Contrary to the impression you might get from reading my blog or following me on social media, I’m not actually that hardcore right-wing – except perhaps as a result of the linguistic devaluation, where, as a conscious political tactic, terms like “far-right”, “hard right”, “ultraconservative” or “white supremacist” have been stripped of any objective meaning so as to be used as a cudgel against anyone the left doesn’t like and wants to delegitimise. Under those sorts of definitions, I’m literally Hitler (a sort of a pro-Israel, Polish Hitler, but hey, we live in a world of increasing diversity and fluidity).
So, for example, I was very much agnostic about Donald Trump and about Brexit; stances, which from some right-wing quarters would have probably earned me a designation of a “globalist cuck”. Have I been an American citizen in 2016 – or a non-citizen in a Democrat-controlled district – I would not have voted for Trump either in the primaries or at the general election (for the record, I would not have voted for Hillary Clinton either). And while I understood the desire by some in Great Britain to ditch the European Union, I was equally sympathetic to the view that for all its faults the EU can nevertheless be a worthwhile project, and that one of the more sensible member states leaving actually makes it harder to make sure the Union doesn’t get completely off the rails under the guidance of the trendy technocrats (this was Poland’s pleading argument against Brexit).
I still can’t describe myself as a Trump fan (too much about his personality, temperament and policies jars with me) or a do-or-die Brexiteer – as a Polish-Australian dual citizen, my interest in American and British politics is academic rather than deeply personal – but to the extent that I now see myself as pro-Trump (or not anti-Trump) and pro-Brexit (or not anti-Brexit) is largely thanks to the good work done over the past few years by the left in pushing an agnostic like me in the direction of religion.
So, thank you, dear left, for your utter disdain for democratic process and for your absolutely batshit crazy, foaming-at-the-mouth, hysterical and hyperbolic consistent daily (over)reaction to Trump and Leave. You just don’t know when to stop, do you?
To say that the left are bad losers is a major understatement.
Everyone even a bit passionate about politics is not immune to the electoral swings and roundabouts of their side. It’s only human. Even the most even-tempered among the political tragics will find themselves in the darkest moments questioning the wisdom of the electorate, which rejects our ideas, ideals and spokespeople. “How could they vote for X, when it will [insert the list of negative consequences for the economy and the society you expect as a result of the election outcome].” But while we would love if the majority of, in not all, voters always agreed with us about what’s best for them and our country, most adults understand that in a democracy you don’t always get your way.
Politics is cyclical; sometimes you are up, sometimes you are down, but eventually every dog will have its day. There are many reasons why parties and candidates lose at the polls.
Sometimes, those who have been in power for a period of time fall to the “it’s time for change” sentiment. They become the victims of their own success, where the electorate takes for granted all the past achievements while looking for something new and more exciting in the future, or the victims of their own failures, where the policies and/or the performance prove below par to the swinging voters in the centre who usually decide the elections.
Sometimes your candidates are weak and your proposals don’t capture or reshape the zeitgeist; sometimes the other candidates are much more appealing as are their policies.
Being able to see electoral politics as a continuing ebb and flow is a quality that prevents me from becoming either over-exuberant or despondent in response to the changing fates of my side. It’s neither the end of the world or the greatest moment in human history.
With the left, it seems to me, the belief that the electors are morons who don’t know what’s good for them is actually the most charitable of reactions to a defeat at the ballot box: voters are ignorant, low-information, bigoted deplorables. But as often as not the left will instead – or in addition – claim that they have lost the election only through some nefarious reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of their candidates or the appeal of their policies.
Thus, the Democrats lose because the system is rigged against them – for example, the Electoral College that favours smaller, more rural states that in turn are more Republican-inclined (what happens when people like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama win twice; is the system suddenly not rigged and not unfair then?). Or it’s a matter of voter suppression by the Republicans, targeting particularly black and minority Democrat voters. Thus, Stacey Abrams is in her mind the legitimate governor of Georgia, having won the election she lost on votes cast and counted.
Or there is some technical glitch, such as in Florida in 2000 (remember all the dimpled and hanging chads?), usually compounded by an extra-electoral intervention by hostile forces, such as where it was supposedly the Supreme Court and not the voters who eventually made George W Bush the president. Never mind that both the official recount and subsequent recounts commissioned by newspapers all showed that Dubya most likely did get the majority. But Al Gore lives in progressive legends as the rightful president who was robbed.
Of course, it’s the worst where the elections have been supposedly stolen, as we’ve been told now for nearly three years about the 2016 presidential vote. The election was “hacked” by the Russians, even though there is no proof that any of the electronic voting was affected in any way to change the tallies. Or it was the Russian campaign online, where supposedly a few memes and Russian bots swayed the (ignorant) voters towards Trump. Or it was some other, vaguely defined assistance from the Russians. Or if the election result was not affected it’s still tainted and illegitimate because of the “collusion”. The point being that Hillary Clinton could not have possibly lost an election to Donald Trump (not the general vote, which, for whatever in matters, she won, but the Electoral College, which, as we remember from above, is already rigged against the Democrats). Never mind, of course, that she was perhaps the worst Democrat candidate in living memory. But when you believe that you are the natural party of government, with charismatic candidates and self-evidently winning policies, only something sinister can keep you from victory.
