Martin Sheen’s Electoral College Video Doubles Down On Celebrity Snobbery

Martin Sheen’s Electoral College Video Doubles Down On Celebrity Snobbery

This past week, a group of celebrities, led by the didactic Martin Sheen, banded together to create one of the more condescending videos I have ever had the privilege of watching.

The two-and-a-half minute clip was produced by Unite for America, an organization assembled in the wake of Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory and devoted exclusively to overturning the vote of 37 Republican electors, thereby preventing President-elect Trump from ascending the Oval Office. The video features a parade of pop culture figures, from Debra Messing to Bob Odenkirk, each appearing physically distraught and doing his or her utmost to assign incredible gravity to each syllable uttered.

Dear People: Get With Our Program

With such declarations as “I’m not asking you to vote for Hillary Clinton” and “The American people trust that your voice speaks for us all,” the video attempts an all-too-late stab at bipartisanship, in hopes that viewers will ignore the flaming liberal rhetoric that emanated from Hollywood throughout the entirety of the election.

The message is clear: the candidate for whom these celebrities spent months shilling lost the Electoral College, the metric granted ultimate primacy by Article Two of the Constitution. Now, as individuals with no substantial political background, these celebrities have organized en masse to produce content designed to “educate” our electors, chosen for their political pedigree, on their electoral duty. The whole situation reeks of condescension, derisiveness, and social hubris.

What these self-ordained celebrities are demanding is nothing short of the very opposite of what they claim to be purporting. They assert that they “stand with…all citizens of the United States,” yet admittedly only if those citizens agree with their political viewpoint. If said citizens disagree, then, unfortunately, these celebrities decidedly do not stand with them. In fact, they would prefer electors to actively oppose the wishes of these very citizens, so that the candidate they personally believe to be the best suited has a second shot at the presidency.

The Elite Man’s Burden

After watching this video three times I started to recall the rhetoric of “The White Man’s Burden.” As the title of a poem written in 1899 by Rudyard Kipling, the phrase became the moral battle cry of U.S. imperialism, serving as justification for entering foreign lands and brutally subjugating local populations.

The implication behind “The White Man’s Burden” was that imperialists were fulfilling a divine purpose by “civilizing” otherwise “brutish” populations. In other words, only the imperialists knew what was best for the barbarians they encountered, even if said barbarians engaged in strong-armed resistance. In fact, imperialists treated such resistance as greater evidence that local populations were ignorant of what was necessary for their people and therefore, were desperately in need of the white man’s guidance.

In our modern-day scenario, coastal elites have engaged in much of the same condescension as imperialists of the twentieth and twenty-first century did. Videos such as the one Unite for America produced display how morally galvanized such celebrities feel in their attempt to undermine and delegitimize the votes of millions of Americans, simply because said Americans disagreed with their politics.

Dear Savages, It’s Time to Modernize

These Republican-voting Americans, heavily dispersed between the two coasts, represent a far-off land rarely frequented by the celebrities featured in the instructive video. Indeed, the implication behind encouraging electors to ignore the votes of these citizens is that these citizens are neither deserving of the right to vote nor capable of choosing a path that is best for their communities.

Instead, they are prime examples of fallen “noble savages,” once revered and maybe even romanticized for their occupation of distant spaces but, through a series of misguided choices, have lost the rugged nobility that once made them good. Now they desperately need the coastal elites, who are all too willing to impose upon them the path to enlightened civilization. Indeed, even as these citizens retort that they do support Trump wholeheartedly, the response of the elitist Left will be pulled from the very imperialist handbook followed a century prior: “You are too ignorant to know what you want.”

Videos like these, reeking of elitist nonsense and moral grandstanding, will ensure greater losses to the Democrats in 2018. Whilst the video’s hashtag read “#SupporttheElectors,” it was far from a cry to “support” electors engaged in the Electoral College’s voting process. Instead, it was a boldfaced and disturbing push to dehumanize certain Americans by robbing them of their inalienable right to representation in the Electoral College. And there is nothing noble in that attempt—instead, only gross savagery.

Erielle Davidson is an economic research assistant at the Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, California. She completed a B.A. in Russian at Middlebury College with a specific focus on Eastern European politics. She has researched and written extensively on the geopolitical implications of terrorism in Putin’s Russia. She can be found on twitter at @politicalelle.
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