Identity politics combined with cultural and ethnic differences are causing a divide between rural and urban America.
The demographic change in the American electorate has many political consequences for how campaigns are run. Growing partisanship coupled with ideological radicalization of the parties is a result not only of the browning of America, but also a geographic and cultural schism in society. This essay will revisit the 2016 presidential election, dissecting the underlying war of cultures with a particular focus on the elements of identity politics relevant to Hillary’s defeat.
The 2016 election saw the first nomination of a woman for a major political party in the United States, reaching a historical landmark for cat-lady liberals who waited all their lives to see this moment. Meanwhile, the Republican Party nominated arguably the most controversial candidate in modern history. The result was a brutal cage match showdown between the personification of boomer cat-lady feminism and the embodiment of old school alpha-male masculinity. Underneath the spectacle, a larger metapolitical culture war was fought behind the scenes during this election.
Many were shocked when Hillary’s assumed grand slam in November turned out to be a victory for the underdog. An analysis of the underlying battle between cultures proves, however, that Trump’s victory was never as outlandish as the media portrayed it to be.
The Hubris of Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton and her team made the mistake of imitating Obama’s campaign too closely, resulting in Obama’s winning techniques coming off as forced and disingenuous for Hillary. Obama’s campaign energized millions of people to go out and vote for the first Black president, but Hillary’s team could not generate the same enthusiasm for women. According to exit polls, she underperformed across the board with several important Democratic voting groups, including women. It appears that Obama’s “coalition of the ascendant” was not universally transferable to any Democratic candidate. Who would have known that abandoning White working-class voters would have political consequences?
Meanwhile Trump took a gamble, aggressively pursuing rural, uneducated White voters. His strategy seemed preposterous—the GOP had just conducted an “autopsy” after the disastrous 2012 election and concluded they needed to cuck for core Democratic groups in order to secure electoral victories. However, the big picture is that the Trump strategy makes perfect mathematical sense: most people in the country do not have a college degree and most people in the country are White. The only thing Trump had to do was motivate and mobilize these voters, some of whom hadn’t voted in decades, if ever.
The disengaged White voters Trump appealed to are what Nixon referred to as “the silent majority.” The word “majority” is right there in the name, all the GOP has to do is drive White America out to the polls. Historical data shows that the party that wins the White working-class wins the presidency, and Republicans in particular win when more Whites turn out to vote. If 2016 taught the GOP anything, it should be that, whether they like it or not, their party has become the party of implicit White identity, and they should operate as such.
Messaging is Key,
Many pundits and journalists concluded this meant the electorate was sexist against Hillary Clinton. Shockingly, the mad pussy-grabber did about the same as Mitt Romney did with women, and even beat Clinton among White women. What Clinton gained in support from women, she lost with men. White men rejected her loud and clear, only 31% of them casting their ballots for her. From these data, it can be inferred that while Trump did not necessarily appeal to women voters, something about Hillary Clinton was particularly unappealing to men.
Hillary made severe missteps in her campaign messaging. For example, her slogan “I’m With Her” was intended to emphasize her potential as the first woman president, but the slogan unintentionally came off as self-centered. Trump called her out for this and introduced his own spin on the phrase—“I’m With You”— a great contrast with the self-centeredness of Hillary’s slogan. Even the eternal normie could infer that this campaign was just another chapter in the long story of Hillary’s pursuit for power.
One must also consider the problem that there was no rationale behind her campaign. One of the most important components of a political campaign is being able to answer the question “why are you running for office?” Hillary’s failure to answer this question resulted in a multitude of other problems, most significantly failure to inspire voters to get out to vote. This was painfully obvious on election day when many disaffected liberals stayed home or defected to third party candidates. Only one conclusion could be drawn: the liberal base was not enthusiastic for Hillary like they were for Bernie Sanders or Barack Obama.
Another demographic Hillary underperformed with was young voters. Throughout her campaign, she encountered difficulty attracting young voters, who overwhelmingly flocked to the idealistic Bernie Sanders. After Bernie dropped out and endorsed Hillary, a stubborn faction of his supporters refused to get on board, opting to not vote, vote third party, or even vote Trump. A number of studies estimate anywhere from 5% to 20% of Bernie voters defected for Trump, which should come as no surprise considering Trump and Sanders are merely two different sides to the same populist coin. Even Trump was able to make inroads with young voters, winning the White millennial vote. Ultimately, in their efforts to rally the youth vote, the Clinton campaign failed to appeal to the idealism of the socialist utopia promised by Sanders.
Narrow vs. Broad Appeal
Another central problem of the Clinton campaign was her attempt to mimic what worked for Obama, without taking into context any of the differences between their campaigns—such as the fact that Obama had a reliable “coalition of the ascendant” on his side. Hillary found out the hard way that this coalition may have been a phenomenon totally unique to Obama.
