The Price of Liberal Smugness

All else aside, I think there’s much to be said about how the liberal-left has alienated itself from middle/working class, non-urban mid-America. In this Vox piece by Emmett Rensin, The smug style in American liberalism, I couldn’t agree more with this bit:

“Over 20 years, an industry arose to cater to the smug style. It began in humor, and culminated for a time in The Daily Show, a program that more than any other thing advanced the idea that liberal orthodoxy was a kind of educated savvy and that its opponents were, before anything else, stupid. The smug liberal found relief in ridiculing them.”

As I wrote in a Sept. 10 post on Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” speech at an LGBT fundraiser with Barbara Streisand:

Trump supporters, to a large extent, see failed Democratic policies on the economic and international fronts, and while many believe Trump to be flawed, they view him as a better choice than Hillary when it comes to reviving economic growth and defending American interests. But progressive Democrats can only see the world through a self-justifying lens of rote identity politics, so if you don’t believe in bigger, more intrusive government chipping away at economic prosperity and expressive freedom, you’re a bigot.

And as I noted in a follow-up post, “In the end, however, Hillary’s LGBT smugfest with Barbra may turn out to be one hell of a costly fundraiser.” I think clearly it was.

Related. Robby Saove at has some pertinent insights:
Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash:

I have warned that political correctness actually is a problem on college campuses, where the far-left has gained institutional power and used it to punish people for saying or thinking the wrong thing. And ever since Donald Trump became a serious threat to win the GOP presidential primaries, I have warned that a lot of people, both on campus and off it, were furious about political-correctness-run-amok—so furious that they would give power to any man who stood in opposition to it.

And post-election observations from “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance on Life Outside the Liberal Bubble. He writes, “To suggest that Trump voters are worried about anything real is to invite scorn from certain corners of the mainstream media.”

Furthermore. Victor Davis Hanson writes:

Finally, the more Clinton Inc. talked about the Latino vote, the black vote, the gay vote, the woman vote, the more Americans tired of the same old identity politics pandering. What if minority bloc voters who had turned out for Obama might not be as sympathetic to a middle-aged, multimillionaire white woman? And what if the working white classes might flock to the politically incorrect populist Trump in a way that they would not to a leftist elitist like Hillary Clinton? In other words, the more Clinton played the identity politics card, the more she earned fewer returns for herself and more voters for Trump.

And Joan C. Williams writes in the Harvard Business Review:

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, epitomizes the dorky arrogance and smugness of the professional elite. The dorkiness: the pantsuits. The arrogance: the email server. The smugness: the basket of deplorables.

22 Comments for “The Price of Liberal Smugness”

  1. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    As Ben Franklin so aptly observed, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and the fact that in StephenWorld™ everything that goes wrong will be blamed on progressives.” .

    It will be interesting to see (assuming that Trump intends to follow through on his campaign promises) if a combination of increased government spending, large tax cuts and deregulation of financial/business practices, coupled with high tariffs/restrictions on trade, will create the sustained economic boom that Trump touted on the campaign trail or create high inflation, large deficits, and a serious recession 12-18 months from now, as Moody’s and other economic analysts predict will result.

    It will also be interesting to see if Trump can actually put his economic vision into place. Congress is controlled by Republicans, to be sure, but many/most of them are dinosaurs stuck in the Reagan rut, and I suspect that Trump is going to find hard slogging going forward trying to increase government spending to stimulate growth. Reagan got away with high stimulus spending in the early years of his Presidency, but Republicans in Congress were in a different place then in terms of conservative orthodoxy.

    Truman reportedly remarked that the Presidency would frustrate the hell out of Eisenhower, because Eisenhower, coming as he did from a military background, would say “Do this, do that …” expecting that it would be done, and nothing would happen.

    I think that Trump, coming from a private business where he and he alone was in charge, is in for a similar rude awakening.

