What could we have done differently to prevent Trump from capturing the white house? Unfortunately, liberals are responsible for this mess we see in front of us today. The situation could have been defused long before it reached this point. Hopefully, we will all come away from this election cycle, a little bit wiser. So that this doesn't happen again.

What could we have done differently to prevent Trump from capturing the white house? Unfortunately, liberals are responsible for this mess we see in front of us today. The situation could have been defused long before it reached this point. Hopefully, we will all come away from this election cycle, a little bit wiser. So that this doesn't happen again.

Trump’s Rise: Lessons for Liberals

Trump won, and we never saw it coming. We thought it might be close, but no one – possibly not even his supporters – thought he would win. This is just a continuation of a right wing wave throughout the world. Modi in India. Brexit in the UK. Trump in the US.

And you know what? We deserve it. Liberals created this mess. And it’s time we fucking learned our lessons. Here they are.

Lesson One: Never Ridicule your Opponent

Liberals have always had a choice set of adjectives to denigrate the right. Racists. Bigots. Misogynists. Barbarians. Male chauvinists. Uneducated. Stupid/Dumb. Angry. Selfish. Regressive. You get the idea.

Here’s the problem. No one likes to be ridiculed. Especially not when it comes from those who think they’re morally superior. You think the right is angry? Well wouldn’t you be, if you were constantly denigrated for decades? Moreover, insults only serve to hide your own lack of logical arguments. And at some level, those on the right sense this weakness. They know your blind spots. And they can make out that you don’t want to engage them on an intellectual level. I’ve been saying this for a long time now – engage your opponents. Don’t denigrate them.

Lesson Two: Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Liberals have a long history of trying to compensate for historical wrongs, by favoring one group over another. Blacks have had a bad deal in the past. So liberals like affirmative action instead of pure merit.

In India, women have long been socially and financially disadvantaged. So the Indian liberals created laws like 498(a), allowing a woman to jail her husband and his family with a single complaint. Similarly Muslims are a disadvantaged group in India, so the law allows them special leeway when it comes to their religion. Personal religious codes for example. And also, there is less of an outcry when Muslims take offence at depictions of Mohammed, as opposed to other religions doing the same. Also in India, lower castes have gotten a bad deal in the past. So to correct this, the government created reservations at the expense of everyone else.

All of these may be well intentioned, but have one fatal flaw. They place the burden of historical wrongs on those who had nothing to do with creating those burdens. Slavery is over and done with. The perpetrators are dead. And so if a white person today feels that they have to make even the smallest sacrifice to address that historical wrong, it’s going to rub them the wrong way.

We all have an innate sense of justice and liberals simply ride rough shod over that, albeit with good intentions. You cannot correct the historical situation of blacks by making whites feel guilty. You cannot correct the bad plight of women, by making men pay the price. You cannot hold different religions to different standards. If you don’t condemn the terrible practices of Islamic countries for fear of being called an “Islamophobe”, then you are guilty.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Lesson 3: Acknowledge the Truth of your Opponent

You’re not as smart as you think you are. If someone has a differing view, there is at least a kernel of truth to it. The right is not “stupid”, as so many people like to think. Sure, we may feel that their anger is not fully justified. Sure, there many be over reactions. But underneath all that is always a genuine grievance.

“Build a wall around Mexico” might be an over reaction. “Deport all Muslims” might be illogical, unconstitutional, and an over reaction. But wait a minute. Let’s acknowledge the genuine grievance here. Immigration takes people’s jobs – that is a fact. Immigration can change the culture of a country – that is a fact. Let’s at least acknowledge it! It’s a fact that Islam in general has a culture that is completely opposed to the ethos of the west. You might not agree with the expression of the problem or its proposed solution. But the problem does exist!

You will get nowhere by sweeping genuine concerns under the carpet. By ignoring them you have built up anger in the right wing, that has culminated in a clown like Trump becoming President. Your brought this on yourself.

