The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: A Comprehensive Guide to America After Trump
It took the Left about 2.3 seconds to reveal their true colors after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. This wasn't a delicate revelation of a well hidden identity, rather, the curtain was ripped back, uncovering overwhelming hatred.
Aside from the protests in which demonstrators shut down freeways, burned the American flag, and hanged Donald Trump in effigy, social media lit up with a heaping helping of "f*** you" and "everyone is racist!" reductionism. In a time as delicate as that in which we find ourselves, it's more important than ever to anatomize and assess, rather than give in to mob mentality. Condensing complex issues can easily lead to grave misunderstandings. There's a time and place for economy of language, but this election begs for detailed analysis.
So let's go through this piece by piece.
Part 1: Donald Trump is Not a Decent Man, Nor is He a Conservative
There's a reason so many individuals in the Republican Party who opposed Trump in the primaries vowed not to vote for him in the general. Donald Trump is the antithesis of constitutional conservatism, and many of the things he said during the last year and a half are simply heinous.
A constitutional conservative believes in a limited federal government, free market-based solutions to economic issues, individual success and failure, the sanctity of human life, state's rights per the 10th Amendment, and numerous other things to which Donald Trump stands in opposition.
Donald Trump has proposed massive tariffs on foreign goods, and taxes on companies that decide to move elsewhere to reduce production costs. This is anti-conservative. Donald trump has talked on many occasions about the merits of a single-payer healthcare system, not unlike that of the U.K. This is anti-conservative. Donald Trump refuses to touch America's bloated, bankrupt, and dying entitlement system. This is anti-conservative.
Over the course of his campaign, Donald Trump has indeed adopted certain positions that share common ground with conservatives. Strong border security, a more robust response to radical Islamic terrorism, and his alleged conversion to a pro-life belief system come to mind. However, looking at Donald Trump and conservatism on a Venn diagram, there would be little overlap.
Perhaps more critical, his profoundly disgusting and vindictive behavior is deeply concerning. He mocked a physically handicapped reporter; he proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the United States; he implied Senator Ted Cruz's father was involved in the JFK assassination; he openly demeaned Heidi Cruz; he ridiculed Senator John McCain for being a prisoner of war in Vietnam; he made shameful comments about women on multiple occasions; he repeated the slander that George W. Bush knowingly lied, sending troops to Iraq to die for no reason; he told endless bald-faced lies about his primary opponents--and that's just a sampling. There was the leaked audio in which he said he could grab women "by the p****," his Howard Stern interview in which he said avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was his "personal Vietnam." It goes on and on.
Donald Trump is a scumbag. Donald Trump is not a conservative.
Part 2: Most of the People Who Voted for Trump Aren't "Racist" or "Ignorant"
Social media has become an echo chamber in this regard. Everyone who voted for Donald Trump is a racist, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic, (insert pejorative). By the numbers, this is simply false.
During the primaries, Donald Trump received 13.3 million votes, the most ever by a Republican candidate. However, his opponents garnered 15.6 million votes. Trump received just 46% of primary votes. Thanks to a large field, and numerous other mitigating factors, he was able to win the nomination.
In the general election, Trump received over 60 million votes. It's illogical to believe 60 million Americans voted for Trump because they're bigoted. Moreover, the data suggests otherwise. According to CNN exit polls, Trump won 42% of the female vote, 8% of the black vote, 29% of the Latino vote, 29% of the Asian vote, 37% of the "other races" vote, 45% of college graduates, 37% of post-graduates, 49% of white college graduates, and 23% of non-white college graduates. Most astoundingly, Trump received 9% of Democrats, 41% of moderates, 10% of liberals, and 31% of immigrants.
This knee-jerk argument assumes 42% of female voters hate themselves, along with 29% of Hispanics, 29% of Asians, 8% of blacks, 31% of immigrants, and 37% of other minorities. It also assumes that 10% of liberals, 9% of Democrats, and 41% of moderates are racist, homophobic, xenophobic bigots.
Simply put, that's a ridiculous assertion.
A more reasoned argument is that a small but aggressive contingent of Donald Trump's supporters are bad people--white supremacists, bigots, etc. This is the alt-right. Daily Wire editor-in-chief, Ben Shapiro, experienced the hatred of these individuals himself, receiving several thousand anti-Semitic attacks online for daring to criticize Trump.
