It is now undeniable that Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States. As of this writing, his lead over remaining competitor Hillary Clinton is insurmountable. It is safe to say that this year’s U.S. election was one of the most unpredictable in modern history. Now that the dust has settled, it’s time to examine exactly how Trump won and what this means for the future of the U.S. He was not just the preferred candidate of the Republican Party but did something unprecedented by garnering support from Democrats, too.
The Republicans Had A Blank Check
The Republicans had a golden opportunity to put a stop to Trump’s march to the White House when they held a majority in both Houses of Congress during early 2016. The first half of that year was consumed by a battle over whether or not to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).
The Trump campaign released a detailed health care plan in May 2016 that called for a complete repeal of the ACA. However, a large majority of Republican lawmakers opposed this approach, and it was not until after the Republican convention that Trump came around to their viewpoint. Once the GOP nominee was decided, every other issue was put on the back burner.
Although Trump did have a few legislative successes during his first year in office, they weren’t game-changing measures. The reality is that the Republicans had little interest in helping Trump implement his agenda. Instead, they cooperated with him because they saw the race for the White House as a battle for survival. They needed him on their side, and he needed them to get something done.
The Democrats Couldn’t Find Their Voice
While the Republicans were busy ignoring Trump, the Left was busy criticizing him. The progressive movement was energized by Trump’s unexpected candidacy and the subsequent rise of the alt-right. Trump’s rhetoric about banning Muslims and building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico energized an entire faction of the Democratic Party. This led to the creation of the Identity Sustainable Democratic Party, otherwise known as ‘The Resistance.’
As it turned out, the Democrats were not going to save Trump’s presidency. They had hoped that former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton would throw her hat in the ring. However, when the time came for her to speak at the Democratic convention, she choked. She had been touted as one of the “inexperience” Democrats who could finally challenge Trump. Instead, she sounded like a broken record, repeating the same criticisms that Hillary Clinton had leveled at Trump during the last two years on the campaign trail. It didn’t matter that she was trying to sound “presidential” because the audience wasn’t buying it. They knew that the attacks on Trump were coming from a place of privilege, and that was never going to win them over.
Trump Won By Inspiring A Vicious Resistance
It is important to keep in mind that this wasn’t simply a “Trump won” election. It was a “Trump won because of ‘The Resistance’,” as the latter group proudly proclaims itself in several videos that have gone viral. It should be noted that this is a mostly male group, and many of its members identify as “men’s rights activists.”
One of the first organizations to embrace ‘The Resistance’ is the Inclusive Communities Project, otherwise known as ‘ICP’. The organization promotes “cultural humility,” which it defines as “not accepting cultural assumptions nor discriminating based on cultural differences.” Interestingly, one of the key architects of identity sustainable democracy, Derrick Bailey, sits on the board of ICP and is a featured speaker at its events. He openly mocks white culture, saying that it is “passe,” and that the real issues facing society today are “political correctness and social justice.”
What does ‘The Resistance’ believe is the cause of most social ills today? The group seems to think that it’s a combination of identity politics and “aggressive’” social activism, according to its website. This includes supporting groups such as Black Lives Matter and fighting against anything associated with “whiteness,” as well as the “normies” who voted for Trump.
“The Resistance’” founder and unofficial leader, Jordan B. Peterson, says that the group is “fighting against the fundamentalists — whether they be religious, political, or social.”
‘The Resistance” approach is appealing to men who feel disenfranchised by the “politically correct culture” that they believe is taking over society. They want to express their displeasure with the system and are looking for like-minded people who share their disdain for the “elite.”
One of the first practical repercussions of ‘The Resistance’ is that many men in positions of power and authority in the political, legal, and corporate worlds are now going to have to learn to work with – rather than above – individuals who have a different set of cultural beliefs. This could prove to be a bumpy transition, but it could also spark a necessary conversation regarding how men, women, and minorities can work together to create a more egalitarian society.
Another major consequence of Trump’s unexpected election is the rise of the far-right. For decades, the Republican Party had been the party of Abraham Lincoln, fighting to end slavery and preserve the Union. But, due to the election of Trump and the subsequent ascendancy of voices like his, the Republicans find themselves in the company of people who see them as defenders of “white supremacy.”
In March of this year, a Yale Political Science Professor wrote an article in the Atlantic titled, “The Rise of the Far-Right in the Age of Trump.” In it, he warned, “For the first time in decades, the Republican Party finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to defend a legacy of racism and anti-Semitism.” He continued, “The party has moved past its previous denials and excuses to embrace an unabashed white supremacist agenda.”
Trump didn’t just lead the Republican Party to victory this year – he legitimized their hate-filled brand of extremism. The only question now is – will the far-right embrace and perpetuate his hateful and divisive ideology, or will they work to push back against it?