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February 01, 2017

Did Facebook Win Donald Trump the Presidency? [Warden]

I stumbled across a rarity yesterday--a leftist who is curious enough about how the right thinks to read and study us.

Someone pointed this series of tweets to me after the writer linked my article, How Losing My Political Values Helped Me Gain My Freedom, as an example of the emotional state of the reactionary right.

It's a thoughtful series of tweets that I encourage you to read. The author has his finger on the emotional state of the reactionary right more than any other leftist I've encountered. He didn't rely on a bunch of tropes and stereotypes to reach his conclusions. He paid attention to what we've been saying.

I had a courteous exchange with the author, so if you respond to him please keep it cordial. Polite and thoughtful discussion deserves courtesy in return.

At any rate, our exchange gave me cause to think a little bit more deeply about what I'd written previously, particularly on the matter of reactionary politics.

Let me start by saying that Donald Trump is a reactionary phenomenon and most of us who voted for him are, by definition, reactionaries. And I would argue that most of this is due to social media.

When one looks at the left wing, you can basically separate the institutional left from what I call the soft left. The institutional left consists of the political players and their lackeys, media, academics, street agitators and the like. These are the people that shape the direction, agenda, strategy and tactics of the left.

The soft left are the voters. They don't give much thought to anything other than their preferences, which the Democrat party caters to very effectively. They are, traditionally, passive players.

Now I've understood since the Clinton years that the institutional left was actively seeking to harm me. Historically they've primarily done this through policy while other tactics such as demonization, othering, character assassination and lawfare were generally reserved for powerful political players and institutions on the right.

During the Obama years, we saw a radical shift. No longer were the Tom Delays and the Rush Limbaughs of the world the exclusive targets of what Bill Clinton labeled "the politics of personal destruction." Your average citizen was now in the cross hairs as well.

I first became aware of this during the Joe the Plumber episode when the media relentlessly attacked a citizen simply for asking, on his own property where Barack Obama was a guest, a question that happened to make their Boy-King look silly.

I thought it was a one-off due to the threat that Plumber's inquiry posed, but soon after the examples piled up--the slandering of the Tea Party movement, targeting of Christian wedding photographers, the harassment of the Memories Pizza owners, etc...

Which leads me to social media, Facebook specifically.

As this dramatic shift occurred, we began to see another shift within social media, one that reached its apex during the 2016 presidential election. That was the politicization of everything, not just by the institutional left, but by the soft left as well.

Where before the voters on the left were mostly passive receivers of Cultural Marxism, they had now become active participants via propaganda, slander, social shaming, and otherizing. This meant that conservatives were now being assaulted on two fronts, both from the institutional left and the soft left.

Every conservative who is active on Facebook knows what I'm talking about. After decades of Americans keeping their politics mostly to themselves, suddenly our feeds were jammed up with political invective.

It wasn't just directed at politicians. It was personal--a relentless litany of insults and abuse, first at the Tea Party and then Trump supporters. Most of it was generalized, but the message was clear. They held our kind in contempt and didn't care who knew it. In fact, they seemed to be in a contest to see who could broadcast it the loudest.

Most conservatives were hurt by this. We tend to keep our politics relatively private, both out of decorum and respect for our relationships with people whose politics differ from ours. The message that these public posts sent to us was that our "friends" on the left didn't respect or value us enough to avoid giving offense.

As someone who has been following politics since high school, I tend not to trust my own instincts what the average voter thinks. I'm simply to close to the subject. My wife, however, is a fairly low-key traditionalist who doesn't care to immerse herself in that world and so I use her as my political weather vane.

And so I knew that there was a storm brewing when she snapped down her phone over breakfast one day after reading Facebook and told me how sick and tired she was of her friends' political posts.

"When they say those things," she fumed, "they're talking about our family."

"I'm so sick and tired of being told that I'm a bad person because I disagree with someone's position on abortion or transgender bathrooms. Who do they think they are to tell everyone what they're required to believe?"

The hurt had turned to anger and quiet resolve.

The left sought to reprimand the right. What they did was alienate it. Their social media echo chamber only served to steel conservative misgivings about Donald Trump, if for no other reason than we simply couldn't abide by being pushed around for another 4-8 years.

It's one thing to know that your friends disagree with you. It's another to realize that they think you're stupid, uneducated, a bigot, bully, sexist, jerk and everything that's wrong with the world.

It's then that you realize that it's not just the institutional left that yearns to place its boot on your neck, it's your left-wing neighbors, friends, coworkers and even family. When you see attacks on regular citizens cheered and reinforced by people on Facebook, your worldview changes radically.

You can no longer believe that they don't really understand what they're voting for. It becomes clear that they do--they're voting to turn you into a second class citizen, an "other" who is not due the same rights and courtesies as their exhalted tribe of Right Thinkers.


We loathed Obama and all the Marxist cockroaches surrounding him. Now we were beginning to loathe his supporters.

Donald Trump had exposed the press for the lying, shameless partisan hacks that they are. But social media exposed the soft left, the formerly passive Democrat party support.

This is why the left never saw it coming. They took over public spaces and shouted down the opposition with personal attacks. Horrified conservatives withdrew from engagement, but we didn't disappear.

We seethed with resentment and contempt.

And it drove us to the polls, quietly and without fanfare, like assassins in the night.

The left still doesn't know what hit him. They're still too busy screeching, insulting, protesting, rioting, and trying to manipulate the rules to ask the simple question: Why?

I'll tell you why. We see you. We see what you've become. And we're not having what you've been dishing out any longer.


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posted by Open Blogger at 07:15 PM

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