Liberal Academia in Donald Trump’s World


Artemis Seaford in The American Interest:

For many of us liberal academic types, the feeling of waking up in America on Wednesday morning resembled that of receiving an invitation to the funeral of a friend who was inexplicably shot walking down the street the night before.

Once we process this grief, it will be time to reflect on what happened. How we explain the electoral outcome is crucially important, because it will shape our understanding of how we move forward. A popular knee-jerk reaction has been to attribute the outcome exclusively to bigotry, misogyny, the Electoral College, uneducated white males, and voter identification laws. This is usually followed by a vow to “fight sexism and racism in all its forms.”

There is nothing prima facie objectionable with such a reaction. However, just below its surface lies the proposition that nearly half American voters have finally shown us their true bigoted, misogynist colors, and the implication that it is up to us, liberal savants, to show them why they are wrong. Going down this route means going about liberal “business as usual.” It means digging in our heels in the face of an external threat and doubling down on our positions, taking them even more for granted than before.

A more productive response would be to engage in thoughtful soul-searching about what we missed. This will require recognizing that tens of millions of Americans voted for Trump despite his bigotry, not because of it. Our demand that they simply put universal values above their own perceived self-interest was a step too far, and their refusal to comply does not automatically make them racists. But it does say something about the moment we live in that we have so far failed to put our finger on.

More here.