with the slow delivery of Trump’s promised land of milk and honey, may wish to register their anger at the president. And if they do so, the president will attack them too, just as he attacked the hated SJWs and college snowflakes and identity politics zealots during the campaign. But it will not feel so good when the president is demanding a safe space free from the criticism of his own one-time supporters.

Funny. I wonder how many Trump voters realised that they were electing the biggest and most precious snowflake of them all to the most powerful job in the world.

 

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RNC 2016: Republican National Convention – Night 3 Summary

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By going rogue onstage in Cleveland and pointedly refusing to endorse Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz – flawed politician though he may be – put the degenerate, ideologically rootless Republican Party to shame

The speakers on night 3 of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland addressed the thousands of delegates against a giant backdrop of the United States Constitution. Which is pretty ironic considering that the GOP has chosen as its presidential nominee a man whose thin-skinned egotism and frighteningly authoritarian policies betray ignorance of the Constitution at best, and at worst an outright contempt for the founding document.

And in a pointed illustration of the depths to which the Republican Party has sunk – and the long distance it has drifted from anything that can be described as constitutional conservatism – the only speaker to make passionate and convincing reference to the Constitution and to liberty was booed off the stage amid a chorus of hate.

That speaker was Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, runner-up in the Republican presidential primary, whose uncompromising speech and unapologetic refusal to endorse Donald Trump sent delegates into meltdown and utterly eclipsed vice presidential nominee Mike Pence’s speech (the traditional focus of the penultimate evening).

Cruz’s speech was in many ways everything that was missing from this dumpster fire of a party convention. Where the Trumpians were fearful and narrow-minded, Cruz was bold, optimistic and unafraid. Where the Trumpians spoke of enemies within and without, Cruz spoke of that more familiar America which boldly strives for progress, not merely consolidate its losses.

One particular  highlight:

But something powerful is happening. We’ve seen it in both parties. We’ve seen it in the United Kingdom’s unprecedented Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

Voters are overwhelmingly rejecting big government. That’s a profound victory.

People are fed up with politicians who don’t listen to them, fed up with a corrupt system that benefits the elites, instead of working men and women.

[.]

And if we choose freedom, our future will be brighter.

Freedom will bring back jobs, raise wages.

Freedom will lift people out of dependency, to the dignity of work.

We can do this. 47 years ago today, America put a man on the moon. That’s the power of freedom.

And no, I don’t just like it because Ted Cruz rightly name-checked Brexit as one of this year’s great victories for freedom and smaller government over the establishment and technocracy (although it sure doesn’t hurt).

What’s really appealing here is the sense of optimism, almost entirely missing from speaker after speaker who took the stage to endorse Trump. What’s appealing is the reverence for individual liberty rather than the craven need for an authoritarian strongman to smite our enemies and give us occasional treats.

America is the only country to ever successfully send human beings to the moon. It is the land of possibility, a place which has enchanted me since I was a teenager growing up in suburban Essex, England. So why does Donald Trump’s America seem like a place of threats and crooks and hidden dangers rather than the land of the free and the home of the brave?

But it was this passage which sealed Cruz’s fate in the convention hall:

We deserve leaders who stand for principle. Unite us all behind shared values. Cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect, from everybody.

And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.

Delegates were already loudly booing and chanting “say it!” and “endorse Trump!” before this point. But after Cruz delivered his final lines any applause was utterly drowned out by jeers and sounds of disapproval.

That is the contempt with which principle, freedom, liberty and the Constitution are unfortunately held by the faction now in charge of the Republican Party. One may rightly castigate the Republican Party of Mitt Romney and John McCain and George W. Bush for their sometimes empty paeans of praise to these high-minded ideals. But at least they spoke of them. At least they somehow sensed that they were important.

Not Trump. Donald Trump doesn’t promise personal freedom. He promises a chimerical wonderland of economic and physical security which is totally beyond his power to guarantee, all at the low, low cost of accepting the Donald’s pick ‘n mix attitude towards the Bill of Rights. It’s a dodgy, contemptible deal, but it is a bargain willingly struck by speaker after speaker as they fall in line and give him their endorsement.

Two more otherwise promising Republican governors debased themselves last night – Florida governor Rick Scott and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. Add their names to the roll call of household name Republicans who have bent the knee to Donald Trump and there are very few well-credentialed conservative Republicans who will be able to help dig the party out of the rubble of defeat to Hillary Clinton in November.

Which, of course, is exactly why Ted Cruz made his gambit in the first place.

Jeremy Carl writes approvingly in the National Review:

Ultimately, Cruz’s performance in the hall outlined his strongest political quality: his courage, a virtue that, ironically, he shares to some degree with his Trumpian nemesis. For those of us who believe that courage is the virtue we will need most if we are to have any chance of effectively challenging liberalism’s false premises and rolling back its cultural hegemony, that courage is the reason we can make peace with Cruz, whatever his other flaws.

[..] But it is a far more human and admirable courage than Trump’s hyper-confident bluster. This is not to suggest that Cruz is not a calculating politician (indeed he is, far more than most). Nor does it deny that he may well bear some responsibility for other behaviors that have not endeared him to his Senate colleagues. But after all of the calculating is done, Senator Cruz, more than any other national Republican, is willing to go out alone and defend an unpopular conservative position when doing so may have substantial personal and political costs.

“It was the glory of this man that he could stand alone with the truth and calmly await the result,” said Frederick Douglass at the funeral of his fellow radical abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, who first took up the cause at a time when it was deeply unpopular. While the stakes of Cruz’s speech, significant though they were, pale in comparison with the battles fought by Douglass and Garrison, the core principles Douglass stated apply equally. And in this case, the truth, whether or not the delegates in Cleveland wanted to hear it, is that Donald Trump, whatever virtues and vices he may have, and regardless of whatever GOP officialdom wants to pretend, is not a conservative, at least in the way that Americans have thought of conservatism over the last several decades. Ted Cruz didn’t join #NeverTrump yesterday. But he did declare that he wasn’t going to pretend that Trump’s record was something it wasn’t.

Senator Cruz’s decision was clearly unpopular with many GOP delegates and insiders in Cleveland. But for many in the wider political world outside the convention hall, Lyin’ Ted became Lion Ted on Wednesday night. And 2016 will likely not be the last time we’ll hear his roar.

This blog is no great cheerleader for Ted Cruz, a man whose prickly public persona tests the saying “principles before personalities” to the uttermost limit. But my God, he is a better Republican presidential candidate than Donald Trump. At least he is actually a conservative.

That’s not to say that this blog scorns all Donald Trump supporters or absolves mainstream conservatives of their responsibility for creating the Trump phenomenon in the first place. Far from it. The vast majority of Trump supporters are kind, decent people with entirely legitimate grievances against a self-serving political class which has failed them for years, even decades.

But that doesn’t make Donald Trump the right solution. It certainly does nothing to detract from the fact that Trump is a calamity for the Republican Party, who are now paying in a lump for their years of corruption and degeneracy.

Tonight Donald Trump will take the stage in Cleveland and accept the Republican Party’s nomination for the presidency of the United States. By some accounts his acceptance speech is good, even dangerously good.

I don’t see this ending well.

 

 

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Top Image: The Federalist

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