The Myth of Materialism: Why Democrats Lost (and will continue to)

One of the arguments most often used by liberals when trying to explain away their loss in the 2016 Presidential election goes something like this “The retrogrades in the south were tricked by the Republicans and Trump!  They voted against their own interests!”.  Fortunately for you and I, fellow reader, most people are not cold, calculating, self-interested robots that vote purely for their material interests.  The thirst for justice, dignity, and fairness cannot be satiated by throwing the plebs a few bread crumbs.  The Democratic strategy of appealing to the material interests of the polity in an attempt to buy them off has historically failed and will continue to, and we can see this is true for three reasons.  First, because people want dignity, second, because people want justice, and third, people want fairness, and they desire all of these things more than the furtherance of their material interests.

 People want Dignity

The people of middle America have often been told that they should vote for Democrats because of social welfare programs and (something that Trump has co-opted) labor politics.  They have been told that they should do this despite suffering innumerable indignities at the hands of both liberal politicians and liberal pop culture.  I have a message for Democrats: when you tell Billy Bob Joe in rural Appalachia, who’s son is addicted to meth, who’s wife just divorced him, and who lost his factory job and is now on food stamps, that by virtue of being both white and male, he is the sole source of all the problems facing America in 2016, he will not vote for you.  When you make an industry out of laughing at his expense on The Daily Show and various other cable and internet programs, he will not vote for you.  The people you make sport of insulting and blaming for society’s problems are not robots, they are human beings who desire dignity, and until you realize this, they will not vote for you.

People want Justice

Many great empires have fallen because, despite having great material wealth, a particular portion of the population was not given justice.  We can see this is true by looking to the French Empire, who fought a series of bloody wars (ultimately losing them) in an attempt to maintain an Empire that did not afford its constituent colonies justice, despite improving their material conditions.  This is also true of the Romans with regard to the Vikings, and various other empires throughout history.  Democrats have taken up a similar attitude on a lesser scale.  They believe that they can improve the material conditions of the polity through social programs while taking shortcuts in other areas, and still win elections.  People of all social classes took note of the Obama administration’s rhetoric and lawlessness, ruling through mandate and executive order, and in effect, instating a petty tyranny.  They took note of Hillary Clinton’s flagrant disregard for the law, and her rampant corruption.  Essentially, the desire for justice, like the desire for dignity, transcends social strata and materialistic desires.

People want Fairness

For the longest time, the lower order in the United States has taken note of the fact that the political class lives by different standards than the rest of us.  This transcends partisan politics and materialism.  Republicans and Democrats alike are equally outraged at the fact that, for example, the wealthy are able to influence political outcomes far more than the middle and lower classes.  According to a study conducted by Gilens and Page at Princeton University, “The estimated impact of average citizens preferences (on policymaking) drops precipitously, to a non-significant, near-zero level when put up against economic elites and organized interest groups.” Donald Trump represented a unique opportunity to break down this system by not being subject to the interests of economic elites, and promising to “Drain the swamp.”  Essentially, corrupt and depraved regimes cannot survive by simply giving free handouts to the lower order.

So today we learned three things; First, that people desire dignity over materialism, second, that people desire justice over materialism, and third, that people desire fairness over materialism.  So next time you hear your liberal friend blathering about how the working poor voted against their own interests, remember these three arguments.

Note: This article is not attempting to say that liberal economic programs are necessarily the best for the American people, just that they value things other than materialism


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