Saturday, October 24, 2020
Due to the importance that the holder of the office has on a global scale, the whole world is to some degree following the news of the upcoming US presidential elections. Outside the USA the preference for "what's his name, not-Trump" is pretty clear. What many people don't understand is why Trump is expected to get at least 40% of the vote, and given the inexactitude of polls last time around, maybe even more.
As it stands, "Trump voter" is basically used as an insult these days. There is a perception that anybody voting for Trump must be stupid, and probably a white supremacist. I think that it is extremely dangerous to consider any significant percentage of the voting population as stupid, or their votes and worries as not valid. In 2017, 12.6% of German voters opted for an extreme right party, causing the global press to speculate on how the Nazis are back. But if you looked closer, you found that all the other parties had supported or not opposed a large wave of immigration by refugees, and voting for the "Nazis" was the only option on the ballot if you were uncomfortable with that immigration. The established political parties basically missed the chance of properly addressing a worry that a significant portion of the population had. So, the question is not why 40%+ of Americans vote for Trump, but rather what valid worries this large segment of the population has that makes them too afraid to vote Democrat.
I have a sneaking suspicion that a large part of the answer lies in political correctness and "woke" culture. While I wholly support the goals of fighting racism, gender inequality, and social justice, I can't say I support the way that the left is fighting this fight. Even a good fight gets tainted if it is fought by bad means. The power to get somebody fired, ruined, or worse not for something that he did, but for something he thinks, is inherently evil. The woke thought police and cancel culture are a serious threat to the freedom of expression, however noble their goals might be. And I believe that the 40% can see that, and that they are more scared of the thought police than of the orange clown in the White House.
There is a greater than even probability that the left will gain a lot of power in November. And it will feel to them as if the good guys won, and they will want to use that newfound power to implement a lot of their policies. But maybe they should remember that making certain thoughts illegal isn't actually very "liberal" at all; and it has never worked for any government in millennia of human history. Punishing people for their opinions, instead of engaging with those opinions and trying to convince the other side, is just going foster resistance. And ultimately, America loves freedom. If the deeply flawed and incompetent champion of freedom can get 40% of the votes this time, what is going to happen in 4 or 8 years, if freedom of expression finds a better champion? The left would be better off to address the economic inequality sources of social injustice, rather than trying to suppress any opinion that they find offensive.