Lesson 4: You have to take the WHOLE Country with you

Liberals, you cannot move along and pretend that the country has progressed just because you’ve passed a law. The acceptance of your friends, and your social circle of a particular idea does not mean it’s the end of the story. You do not live in a bubble, and you cannot ignore people who disagree with you.

Roe vs Wade was a landmark abortion judgment. A great victory. But it shouldn’t have stopped there. Like it or not, large parts of the country disagreed with that decision, and it was your job to convince them using rational arguments. Or at least by engaging with them. Instead, what happened? The equivalent of thumbing your nose at all those “misogynists” and “uneducated masses” and saying “It’s the law now assholes. Suck it up!”

Liberals need to get the fuck out of their bubble and talk to everyone around them. And perhaps have their own views changed in the process. This is not a one way street. Stop rejoicing in your echo chamber, and start discussions. I know so many people who simply refuse to discuss politics and other “sensitive issues” even with their friends and co-workers. I’ve seen people just get up and refuse to engage with another person based on political ideology alone.

Fine, do that. But know that you have left a piece of resentment on the table. Know that you have directly contributed to a nugget of anger that can eventually blow up in your face. You did this.

Lesson 5: NEVER Clamp Down on Free Speech

Follows from lesson 4. Strange as it may sound, many liberals shy away from healthy debate. And as a result, they want others to shut up around them as well. We’ve all heard about how liberal students in American colleges want to shut down debate on opposing view points.

Well, I have news for you. If you shut down debate, you are not a liberal. Liberals have historically been the ones to press for more free speech. Liberals have always pushed the boundaries. Most comedians are liberals. But if you call yourself liberal, and refuse to listen to other viewpoints by forcibly shutting them down…shame on you. You are no liberal.

And all this feeds into the collective anger of the opposing side. What, did you think they would be happy if someone tells them they have no right to voice their views? Did you think ideas just die a natural death when suppressed? Did you think by ridiculing people and creating your own bubble where you don’t have to listen to them, those ideas have gone away?

Ostrich head, meet sand.

What done is now done. Trump is President and we all have to live with it. But liberalism throughout the world really needs to get its thumb out of its ass and start doing the hard work of engaging and convincing people through the strength of arguments. Not by emotions, shutting down free speech, and trying to correct wrongs by creating new injustices.

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Comments

  1. I am glad you mentioned Roe vs Wade. It is my belief that it is better that such laws are stuck down through acts of parliaments rather by the courts.
    So the laws criminalising homosexuality should be repealed by the legislature and not judiciary.
    I came across something really sensible written by Steven Den Beste all the way back in 2006.
    It was originally posted on his website USS Clueless but that blog has gone down.
    The article titled, Violating The Social Contract, appears here : http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/4515.html

    “…the deep purpose (of the electoral system) is to convince people to accept that they’ve lost.”

    “But our compact with one another is that if the process was reasonably honest
    and if everyone participated, the losers will concede defeat.”

    “Some activists in this country have been breaking this compact.”

    “…Roe v. Wade was a dreadful decision. And the abortion issue is a perfect example of the kind of thing I’m talking about, because 33 years later the issue is still contentious. If it had been settled through the electoral system in 1973, it would have faded out by now. But because it was decided by what I really do think of as judicial usurpation of the electoral process, those who oppose abortion have never let go
    of the issue.”

    “If the price of legal gay marriage and legal abortion is destruction of that social compact, then it’s too high.”

    I would like to hear your views on this.

    Reply

    • In reply to Anu Singh

      That’s an interesting question. It’s a fine line to walk because it cuts to the heart of having a Constitution in the first place. The Constitution has principles to prevent mob rule. And deciding everything via ballot is merely a systematic way to enforce mob rule.

      That is why there are certain things that are not subject to a vote. What those things are is open to interpretation by the courts. If the court feels that a certain issue is violative of the Constitution, then it doesn’t matter what the majority thinks.

      India has taken this a step further with the “Basic Structure” doctrine for the past 50+ years. It says that even a Constitutional amendment is not sufficient to overturn the fundamental principles of the Constitution. Unlike the US which amends its Constitution very rarely, India has a hundred and one amendments in just 70 years! So to protect its integrity from political interests, the SC had to put it beyond the reach of politicians, as well as the people.

