Donald Trump is now the President Elect of the United States. If you’re a progressive, like I am, the results of the Tuesday election were not what you were hoping for. A Republican majority in both houses of Congress, a campaign that did not fear spreading racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and ableist (among other hateful) rhetoric now holds the highest office in the land with a vacant Supreme Court seat. It was almost a given that we were going to see our first woman in the oval office; Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, famous for guessing all 50 states correctly in the 2012 election, gave her a 71.4% chance of winning, a conservative estimate at the time. Democrats had even hoped that they would be able to reclaim the Senate. How did we get it so wrong?
Filmmaker Michael Moore, now infamously, predicted that Donald Trump would win the race outright. His message is eerily accurate, and in many ways he was able to describe what happened in the election before it happened better than many were after it happened. Trump’s victory in the election came with the collapse of Hillary Clinton’s “Blue Wall,” a group of great lake states with a strong manufacturing voting bloc.
Earlier this morning, Michael Moore joined Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, among others, for a 45 minute segment without commercial interruption (which you can watch below) to talk about the bubble that the progressive elite keep themselves in, and this is something that I’m guilty of as well as many well-meaning people around the nation.
The technology we use now allows us to choose the voices we want to hear. The Wall Street Journal gave us a glimpse of what the other side of the world looks like on social media, but progressives have effectively made an echo chamber of thoughts they believe in and have shuttered themselves away from any differing opinions. The social media feeds of cosmopolitan progressives consist of self-congratulatory or gratuitous showcases of us being accepting and welcoming. In many ways, the conservatives who criticize progressives for being hypocrites for “celebrating diversity but not allowing diverse views” make a valid point. Obviously some opinions are reprehensible, but by turning off a dissenting views, we imagine a world that is far more hospitable and homogenous than what it really is.
I have seen a certain sentiment that is pervasive in the left’s social media, and it’s a demand that Trump voters should unfriend us or that third party voters should unfollow us. It’s an absolute judgment that we should isolate ourselves from any form of dissent. Progressives, we need to stop doing this. We need to listen to the voices of opposition. We need to bolster our own opinions by understanding the perspectives of others. We need to open our worldview to include the experiences of other. A large amount of progressive identity politics circulates around the idea that white, cisgendered, heterosexual, patriarchal supremacy exists because of the leverage of fear against “the Other.” We like to imagine ourselves as better than these people, yet for the past decade, we are so afraid that the regressive people so much as exist, that we’ve put on our blinders and ignored any difference in opinion.
We need to bolster our own opinions by understanding the perspectives of others. We need to open our worldview to include the experiences of other.
Progressive policy is meant to uplift the Rust Belt workers who ended up voting for Donald Trump, yet we turned a blind eye to their issues and their sentiment. Our shock that they voted for the Republican nominee comes from the fact that we were just not listening. We even had a warning that there was a weakness in Clinton’s “Blue Wall” when Bernie Sanders shockingly upset Hillary Clinton in the Michigan Primaries. There were those who heard the cries for a different America from the manufacturing workers of the Rust Belt: Donald Trump heard this; Bernie Sanders heard this.
We, the cosmopolitan progressive elite, must heed this latest warning of the 2016 election. We must open our ears and listen to the people we are looking to help. We must understand those who oppose us, as their worldview is just as vibrant and distinct as our’s is. We must strengthen our own opinions and arguments by intimately knowing its dissent. Clean out the earwax, progressives. We have work to do.