I have not exactly been reserved in my opposition to Trump. From the moment he entered the election, I was concerned he would corrupt the Republican Party and that people would confuse his positions with my conservatism. And, to be clear, I did not vote for Trump and am still no fan of his now that he will be president, so this is not personal for me.
But all of that aside, the campaign quickly devolved into personal partisan insults amongst and against the candidates’ supporters, a trend that only accelerated after Trump won the election. Is this a problem on both sides? Sure. But it is much, much more pronounced on the cultural left.
Trump voters have been repeatedly slandered after the election. I touched on this a bit in an earlier post, but did not do the issue justice. There have been an astonishing number of liberals who have claimed that all 63 million Trump voters, people they have never met, are racist, sexists, or espouse various other types of bigotry. It takes an incredible lack of self-awareness to claim a whole category of people you don’t know share a set of negative attributes, and condemn them for bigotry.
At a certain level, this is par for the course. We all remember the Bush/Hitler comparisons or insults of his intelligence. And people who care deeply about politics can take a loss hard. My personal favorite was the new diagnoses of Post-Election Stress Disorder following Bush’s 2004 re-election. I don’t know how the people who came up with that didn’t realize the acronym spelled PEST, but it provided me with some entertainment. Eight years later, when Obama was re-elected, I understood it a bit better.
The current overreaction is an altogether different matter. It is one thing to criticize and insult a politician. That is natural and somewhat healthy in a democracy. But to denigrate one’s fellow citizens en masse and without evidence is harmful to democracy, and it is being taken to the extreme.
Ned Resnikoff, senior editor of the left-wing blog Think Progress, could not even look at a working class white man he described as “a perfectly nice guy and a consummate professional” without wondering if he had voted for Trump and was therefore an anti-Semite.
Melinda Byerley, CEO of a marketing and advertising consulting firm, said rural towns struggle because “no educated person wants to live in a shithole with stupid people. Especially violent, racist, and/or misogynistic ones.”
Over at Raw Story, the liberal website helpfully informed its readers that the real problem is that Trump voters’ religiosity has made them too ignorant to realize they are racists.
But what are all of these insults directed at their fellow countrymen missing? Evidence. None of these instances of libel contain any evidence that Trump voters are largely racist. There are at best anecdotes of having once met a racist they assume later voted for Trump. That was enough to disparage a whole group of people and kill off irony.
I have criticized Trump for occasionally appealing to racists during his campaign. And of course out of all the people who voted for Trump, some are assuredly bigots, just as some who voted for Hillary are as well. But before you condemn all Trump voters, ask yourself if all of your friends and/or family who voted for Trump are racists. And if you don’t know anyone who voted for Trump, why would you feel competent enough to judge all 63 million of them?