In early November of 2016, a few days before the historic presidential election in which Donald Trump scored an electoral college victory over Hillary Clinton, as I drove my daughters to school, one of them asked me who I was voting for, and so a quick talk about the electoral college ensued. For many years, since the election of George W. Bush, I'd viewed the electoral college as a problem, as a filter between the majority and the election of the president that never made sense. Since I didn't believe in Hillary Clinton and saw her as just another in a long-line of corporatist stooges, and since I saw Donald Trump as a deeply un-serious buffoon, this year, the first time in my life, I sat out the election as a one-man protest against the electoral college. Regularly, I posted about it on my social media accounts, that I wasn't voting and that electoral college was nonsensical. I had no way of knowing that the electoral college's utility would become the biggest lesson I learned, nor that President Trump would turn out to be the first president in my lifetime to break the standard mold of the corporatist yes-man president. My one vote, in the state of Mississippi, which was going to break for Trump no matter what I did, didn't matter, and that was the point, that my vote didn't matter, that I might as well write-in Flannery O'Connor. That hasn't changed.
What the electoral college did this time around, though, was express the will of middle America, or heartland America, all those people living in the places that aren't Los Angeles or New York. It was an amazing thing to witness, especially given the context. All of the exit polls on election day gave it to Hillary Clinton in a landslide. I was watching the results roll in, only half interested at first, but at some point, I don't know, around 10 pm, it became clear that something strange was happening. Then, by midnight, it became clear that Donald Trump had won the electoral college and therefore the presidency.
I've said many times that the ever-widening gap between the liberal elites and the working man and woman was growing ever wider, which continues today. The left, for whatever reason, had long since abandoned the working man and woman in American politics, and of course the right never represented those people, and so, no one was representing those interests. For me, the biggest betrayal came in Barrack Obama's Affordable Care Act, something that is barely discussed anymore, and that's a shame. The left put its full support behind an expansion of the for-profit insurance industry's stranglehold on American health care, something that I still can't really digest. Again, the left, led by its Jesus Christ Barrack Obama, shifted any debate about single-payer health care to an expansion of the insurance-based health care system. To me, there could be no clearer indicator that the American left had completely lost its identity. And health care remains the biggest social issue facing working-class men and women, who are one cancer diagnosis from bankruptcy. That hasn't changed, and I'm sure it won't change in my lifetime. Barrack Obama set the terms of the debate back by at least fifty years. Hillary Clinton, I'm sure, would have been an extension of Barrack Obama, the liberal who really wasn't liberal at all. Bernie Sanders, Hillary's primary contender and legitimate socialist? For my money, he was every bit the buffoon that Donald Trump appeared to be, a deeply un-serious and unqualified candidate, promising pie-in-the-sky nonsense every bit as silly as the wall.
This was apparent to me when I noticed the caliber of people who supported Bernie Sanders, some truly deranged identitarians who have turned leftist politics into a competition to see who is the most oppressed. In an honors English class, I was teaching a class on political rhetoric and I showed two stump speeches, one from Ted Cruz, and one from Hillary Clinton, and I showed them neutrally without picking a side (but if I had picked a side, it would have been Hillary Clinton), and I had a couple of Bernie supporters in that class complain to my department head (never to me directly because above all, these sorts are cowards) because I didn't show Bernie Sanders. And my department head dismissed them, rightly so, but that didn't stop them, so that they began taking notes about anything I taught in that course over the rest of the semester, and weekly they lodged a new complaint about anything I said they could spin into a weapon. When I showed a video from PBS about the trans movement that became I was anti-trans people, that sort of thing. You see, I'd seen these sorts of antics online, but never in real life, and here is was, in Mississippi of all places, and these lunatics surfaced. No one is safe, and if you think you are, you ought to rethink that. In my entire career, I've never seen anything like it. Maybe an article about how to teach these sorts of students is forthcoming. I'm not sure. (Spoiler alert: people who already know everything can't be taught). But suffice it to say, these students wanted me fired. I learned that these radical identity liberals are cowardly, ruthless, dishonest, and merciless. If they take the notion, they will come after you, after your job, after your family. They will try to make your life hell. They do not care, and they show no compassion nor empathy, which is interesting because they talk about those things incessantly. It was during that surreal semester that I first began to see the ugly side of what the left was becoming. And I knew I wanted no part of it.
