Bubble shmubble

Ah the old latte-drinking elitists trope – it just won’t go away, will it. Kevin Baker at the New Republic hates it as much as I do.

The most irritating media trope to emerge in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election is the idea that it was a rebuke to “condescending” liberals who live in our own “bubbles.” Steve Schmidt gave us a preview on MSNBC even before the race for the White House was decided. “The people who are for Trump are not embarrassed to be for Trump. This is a fiction of New York City,” the former Republican political consultant told us early on election night. “This is a fiction of the New York City, Acela Corridor imagination, who are embarrassed for these people. This is part of the condescension.”

Condescension my ass – if you’re not embarrassed to be for Trump you should be. Trump is a horrible human being in literally every way we know about – he may have been a loving, kind, understanding father, but if so it’s certainly a well kept secret. It’s not condescending to think people should be embarrassed to support Trump; it’s treating them like grown ups who have to own their choices.

J.D. Vance, author of the bestselling Hillbilly Elegy—about whom so much commentary has now been written that a foreigner would be forgiven for thinking that at least two-thirds of all Americans are hillbillies, and that the rest of us do nothing with our waking hours but, well, condescend to them—informed us in a New York Times op-ed that liberals might revere the military, but it’s Trump voters who actually join it.

Trump voters were people who vote Republican, for one thing. They were people who prefer Republican policies, which favor rich people and corporations. They were bible-huggers. They were, as a bloc, richer than the people who voted for Clinton.

But the reasoning, I suppose, that the people who voted for him primarily because he’s a sexist racist bully are the ones who were rebelling against the condescending bubble liberals. But how is it “condescending” to oppose sexism and racism and bullying? How is it not even more condescending to assume sexism and racism are immovable, inherited, an “identity”?

The whole idea that liberals live nowhere but in their own bubbles has become such a commonplace that it was turned into a (pretty funny) Saturday Night Live sketch. Yet at last count, well over 65 million Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, which would make for a helluva lot of bubbles across this country. But then, it’s always easier to invent figments like “the Acela Corridor imagination” to explain the people who don’t agree with you.

Yes, Democrats make them up as well. Witness “basket of deplorables,” or “clinging to their guns and Bibles.” But we were the ones whose candidate ran on the slogan, “Stronger Together.” It wasn’t us who went to rallies in shirts that read, “Trump That Bitch,” or shouted, “Lock her up!” We were the ones who wanted to talk about how we could all move forward, not who we could demonize or deport. Our candidate was the one with the laundry list of practical, immediate ideas about how to help Americans knocked flat by the global economy, instead of some vague palaver about how one man alone could fix the modern world. So who, exactly, is living in the bubble?

Is it really so condescending that we should vote for the candidate who would keep in place the footholds and safety nets that helped us? Or does the real condescension come from the likes of those who would infantilize white working class voters, making out that they cannot help but vote against their own interests if they even suspect that someone, somewhere is looking down on them?

Yes, it does.

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