Both presidential campaigns proclaimed victory Wednesday. The Trump campaign did here. Team Biden did there. Of course, no one knows which candidate has actually received the required legally cast votes to become America’s next president, but that hasn’t kept partisan pundits from acting like poor winners.
President Trump has taken bipartisan criticism for his late election-night victory declaration, but he is not the only one to have lost mind of his citizenship manners as we all wait to see the final outcome.The editors at The Atlantic are breathlessly accusing about half the country of being nuts for voting to “leave a dangerous sociopath in the Oval Office,” fueled by their “sullen commitment to authoritarianism.”
If that half of the country gets their wish and Trump is re-elected, The Atlantic says that’s very, very bad. Effectively, “The United States would begin its last days as a democracy, finally stepping over the ledge into authoritarianism.” That is a lot of blame to put on the shoulders of one’s fellow Americans, but so be it when you live in a bubble.
The New York Times has been busy demagoguing as well. Their own Gail Collins asks how half the country could be so bag-of-rocks stupid to have even considered voting for Trump. She asks, “[H]ow the hell could American voters have picked Trump to be President to begin with it?” She could have easily taken a few days out of these last four years to go for a little drive out into Middle America to ask some of them this very question and listen carefully to their answers, but she did not.
Collins adds to her disbelief, asking, “And how, after four years of his Fib-a-Minute Administration, could they have come even remotely close to re-electing him?” The answer is assumed in her question. They lack her smarts and virtue, and all would be well with the world if they could just get some of it.
Collins shared her space on the Times op-ed page with Charles Blow, who declares it nothing short of “obscene” that even more voters cast votes for Trump in 2020 than did four years ago. He is absolutely baffled that this included men and women he thinks should know better: people with specific skin shades and LGBT people.
After all that Donald Trump has done, all the misery he has caused, all the racism he has aroused, all the immigrant families he has destroyed, all the people who have left this life because of his mismanagement of a pandemic, still roughly half of the country voted to extend this horror show.
Blow wants you not to miss this fact: If you voted for Trump, you are a very bad person — not just wrong, not just confused. You are evil. He is very clear on that point: “It is so unsettling to consider that many of our fellow countrymen and women are either racists or accommodate racists or acquiesce to racists.” He is speaking, as he explains, of “White people — both men and women — [who] were the only group in which a majority voted for Trump.”
Blow’s righteous fury is not only for the bigoted, white Trump-voter. “I am still stunned,” Blow confesses, that a “larger percentage of every racial minority voted for Trump this year than in 2016.” He is disturbed that twice as many black women just voted for Trump than did in 2016. Trump gained with black men as well, but not as dramatically.
Blow is likewise shocked that the percentage of LGBT-identified people voting for Trump also doubled, moving from 14 percent in 2016 to 28 percent this week. “This one pushed me back on my heels,” he says.
There can be only one reason for such a thing, according to Blow. “All this to me,” he explains, “points to the power of white patriarchy and the coattail it has of those who depend on it or aspire to it.” He ends with his own stunning bit of patriarchal arrogance: “Some people who have historically been oppressed will stand with the oppressors, and will aspire to power by proximity.”
According to these writers, the fact that a solid half of Americans voted for Trump all comes down to nothing short of three things: sheer stupidity, racism, and Stockholm syndrome. This is the only explanation they can muster for why half of America, and growing, as well as an increasing number of minorities, voted as they did.
It seems they haven’t learned anything since 2016. Win or lose, we must do better than this in understanding and explaining the people with whom we disagree.