Gracious Trump supporters? Not that I have seen
Biden should listen to the victims of Trumpism, not its perpetrators.
When Trump won in 2016, Democrats were expected to enter a four year mea culpa with his supporters. Everytime we turned on the news there appeared some disgruntled Trump voter and his buddies in a rural diner talking about the latest disguised synonym as to why they didn’t like their African American President or that, maybe they could vote for a woman, but not for Hillary, there’s just something about her. This was nothing more than economic anxiety, though. We were told it could only be calmed with a deeper, more empathetic understanding. The party of individual responsibility thought the system was against them.
The political justification for introspection was 306 electoral college votes, 62 million votes, and the dismantling of the so-called ‘Blue Wall’. If that was a repudiation of the liberal agenda, then what is Joe Biden’s win? It is looking likely he will also get 306 electoral college votes, while re-building the Blue Wall, flipping Arizona and Georgia, and getting more than 75 million votes. Even with a Biden win, however, these snowflakes still need coddling.
Conservative media has been praising Trump’s supporters for handling the defeat well. Have they been reaching out across the aisle? No. Are they apologising for the way the treated defeated Democrats? No. Perhaps there has been a whole-scale effort to encourage the President to accept the result of a free and fair election. Absolutely not. No, we don’t set bars that high for these poor souls.
Irrespective of what happens in the next few weeks, the behaviour of Trump himself and his supports while he was in office is damning enough. The challenge isn’t recalling moments where the outgoing President incited violence, rather, it’s being able to recall them all there were so many. The ‘very fine people’ who killed Heather Heyer, the warning call to Proud Boys, the literal attempt to KIDNAP Gretchen Whitmer, the sympathy with gun-wielding thugs moving in on government buildings, Kyle Rittenhouse, who (allegedly) travelled across state borders with a weapon of war to murder people. The list goes on, and on, and on.
And while it might be true that there has been limit civil unrest since November 3rd, I suspect that is partly because plenty of people are currently in the first stage of grief: denial. Championed, of course, by the delusional President himself. We have a kind of MAGA take on Hiroo Onoda. We are, after all, being frequently told by Trump supporters that this, apparently, isn’t over. Don Jr has called for “total war over this election” and has sought to recruit an “army” to help his father. Don Jr desperate for his his Dad’s love — some things truly will never change.
The truth is, violence has been occuring. BuzzFeed has reported 28 incidents of racist and/or violence conduct in the name of Trump since his defeat. There are victims to this crimes that no amount of conservative mollycoddling or congratulating will help heal.
The soul of the nation?
Joe Biden was elected — I suspect — largely because people wanted a return to decency and calm; they wanted someone normal. His ‘acceptance’ speech earlier this week hit the usual political cliches of bringing people together, sentiment that even Donald Trump was able to include in his version of the same speech four years earlier.
Biden said he would be a President who “doesn’t see red and blue states, but a United States”, echoing Barack Obama’s words in 2004 that “there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America”.
But Biden clearly believes in the virtue of compromise and he knows how to make deals, proper deals. It’s what helped Obama to pass the important auto bail out in the face of Republican opposition. He doesn’t just say this stuff, he lives this stuff, he seeks this stuff out. It’s one of the reasons why Trump was so unable to pin him down with a pithy nickname.
But it’s also threatening to expose a rift within the Democrat party that has so far been disguised by the mother of all sticking plasters: the desire to vote out Donald Trump. Those on the party’s left clearly worry that Biden’s desire to compromise will go too far in reaching across the aisle in lieu of recognising the importance of his own party. In light of the aforementioned violence, it is easy to understand this concern.
I propose that if Biden is committed to reaching out and healing the soul of the nation, as he calls it, he should start with listening to the victims of Trumpism, not its perpetrators; some of whom have literally called for the heads of Democrats. Trump will leave office with a litany of victims, the new President should exhaust himself by healing their wounds first.