From the reactions accumulating on various social media organs, it appears that the Left never imagined that the identity politics it has championed – i.e., voting as a racial, sexual, gender, or ethnic bloc – could possibly be turned against it. Needless to say (though, in classic Curmudgeon Emeritus fashion, I’ll say it anyway), that sword has always had two edges. Rod Dreher put it about as well as anyone:
I do not like identity politics. I believe it is dangerous, especially in a pluralistic democracy like ours. But look, if that’s how the left is going to rig the system, then it should not be surprised when white people get tired of it, and decide to play by the same hardball rules.
By implication, Dreher is ready to believe that “white Americans” – i.e., Americans of the Caucasian race and non-Hispanic ethnicity – are the reason for the triumph of Donald Trump. It’s a common belief at this time, at least on the Left. There’s just one fly in the ointment: the evidence does not support it.
Fewer white Americans turned out to vote in this election than in 2008 and 2012. Trump got a smaller percentage of their votes than McCain or Romney, as well. What appears to have made the difference was the sharp reduction of the “minority” vote on which the Democrats counted: Negroes and Hispanics.
There were a couple of mild surprises in the mix. For example, approximately 53% of white women voted for Trump. That demographic was expected to “vote vagina.” That it spurned its opportunity to elect “the first woman president” suggests that abortion rights, “sexual harassment,” “glass ceilings” in the workplace, and other “women’s issues” the Left has cherished are of less importance to American women than they once were.
Little attention has gone to age-related voting patterns. According to CNN’s exit-poll statistics, the probability that a voter supported Trump varied directly with his age. But who has bothered to note the applicability of age to political orientation? Who has looked for an explanation to Winston Churchill’s aphorism that “If you’re not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart, but if you’re not a conservative at forty, you have no brain” -- ?
Of course, age is as partial a factor as the others. Not all of Trump’s support came from white Americans over forty, nor did he capture all of that demographic’s votes. However, the associations with age are important ones:
- Age correlates with experience in the labor market.
- It also correlates with having received a more traditional upbringing and education.
- The “youth” demographic has heaped mountains of scorn on its elders, engendering great resentment.
- Recent developments in federal law have worked powerfully against the interests of white Americans over forty.
Given all the above, that a preponderance of American voters over forty deemed their interests to be better represented by Donald Trump than by Hillary Clinton comes as no surprise. The Left didn’t contrive the outcome deliberately, though it might as well have done so.
All that having been said, remember that, as I observed yesterday, Hillary Clinton had a slight edge in the popular vote. It did her little good, as her support was concentrated in the coastal fleshpots, while the design of the Electoral College gives the less populous states a per capita over-representation. That’s at the heart of the Left’s demand that the Electoral College be scrapped and the presidency determined solely by popular vote.
However, once again the Left can only blame itself. Its identity-group politics and social-fascist policies are wholly responsible for its disadvantage in this regard. They’ve driven its pet demographics – government employees, academics, educrats, entertainers, journalists, other “symbolic” workers, and clients of the welfare state – into the large cities where their interests are prioritized. Thus, its huge margins in California and New York were essentially wasted in the presidential contest.
The irony of the Left’s relentless pressure to increase federal executive power, when its self-inflicted demographic wounds have caused presidential contests to lean Rightward, should not be lost on the observer. It leaves me wondering whether, had the GOP nominated a better candidate than John McCain in 2008, we would have suffered the Obama Interregnum now coming to a close.
Political strategists will study the 2016 presidential campaign for a long time to come. It has more lessons to teach than the ones mentioned above, though those will do for a Thursday morning essay from a narrow-gauge Web pundit. But for most Americans, the relief at having the damned thing over and done with is the most important part of it all.
Of course, for many, defeat is too bitter a pill to swallow. We’ve already seen “protests” – riots, really – in several of our large cities. The entertainment industry is replete with celebrities who’ve vowed to leave the country over the results. California is beset by angry hordes chattering about “secession,” though to any objective observer it’s plain that the Golden State could never survive as an independent republic.
If I may put a phrase millions of us have come to despise to a constructive purpose at long last, the time has come to move on. How many will do so? How many will give the incoming Trump Administration a fair chance to govern? How many will do everything possible to obstruct and impede it?
As always, we shall see.