A letter to my disappointed liberal friends on how to move forward

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November 9, 2016 by Alex Johannigman

Dear Liberal Friends,

Like you, I am saddened by and concerned about the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. His success through the primaries and now in the general election has surprised me and made me worry about what the future may bring. However, your reactions to his election today have been similarly disappointing. The name calling, the judgment of all conservatives and all Trump-voters, the marginalization of those who disagree with you- they all need to stop. Much of Trump’s success came from a large portion of the population who are tired of the name calling and demonization by liberals and their political leaders. They’re tired of being called “a basket of deplorables,” “racist,” “backwards Catholics,” “sexist,” “homophobic,” “irredeemable,” “xenophobic,” etc. by Clinton and those who supported her. If you keep this up, you’re only going to drive more and more conservatives, moderates, and independents away from you.

Are there some hateful people who voted for Trump? Sure. But I’d be happy to bet they are in a small minority. Those I know who voted for Trump didn’t do so out of hatred. They did it because they can’t afford their health insurance premiums anymore. They did it because they’re seeing their jobs disappear at an alarming rate. They did it because they are sick of abortion taking the lives of millions of innocent humans each year. They did it because they feel their values and way of life are under fire from a government that has stopped listening to them, that shuts them out of negotiations, that belittles their concerns. Like many Bernie Sanders supporters, they see the country as a system that is rigged against them in favor of the wealthy and the politicians. Many of them dislike Trump’s personality as much as you do, but find that his stance on the issues that are important to them are far more attractive than Clinton’s were.

And contrary to popular belief, they weren’t all straight white males. Many were women (Clinton only beat Trump by 12 points among women), Latinos (over 30% of whom voted for Trump in Florida), blacks, and members of the LGBT community too. Just because you say that those groups would only ever vote Democrat doesn’t mean that is reflected in reality.

For a group that talks so much about standing against bigotry, you’ve embraced it a lot during this election and especially today. If you want to regain the ground you lost this year you will need to move past the hatred, generalizations, and attacks and recognize what is important to all those who did not vote for your candidate. Otherwise you can just continue hide behind the convenient name calling, chalk the loss up to nothing more than rampant racism and sexism (despite the fact that Trump won at least 5 states who voted Obama in the past two elections…did something change?), and lose more and more potential voters in the next election. It’s your call, but since I know that most of you are motivated primarily by the desire to do good (that’s why we’re friends) I’d encourage you to step out of the echo-chamber, pop the bubble so many of you are living in, and hug someone who voted differently than you. They probably have more in common with you than you realize.


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