      So there’s no clear answer here. One the one hand, the points you (and the article) outline are excellent, and cut to the heart of governance. On the other hand, we need mechanisms to protect ourselves from mob rule. I don’t know the best balance unfortunately…

      Reply

  2. This is a very well written post. It would have remained well written even in the absence of language like”thumb out of its ass” “it’s time we fucking learned” ” need to get the fuck out of their bubble”.Since a lot of sound advice has been given to the ‘liberals’, perhaps you could do with some too…

    Reply

  3. Jim DeVinney says:

    Bhagwad at the height of the US-Iranian Hostage Negations in 1979 I was 13 years old living in Stockton California. There was a Hindi couple, mid 50 to 60 years old, that would go for a walk around the neighborhood in the evening. As they passed in front of the house across the street a couple of 20 something, white men, that had a few too many beers, would holler racial slurs at them and tell them that they needed to go back to Iran. There was never an attempt by the two men to engage the Hindi couple in conversation. To learn about who they were and the culture that they come from, just every day calling them names.
    The American Right is incredibly myopic and has no desire to engage the Left in an in depth discussion to resolve our issues and move the country in a direction that benefits all Americans. The proof that I offer is that Presidents Clinton and Obama and Secretary Clinton were disdainfully called Centrists by the Right and Alt Right media.
    America will remain helplessly divided not because of the arrogance of the Left, but because the Right starts walking in the other direction while blaming the Left for not coming back to get them

    Reply

  4. “We all have an innate sense of justice and liberals simply ride rough shod over that, albeit with good intentions. ”

    You might be STILL doing it! Liberals always have good intentions, don’t they? Interestingly, you claim that we ALL have an innate sense of justice. I wonder : do the non-liberals simply have bad intentions despite having an innate sense of justice? Is it possible that you are riding roughshod over logic, albeit with good intentions of course :)

    Incidentally, I am wondering…did the racist hicks go rioting the day after Obama won? Someone tell the college hippies that life isn’t a safe space. Right wingers took it on the chin when it hit them. We can all see today who the violent crybabies are. With good intentions, of course…

    Oh…and I was wondering. Will the violent liberals in the streets of America be labelled as “threats”? You know, like the “flag waving jingoists” back in India.

    Cheers!

    Reply

  5. ‘Liberal’ is a word often hijacked by Left/Congress/Democrats and used interchangeably..sometimes intentionally.. and doesn’t necessarily mean the dictionary meaning of liberal. Policies or Political views do not reflect the ideology. So, its more a case of false-advertising.. or fame-by-association.

    I will let the confusion remain.. but whenever it has a negative outcome, it refers to ‘Left/Congress’ and whenever it has a good connotation, the word means the dictionary definition. :-) Just kidding.

    I don’t know why.. this is how I felt..

    1. You are with liberals.
    2. Liberals are generally right and good, but a bit unfortunately the rest don’t fully understand their intentions.
    3. Liberals should modify their behavior a bit to convince the world of their righteous path.
    4. The misdemeanors of Liberals are petty compared to the gargantuan failures of the Right.

    For eg: ‘Build a wall around Mexico’ is not a disagreement Right is bringing to discuss.. is not an over-reaction to acknowledge.. is not a illogical statement to patronize. It is a public policy that Right is selling as an option to consider to the public.
    Do we do ‘this’ or do ‘that’ ? Not what makes us look good..doing ‘this’ or ‘that’ ?

    Today’s problems are not black and white..[pun unintended]. For instance climate-change is a complex topic and solutions from Right-wing/Left-wing both have good & bad, and a little from both may be needed. Its a complex world and each solution has many side-effects. ‘Build the wall’ has many side-effects. Are we ready for that ? Or are we not ? What if X-happens after that ? What if doesn’t happen? These are serious discussions..not a closed topic to hand down the answers.

