With the American election now thankfully over and the victory of Donald Trump and the GOP, the inevitable wails of the defeated Democrats and progressive left are coming to us now with rather unprecedented levels of salt. From claims that Trump’s victory equates the end of the republic, up through accusations that the election was rigged, the progressive left is in the midst of outright hysterics. However even for liberals such as myself who are less than pleased to see such a buffoon as Trump elected to the highest office in the land, patience for such tantrums is wearing exceptionally thin.
So what will happen after the last tears are shed and the final angry fists have been shaken? What comes next? For my part, as a once staunch leftist who still believes in many if not most of the liberal principles that once defined my politics, I will venture to say that this rather notable shakeup in establishment politics presents the left with an interesting opportunity that cannot and should not be overlooked.
Speaking specifically, what the left is presented with in light of the public rejection of the ostensibly progressive Hillary Clinton is a chance for self-reflection and reformation that is badly needed. There is a time to lick wounds, a time to mull over the events which lead us to this point and hopefully, time to recognize this election for what it really was; a referendum on modern American progressivism.
When looking beyond the claims of pure racism motivating the Trump campaign, which in the case of some portions of his support base was in fact true, and then even beyond the “outsider/anti-establishment” candidacy, one common and reoccurring theme that Trump supporters would often refer to is how his campaign served largely as a rebuke to the resurgent political correctness and identitarian politics which have come to define the progressive left.
Whether shrieks that one’s racial “privilege” must be checked according to social theorists’ skin tone paint swatches, obsessions over victim narratives rooted in fallacious claims such as gender wage gaps or the absence of certain pronouns, or most especially the coddled and terrified millennials demanding safe spaces, the left has become nearly every ounce of the histrionic pearl clutching authoritarians that conservatives once lampooned them as. In this, having abandoned the core principles of true liberalism, the progressive left has become a parody of itself. The knock on effects being, in this case, the election of Donald Trump.
Now, the political correctness of the neoprogressive movement, the fainting couch feminism and the flagrant use of “racist,” “sexist” and “bigot” as hollow and dismissive pejoratives all aside, the loss of the election by the Democrats and left to Trump does have numerous far reaching roots and implications. Top amongst them was the candidate herself, who in addition to maintaining a long record of hawkish, dishonest political maneuvers also has been shown to have outright stolen the primary from Bernie Sanders, who stood what many see as the greatest chance against Trump while promising a truly progressive vision of the nation’s future. Thanks to Wikileaks exposing of the internal DNC and Podesta emails, we now know with greater clarity that in a move that epitomizes the establishment elitism that mobilized so many a Trump and Sanders supporter alike, the supposedly “impartial” Democratic Party actively conspired internally and with their media allies to manipulate the primary in favor of Clinton.
What this all culminates in though, beyond merely the election of Trump is an open referendum on the sorts of snobbish, elitist, dishonest facets of the Democratic party as well as the contrived outrage and hysterics of the far left activist base that ultimately cost the left both the White House as well as the majority of Congressional seats. To my mind, this dualistic rebuke highlights not only the inevitable societal rejection of such concepts, but also how their divergent rejections of real liberal principles is tearing the left down brick by brick. To this end, it is now well past time for the left to lick its wounds, examine where it’s gone wrong and begin taking the steps towards reform that it badly needs.
Politically, there is little that can really be said to be all that liberal or progressive in the Democratic Party, short of the occasional feel-good rhetorical stands on matters of social policies. While same sex marriage for example, is on a legal and constitutional level in line with more classically liberal positions, other Democrat obsessions such as the well debunked gender wage gap and to some extents, seemingly giddy enthusiasm for abortion often feels more like a matter of virtue signaling to please a leftist base than any genuine matter of political principle. That or they’re genuinely misinformed and hyper-charged by gender politics, however in either case the topical issue fights on many a social matter almost seem to operate as a smoke-screen to mask the very sorts of special interest horse trading they so often bash Republicans for.
Things are even dodgier in the hallowed halls of academia, where professors from liberal arts and gender studies programs continue indoctrinating young and generally coddled, entitled minds into obsessing over things such as pronouns, political correctness and victimhood mentalities. As these poorly informed and often emotionally volatile students are then urged to become activists of various sorts, utilizing bogus theories about race, gender and oppression in their attempts to push for various identitarian revolutions. These useful idiots have themselves utterly abandoned liberalism in their open hostility to liberal principles about class issues, rational discourse and due process.
Between these two ends of the political left it would seem rests the media, which as we’ve found to be abundantly clear, serves a mix of corporate and ideological interests outside of actual objective journalism. In the world of the media, we have as Joe Scarborough put it, an entire industry which set aside their roles as journalists, opting instead to take up new jobs as partisan cheerleaders. From social media such as Twitter and Facebook which have been actively seeking to censor conservative content, up through mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times, NPR and Washington Post, all of whom flagrantly abandoned objectivity in favor of narrative promotion, the generally left leaning editors and executives of these outlets made little effort in hiding their blatant biases. This same propagandist style “journalism” even led some such as Chris Cuomo to call for a halt to the public accessing the aforementioned Wikileaks dumps until the openly biased media had parsed them over.
It almost seems that by an act of hubris on the part of these three legs of the political left that much of the population simply seems to have woken up to the ugly reality of modern progressivism and in a single election, rejected it outright. This isn’t to say that conservative factions such as the alt-right are themselves growing in power and influence, but rather that in the perceived avatar of that fringe ideology society found a means by which to reject the other. Interestingly enough, as more traditional social conservatism seems to be falling more rapidly out of fashion and is replaced increasingly with a more libertarian sort, many disaffected liberals have found new alliances with those who are as of right of center as they are left.
Yet much in the same way that the newer libertarian-esque conservatism found it’s catalyst for growth in the fall of the neo-conservative movement, perhaps it is now time for the left to partake in the sorts of ideological soul searching that led many a hawkish ultra-nationalist to temper their conservatism with a more liberty oriented perspective. Perhaps, no…without a doubt it is time for a resurgence in genuine liberal principles such as a dedication to meritocracy, matters of class division, intellectual honesty and above all, freedom of speech.
There is no real future for the social justice warriors’ style of neo-progressivism any longer. The harms offered by such a fringe ideology have begun now to be observed and recognized by the general public to greater degrees than before. Now with the left’s outright failure to carry out a win it believed was a sure thing electorally and the frothing outrage pouring from many rank and file progressives who genuinely believe we are on the cusp of the fifth reich, it is my hope at least that those not too far in the fringes of the left and those who are simply left of center can find it within themselves to reign in and handicap what has been a growing fringe mania that has at this point, all but destroyed what it means to be a liberal.