Port: Democrats, Stop calling us ‘racists’
I make my living as an opinion journalist promoting a right-of-center perspective, and there is not a day which goes by that I’m not called a racist.
In that reality lays the roots of the electoral devastation Democrats suffered at the hands of voters both here in North Dakota and nationally. But before we examine the causes, let me paint a word picture for you about the terrible position North Dakota’s Democrats find themselves in here in North Dakota (I’m sure you’ve already heard plenty about the national races).
Democrats won not a single contest on our statewide ballot. None of their candidates even managed to get 30 percent of the vote. Yet it was in the legislative races – the contests Democrats told us they were focusing on this cycle – where voters really put the screws to our liberal friends.
Democrats lost seven seats in the state Senate, among them Minority Leader Mac Schneider and their 2014 U.S. House candidate George Sinner (though as of this writing Sinner hasn’t yet conceded and is expected to call for a recount).
In the state House the Democrats lost eleven seats, including Minority Leader Kenton Onstad and party chairwoman Kylie Oversen.
Counting House and Senate seats Republicans lost in District 44, Democrats have emerged from the 2016 election cycle with their legislative super-minority narrowed by 10 seats in the House and six in the Senate.
It was hard to imagine the North Dakota Democratic Party becoming less relevant to the governance of North Dakota, but under the leadership of Oversen they managed it.
But why did Democrats lose, both here in North Dakota and in the national races?
Complex social and political trends rarely have any one simple explanation, but if I had to offer one in this situation I’d say it’s because Democrats have come to believe that everyone who disagrees with them is a stupid, evil, unsophisticated bigot.
Concerned about the fiscal and social impacts of refugee resettlement on our local communities? You’re a racist.
Think Islamic extremism is a real problem? Racist.
Worried about illegal immigration? Bigot.
Believe in American exceptionalism? You’re a dumb rube.
Think “rape culture” is an exaggeration perpetrated by overwrought feminists? You would, you misogynist.
There are millions and millions of Americans who are tired of being painted as troglodytes because they’re not sure if being gay should give someone the right to conscript the unwilling services of a wedding photographer.
So when a man like Donald Trump comes along and our friends on the left tell us he’s a stupid, racist, misogynistic, bigoted troglodyte we’re not inclined to believe them, even when he sometimes displays characteristics consistent with those things, because our friends on the left say that about everyone they disagree with.
Sure, Trump also tapped into economic anxieties over trade policies, and we cannot overlook what an awful candidate Hillary Clinton was. She really is a crook.
But more than anything else, I think Americans just got tired of the political correctness. The left wore out our capacity to be outraged by asking us to be outraged by just about everything outside of a certain dogmatic liberal orthodoxy.
Nothing else can explain how Trump won despite a mountain of evidence to illustrate his deep character flaws.
I didn’t vote for Trump on Election Day, but as I begin another day of being called a racist because of my political outlook, I can understand why so many did.
Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator.
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