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The Liberal Blind Spot. Even Now – We Just Don’t Get It

It’s hard to believe, really. Even after Brexit and Le Pen, and Donald Trump — even now, we just don’t get it.

Despite the most disastrous start to a presidential term in American history, Trump’s core support is surprisingly intact.

Yes, he has suffered a ten percent drop in approval among Republican voters; but that still leaves him with the backing of 81 percent of them. And although he lost five percent of those Republicans who approve of his handling of the job of President; that only means that 91 percent of them still approve. The most disturbing numbers for Trump, perhaps, are the ones that show his support from white voters in general, and white men in particular, is hovering in the 40 to 45% range, down by about six or seven points. While the numbers look bad in a narrow perspective, overall they’re surprisingly good, considering the 100 day train-wreck of failures, walk-backs, and turmoil within the White House, that has marked Trump’s reign to date.

This week, with the pyrrhic Republican “victory” over the Affordable Care Act in the House, the President, and the party can now claim that they have “accomplished” something. It means little that the Bill will never survive the Senate intact, and that the whole process is a chimera. Paul Ryan and the hard-line right will trumpet and gloat, convinced that they have turned the tide, and now have the upper hand in Congress.

The Democrats, however, shot themselves in the collective foot once again, by sneering at the victors, and singing Steam’s classic refrain; ” Na na na na. Na na na na. Hey hey hey. Goodbye.”

Somehow they failed to realize that they may have been singing farewell to any hope of their own recovery.

Tbe Republicans will soon follow the indignity of their assault on the ACA, with a new tax Bill, that will also rejuvenate party insiders and represent another “promise kept” by Trump.

It will not be a surprise to see the President overcome the slippage in core support that now seems apparent, and perhaps reverse the numbers to some degree.

Were he to welcome Steve Bannon back into the fold in some larger capacity, Trump would be right back where he started in January.

While Liberals and Democrats have been giddy with their success in holding the Republican agenda at bay, the truth is there has been no irreparable, or fatal damage inflicted upon the Administration to date. The 2018 midterms are still a long way away, and the momentum of the Resistance may be difficult to accelerate, or even sustain, until the disgusted, the angry, and the disillusioned, get go to the polls again.

So how on earth is it that this vile man, and his noxious band of cronies, can still manage to keep their heads above water in Washington?

Here’s why: we have failed to address the fundamental issues that allowed Trump to succeed in the first place.

Trump has not, and cannot, halt the advancement of globalism, free trade, technological change, and marginalization that is the malaise of both the poor, and increasingly, the unstable middle classes. But as long as he, and the intensely partisan Republican right continue to promise that they will “Make America Great” again, base support for this shameless cohort of carpetbaggers will likely remain reasonably solid.

The mistake Liberals made, and continue to make, is to believe the disenfranchised can be convinced that they are a better choice. That somehow, information, and logic; combined with the startling ineptitude of the Republican congress, will be enough to turn millions of Trump voters away from the clutches of evil, and back to the fold of the virtuous.

It won’t.

To understand why, liberal elitists will have to sully themselves, and get down with the rural poor of America. The ones they call “trailer trash”.  Or worse.

The harsh reality of life for those who should be the natural allies of the Democratic party, is something that the hipsters, the intellectuals, and the urbanites can neither relate to, nor comprehend. It’s stark pain is laid bare by writers like David Joy , and Sarah Smarsh , who reveal the heart and soul of the Lost Legion who march, neither for Trump, nor the Republicans, but for themselves. Those who did note vote for The Donald, but against everyone else. Against the status quo. Against the elite. Against the power-brokers, and lobbyists, who run Washington. And most especially against, those smug Liberals.

Their biggest concern is not to get more for themselves, but to make sure that the rest of us feel their pain. When you have nothing, and have always had nothing, and believe that you will never have anything but nothing, voting “against your own interest”, is kind of a moot point.

But voting to kick the complacent in the balls? Well, that’s not only easy, in many ways, it’s well justified.

Those on the left who preach about inequity, and income inequality, and poverty have done precious little to understand the lives of the ones who suffer under those very conditions. On the contrary, they disparage and ridicule them with labels like “Deplorables”.

Well, there is a label that, perhaps, should be applied to those who so harshly judge: Hypocrites.

Which is one of the reasons that the disenfranchised millions turned to Trump; they couldn’t bear the hypocrisy any longer.

Not that they are getting a lot of love from the Republicans at the moment; more like spit in the eye. But many of them expected nothing else, and are hardly surprised to receive it. What they do like however, is the intense dyspeptic suffering of those who belittled and ignored them. Little wonder then, that their support for Trump has barely wavered.

The lesson then, for the Liberal left, should be clear. We can no longer continue to mutter “Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.” and possibly hope to turn this situation around.

Hillary Clinton has announced the formation of a new PAC called “Onward Together”, with the avowed purpose of helping to fund and organize “the Resistance”, and prepare young candidates for the mid-term Congressional elections in 2018.

In reality, it is a desperate attempt by Mrs. Clinton to fuel a political comeback.

With all due respect Mrs. Clinton, please go away.

Albatross, millstone, cement shoes; choose your metaphor; the harsh truth, Mrs. Clinton, is this: they hate you. Your prominent presence is one way to ensure that there will never be reconciliation on the tattered left. The same old, same old, simply will not cut it. For the good of all that you profess to have supported and fought for throughout your entire life, it is time to face reality, and go gently into that good night.

There is only one path leading to the reconstruction of the traditional alliance of blue collar labour, Black Americans, minorities, and the progressive, liberal left, that once formed the base of the Democratic party. That path, involves a long march of penitence, complete with flagellation and hair shirts. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. Our confessions can be heard only by those who have been so bitterly alienated, and our absolution is theirs alone to give.

It strikes me, as a Canadian, that we sometimes believe that we are immune from the extreme division and partisanship we have seen in our neighbour’s house. That somehow our ‘social safety net’ will provide inoculation against madness. That belief, however, is fallacious.

In case you haven’t noticed, our safety net has been significantly frayed, and there is no great political appetite currently, to raise taxes to expand, or even repair those traditional social supports. Income disparity continues to grow as wages remain stagnant, but profits do not. There is, without doubt, a restiveness in this country that at the moment, is but a muffled echo of fury and frustration, bouncing across the border. But we would do well to harken, and recognize the similarities, before that faint grumble of rage becomes a deafening roar.

In short, it’s time to “get it”, before it, gets us.

scoturquhart@outlook.com

I'm a veteran broadcast journalist, producer, writer, and talk show gadabout. I like to play bad hockey, drink good beer, take sporadic rides on my bicycle and generally annoy my family with Dad jokes and selective memory. ( Lois the dog, excepted. )

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