Elite Contempt Is the Common Denominator in Populist Victories

Elite Contempt Is the Common Denominator in Populist Victories, by Caroline Glick.

The Brexit Party’s victory effectively ends the Conservative party’s monopoly on Britain’s political right for the first time in two hundred years. The Conservatives will respond to the trouncing in one of two ways. They can disintegrate completely by doubling down on outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May’s soft Brexit – with or without a second referendum — or they can start listening to their voters. …

Brexit, Trump, Israel, Australia, Europe:

One underlying issue is common in all of the elections. And until the progressive left and the establishment center right reconcile themselves to it, and find a respectful means to contend with it, they will continue to see populist forces grow stronger and win elections.

That issue is contempt. Throughout the Western world, beyond the economic issues and even beyond specific social issues like gay marriage or abortion rights, voters are motivated to vote for the populist, nationalist right in part due to their anger at the left and center-right’s undisguised contempt for them.

In the United States, the left’s snobbery reached its height with Hillary Clinton’s castigation of Trump’s supporters as “deplorables.” But her assertion wasn’t made in isolation. It was made in the midst of a general atmosphere in which Democratic politicians from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi and establishment Republicans felt comfortable putting down Americans who aren’t part of their club. Obama infamously referred to Clinton’s “deplorables” as “bitter” people in small towns who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

The media, which serves as an extension of the Democratic Party and embraces NeverTrump Republicans as a means to attack Trump and his voters, continuously broadcasts contempt for both.

Likewise, according to Australian professor and media analyst Stan Grant, one of the decisive factors in Australia’s election was religion. A large swathe of the public developed a sense that Labor leader Shorten held them and their religious convictions in contempt. …

By adopting an attitude of contempt for them, Shorten, like Clinton and Obama and May and French President Emmanuel Macron insulted the voters. …

Globalization cuts both ways:

The rise of the populist/nationalist/ideological right throughout the West demonstrates that globalization cuts both ways. Members of the global progressive and center-right elite embrace the same post-nationalist, post-industrial, and post-Christian values and agendas at elite conferences in Brussels and New York, at the United Nations, on network news and online. But back in their home countries, those they disregard are also online and also talking. The disregarded majorities are also listening to one another.

The most potent message that crosses the world each day and empowers populists and nationalist conservatives is one of exasperation and anger at the transnational elites’ solidarity in their contempt for their people. …

“Democracy” is being redefined by the elite to mean what they want:

For European Unionists and British Remainers, for the Israeli elite and the American establishment, the globalization of their values and agendas has brought them to believe that democracy means fixing the rules of the game. Through judicial activism and bureaucratic regulations, through intellectual terror and public shaming, these elites seek to render election results inconsequential. Ballot boxes, in their view, are no match for the combined forces of the elite media and academia and the bureaucracy. They determine norms. They determine policies – in the name of Democracy.

But throughout the West, the “deplorables” are listening to one another and rediscovering their power and voices at the ballot boxes. They realize that democracy is a means for the people to determine their course in the world. The elite may control the discourse, but the people decide who will run their countries.