“Progressive” Cornel West Takes A Victory Lap After Helping Elect Donald Trump

There are three groups of people that are pushing the laughably false narrative that Trump was elected by white people suffering from “economic anxiety“:

1. Republicans because it allows them to pretend they have not become the party of authoritarian white nationalism.

2. The “liberal” media because it allows them to avoid discussing the fact that the GOP has become the party of authoritarian white nationalism.

3. The anti-Hillary far left because, frankly, they’re fucking assholes.

For an example of this third group, look no further than Cornel West, avowed foe of all things big “D” Democratic and enabler of Donald Trump:

The neoliberal era in the United States ended with a neofascist bang. The political triumph of Donald Trump shattered the establishments in the Democratic and Republican parties – both wedded to the rule of Big Money and to the reign of meretricious politicians.

West is one of those insipid “Both parties are the same” types that just happily cut off their nose to spite their face. If that sounds mean and condescending, let West explain his myopia to you himself:

For 40 years, neoliberals lived in a world of denial and indifference to the suffering of poor and working people and obsessed with the spectacle of success.

The age of Obama was the last gasp of neoliberalism. Despite some progressive words and symbolic gestures, Obama chose to ignore Wall Street crimes, reject bailouts for homeowners, oversee growing inequality and facilitate war crimes like US drones killing innocent civilians abroad.

Conveniently disappeared is Obamacare, marriage equality, a stable and robust economy, the highly successful auto industry bailout, a trillion dollar reduction in the deficit, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Dodd-Frank and the crippling of shadow banking, drawing down the wars in the Middle East, the Iran Deal, the appointment of two reliably liberal Justices to the Supreme Court, and dozens of other concrete and important progressive successes. Why? Because Obama didn’t address the issues West cares about the most. Therefore, Obama is no different than a Republican.

You remember Republicans, right? The guys that want to make abortion illegal, end Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and Social Security, and repeal every single regulation that keeps corporations from poisoning our food, water and air while setting the entire Middle East on fire? Yeah, Obama and the Democrats are just like them according to West and entirely too many on the far left.

Unsurprisingly, West endorsed the pro-Trump Jill Stein over lifelong liberal Hillary Clinton because the evils of Hillary’s brand of pragmatic liberalism were somehow worse than the evils of Trump’s promised authoriatrian white nationalism. He, of course, believes the dual fairy tales that Bernie would have beat Trump:

The progressive populism of Bernie Sanders nearly toppled the establishment of the Democratic party but Clinton and Obama came to the rescue to preserve the status quo. And I do believe Sanders would have beat Trump to avert this neofascist outcome!  

And that “economic anxiety” won the election:

White working- and middle-class fellow citizens – out of anger and anguish – rejected the economic neglect of neoliberal policies and the self-righteous arrogance of elites.  

This is despite the average Trump voter living well above the poverty line. Also, West forgets to mention that while they were “rejecting” the elites, white voters went right ahead and reelected over 95% of incumbent candidates in Congress. Truly, their rage at the system knows no bounds.

A lot of people are pleading with liberals to focus on the real enemy (Trump and his newborn racial fascism), but if we buy into the demonstrably false narrative that Trump’s movement is not entirely based on white nationalism, we run the very real risk of normalizing it and granting it a legitimacy that will be the end of the United States as a democracy. By offering to work with Trump to alleviate the “suffering” of the white working class (and maybe helping minorities if it’s convenient), we are condoning the methods Trump used to win the election and the abuses of his regime going forward.

Kirsten West Savali at The Root understands this far more clearly than Cornel West and his disciples:

Yes, they are angry. But they aren’t angry because they’re poor; they’re angry because they are white and poor—and that’s not the American dream. And they will starve and they will waste away and they will die before acknowledging that the world owes them nothing simply because they were born into a world where whiteness is supposed to equal power. We can’t negotiate with that level of white self-destructiveness. We can’t bargain with it. We can’t appease it. We can’t seek common ground with it. We fight it and hope to come out on the other side.

Doing anything else, including listening to blind ideologues like Cornel West, is to be complicit in the coming destruction. During the election, Stein supporters and those that screeched “Bernie or Bust!” at the top of their lungs had a choice: Support all of the groups that would be severely harmed by Trump’s white nationalist agenda or throw them all under the bus in pursuit of ideological purity.

West and millions like him chose the latter. They don’t get to downplay the disaster they contributed to. They don’t get to pretend that Trump is not filling his top positions with white supremacists that will launch a crusade against ethnic and religious minorities. They don’t get to nobly raise their head and insist this is nothing new:

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump’s neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do  

“Just another ugly moment”. Yes, I’m sure that’s what German citizens said when Hitler rose to power. I can only assume that West’s forebearers would slap him across the face for choosing Trump over Hillary knowing full well the horrors he has planned. It’s not like Trump and his followers have been anything but completely honest about the violence they long to commit on brown bodies.

But this is the result West and his fellow nihilists longed for: The system is primed for total destruction and millions will pay the price for their arrogance. The least they can do is own it. If West really believed the words of Martin Luther King that he so loves to quote, he wouldn’t have done everything possible to put neo-Nazis in the highest seats of power, ready to burn the black community to the ground in retribution for electing a Negro president.

The left really does need to unify and focus on stopping the worst of the coming abuses, but West sacrificed his seat at the table and he’s got a long way to go before earning it back.

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