One particular centerpiece of the Obama campaign was data analytics, which Hillary struggled to copycat through an autistic reliance on voter micro-targeting. By trying to appeal to too many demographics, her message suffered, diluted to the point of disingenuousness by micro-targeting overkill. Instead of a broad and powerful message like that of both Obama and Trump, the campaign was an eclectic heap of Spanish tweets, celebrity endorsements, policies mired in wonkish detail, and melodramatic attacks on her opponent.
Exactly how important is a political slogan in the grand scheme of the campaign? Attempting to target many voter groups, the campaign appeared to be pandering to Democratic voting blocs without the universal inspiration that ultimately inspires people to get out to vote for a candidate. As corny as they can be, never underestimate the power of a good political slogan, which should be neither self-centered nor too narrow. Hillary’s “I’m With Her” slogan didn’t even mean anything. Voters were unsure what being “with her” entailed exactly. Obama’s message? Hope and Change. Trump’s message? Make America Great Again. Hillary’s message? “It’s all about me.”
A Cultural Rift in America
Despite outperforming Mitt Romney in the Hispanic and Black vote, Trump’s main accomplishment was that he overwhelmingly won White voters of all walks of life, finally demonstrating to cuckservatives in Washington that they don’t need based Black guys to win a presidential election. Meanwhile, Hillary won the non-White vote, which may have given her more total votes, but an electoral strategy based on sheer numbers rather than electoral college victory is like thinking you win a game of chess by capturing the most pieces.
Due to the electoral college, Hillary still needed support from the White working class of the Rust Belt, a region she thoroughly neglected during the campaign. Looking at the breakdown of the electoral map by county, geography is a near-perfect indicator for candidate support: people in urban centers voted for Hillary while those in rural and suburban areas voted for Trump. This geographic split is indicative of the growing cultural rift in America.
As major cities in America become inhabited by yuppie bugmen occupying loft apartments above the invading brown hordes, White flight to the suburbs dramatically hastens. The suburbs immediately outside cities grow beyond capacity, and White America is pushed further away from urban centers, residing in exurbs and bedroom communities spread into the surrounding countryside.
Democrats are transforming into the party of the diverse, educated, cosmopolitan class. Meanwhile, the Republican Party attracts all who reject this multi-culti bugman ethos. A line has been drawn between the traditional family and the childless urbanite, whose values and interests are diametrically opposed.
On one side is the heartland voter who values cohesive community, security, and individual responsibility, and relishes hard work and overcoming challenges. He feels a connection to his hometown and his people, and he exists to create a better future for his children. On the other side is the urban-dwelling voter who is hyper-focused on deracinated popular culture, atomized individualism, indulgent hedonism, getting rich, and avoidance of conflict and controversy. He feels no allegiance to his community; he exists solely to consume.
In the end, Hillary neglected Democratic voters who could not connect with her message (or lack thereof). A map of the voting results for northwestern Pennsylvania illustrates the consequences. The heart of the Rust Belt, this region is overwhelmingly rural, uneducated, and White. In 2008, the counties in northwestern Pennsylvania voted for Obama—perhaps disaffected with the neocon/Bush invade-the-world—invite-the-world presidency and hoping for the “change” preached by the inspiring, young community organizer. But in 2016 Trump flipped the entire state solidly red.
A similar phenomenon can be observed in the adjacent region of northeastern Ohio (nowhere is the downfall of American manufacturing more hauntingly apparent than rural Ohio), where working class Whites voted for Obama in droves, then in 2016 flipped to Trump. Are these downtrodden White workers—who voted for the first black President—the “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic” deplorables Hillary was referring to?
The country is as divided as it has been in my lifetime. The culture of Middle America is under attack by the urban elite. Instead of trying to find common ground, anyone who disagrees with the values of dominant urbanite culture is ridiculed as a backwards relic of the past.
An unintended consequence of multicultural identity politics is that the White working-class American has been left behind and forgotten, while minorities are pandered to by the left. Instead of exploring solutions for rural America, Democrats have relentlessly attacked or ignored the American worker who used to be the foundation of their electorate. Things as fundamental to the American spirit as owning a gun, going to church every Sunday, or working in a coal mine are ridiculed as archaic or “deplorable” by Democrats like Obama and Hillary, who have no understanding of Middle American culture.
The election of Donald Trump was due to fatigue by people in flyover states over educated urbanites smugly looking down their noses at them. Trump’s appeals to the racial sensibilities of White America indicate the desire among true Americans for a president who won’t look down on them for “clinging to guns and religion,” when in reality their communities are falling apart while state and federal governments turn a blind eye to them.
While the bugman enjoys a comfortable urban lifestyle, life is not so easy in rural America, where work is scarce, drugs run rampant, and advancement in life is an uphill climb. As the sociological disparities between Americans grow, White America will gradually begin to wake up to this knock-out game which is multiculturalism and soon more will join our ranks.
When the left began playing the identity politics game, they did not anticipate White people playing identity politics back. Rapidly, Whites are gaining racial consciousness—Donald Trump was merely the beginning, and it won’t be long before Whites start politically organizing for their interests.