    Engage..Acknowledge..Discuss..Convince.

    ‘RESPECT’ ?

    Reply

  6. Respect is exactly what is missing from the debates. An acknowledgment that the other person has a genuine grievance, and a feeling of good faith that at their heart they want to do the right thing.

    Reply

  7. Sir,

    Yet again, a good blog post from you!

    I have a few opinions which I want to share.

    1. You’re absolutely right when you say the right wingers have their own concerns. This is why I try my level best to engage them. Although it ends up futile a lot of times, I understand their concerns. I’ve managed to get the crux of why Indian RWers are mad at liberals and increasingly mad at the current govt due to its poorly implemented policies. When they don’t get what they want, even from their purported saviors, they go insane. Some demands ARE reasonable, whilst some ARE NOT. I engage them to get to the root of their concerns.

    2. The Congress post Nehru has essentially been pandering to the whims and fancies of fanatical elements among the minority communities. Although it wasn’t a big deal till the 90s, it started getting on to the nerves of concerned right wingers here. What frustrated them more was that Vajpayee himself was towing the line instead of being different. Nehru OTOH personally engaged the public and relegated religious clergies to the personal platform instead of using them for shortcuts/political gains. The Congress back then was minority friendly, although not as much to lower castes among Hindus.

    3. Another reason Modi rose to power in 2014 was because the lower castes and OBCs supported him along with others. Yes, the same people who would’ve otherwise been used as slaves if it were the 50s/60s, supported Modi. Why? The right wingers managed to craft a technique to pull them towards their fold, by blaming all of Hinduism’s flaws on the Muslims and the British, and speaking of unity among Hindus. Basically a forked tongue approach for which a huge number of OBCs and SC/ST category people fell. However that veil faded away pretty quickly and reality has come to the forefront. Ironically the people from my state TN who support BJP here would’ve been slaves or sanitary workers in RSS’ offices nationwide if this were the 50s/60s!

    To summarize my comment:
    -> Right wingers were ignored and ridiculed here when they had genuine concerns to be voiced. This increased their resentment.
    -> OTOH the same “liberals” pandered to fanatics among the minorities instead of engaging the public directly. Used this shortcut that eventually ended up in disaster.
    -> Now when their own government sends mixed signals and inflicts more suffering on them, they get even more mad.
    -> They device means to gain support instead of shying away. They succeed almost all the time and get their way.

    This is why I never abuse anyone, whether they’re right or left or apolitical. I engage them, I reason with them and I try to get to the crux of their concerns. Hopefully in the future, liberals and leftists read this post of yours and change their approach towards their fellow countrymen.

    Thanks.

    Reply

    • In reply to Iniyavel

      Also wanted to add:

      The SAME I mentioned above is repeating itself pretty much everywhere. This is what becomes anti-globalization and the rise of nationalism. Strangely, Muslim majority nations these days have more and more people pressing for liberalism and free thought, minus Turkey of course. I’ve seen a lot of commentary coming from Pakistan requesting the same. More and more people there want more rights for minority communities, whereas it’s the reverse in India (Oh, how times change!). Nothing can last forever, especially without balance. Whether they’re liberals or conservatives, there needs to be a balance. Or else it will end up disastrous for both.

      Thanks.

      Reply

    • In reply to Iniyavel

      I agree completely! And you’re right about the balance. As you pointed out in Muslim countries there are calls for reform. But if it happens too fast, then there will be a backlash as once again the majority will feel persecuted.

      Reply

    • In reply to Iniyavel

      Flaws of Hinduism ? Barring caste-system can you elaborate on these “flaws” ? And how were these “flaws” blamed on Muslims and British ? You take playing victim to a whole new level.
      I would not be surprised if you start peddling imaginary Aryan Invasion Theory and Aryan-Dravidian divide.
      Times change and sane people change with time. So vote in 1950’s will not be the same as in 2016.
      Indian politics(irrespective of political affiliation) had become blatantly anti-Hindu. Add to this massive corruption and you have a perfect recipe for regime change. BJP seized this opportunity. Any political party would do that.

