How Liberal Elitism Lost Democrats The Election
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It’s official. After the Electoral College electors cast their votes on December 19th, Donald Trump has secured his place as president-elect. With Trump receiving 304 electoral votes and Clinton receiving a mere 227, liberals are left to pick up the pieces of what they deemed an undesirable election result. Pundits across the board can agree that the outcome of the election certainly was unexpected, with many spending the weeks following the election analyzing what exactly lead to a Trump victory. Perhaps one of the most blatantly obvious reasons that the Democrats did not snag the White House, nor a House or Senate majority, is because elitism took a front and center place in liberal rhetoric.
Van Jones, the liberal host of The Messy Truth With Van Jones on CNN, recently decided to offer his party some self-reflection and insight into just what caused Democrats to lose across the board. Jones critiqued his party with the bold statement, “…it’s also true that some very obnoxious elitism has found a home in our party.” The former adviser to President Obama went on to explain his comment, citing this elitism as a reason for liberal defeat in the election. “Democrats have gotten so used to saying stuff like ‘red state voters are stupid’ that we don’t even get how stuck up and terrible that sounds to anybody with good sense,” Jones said. “That elitist attitude may have cost us the Rust Belt. And this election.”
The CNN host was not mistaken in his assumption that liberal elitism was on the rise during the election. Throughout the primary and general election, pundits and reporters alike were no strangers to this type of rhetoric.
One example to prove the aforementioned claim is a statement that comes from Carol Castello, host of CNN Newsroom. After stating that the general election would likely be Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton, Castello further clarified that the election would really just be “angry white voters against pretty much everyone else.” This comment came after CNN chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, examined Trump’s voting base and how the majority are “uneducated white voters.”
While, to reporters, this language is viewed as a way to categorize voters and obtain a better understanding of the voter base, many everyday Americans see it differently. The label “uneducated” may very well just be intended to mean not college educated, but to a voter, the language is perceived differently. There is a negative connotation surrounding the word “uneducated,” creating an elitist stance on behalf of the reporter and consequently, liberals. This theme of identifying Trump supporters as “uneducated” continued throughout the election and not only caused disdain amongst the voters this was marketed toward, but also brought obvious repercussions – the loss of an election. Now, it is not to say that elitist rhetoric seen from liberals and the mainstream media is totally to blame for Hillary Clinton losing, but there is no doubt this kind of language carried heavy consequences. As Hillary herself has said, “words matter.” And they do. No one wants to vote for a party that makes them feel bad about themselves or question their worth.
Speaking of questioning one’s worth, let’s not forget the time Hillary Clinton dismissed half of the voters in America as “deplorable.” Surely degrading voters to be horrible people will convince them to vote for you, right? That just was not the case for Hillary Clinton. Her attitude and language seen within her “basket of deplorables” comment marked an elitist tone and did not fail to turn off voters.
Not only did Democrats lose across the board this election, they lost with specific groups, including those “uneducated whites” the mainstream media loves to talk about, as well as the working class. Perhaps Trump did a better job appealing to these two groups, or perhaps it was Hillary Clinton and the Democrats’ elitist and uninviting rhetoric that pushed them away. Either way, it is certain that should Democrats want to win elections in the future, they need to self-evaluate and change their elitist rhetoric into a more inviting tone.
Alana is an undergraduate student at Washington State University studying communications. She aspires to work in either journalism or communications and aims to empower young women to feel confident in sharing their political views. Her favorite things include Jesus, capitalism, politics, yoga, and traveling.
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