The protests liberals whipped up against Kavanaugh this weekend, on the other hand, revealed too much about their own weakness. Washington, D.C. is a majority Democratic city with a black majority. But the Democratic voters out there yelling about Kavanaugh were as white as any country club gathering of Republicans. They looked like a line of Starbucks patrons — Caucasian, professional, largely millennial, with earth tones and earnest expressions aplenty. Men and women wore the same fashionable glasses and more or less the same clothes. It was a Pumpkin Spice Riot.
Where were the black Democrats? Where were the non-yuppies? Hillary Clinton could have asked the same questions on November 9, 2016, after she failed to get them to show up for her the way they’d showed up for Barack Obama. That election, like the Kavanaugh protest, showed that white liberalism has a problem: it’s too liberal for a majority of whites, yet too distant from the concerns of most non-whites. But its proponents enjoy so much cultural prestige as liberals and so much self-confidence as part of a historic white majority — however much they may disdain such a thing — that they failed to recognise alienated they are from everyone else. They see themselves as the natural moral arbiters of society. But nobody else sees them that way. Nothing says that a multiracial or multicultural society has to be politically centre-left, after all. India has a right-wing nationalist and religious fundamentalist government. Brazil looks set to elect a right-wing president in a runoff later this month. Yet white American liberals cling to the belief that demographic magic will rescue them from the insufficiency of their ideology appeal. White liberalism is in fact in more trouble in this country than conservatism is. The only places where white liberals values matter are in elite cultural institutions — which is why getting Kevin Williamson fired from The Atlantic is a lot easier than getting senators to vote against confirming Kavanaugh.