My fellow leftists and progressives: calm down. Stop screaming racism, sexism, and bigotry. Stop pointing fingers at your fellow Americans and blaming them for the perceived injustice of democratic action. In fact, embrace the Democratic Party’s message, “love trumps hate,” and show Trump supporters some love. This is not a time for pointing fingers but for figuring out what went wrong and how to move forward.
I voted for Clinton. Reluctantly. Unlike many, I did not expect her to win. Clinton has spent the last nine months doing her very best to alienate the white vote by playing the risky game of identity politics. The demographics are not, and never should have been perceived to be, in her favor. Whether you agree with identity politics or not, the reality of the situation is that the liberal use of the word racist has served only to alienate a group that comprises over 60% of the American population.
Trump supporters are not our enemy. In fact, they are our allies. Trump did not win because of racism, and framing the election that way is ignoring the problem and setting the progressive movement up for further failure in the future. Instead, Trump won because he appealed to what should really be the voter base of the Democratic Party: blue-collar workers. The Democratic Party was founded on principles of protecting the working class, promoting economic equality, and giving a voice to those oppressed by corporate elitists. How ironic it is, then, that the Democrats coronated a candidate that stands in direct opposition to those ideals. A candidate who supported unfair “free” trade policies that lead to low global standards of living, who talked about putting mining industries out of business, and who accepted massive donations from entities dead set on continuing to pollute our world and leave future generations to deal with the consequences.
Hillary Clinton is not a liberal and she is most certainly not a progressive. She is a corporate shill who convinced half the nation to vote for her because she pretended to care about race and gender issues. While the Democrats were talking race, millions of Americans, particularly in the Midwest, were fighting to keep food on the table and a roof over their head because of policies enacted by the Democrats. Donald Trump, meanwhile, acknowledged these people’s suffering and offered solutions, albeit impractical ones. Donald Trump earned their vote, and I would not in a million years blame a working class person for voting Trump. He offered solutions where the Democrats offered diatribes.
Make no mistake, we do need to get angry. Just not at our fellow Americans. We need to be angry at the elitists who have turned the Democratic Party from the party of the people into the party of corporate greed. We need to tear down the Democratic Establishment, and put actual working class people in charge. We need to work toward establishing a democracy that works for the people and ends economic inequality. We need to find a way of protecting not just those oppressed by the color of their skin or their sexual orientation, but those oppressed by the tyranny of a crony capitalist system. But most importantly, we need to unite, not just as a party, but also as a country.
Political divisions have succeeded in dividing the working class, in making us think that a position on things such as bathrooms are more important than the widespread oppression of the middle and working class by our nation’s ruling elite. We need to cultivate a sense of understanding, open a dialogue as to why people voted how they did, and find common ground. United we stand, divided we fall.