In case of Brexit, again, the people’s clear (if not overwhelming) vote in favour of leaving the EU cannot be accepted. The referendum was meant to be non-binding. The right people didn’t get a chance to vote. Stupid, bigoted people did. Majority of parties are against. Majority of elected representatives are against. It was dark foreign money. It was Russia (again). We need another, People’s Vote (who voted the first time?), so we can get the right outcome. In any case, this is too important an issue to be left to the voters.
In this regard, Brexit is not much different from the standard EU practice, where the results of national referenda are disregarded if they don’t accord with Brussels’s position, and countries are forced into repeated votes until they eventually get it right. No wonder so many Brits (and other Europeans) find the European “democracy” so distasteful.
The feeling is mutual: the electorate is an irritating inconvenience to the Eurocrats who know better what’s in everyone’s interest. What distinguishes this case from previous referenda is the strength and determination of the Leave campaign, which did not fold under overwhelming pressure.
I find this “born to rule” mentality insufferable. It shows a worrying lack of self-awareness and humility. Having been born in a country where one political party held similar beliefs about their unchallengeable “leading role”, I don’t appreciate seeing this level of arrogance and blindness in democracy. If you think that the only thing that keeps you from being perpetually at the top is conspiracy, crime or treason, you are deluded and potentially dangerous. You’re also, for all your self-professed love of “the people”, inherently distrustful and disrespectful of your fellow citizens.
And so we are in the third year now of talking about “the Russian collusion”, “stolen election” and “not my President”, of talking about removing Trump from office under some of more obscure provisions of the Constitution (is he incapacitated through mental instability?) or through impeachment (the last I checked Orange Man Bad is not an impeachable crime; not that it will stop the lynch mob). And we need to “fix” the Electoral College, ideally by abolishing it altogether so that the winner of the popular vote wins the presidency (the Electoral College is another example of check and balances of power under the Constitution, in this case working to ensure that the American republic is not always at the mercy of the handful of the most populous states). Also, we should let prisoners vote, and the non-citizens too. If you haven’t won under the rules as they are, just change the rules. Repeat until successful. Easy.
The British experience post-referendum has been quite similar. There has been a concerted effort by the majority of the political class and their friends throughout associated elites to disregard and override the result of the vote, whether by parliamentary, judicial or other means. The “No” vote has been portrayed as a Biblical-scale catastrophe, the end of life as we know it, an illegitimate (because unnecessary, ignorant or corruptly obtained) act that is destroying British democracy (!), not to mention the future of young people (who largely did not bother to vote in the first place).
The vitriol directed against Trump (who, to be fair, seems to enjoy stirring up his enemies) and his supporters as well as the Leavers high and low has been something to behold. Blatant lies, conspiracy theories, the hyperventilation and overheated rhetoric, calls to violence amplified through the echo chambers of the internet, the mainstream media, popular culture and entertainment, education and public debate vastly exceed the norm, already distasteful as it is to an average person who’s not a staunch partisan.
We are living through the death of democracy (I’m yet to hear which laws and constitutional provisions have been broken by the President) and on the verge of a fascist dictatorship, just as the United Kingdom is tittering on the brink of an existential crisis like the Second World War (which just goes to show that being ruled by the Germans can be quite as bad as not being ruled by the Germans). Needless to say, in such extraordinary times of political upheaval, the opposition becomes a heroic duty – thus “the Resistance” in the US and the Remainers valiantly battling to save the British democracy and the way of life.
I find such self-designations utterly delusional, vain, and hysterical, not to mention insulting to those in the past and in the present fighting real as opposed to imagined oppression. It might make you feel important, brave and fulfilled to think your struggle against your compatriots’ democratic choice bears the same dangers and the same potential for glory as the fight of World War Two underground, but to me it says you’re merely deeply ignorant of history, self-absorbed, lacking serious judgment and your life is so ordinary you need to lead a fantasy life to give it some meaning.
As I wrote in probably my most-read post so far, I have actually lived under a one-party dictatorship without any human and political rights, so take my word for it, neither the United States nor the United Kingdom in 2019 is it or anywhere within 100 lightyears away from being some sort of dystopian nightmare.
So yes, thank you once again to the left (seeing how widespread these attitudes and behaviour are and how applauded from within, I feel OK generalising about the whole side of politics) for not being able to help yourself and being batshit crazy.
I can no longer take the left seriously. I’m not pro-Trump as much as I am anti-anti-Trump and I’m not pro-Brexit as much as I am anti-anti-Brexit. At this rate, I really wonder where I will be in 2020.
PS: In the words of my favourite Marxist:
Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk, where this piece also appears.
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