      Reply

  8. Western Point of View says:

    FYI, immigration has little effect on jobs. It is actually positive.

    I work in manufacturing. More people buying things means we turn more material.

    Also, the Islam thing? You can’t say an IDEA is taking people away from western civilization. And if it does, so what?

    http://time.com/4503313/immigration-wages-employment-economy-study/

    Reply

    • In reply to Western Point of View

      Sir,

      Actually that’s what I believe some people intended for India too, but unfortunately it didn’t materialize.

      Thanks.

      Reply

      • Western Point of View says:

        In reply to Iniyavel

        Sorry, what do you mean? Unclear on your response :)

        Reply

      • Western Point of View says:

        In reply to Iniyavel

        read your post above. Regarding this, the issues in India are different than the US. One thing to remember is the US has been a developed country since 1915 (around WW1). India still is in the “development” stages. The influx of immigration to the US has been going on since colonial times, whereas in India you are looking at a more homogenous community for the most part.

        With that said, just by American history, immigration has not had any severe effect on the job landscape. Plenty of people in the 1910s were fear-mongering when the Irish, Italian, or Jewish immigrants were “taking people’s jobs” which was why Warren G. Harding was elected president, to return the US to “normalcy” (whatever that means, since normalcy would technically be returning this land to Native Americans).

        We know from history that the Italians and Jewish immigrants did nothing negative to the landscape. Before you say “well these were European immigrants” their value systems were just as different at the time as Muslim value systems are now, but they eventually assimilated while maintaining certain values. Muslims are doing that as we speak.

        Trump’s rise is no different than Warren G Harding rise. And you all know what happened two presidents later in 1929… :( better start saving.

        Reply

      • In reply to Western Point of View

        the value system of Jewish immigrants is to form peaceful enclaves. This comes from thousands of years of being beaten down by what is around them. The value system of Italian immigrants… I have no idea, but they basically had the same religion as those around them, though at the time they weren’t quite counted as -white- for stupid reason. Oh, the Irish caused pretty big problems, including draft riots because they were not willing to die for “those N*ggers”, but really problems generally. Took a while to get sorted out.

        even then, it’s clear that in the earlier stages of America, there were jobs aplenty, a frontier to be settled, massive factories of every stripe. In the here and now, it’s not quite like that at all.

        Reply

      • Western Point of View says:

        In reply to tehy

        “system of Jewish immigrants is to form peaceful enclaves…” and Muslims don’t do this? I am Muslim and I live peacefully with my neighbors in LA, so how am I different than your statement?

        “thousands of years beaten down?” My parents and grandparents went through this in India (British rule). Their parents in Afghanistan (Russian rule). Their ancestors in the Middle East (Shia Fatimid control). Everyone is beaten down, you can’t use that as an excuse.

        Italians …”but they basically had the same religion as those around them.” No they didn’t, they were Catholic. Very different then Protestants especially in the 19th century. Know your history.

        Jobs aplenty? Not true, the only jobs available then were agriculture (30-35% of the American workforce was in farming). By the sheer number of options, there are more jobs now. The unemployment during the industrial revolution was well into the teens.

        Reply

  9. pretty much

    broadly speaking, problems exist, or at least people feel they do. it seems like the response was

    “well you’re Wrong and also i can safely ignore you”

    whether or not A) is true, B) sure as shit isn’t

    but i’m actually glad Trump won, for a very long list of reasons but chief among them: the current right-wing shift comes on the back of issues that have gone unaddressed for so long that people just don’t care who addresses them so long as it happens. I think Trump is much less bad than almost any of the rising Europeans, and I think he can do some good work; just look at Carrier, where they received about $700 per job saved (the income taxes or sales taxes alone will recoup that loss to the government). If it wasn’t him, it would be someone even more radical.

    Reply

  10. This is a perfect analysis of why Hillary lost and why the left stands to lose again. I’m an ‘uneducated white male’ and I voted for Trump for all of those reasons, and more.

    Reply

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