That was three years ago, and today it has only gotten worse, to the point that liberals are now openly calling for violence against not only people who support Donald Trump, but against people who are in the middle and just want to live their lives. To not take a side, to go about one's business, is to be declared the enemy. Articles about an impending civil war have been published more and more. Think about that. The left is calling for civil war, not because it is choosing to die on the single-payer health care hill, but because of what it calls creeping fascism, but it really boils down to that the left has a collective Trump Derangement Syndrome, a perception of the President that is quite divorced from reality, and I think today represents a real problem that cannot be dismissed. It is a real national health issue that is only going to get worse, especially after republicans sweep the mid-term elections in November, especially after Trump wins a second term. I predict these things will happen because most normal people on Main Street see these malicious radicals as just that, and want no part of it. Because people like me, who have always been on the left, cannot in good conscience vote identity-politics democrats anymore, cannot align myself with unscrupulous and dishonest people.
So, the stage was set for me to just watch more of the same from President Trump. The TDSers act like any of this is new, and I ask myself, have they been asleep during their life spans in which every single president was interchangeable? Corporate shills, to a person. The R or D beside the name made no difference, and I expected the same from a President Trump, but to my surprise, that's not what I am seeing. I'm seeing something that is truly different. Trump is foregrounding the concerns of his base in a way that I've never seen before. His base is working class America, and he speaks directly to them, and as far as I can tell, he's putting their interests high on his priorities. Essentially, we're seeing an ostensibly republican president speak more to the working man and woman than any president since FDR. That's remarkable. That's new. And the leftist elites are deranged by it; that he holds this mirror up to them and shows them how ugly they've become, how far they've fallen. They've become deranged by it. This is not how it is supposed to be. And the beauty of this is that those very same working-class people that the left has abandoned have now, to the deranged leftists, become the outright enemy. They are fascists, now. Previously, they were just misinformed dolts clinging to guns and family. Then, Hillary Clinton made them "deplorables." The genius of Trump is that he's used their derangement against them, so a significant portion of the left has revealed itself as anti-American worker to its core. It will not end well for them, and they must in some way be aware of this because they are now calling for all-out domestic terrorism in extreme cases, and outright revolt in others. Remember, these people are cowards, so it won't be direct confrontation. Which sort of gives me a smirking giggle deep in my soul. The wet-dreaming about a revolt against the most armed segment of the population.
I am, for once in my adult life, optimistic about the United States, because a lot of deeply un-American people are exposing themselves for what they are, and also, because North Korea is taking down its nuclear arms program, and also, because there are a lot of good working people out there, and you can see them because they look so different than the unhinged TDSers. They are the people going to work and are thankful that the economy is doing so well. They are the people who make this country work. And indeed, when I step outside, things look good. My own hometown is doing some cool renovations to its downtown, expanding its water park, and things like that that boost the quality of life around here. In short, while the TDSers are screeching about fascism, I see no evidence of any such thing in reality. For a significant portion of the left, the problems are purely fictions in their own imaginations. But, this can't go on forever, because America needs a vibrant and sane left, for health care, and unions, and things that put the American worker first. A one-party state is the last thing we need, but here's the thing the left has forgotten in its fit of madness: It has been one-party all of my lifetime. One president just the same as the next, so pardon me if I take in this historical moment in which the President isn't a corporatist clone of the previous version. Donald Trump could turn out to be the best thing that's ever happened to the American left because maybe after this madness has resolved itself it will remember what it for in the first place. That's my most optimistic take on this situation, but I think it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better, with a President Trump continuing to expose the madness of American left.
And that's not a dig at them. I think these people are legitimately ill, and they need help. How to help them is far beyond my expertise, but first, I think, they have to admit that there is a problem, and I see no evidence that this is close to happening. So, until it does, I expect the left to continue to personify everything it claims to hate, and I hope I am wrong about this, but I expect to see violence from them. Let's hope that doesn't happen, if, for no other reason, it won't work out well for them, and ultimately, I think the left abandoning its reason is a long-term disaster for America. My recommendation, though, for anyone reading this who recognizes that they have TDS is to disconnect from social media for at least a couple of weeks and do some intense personal reflection about the quality of life they are experiencing, and my guess is (unless you're going bankrupt from a cancer diagnosis) that life is a good bit better than you're letting on. Get out into your local community and do something good because I can promise you, it needs you.