  2. posted by MDBuck on

    Like it or not, this election was nothing short of a peaceful revolution. As outlined here, it was the revolt of “flyover country” against the hypocritical coastal liberal elites who have spent the last eight years looking down their collective noses at, and completely ridiculing the “bigoted, racist, dumb hicks” who occupy the land between New York and L.A. and who had the brazen audacity to dare disagree with them. The coastal elites had a double whammy: not only did people reject the horrifically incompetent, terminally corrupt Clinton; they basically passed judgement on eight years of a moribund economic recovery, a greatly weakened position on the foreign stage (due in no small part to the feckless Clinton), and a disastrous healthcare scheme. Of course, the coastal elites will scream racism, because they cannot handle anyone who dares to disagree with them, and at this point, that’s all they have left.

    But what the coastal liberal elites also fail to see is that just as this election was a rejection of the left, it was also a rejection of the GOP establishment (people like Ted Cruz are conspicuously absent from the scene right now). It was a rejection of polling, of big money in politics (Trump spent a fraction of what Clinton did), of hypocritical dimwit Hollywood celebrities, of the news media (which totally abdicated any shred of objectivity in support of Mistress Hillary), of the late-night talk shows, and much more. Some of this is good; some isn’t. Simply put, despite this being a victory for the GOP, it’s more of a resounding shout that BOTH parties are hopelessly, irrevocably broken.

    Trump has spent most of his life as a Democrat. Despite the lies, distortions and histrionics of the hypocritical gay establishment, we really don’t know where Trump will fall in terms of many issues, including gay rights. As with most issues, Trump has talked out of both sides of his mouth. Only time will tell. My suspicion is that Trump will nominate someone in the Scalia vein for the SCOTUS, but he’ll be too busy trying to tapdance around not being able to build the border wall and trying in vain to bring back all those manufacturing jobs to care about, or even have time for trying to stick it to gays. As a Johnson voter, I have low expectations, but it would be refreshing if Trump ended up being more of a libertarian than a Talibangelical.

    This is in contrast to Clinton, who spent most of her overhyped career supporting issues like DOMA and DADT, and opposing gay marriage right up until the polls started to change in our favor (what a remarkable coincidence!). Anyone who honestly thinks she wouldn’t have sold us out (again) if the polls shifted against us would be a prime buyer for beachfront property in Kansas. Everyone who supported her needs only to look in the mirror to see who to blame. Instead of nominating someone with actual accomplishments (besides being the political version of Blanche DuBois who relied upon the kindness of “hubby” and her cabal of crooked cronys for her positions), they decided to continue the bizarre, inexplicable love affair with the Clintons and rig the game for her solely because: a) she’s a woman; and b) she’s a Clinton. Slimy deals be damned! We’re with her!

    I also want to take this opportunity to point out the MASSIVE hypocrisy that the Dems exhibited when it came to their selective outrage concerning the Trump/Access Hollywood tape and subsequent cascade of victims. They were outraged, all right…all the while they were cheering a man (ol’ Happy Pants himself) out on the campaign trail who was every bit the sexual predator and harasser Trump is/may be. Even Helen Keller could see this hypocrisy for what it is.

    This should be a wake-up call and teaching moment for all of us. We’re a sadly divided nation that must come together if we are to persevere. That means that we all must practice that tolerance and empathy many of us preach – and that means not demeaning those who dare to disagree with us. I also hope this the absolute last we’ll EVER hear from the Clintons (and Bushes, for that matter).

    • posted by JohnInCA on

      Lost the popular vote, only two states surprisingly flipped, lost seats in the Senate. And you call that a revolution?

      That’s as moronic as the folks that are talking about “Calexit”. Somewhere around here is a dial labeled “drama” that needs to be turned way down.

      • posted by Lori Heine on

        And somewhere around here is an arrogant troll who never learned how to deal like an adult with conservative or libertarian opinions on a libertarian/conservative blog.

