Discrimination against Trump voters is the most troubling post-election trend.
The American elite—Establishment Democrats and “Never Trump” Republicans, in concert with their allies among the leftist mainstream media, “woke” social media companies, and virtue-signaling corporations—is attempting to socially engineer America’s political environment.
Their goal is to make the broader public intolerant of Donald Trump’s supporters.
A key instrument in this dangerous initiative is “denormalization,” which seeks to have Trump voters perceived as abnormal, aberrant, even deviant individuals. In practice, denormalization means that America’s elite will attempt to shame Trump supporters into disowning their past voting habits, thereby reducing their willingness to support another populist candidate in the future.
A week before the 2016 presidential election, Charles Homans, the politics editor of The New York Times Magazine, wrote that “Republican leaders own the blame for assembling the constituency and, yes, normalizing the values that made Trump’s nomination possible, and they will also own the responsibility for denormalizing Trumpism, for walking the country back from the ledge.”
More recently, other leading U.S. journalists issued pro-denormalization declarations, each one implying that support for Trump equates to a mental health affliction. During an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” former “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric stated, “The question is, how are we going to … deprogram these people who have signed up for the cult of Trump?”
On Jan. 7, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein wrote: “The fact is that getting rid of Trump is the easy part. Cleansing the movement he commands is going to be something else.” Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson told MSNBC that “there are millions of Americans, almost all white, almost all Republicans, who somehow need to be deprogrammed.”
For this cleansing- and deprogramming-based denormalization campaign to succeed, Trump voters must be stigmatized. They must be placed apart from the rest of polite society until and unless they learn to behave (that is, to vote, to donate, to assemble, to communicate, to read, and to view) in the manner approved by their self-appointed moral betters. Denormalization pushes Trump voters from being a political hazard to being a moral hazard, nothing less than sickening stains upon the nation’s moral landscape.
The denormalization campaign will seek to connect a person’s politics to their very citizenry. Denormalization campaigners seem to believe that the ideal American citizen is, literally and figuratively, an anti-Trump citizen.
In this way, the Trump voter will be categorized as a lesser citizen than his or her virtuous (that is, “progressive” pro-elite) countryman or countrywoman. Hence, a pro-Trump American will be portrayed as a “failed citizen.”
The goal of denormalization goes beyond making non-Trump voters think of people who voted for Trump as aberrant. It extends also to convincing Trump voters to see themselves in this way. For denormalization to “work,” it must convince Trump supporters to see themselves as deeply compromised both in terms of their self-esteem and their self-respect.
As such, denormalization represents a vast and unacceptable instrument of social engineering. Its proponents will not hesitate to trumpet this as its great virtue; apparently, their goal is to effectively reorder the consciousness of individuals with respect to their political preferences.
Clearly, this isn’t the provision of information or even reasonable persuasion. It’s actually social marketing on steroids. It’s designed to manipulate the cultural environment so that the central aspect of democratic life—individual autonomy, that is, the right to shape one’s own mind, behavior, and life—is effectively suppressed.
Rather than allowing individuals the freedom to come to their own conclusions about politics, denormalization represents the elite’s imposition of its own values. It’s a crude attempt to create an environment in which individual decisions have no prospect of realization simply because the elite considers them to be aberrant choices.
For proponents of individual rights and fundamental civil liberties, the only hope is that denormalization will hit a numerical wall. The historically accurate Rasmussen poll found Trump left office with a 51 percent approval rating, while official election tallies show candidate Trump received the most votes of any incumbent president in history.
Therefore, the framing of Trump voters as second-class citizens will be of palpable significance to half of the American electorate. Socially engineering a lowly social status for the Trump voter will dehumanize at least 75 million people.
As such, this home-grown denormalization effort eerily echoes the political purge that dominated communist China’s despicable Cultural Revolution from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.
Like so many tactics and techniques emanating from the American elite’s anti-Trump playbook, denormalization is a perverse, counterproductive approach to national unity and healing.
Patrick Basham is founding director of the Democracy Institute, a Washington- and London-based, politically independent research organization.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.