Another assumption being made online with relative frequency is that an "uneducated voter" is also an ignorant, or unintelligent voter, and therefore more likely to be xenophobic, racist, or misogynist. However, those making the connection from "uneducated" to "ignorant" to "xenophobe/racist/misogynist" are relying solely on stereotypes. They have no data with which to back up their claims. Even worse, they're doing a disservice to the less formally educated population by painting them with a broad brush.
Additionally, and perhaps unknowingly, those pushing this idea are implying that a large chunk of Clinton voters are ignorant deplorables as well. According to CNN exit polls, 43% of individuals with "some college" education, and 45% of voters with a high school education "or less" voted for Hillary Clinton.
Part 3: Hillary Clinton was Fatally Flawed
From the beginning, the Democratic Party sought to nominate a woman who is one of the most deeply flawed individuals in political history. Hillary Clinton has a chilly relationship with the truth; her penchant for telling lies goes back decades. Listing every one of Clinton's provable lies would take several volumes. Considering that, a short list will have to suffice. The following are five of Clinton's most recent, egregious, and provable lies (with reference links for those who want verification):
Hillary Clinton told the public that the Benghazi attack was the result of a YouTube video, while secretly telling her daughter, as well as the president of Egypt, something entirely different. Clinton said she never sent classified material on her private, unsecured email server. She did. Not only retroactively classified material, as many Clinton supporters continue to repeat, but material that was classified at the time of its sending. Clinton said she turned over all work-related emails to be investigated. She didn't. Clinton said she only used one electronic device "for convenience." She didn't. During an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace, Clinton claimed that FBI Director James Comey "said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people." He didn't say that. In fact, The Washington Post gave that claim "Four Pinnochios."
Comey called Clinton's behavior with regard to her email "extremely careless." Her use of a private, unsecured server put numerous lives at risk, and exposed the United States to cyber-espionage. What Clinton did as Secretary of State jeopardized national security. Her only defense was that she "made a mistake." Someone who makes "mistakes" like that shouldn't be anywhere near the White House, let alone President of the United States.
Further, the Clinton Foundation is under an active FBI investigation for potential unethical practices.
Beyond the lies, Hillary Clinton's actions as Secretary of State were profoundly foolish.
Clinton's move to topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 created chaos in Libya that allowed the Islamic State to expand and consolidate power. Clinton strongly pushed the "train and equip" program with regard to Syrian rebels, which Obama initially rejected, but later put into effect after she left office. The program was an unmitigated disaster, wasting half a billion dollars. Clinton's 2009 "Russian Reset" seems only to have bolstered the ambitions of Vladimir Putin, with the annexation of Crimea and Ukrainian invasions likely only the beginning of his power trip.
Hillary Clinton was a stunning failure as Secretary of State, and a proven liar. Despite what the #ImWithHer diehards want you to think, Clinton isn't an honest woman who made a few mistakes, she's an intensely corrupt politician who, acting as Secretary of State, spearheaded incredibly foolhardy foreign policy measures, and put our national security at risk with extremely careless behavior pertaining to her private email server. There are many reasons one might find a vote for Hillary Clinton unthinkable.
Part 4: Post-Election Attacks
Every day since Trump won the election, new reports are circulating on social media regarding minorities being attacked by alleged Trump supporters. This is a serious issue, and one that should not be diminished. That being said, it must be carefully scrutinized.
Many are claiming that Trump's win emboldened his alt-right constituency, leading them to take to the streets and harass, threaten, and harm women, racial minorities, sexual minorities, and religious minorities. For all intents and purposes, this appears to be true. However, anecdotes are not data, and each story must be evaluated on its own merits.
Sharing inflammatory stories on social media without proper examination is reckless. For every false account that bounces around the Facebook/Twitter echo chamber, a real crime loses oxygen. Additionally, false accounts serve only to aggravate an already festering wound.
A female Muslim student at the University of Louisiana was attacked by two men wearing Trump hats Wednesday. They stole her hijab, as well as her wallet. A video of a Nazi flag flying above a San Francisco home was circulated on social media on November 9. A photo made the rounds on Facebook and Twitter showing members of the KKK celebrating Trump's victory the day after the election.
These all sound terrible--but one of them is completely false, and the other two misinterpreted.