      • posted by MDBuck on

        So, in my fairly lengthy post, all you can do is proffer the popular vote and say i’m being “dramatic?” Considering those two states were solidly blue for many years proves that a revolution does not need to be big to still be a revolution.

        And, I’m interested in hearing your post-election analysis.

        • posted by JohnInCA on

          And, I’m interested in hearing your post-election analysis.
          Sure. Here goes:
          1992: 43% to 37% to 19% (D wins)
          1996: 49% to 41% to 8% (D Wins)
          2000: 47.9% to 48.4% to 2.8% (R Wins)
          2004: 50.7% to 48.3% (R Wins)
          2008: 52.9% to 45.7% (D Wins)
          2012: 51% to 47.2% (D Wins)
          2016: 47% to 48% to 3% (R Wins)

          And here’s the real kicker. Trump won with less votes then Romney lost with. You have to go back 16 years (2000) to find an election where the winner got so few votes.

          If that’s your “revolution”, it’s a revolution in how many people wanted nothing to do with the process, not a revolution in how anyone was supported.

    • posted by Jorge on

      I think Clinton was okay as Secretary of State. It is simply that she was loyal to the president. I respect that.

      As for the elites calling racism, I think they’re trying to trap the right into appeasing their hurt feelings. Nuh-uh. Wake them up by offering bold policy ideas to really big problems, then appease them by agreeing to nice little feel good social ideas. Both sides are needed, if only to avoid more groupthink.

      But what the coastal liberal elites also fail to see is that just as this election was a rejection of the left, it was also a rejection of the GOP establishment (people like Ted Cruz are conspicuously absent from the scene right now).

      The GOP establishment has been killed many times by the right, it just keeps coming back older and grayer. Today it’s Newt Gingrich. Tomorrow it’s Marco Rubio.

  3. posted by Tom Scharbach on

    But what the coastal liberal elites also fail to see is that just as this election was a rejection of the left, it was also a rejection of the GOP establishment (people like Ted Cruz are conspicuously absent from the scene right now).

    Just out of curiosity, do think that conservative elites (coastal or not) understand that Trump’s rise to power, in which he mowed through the Republican establishment candidates like the Grim Reaper at Flanders Fields, is, as you put it, “a rejection of the GOP establishment”?

    Or do you think, as I do, that establishment conservatives in Congress will do everything in their power to hold on to Reaganomics with their cold, dead hands?

  4. posted by MDBuck on

    @ Tom:

    In short, as with virtually everything associated with Trump at this point, it’s hard to tell. Right now, Trump enjoys chilly (at best) relationships with much of the GOP House and Senate. I think a lot will depend on whether or not they are singing from the same hymnal on the Obamacare repeal (what will be crafted to take its place), immigration and other Trump marquee issues. I suspect the conservative establishment (including all five members on the coasts) and Trump will do a cautious dance with each other to see how well they can get along.

    • posted by Tom Scharbach on

      … on the Obamacare repeal (what will be crafted to take its place) …

      Fascinating, is it not, that in less than a decade we’ve moved from the point where Republicans fought government-involved universal health care tooth and nail to the point where Republicans understand that a solution, almost certainly involving the government as a responsible agent in some capacity, will have to be crafted to take the place of Obamacare when it is repealed.

      • posted by Jorge on

        …Republicans understand that a solution, almost certainly involving the government as a responsible agent in some capacity, will have to be crafted to take the place of Obamacare when it is repealed.

        No less than Obama understood that if you like your doctor, you can keep him.

      • posted by MDBuck on

        @ Tom:

        You are assuming that the proffered solution will involve big government. The only think I have heard offered so far is the removal of barriers to health insurers selling across state lines. I’d say the smart $$ is on not having a big government solution.

  5. posted by Houndentenor on

    Trump won because almost half of voters loved his sexist, racist rants.

    • posted by MDBuck on

      So, in other words, you have learned absolutely nothing from this election.

