Many liberals, I know, will scoff at this because they believe that American public discourse has shifted irretrievably to the right. But that’s because to them, political discourse in the United States is already where they think it should be: firmly centered on liberal ideas. They see conservative objections as aberrations, not as the views of half the population. Liberals won America’s culture war—and they did, even if conservatives undeniably won the contemporaneous economic war—and so liberals don’t really notice what they consider to be nothing more than mopping up operations on abortion, gay rights, immigration and other hot-button issues.
Gay marriage is a good example. Liberals wanted gay marriage to win in the Supreme Court, and it did. Leftists wanted more: to silence their opponents even after those opponents completely lost on the issue. Ugly language that good liberals would normally deplore emerged not in the wake of defeat, but of victory: actor and gay activist George Takei, for example, actually called Justice Clarence Thomas a “clown in blackface” and said Thomas had “abdicated” his status as an African-American. That’s heavy stuff, and it would likely scan better written in Chinese on a paper dunce cap…
These brutish leftist tactics radicalized otherwise more centrist people towards Trump not because they care so much about gay marriage or guns or refugees any other issue, but because they’re terrified that they’re losing the basic right to express themselves. Many of these people are not nearly as conservative or extreme as the white supremacists, nativists, and other assorted fringe nuts who are riding along on Trump’s ego trip. But they are cheering on Trump because they feel they have nowhere else to go. And for that, liberals—especially those who have politely looked away as such methods were employed in the public square—must directly shoulder the blame.
The great mistake made by both liberals and their most extreme wing on American left is to assume that ordinary people, once corrected forcefully enough, will comply with their new orders.