Trump Will Win the U.S. Presidency in 2020
Halfway through his presidency and those of us who call ourselves liberal still cringe at the results of the 2016 U.S. elections. However, Donald Trump’s election was not the biggest blow to liberalism; that was the responsibility of the radical political Left, under the guise of Progressives and Democrats.
Because of their tendency to dig their heels deep into the tribalism of identity politics and the pseudo religious fervor of intersectionality, Progressives and Dems drove their ideological opponents further toward the extreme Right. Even working class moderates who voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 and 2012 elections voted for Trump in 2016; now fully transformed into a class of deplorables. I could spend my entire time on this piece explaining why political correctness, moral panic, and shifts in social and cultural norms of the past five years were responsible for the rise of a populist like Trump; but what I think is far more interesting is that despite the evidence, Democrats and Leftists are going to end up with the same problem on their hands in 2020.
Examining polarizing issues, an obvious problem for American society is gun violence and mass shootings. The recent Parkland shooting illustrates the communication breakdown better than any event in recent memory. While the details do not necessarily matter in this context, what is important is the political slights that both sides engaged in. The feces flinging consisted of Dems consoling families along with attacks upon the 2nd Amendment, strong prohibitive suggestions of gun control, the skewing of firearm-related violent crime statistics, and a general panic surrounding the nature of guns; all the while conservatives and Republicans committing common fallacious arguments that the political Right never fail to touch upon: mainly the false equivalencies between gun-death stats with other forms of “fill in the blank kills more people a year than guns, ban these also,” along with attacking the character of the victims involved as either crisis actors or the fact that their age makes them ignorant to the issue at hand and/or disqualified to suggest any solution.
Getting into specifics, in a February interview on MSNBC, Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg commented on how Trump, Republicans and the NRA support arming teachers. The idea being that in the event that an armed gunman opened fire on school grounds, teachers in their classroom would at the very least be able to protect their students. Whether or not you think that is a good idea, what Hogg got wrong was the claim that the State would pay for those concealed weapons over raising teachers salaries. No one on the Right has realistically suggested this. If anything, it would be a purely voluntary basis. Furthermore, he makes the somewhat controversial claim that one should not be able to own an AR-15 [style weapon] if one is mentally ill. Not that mental illness shouldn’t be a factor in background checks when purchasing a firearm, but mental illness is a vacuous phrase. Just touching on the philosophical territory of citizenship and individual rights of Americans, to say that a group of people are to be denied a constitutional right just because of a predisposition they have no control over needs to be reevaluated. Mental illness is a broad and vast umbrella of conditions ranging from obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and attention hyperactivity deficit disorder. To say those are all equivalent is the kind of identity politics the Left cannot help but to continue to fall into.
The Right is equally at fault here, albeit on different grounds. The usual excuses surround the language positions that of hunting for food, but the deeper reason being that of self-defense and a strong upholding of the 2nd Amendment. There are some deeply rooted factors as to why Americans have such a strong bond with patriotism and firearm culture, but I will explore that on a later date. What is interesting though is the near religious attachment people have to the U.S. Constitution. As if passed down by our forefathers in stone, there is a sacred and holy aspect to the bill of rights that the Right almost always focus on in the 1st and 2nd Amendments. Because of the U.S.’s general religiosity surrounding the Christian faith, it is no wonder that a document that benefits them and their lifestyle can be spoken about in such spiritual contexts. If it is such a perfect document, then why have amendments at all? Why then do we have a Supreme Court to interpret those documents, along with a handful of others, when those articles of declaration should be transparently clear in their meaning, regardless of time and cultural norms? What bothers me the most is that even the most responsible of gun owners simply will not admit the recreational aspect of firearm ownership and usage. Whether it is enjoying the feeling of recoil in your hand or shoulder, firing off hundreds of rounds into selected targets, or simply as an outlet for stress, no one should be able to take that away from you insofar as no laws are broken and no one suffers against their own will. It is similar to arresting someone for purchasing a childlike sex doll. No one is being hurt, no moral norms have been actually crossed. Yes, interest in and purchasing of that kind of material does suggest further action down the road that may lead to unwanted consequences. But I see no harm in letting someone indulge in their own predisposition of sexual arousal while at the same time cautiously being on watch for any deviation.
Onto a less controversial subject; the discussion of gender inequality and transgender rights in the U.S. is fraught with mischaracterizations and blatant assaults on free speech in the West. What I find bizarre and troubling, is that in 2018, sound science has been made controversial. At least in the twentieth century, gender differences have never been controversial within the scientific communities of neuroscience, psychology, and biology. The most profound insight we can gather, however, is from sociological studies revealing that there are more differences within groups than there are between them. This should be common knowledge and go without saying, but in conversations surrounding gender, it appears to be lost in the fog of highlighting the legitimate differences.
