VACCHIANO: Clinton’s defeat was because of liberals
Opinions Column: Tory Time
For many students on campus, Hillary Clinton’s shocking defeat to Donald Trump on Tuesday was the first time they had to deal with their political party losing a presidential election. Not knowing how depressing and demoralizing losing an election is, students haven’t been able to cope with the defeat. They blame Trump’s victory on dozens of different variables, including sexism and racism, but in reality liberals have no one to blame but themselves.
First, there’s good reason to believe that racism and sexism are irrelevant or, at worst, insignificant — racism is much less prominent than one would expect because, despite Trump’s rhetoric about immigration, he was able to garner slightly more support from minority groups than Mitt Romney did in 2012. In fact, 29 percent of Hispanics voted for Trump, compared to 27 percent voting for Romney in 2012. As NBC News reported, “Trump … garnered more support from Hispanics than a candidate whose most controversial position was telling undocumented immigrants to ‘self-deport.’” In addition, it is absurd to say that voters went to the polls with racist motives, especially when considering that a third of the counties that supported Obama in both 2008 and 2012 were won by Trump, and Trump also won 194 of the 207 counties that voted for Obama at least once. Clinton should have won these counties easily, but she didn’t because of her campaign’s own flaws.
As for the accusations of sexism, it’s a stretch to say that it had a prominent role in this election. If a male candidate were suspected of rigging the Democratic primaries to undermine a more popular candidate, had the John Podesta email leak on their watch, had the same clear record of opportunism that Clinton did and the same hawkish, sketchy foreign policy — all while facing a Republican who had a strong backing from Middle America, that male candidate probably wouldn’t be very popular either. If anything, voters’ excitement about electing the first female President of the United States likely outweighed the sparse sexist criticisms there were of Clinton. Yet feminists still claim that, considering Clinton’s political experience versus Trump’s lack thereof, people have to have been inherently sexist to pick Trump instead. Yet Trump won’t be the first President to have no political experience prior to holding the office, as we can see from Dwight D. Eisenhower. Trump also won’t be the first controversial media magnate to be elected the leader of a major country, as we can see from Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. This is not to ignore the fact that Donald Trump has said sexist things — he has — but the prospect of a more qualified politician being cast aside for an outsider who can mobilize support and garner respect is not out of the question. This type of defeat has afflicted many men in the past, as well as Hillary Clinton.
In fact, the Left’s rhetoric about identity politics is the reason for their downfall. It turns out that calling white voters racist because they support a more rigorous immigration process doesn’t win Democrats votes. Indeed, calling them racist is not only absurd but also unfair to the voters. Even if what these voters believe has the potential to produce racist implications, telling them that they’re hateful for believing in, say, heightened security procedures when it’s not obviously or intentionally racist just looks ridiculous. The average voter is not as self-loathing as progressives think, and they’re likely to vote against people who accuse them of being prejudiced. By calling half of the United States “deplorables” for supporting Donald Trump, Clinton dug her own grave. And yet this rhetoric is even worse on college campuses. When Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at Rutgers last February, I recall witnessing my fellow students scream that Yiannopoulos was a member of the KKK after he had made a comment criticizing Black Lives Matter for being too divisive. They didn’t catch the irony that the KKK would hate Yiannopoulos for being gay, Catholic, British and of Jewish descent. Students also stood up and smeared fake blood on themselves after Yiannopoulos had a critical comment about safe spaces. Student activists sulk and wonder why no one takes them seriously, but in reality, stories like these are the ones that drive up Breitbart’s readership, and Breitbart is the reason Trump got elected.
Even as someone who didn’t support Donald Trump, I find it extremely difficult to empathize with liberals who blame anyone but themselves for the outcome of this election. If leftists don’t want the alt-right movement to gain more popularity than it already has, they need to stop alienating the average voter with such divisive rhetoric. Democrats will never win a presidential election again if they ignore voters as sorely as they did this election.
Andrea Vacchiano is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore double-majoring in history and political science. Her column, "Tory Time," runs on alternate Fridays.
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