People don’t like to be told what to say and what not to say. Every time I make an awful pun or joke, my friends ask that I show them some mercy and shut up. Needless to say, I never do. I just enjoy observing their contorted faces as I describe how my coach resembles an angry baby hippopotamus. It’s a huge part of why I have a very limited number of friends, but also happens to be partly why Donald Trump is currently US President.
When slavery ended in the U.S. and it became perpetually less acceptable to be openly racist, rich white families needed a new way to express their racist angst. So, much like hormone-filled stupid teenagers, they decided they couldn’t just get over the fact that human rights had to be upheld, and decided to direct their anger over losing their cotton monopolies towards the now-free black minority. So they turned to politics to pass legislation that made it actively harder to live as a person of color.
Today, more than a century later, the same discriminatory undertones dominate politics. It is evident simply from the fact that the KKK openly has meetings in public libraries that White America is still a thing. Even if you don’t have that many people openly admitting racism, they still try to disguise their regressive views as “conservative views.” So when a guy comes along and essentially says it’s ok to be a racist bigot you can only imagine the warmth it brings to racists across the U.S. It basically feels like a license to be openly racist.
Similarly, when a progressive liberal comes along and tells you “hey, you can’t say that”, your natural reaction is to shout out some slur or cop out, rather than argue. When a person sees Trump running for arguably the most powerful position in the Western world, expressing the views that they were continuously told are not acceptable by civil rights activists, they receive some kind of validation that allows them to now shut off someone telling them they’re being stupid (even if they are).
Essentially, the biggest mistake liberals made was assuming that every voter was reasonable and agreed on certain “objective” values, such as gender equality or the right to bodily autonomy. Liberals thought there was a common goal of equality and the two parties just had different views on solving the problem. They basically took too many things for granted. They spent too much time telling Trump supporters why his policy won’t bring equality and not enough telling them why equality matters. The assumption that the average Trump supporter cares enough about immigrants or healthcare for example just shows how naive liberals were in fighting a radical right-wing platform.
As a result, a combination of reverse psychology and people going into defense mode other than actually arguing led to the lefties losing due to things such as the demonization of Hillary and Bernie, or generally cheap blows instead of actual argumentation. The liberal stance of getting “triggered” every time someone says something very, very stupid (again, regardless of how stupid it was) effectively allowed less educated, less socially conscious generations to act like adult babies and shut themselves off from political debate, pleading allegiance with the candidate that best reflected their views. Even if we criticize such individuals, we must acknowledge our fault in fighting hate with hate, and driving some voters to electing Donald Trump.