August 29, 2017

Liberal realization

Ad hominem ,ad absurdum.
Bloomberg journalist with a clearly liberal track record, Clive Crook ruminates in a reasonable way on why president Trump's supporters are still backing him, and it's not about him, it's about them:
...Trump's supporters are loyal. What is one to make of this?

There are two main theories of Trump's support. One is that a large minority of Americans -- 40 percent, give or take -- are racist idiots. This theory is at least tacitly endorsed by the Democratic Party and the mainstream liberal media. The other is that a large majority of this large minority are good citizens with intelligible and legitimate opinions, who so resent being regarded as racist idiots that they'll back Trump almost regardless. They may not admire the man, but he's on their side, he vents their frustration, he afflicts the people who think so little of them -- and that's good enough.

It's disappointing that Charlottesville hasn't changed their minds -- but then it hasn't changed my mind either. I still think the first theory is absurd and the second theory basically correct.
Crook isn't done there, and his conclusion is remarkable:
Trump is routinely accused of being authoritarian and anti-democratic, despite the fact that he won the election and, so far, has been checked at every point and has achieved almost nothing in policy terms. (He might wish he were an authoritarian, but he sure hasn't been allowed to function as one.) Many of his critics, on the other hand, are anti-democratic in a deeper sense: They appear to believe that a little less than half the country doesn't deserve the vote.

The second theory -- the correct theory -- is a terrible indictment of the Democratic Party and much of the media. Why aren't the intelligible and legitimate opinions of that large minority given a hearing? Why must their views be bundled reflexively into packages labelled "bigotry" and "stupidity"? Why can't this large minority of the American people be accorded something other than pity or scorn?
This is what conservatives who support president Trump were hoping the Left would not realize - their reflexive reactions to anything they disagree with has continued to cause Trump supporters to dig in their heels if nothing else out of spite for the left's condescension. Obviously there's more to it for Trump supporters but that aside, this is exactly the understanding we don't want the rest of the left to grasp. Their intolerance will continue to hurt them more than us.

Still one has to congratulate Crook on his clear-headed understanding. Proof of his understanding of the bigger picture comes in his closing argument:
Deeming somebody's opinions illegitimate should be a last resort, not a first resort. Refusing to engage, except to mock and condescend, is both anti-democratic and tactically counterproductive. Proof of that last point is the dispiriting tenacity of Trump's support.
Agreed completely, well, minus the word 'dispiriting'.
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