In some eerie ways, this election mirrors the 2012 election by response. And in a few startling ways, the response is dramatically different.
The way conservatives and Republicans felt after 2012 is amazingly akin to how liberals and Democrats feel now. Their actions were different, but they had the same gut-punch sense in the loss.
Let’s go through the list:
- In 2012, Republicans were pretty sure Romney was going to win, given the terrible state of the economy and foreign affairs and the erosion of the American dream. But Obama won with plenty of margin. There was a head-shaking depression on the right and a lot of people saying, “I don’t know my country anymore. I guess we are a socialist nation.”
- In 2016, Democrats are practically quoting Republicans from four years earlier on an inability to understand the country and electorate. I’ve heard Democrats say and write the exact same thing I was saying and writing four years ago.
- In 2012, Republicans saw “commies” behind every bush. Obama was a commie, or maybe a jihadi, and the supporters who put him over the top were in those groups, too.
- In 2016, Democrats see the alt right and white nationalists behind every bush and they are the wicked Americans who pushed Trump over the top. It’s basically a plug and play switch-out, insert alt right and nationalists for commies and jihadis.
- In 2012, Republicans thought that the election outcome may be the end of the country as we knew it. We were sure the United States would not last in any recoverable way after another four years under Obama.
- In 2016, the Democrats see the country under an existential threat from the presidency of Trump, and wonder if it will ever be the same.
Alas, most liberals I know actually cannot see these similarities. They are utterly convinced that there has never been a time like this. Ever! Let’s hope this is not the new norm for post-presidential elections from whichever side loses.
However, importantly there are a few stark and telling differences in the responses between conservatives and liberals.
First, in 2012, Republicans did not blame black people for voting virtually as one for the black president again. Or Hispanics for continuing to vote heavily Democrat. Conservatives did not charge racism and hatred of whites by blacks.
Democrats’ response in 2016 has been to blame white people. In fact the tirades on Twitter and elsewhere by celebrities and media members have been fairly jaw-dropping. Here are a few of the cleaner examples posted the day after the election on Twitter.
- Our country hates Jews, muslims, women, black people, LGBTQ, and women. That’s the only takeaway from tonight. — Timothy Simons (@timothycsimons) Actor
- world will never be the same. I feel Sad for the young.?will never be more than the toilet, I’ve used as a symbol 4 Him. U Can’t Polish ? — Cher (@cher)
- I was wrong. I thought America couldn’t possibly disappoint me more than it already had. But, I was wrong. RIP America. — Talib Kweli Greene @TalibKweli Music Artist
- I didn’t quite understand how much white people hated us, or could at least live with that hate. Now I do. — Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) @Slate Chief Political Correspondent. @CBSNews Political Analyst.
- If trump wins I don’t want to hear another f***ing single person tell me what the white supremacist patriarchy doesn’t exist — Anne Thériault (@anne_theriault) Popular blogger
- This is how much our country hates women. I have never been sadder for us. — Julieanne Smolinski (@BoobsRadley) TV writer
- Eight years of black president followed by a female president was too much of a threat to white male authority. — Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) Writer. Lawyer. Author of the The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness.
- how do we explain this to our kids? — Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) Meteorologist, host of @ourwarmregards podcast
The Nation magazine, one of the long-time standard-bearers of American liberalism, published an essay entitled: “This Is What White Supremacy Looks Like. Don’t be confused. Trump’s voters didn’t vote against their own interests, they voted for the preservation of white privilege — their paramount interest.”
Slate published an article entitled, “White Won.” (This despite the fact that Trump actually got a smaller percentage of the white vote than Romney did.)
This response appears to head-in-the-ground groupthink rooted in emotional irrationalism.
The facts are that whites routinely split their votes between parties every election far more evenly than do blacks or Hispanics — and voted heavily for a black president twice. That is, whites tend not to vote as a racial group or use identity politics to achieve power. Actually, just factually speaking both blacks and Hispanics do that much more and every election. Yet, the bogeyman behind Trump’s election is racist whites voting as whites — while Trump got a smaller share of the white vote than Romney.
More stark differences
Republicans did not riot in the streets following the depressing re-election of Obama. Actually Republicans and conservatives virtually never riot. That is entirely a function of liberals in this country. Republicans did not block streets, set fire to buildings and generally throw a public temper tantrum at not getting their way.
Republicans did not speciously claim that their candidate was cheated and refuse to accept the results. There were no hashtags #hesnotmypresident. We accepted the gut-wrenching results. Conservatives were downcast about the future, but virtually no one suggested Obama was not our president.
Republicans did not rage against any race or blame the election process. We did not vandalize national memorials as was done in Richmond to the Jefferson Memorial.
And we most certainly did not advocate disrupting the inauguration of the new president — in 2008 or 2012 — as many are doing now, including the reliably repulsive Michael Moore.
Our opposition to Obama and depression at his victory was based on his policies, which we believed then and still do now were detrimental to the well-being of the United States.
But don’t think for a moment that conservatives were not slump-shouldered and depressed for weeks and months after the 2012 re-election of Obama.
We just accepted the defeat as responsible Americans. This reaction reflects the difference in a worldview that looks to personal responsibility, family and church first, as opposed to government first.
The photo with this post is the defacing of the Jefferson Memorial in Richmond after the election of Donald Trump.
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