Why Elites Hate: The liberal contempt for middle America is baked into the idea of identity politics.

Why Elites Hate: The liberal contempt for middle America is baked into the idea of identity politics, by William McGurn.

Nine years after Barack Obama accused small-towners of clinging to guns or religion, nearly three years after Jonathan Gruber was shown to have attributed ObamaCare’s passage to the stupidity of the American voter, and eight months after Hillary Clinton pronounced half of Donald Trump’s voters “irredeemable,” Democrats are now getting some sophisticated advice: You don’t win votes by showing contempt for voters. …

None of these pieces are directed at Trump Nation. To the contrary, they are pitched to progressives still having a hard time coming to grips with The Donald’s victory last November. …

Mr. Tomasky, for example, informs progressives that middle Americans — wait for it — “go to church.” They have friends (“and sometimes even spouses”) “who are Republicans.” “They don’t feel self-conscious saluting the flag.” Who knew? …

The following question conveys the tone: “What attitude should we be taking toward people who voted for a racist buffoon who is scamming them?”

Ms. Williams, a University of California law professor who has written a new book on the white working class, generously avoids telling her interviewer he is a perfect instance of the problem. But the larger progressive dilemma here is that contempt is baked into the identity politics that defines today’s Democratic Party.

When Mrs. Clinton labeled Trump voters deplorable (“racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it”) she was simply following identity politics to its logical conclusion. Because identity politics transforms those on the other side of the argument — i.e., Americans who are pro-life, who respect the military, who may work in the coal industry — from political opponents into oppressors.

Which is precisely how they are treated: as bigots whose retrograde views mean they have no rights. So when the Supreme Court unilaterally imposes gay marriage on the entire nation, a baker who doesn’t want to cater a gay reception must be financially ruined. Ditto for two Portland women who ran a burrito stand that they shut down after accusations of cultural appropriation regarding their recipes. …

The great irony here is that this has left Democrats increasingly choosing undemocratic means to get what they want. From President Obama’s boast that he would use his pen and phone to bypass Congress to the progressive use of the Supreme Court as its preferred legislature to the Iran and climate deals that made end runs around the Constitution, it all underscores one thing: The modern American progressive has no faith in the democratic process because he has no trust in the American people.