The victory of Donald John Trump on 8th November, 2016 in the US election felt like a cyclone of Conservatism sweeping across the continents. This was the latest in a trend that suggests the gradual rise of Conservatives around the world. This rise has confounded much of the Left who we can argue control significant segments of the establishment that include Government, Media, Academia, so-called Technocrats and even Business. This “Quasi-Progressivist” movement appears to be collapsing under the weight of its own delusion and hypocrisy and would do well to take time out to reinvent itself.
The UK general election 2015 was a sign of this rise beginning to manifest. For a party that struggled to form a government in 2010 and had to enter a coalition with the Liberal Democrat to form a government, the Conservative Party win in the 2015 election was the first surprise that hit much of the Leftist establishment. In the month leading up to the 7th May, 2015 elections, most of the polling suggested a hung parliament. It was beyond anybody’s wildest imagination that the Tories would meet the required “absolute majority”, but they did. Clearly, the polling was wrong and though I have read several reasons for the inaccurate polls, the question remains, why the shift? For me, the answer is simply a failure of the Left. The people are beginning to see through its façade and are reacting.
The Brexit vote, the next big battle in the ideological war, was a shock that jolted much of the Left wing establishment. It is a widely acknowledged theory that the Conservative party promised an EU referendum to stem the rise of UKIP that was progressively hemorrhaging the party which included losing 2 members of the backbench. This in my opinion was a clever move, vindicated by the outcome of the 2015 general elections and like the elections; the polling were off the mark.
The result of the US presidential election surprised many, largely because of what I considered to be “the dogmatic following of the narrative” of large parts of the mainstream media and Leftist dominated establishment. The Princeton election consortium survey gave Hillary Clinton a 99% chance of Hillary Clinton becoming the president; the New York Times gave her an 85% chance while www.fivethirtyeight.com predicted that she had a 71.4% chance of winning. At this point, considering the predictions, I would like to note that Trump’s eventual victory was not even close. Both camps are at the moment engrossed in a battle of what I refer to as “the politics of popular vote” in order to seize the narrative on the elections. However, he won 10 more states than Clinton and should be awarded 74 more Electoral votes on 19th December, 2016. Remember, Obama won plus 4 States against Romney and plus 6 states against John McCain. He took 3084 of the 3141 counties in America’s heartland. Let’s not kid ourselves that his victory was in a way marginal or that he has no mandate. This was a trashing whichever way you want to look at it.
We can lay the blame largely on the failure of the Left and I have upon reflection identified 3 main reasons.
First, is the fatal disconnect between the Left and what it claims to represent, Social Liberalism, in its ideal and truest form. Liberalism as a political doctrine speaks to the need for freedom of the individual and the need to enhance and protect this freedom. On the other hand, Socialism speaks equality of all, commonality and the need to safeguard the interest of the weak in guaranteeing their equality. However, it is my opinion that the Left have long departed from the core of these ideals. They have been incapable of blending and presenting these two philosophies into a coherent and consistent representation of their movement. They have in an authoritarian manner moved to place a set value and rights above others. We have seen an increasingly worrying attempt to suppress people’s freedom of conscience, beliefs, expression and values because it is at variance with a section of society. The weak and voiceless in the society at every stage of life are constantly threatened, attacked and in danger of extermination by the Leftist dominated establishment.
Secondly, the tone and nature of the debate from most of the Left appear arrogant, condescending and demeaning. They assume they know what is best for society and simply attempt to force it on everyone irrespective of contrary evidence. It is common to hear Leftist refer to Brexit and Trump supporters as ‘bigots’,’ racists’, ‘fascist’,’ xenophobes’,’ homophobes’, ‘Islamophobes’, ‘misogynist’, ‘bullies’ and so on. I find it tiresome and intellectually lazy. They simply pass on the opportunity to lay a coherent argument on issues that a lot of people genuinely feel have negatively impacted on their livelihood such as “uncontrolled immigration”, “unfettered globalization”, “lopsided trade deals”, “terrorism”, et al, but are instead happy to tag them with characterizations. This in my opinion appears to be an attempt to shut down any form of reasonable debate for lack of an appropriate counter narrative that speaks to the issue. This pseudo-intellectual and pretentiously elitist style of dishing out these labels at opponents is unintelligent and the “forgotten men and women” are simply not buying it any longer and contrary to what so called progressives might think people not stupid either.
Finally, it’s the hypocrisy of the Left, I find most fascinating. The ease at which they flip positions that is contrary to what they had previously argued against is astonishing. Let me lay down a few instances.
The UK Government promised to implement the decision of the referendum after parliament had passed the EU referendum act of 2015 by a ratio of 6 to 1. However, since the vote, there appears to be an attempt by the establishment using the court and parliament to subvert the wish of the majority of the British voters with arguments such as “the Brexit vote was based on lies and fear” and “Nobody voted to leave the single market”. Well, the former is tacit acceptance of the failure on their part to articulate the “counter narrative” to the “ordinary people” while the latter is simply untrue as the possibility of leaving the single market as a result of Brexit was known and discussed.
In looking at the US elections, I vividly recollect Trump being asked whether he would accept the outcome of the election during one of the debates to which he replied “I will look at it at the time”. He was heavily criticized by the Left as they claimed his response was a danger to US constitutional democracy and could undermine peaceful transition as well lead to riots and protests if he eventually lost.
I am however surprised that the same set of people are now justifying the protest and riots by Clinton supporters as exercising their “first amendment rights”. Also given the attempts for a recount in some states, they have clearly not accepted the outcome of the result the same way they wanted Trump to at the time. Neither have they demanded that Clinton and Obama call their supporters to order.
On the charge of racist voters, let us consider this: In 2008 and 2012, 93% and 95% of blacks voted for Obama respectively, while 88% for Clinton in 2016. How is that trend not racist, but express concern over race when only 58% of white votes for Trump. Trump won more Black and Hispanics voters than Romney did in 2012. And besides swing states like Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania all voted for Obama twice, but flipped to Donald Trump in 2016. They do not have any coherent data to support their conclusion that his victory was down to racist voters.
In this wave of Conservatism that is sweeping throughout the world, France appears to be a fascinating place to watch out for with the steady rise of Marine Le Pen and her National Front party coupled with the emergence of Francois Fillion as Republican Party nominee for Next year’s election. The elections are scheduled for next year and though I think Le Pen’s chances are slim given Frances two tier presidential election voting system that might see her losing out in the second round of voting, it will be interesting to follow no matter the outcome as it now appears that France will be tilting “Right” by next year.
Nigeria has lessons to learn from all of these. A sign of Leftism with characteristics of incoherency, style of debate and hypocrisy is gradually creeping its way into the sociopolitical space in Nigeria. Some of it masked as feminism, which has for long aligned itself with the Left and strikes you with its phony and pretentious outrage especially when it comes to social issues. Someone commented that their C-in-C has turned herself into a “mascot for Black Leftist Feminism”, which is sad as it demeans her talent as a brilliant writer. It is important that Nigerians are able to identify and reject it for what it is. We already have enough to deal with as a nation.
In concluding, I would suggest that this might be the best time for the Left to do some soul searching. The importance of the fall of Leftism cannot be overstated because it gives them the opportunity to truly reflect on the consequence of its actions over the decades and seek a return to the true ideals of social liberalism.