Thursday, the female Muslim student admitted to the Lafayette Police Department that she made up her entire story. The Nazi flag in San Francisco was actually an anti-Trump political statement. The KKK celebrating Trump's victory on an overpass? It was actually a grainy photograph featuring a group of pro-Trump individuals carrying Gadsden flags, not the KKK.
Other anecdotes have been substantiated with evidence. Gay film director, Chris Ball, was assaulted after leaving a Santa Monica bar on election night. He was treated at a local hospital where he received five staples in his head.
Prior to leaving, Ball claims the atmosphere in the bar was heated, and that someone yelled: "We got a new president, you f****** faggots!" He also provided pictures of himself in the hospital, as well as discharge papers to verify his story.
Metro News reports:
"In retrospect, Ball doesn’t think it was really a political issue – it was a hate issue, fueled by the charged atmosphere of the election night, with a group of drunk people who used Trump’s rhetoric as an excuse to get in a fight. He feels it could very well have been a Clinton supporter, or just someone else with a homophobic attitude on any other night..."
This isn't to say that every story not substantiated with physical evidence is false. However, it's important to understand that some people will spin false tales out of fear and anger. It's also important to know that what one person claims is an act of hate relating to Trump's victory may simply be misinterpreted.
Moreover, it's critical to recognize that not all bad behavior happening after November 8, 2016, is a direct result of Trump culture.
One of the many stories circulating on Facebook is one in which a young, gay man was allegedly elbowed, and called a "faggot." The incident has been attributed to a post-Trump America in which bigots feel free to say and do what they want. However, the account is bereft of details that would suggest it was at all related to the election. The alleged offender didn't say anything political, nor did the incident in question take place at a location that might suggest a political connection--at least according to the victim.
Sharing such a Facebook post, and labeling it an act of post-election violence--without evidence suggesting as much--is irresponsible.
As it was mentioned above, Daily Wire editor-in-chief, Ben Shapiro, has gotten numerous anti-Semitic threats for criticizing Trump. This is indeed a real issue that needs to be addressed. Trump's rhetoric ginned up a subculture of racist, bigoted people who may now feel more powerful because he won the election. While there's no way to know the exact size of this contingent, it's safe to say they're not a majority--they're not even a large minority. Regardless, this small faction of despicable cretins aren't imaginary, and their actions must be condemned in no uncertain terms by Donald Trump himself, and by every good American.
Reported actions must be taken seriously, but they must also be scrutinized. A balancing act is vital, not only to preserve the integrity of the stories of real crimes victims, but to avoid unnecessarily agitating an already sensitive issue.
There have also been acts of violence committed against Trump supporters. Some have been caught on video (here and here), and some are simply anecdotal. These incidents are equally unjustifiable. They must also be treated with the same level of skepticism as the other attacks. They may be true--and some are provably so. However, some may also be false or misinterpreted.
Part 5: Those Who Didn't Vote for Hillary Don't Care About Life
Many who voted third-party, or chose to write in their candidate of choice, are being attacked on social media for enabling a Trump win. Some are insisting that Americans who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in order to stave off Donald Trump don't care about the lives of racial, sexual, and religious minorities. There's an intense how-could-you attitude pervading social media discussions. How could you not just vote for Clinton to protect the nation from Trump? By voting third-party or otherwise, you've shown you don't care about life.
This is an unjustifiable accusation. For many conservatives, Hillary Clinton represents a culture of death. Set aside her lying, her foreign policy blunders that indeed cost numerous lives, and her other domestic policies, and look to one issue: Abortion. Hillary Clinton has been a champion for abortion rights in the United States and elsewhere for her entire political career.
A vote for Hillary Clinton would be a vote for someone who protested the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003. A vote for Hillary Clinton would be a vote for someone who insists that women have the right to murder their children in the womb throughout all nine months of pregnancy. A vote for Hillary Clinton would be a vote for someone who openly praises Planned Parenthood.
For this reason alone, conservatives who refused to vote for either major-party candidate cannot be shamed for "not caring about life." They care deeply about human life, and it's because of that care that they could not, in good conscience, vote for a woman who champions what they believe is child murder.
Donald Trump's victory has turned the nation on its ear, causing chaos across the country. Some have used that chaos to deliberately inflame an already confusing state of affairs. Others have simply engaged in foolish exaggerations and fear-mongering. In times like these, it's perilous to engage in reductionism. Situations like the one in which the United States has found itself require careful parsing so as to avoid unnecessary generalization that can lead to provocation. To behave otherwise is irresponsible.