Getting into discussions with people on the internet over the last week has resulted in being accused of “opposing diversity”. Really?
I am a very diverse person – part-American Indian, part-Swedish, married to an Irishman, and living in the second most-diverse state in the Union. You can look that up. Alaska is second only to Hawaii in racial and cultural diversity.
Still, diversity is a really — well, diverse topic. There are many types of diversity. Diversity of occupation, diversity of art and musical taste, diversity of outlook, diversity of residence, and, of course, varying kinds of racial, religious and ethnic diversity. There are even diversity of economic and political systems. There are literally thousands of kinds of diversity.
The Founders were not majoritarian in their viewpoints, but held the opinion that geographical diversity was important. They enshrined that belief in the Constitution by creating the Electoral College to give special weight to diversity of geography. We know what they meant by it because they wrote about in the Federalist Papers and in their letters. The prevailing view was, “If too many (geographically) diverse voices veto you, you can’t get elected, not even with a majority of the votes.” Having been brainwashed by a steady stream of “democracy is best”, that view may seem strange to some of us who live in big cities where the population is, but to those of us living in smaller population states, it sounds like wisdom.
Something that most people do not know is that Democrats now control at least one legislative house in only 17 states. Yeah, the reach of the party is shrinking dramatically. If the Founders, who were 18th century thinkers on the subject of diversity were to see this now, they would say that, in terms of geography, the Democratic coalition is remarkably non-diverse. If you look at the numbers or just this map, you can see that much of Hillary Clinton’s majority came from New York and California. By the way, it also puts to bed the lie that the GOP is just a “Southern rump party,” as some commentators have reiterated nearly nonstop since 2008.
The Democratic Party today is more likely to stress the relevance of ethnic and racial diversity, if the talk is about diversity. Non-Democrats are more likely to count other forms of diversity far more than the Democrats do. Democrats are concentrated in particular cities and occupations, far more than Republicans are. There is nothing wrong with that. I’m really big on the choosing your own lifestyle thing, but it is another way in which Democrats are less diverse.
When it comes to views about the relevant forms of diversity, I have found through personal exploration that non-Democrats hold more diverse views than Democrats do. That doesn’t really surprise me because a non-Democrat is more likely to focus on something other than racial and ethnic diversity while Democrats typically see diversity as only being relevant in racial and ethnic discussions.
Many Americans do not think racial and ethnic diversity is the diversity that should command so much attention. They are more open-minded than that. They voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and then voted for Trump this time around. Twenty-nine percent of Latinos voted for Trump, by the way. I suspect many of those voters do not see Latino vs. non-Latino as the diversity line that mattered most.
I’m not defending the GOP point of view. I’m simply noting that Democrats champion diversity while themselves typically holding a more narrow view of diversity and that it appears to be hurting them in the political arena. They view themselves as more concerned with diversity, but then they are highly disrespectful of anyone who isn’t like them.
Democrats need to realize that the forces of diversity won when Donald Trump was elected President … not because Trump is the lion of diversity, but because his voters represent many diversities.
I know it’s hard for those who have supped too much contemporary political rhetoric to accept that their definition of diversity is what lost in this election, but as the Democratic Party does some soul searching, it might want to consider this critique. They lost the election because they refused to value rural and exurban voters. They called them “clingers” and “religious nuts”, “hillbillies” and “deplorables”. More than anything else, they called them “racists”. And that highly diverse population of denigrated Americans turned out an incredible election result. I’m not saying it was a good election result, but it slapped down the arrogance of the Democrats and progressives.
And, that …. was a good thing.