  6. posted by Jorge on

    From “Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash:”

    But there’s another major piece of the puzzle, and it would be a profound mistake to overlook it. Overlooking it was largely the problem, in the first place.

    Trump won because of a cultural issue that flies under the radar and remains stubbornly difficult to define, but is nevertheless hugely important to a great number of Americans: political correctness.

    What mad magical powers could have enticed this die-hard ex-liberal, neoconservative moderate overturn his pocketbook and vote for a serial sex offender who’s a Russian puppet?

    More specifically, Trump won because he convinced a great number of Americans that he would destroy political correctness.


    “Nobody votes for Trump or likes Trump on the basis of policy positions. That’s a misunderstanding of what the Trump phenomenon is.”

    I’m afraid so, but understand that there has been a political correctness on both domestic and foreign policy issue. There’s a certain smugness to the anti-PC crowd that Trump avoided by hitting squarely on where political correctness has hurt Americans.

    Trump didn’t run a campaign to nowhere on, “Of course there’s only two genders!” He ran a campaign on, “Of course Muslim terrorists are killing Americans.” “Of course Obama’s ‘red line’ created ISIS.” “Of course inner city crime is slaughtering African Americans.” “Of course Mexico is sending rapists and drug dealers across the border and our sanctuary cities are refusing to kick them out!” A lot of people saw that as waving the bigotry flag and being nonspecific about policy. They didn’t realize that in every policy fight he picked, there was a vicegrip focus on people who were hurt.

    • posted by Lori Heine on

      In other words, he talked about issues people really care about. Imagine getting elected for that!

      • posted by JohnInCA on

        By percentage of the popular vote, he did pretty badly for a winning candidate. You have to go back to 1992 to find a winning candidate that got less of the popular vote (percentage wise) then him.

        By raw totals, you have to go back to 2000 to find a winning president who got fewer votes then him. Heck, he fell short of Romney’s losing total, and barely beat McCain’s losing total.

        That… is not an impressive amount of “caring” that he inspired.

        • posted by Lori Heine on

          Which changes absolutely nothing about what I said. Keep spinning, crying and throwing tantrums.

          The Left is in a meltdown of thermonuclear proportions. It isn’t prepared to deal with anything the Right might throw at it. It has coddled and lied to its little minions for so many years that they have been reduced to near-infancy and are totally unprepared to deal competently in the political system.

          This is good news for nobody. But by all means, keep up the gradeschool cootie-dodge and feel good about yourself. Nothing else matters, right?

          • posted by JohnInCA on

            Again, if he had spoken to what people “really” cared about, they would have shown up to support him. And what happened? You have to go back to when a third party candidate got 18% of the vote to find a winning candidate who got a smaller share of the vote. You have to go back to the last president who won while losing the popular vote to find a winner who got fewer votes.

            That’s not the behavior of an electorate who agrees that “he talked about issues people really care about.” That’s the behavior of an electorate that’s apathetic about the whole thing and doesn’t care.

            And why would that make me feel good about myself? I voted for Johnson. I wanted the thirty party guy make a strong showing. He didn’t. Even against these two dismal candidates who couldn’t get people to come out to the poles for them, third party candidates are still scraping the bottom of the barrel.

        • posted by Jorge on

          Bill Clinton? You’re comparing Donald Trump to Bill Clinton? Are you really that desperate?

  7. posted by Lori Heine on

    John in CA, the people who showed up to vote cared.

    These political animals study every jot and tittle of an election’s results. They don’t just go, “Duhhh….winning! We won” — and then forget about it.

    I voted Johnson not because I was under any illusion that he’d win, but because I knew that the percentage that voted for him–however small–would factor into whatever sense the powerbrokers made of the election.

    We don’t get much of a say in what goes on. Every little bit (including a vote) is something. I don’t know what those crying in the streets and clutching their poseable Hillary action figures think they’re doing that’s in any sense constructive. Just be glad you’re not one of them.

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