In July of 2017, Google engineer James Damore was ordered to perform an internal investigation at Google’s Mountain View campus about diversity and inclusion. His memo titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber briefly explained the average differences between men and women. Mainly: Women tend to be more interested in people, tend to have higher agreeableness, as well as experiencing higher anxiety and lower resistance to distress; Men tend to be more interested in things, tend to be more disagreeable, and are more likely to endure higher stress while seeking higher status in a competitive environment. Damore explicitly wrote his desire for greater equality among the sexes and for diversity in thought within the work-space. He even labeled himself as a Classical Liberal, a political ideology that he demonstrates page after page in his memo. Demore gives modest prescriptions on how to eliminate the problems of the gender pay gap and the fervor in inclusivity by way of discrimination against the majority; mainly by eliminating programs specifically tailored toward race and gender minorities, increasing the number of psychological stress reducing programs for Google’s employees, making room for cooperative work to include the interests of women, as well as making the male gender role much more flexible in the workplace.
These ideas do not seem controversial to me, but Google and the media appeared to feel the opposite. Google fired Damore quickly after the memo circulated internal forums after claims of employees reporting their feelings of working in an unsafe environment, as well as Damore’s reasoning and evidence counter to what the heads at Google strive for in their political ideology and dogmatic worldview. What I think further highlights this breakdown however, is the current discussion about transgender individuals.
The Left and the Right have a problem when it comes to the assimilation of transgender rights into the culture of sexual diversity. The political Right do not seem to be willing to grant certain freedoms to trans individuals. The fight over bathroom rights is a clear example of the Right’s failure to allow gender neutral (or unisex) restrooms the common place in society the same way they have in private homes. It is the same problem that they have had with abortion rights and gay rights. Consenting adults should be able to do whatever they want with their own bodies, a woman should be able to have an abortion if she either doesn’t want the baby or her body is at a severe risk in childbirth; people should also be able to use whichever restroom they please. Who cares where you pee? Now the political Left falls into a different trap here, with the insistence that 1) gender is socially constructed, and 2) that biology has zero effect on gender.
The claim that gender is socially constructed feels immediately off, but one can’t quite place their finger on where exactly the argument is wrong. The minutia of this arguments has its roots in cultural Marxism, with a new wave feminist approach. It is the idea that men and the patriarchy are responsible for forcing individuals into gender roles to which they have no control: men should be strong, intelligent and dominant, and women should be weak, emotional and subservient. Just to be clear, I am not denying the role that men and women have played throughout history, with men clearly being in control up until only a few hundred years ago. This brings me to the second part of this and that is biology. It is clear to me that men and women are different, with a lot of overlap. However, it is the spectrum of differences when it comes to masculinity and femininity that has the most to say when it comes to gender roles in society. Humans are adaptable, this is shown perfectly by the environments we have been able occupy; both geographically and culturally.
When confronting hard problems in our culture, biology is the perfect place to look for answers; specifically, evolutionary biology. Evolution is mainly concerned with fitness. Fitness for your environment is what virtually guarantees the survival of your genes into the next generation. But what does fitness mean? Typically, fitness is described as your ability to procreate and carry on your genes into the next generation, which is true, but I think there is a greater nuance here to observe. Fitness can entail many things like strength, intelligence, emotional sensitivity, diplomacy, body size, along with many other attributes that contribute to better navigation in various environments. Part of fitness that is smuggled in is sexuality and gender roles. Even in small, non-hierarchical human tribes, males who were physically stronger would dominate less stronger females. One could view this as the origin of gender inequality. Those traits and attitudes of males over females would be passed down generation to generation. However, genetic mutation and variation exist in every generation. So physically less stronger males, possibly more emotionally sensitive would fit more among female groups. The same goes vise versa: physically stronger females, with higher tactical intelligence would most likely fit in very well with their male counterparts.
Of course, times are somewhat different now. Because of our high level of adaptability, our use of technology, and our institutions for education, almost anyone is capable of participating anywhere within this human project. What makes this landscape difficult to navigate is the persistence to categorise individuals into amorphous groups and identities. Now this is perfectly understandable, especially for groups of people whom have been specifically target for attributes deemed inferior, it only makes sense to either rebel or affirm an identity to latch onto in order to feel a part of something. But I fear this will be our downfall. Groups do not vote, individuals do. What may be good for the majority, may certainly may not be good for the minority. For groups to vote on one single issue means that people who may be a part of that group who feel differently are in danger of disenfranchisement. As a liberal who often votes Democrat, I face either ridicule or shame when I come out publicly in favor of gun rights. My actual arguments for gun rights do not not hold water within the group identity, because the group has decided its own platform based on a majority. The same thing can go for someone who identifies as religious with a Republican voting streak, and yet typically favors the rights of women to choose their own birthing rights over the typical right-wing rhetoric of ‘Pro-Life.’
This is why these polarizing issue will continue to separate the Left and the Right well into the 2020 election cycle. The populist movement on the Right, which helped Trump win the election, is just as strong now as it was in 2016. However, in fear of succumbing to the Nostradamus effect, this prediction is predicated on the 2018 midterms going the same way as the 2016 national elections, as well as Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court nomination, Brett Kavanaugh being confirmed before the midterm elections. If this ‘blue wave’ is anything to take seriously and the rising populist movement of socialist Democrats actually securing a majority in the House and Senate, then we could be looking at a very different picture in 2019 and beyond.