“…We’ve learned that 9 percent of Barack Obama’s voters flipped to Trump, including 22 percent of Obama’s non–college educated white voters. That’s what matters most.” — Michael Tomasky, “Elitism Is Liberalism’s Big Problem,” New Republic.
Liberals, he writes, “haven’t made their peace with middle America. Which is a pretty big deal, given that middle America is extremely large, and encompasses most of the country, and generally, determines the outcomes of most presidential elections…
Middle Americans go to church. Not temple. Church. God and Jesus Christ play important roles in their lives. Elite liberals are fine with expressions of faith among African Americans and Latinos, but we often seem to assume that white people who are religious are conservative. It’s not remotely the case.
Second, politics simply doesn’t consume middle Americans the way it does elites on the coasts. Many of these people have lots of friends—and sometimes even spouses—who are Republicans. They don’t sit around and watch MSNBC and talk politics. They talk kids, and local gossip, and pop culture, and sports. They don’t have a position on every issue, and they think Democrats and Republicans are equally to blame for partisan rancor and congressional gridlock.
Third, their daily lives are pretty different from the lives of elite liberals. Few of them buy fair trade coffee or organic almond milk. Some of them served in the armed forces. Some of them own guns, and like to shoot them and teach their kids how to shoot them. Some of them hold jobs in the service of global capital and feel proud of their work.
Fourth, they’re patriotic in the way that most Americans are patriotic. They don’t feel self-conscious saluting the flag. They don’t like it when people bad-mouth our country. They believe that America is mostly good, and that the rest of the world should look more like America…
A person can still be “on the team” even if they think the minimum wage should be raised only to $10, or don’t consider the placement of the crèche on the courthouse square for two weeks in December a constitutional crisis, or haven’t yet figured out how they feel about transgender bathrooms. If we don’t find a way to welcome them, they’ll go to the other side.