Presidential Campaign

For the nation’s leading politicians and journalists: A reckoning

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In the wake of our nation’s great victory on Tuesday, “leading” journalists and politicians must now ask themselves why they so drastically misunderstood the good people of this country and worked so hard to mislead them.

{mosads}From the start, Donald Trump was not my ideal candidate. But I opposed Hillary Clinton and all that she stands for, so I publicly supported Trump despite his blunders. Sure, he didn’t always make it easy, but the man was simply far greater than his gaffes, and his movement far greater than the man. As I publicly explained and supported Trump over the past year, others in the media rarely took me seriously.

As Ralph Ellison writes in “The Invisible Man,” “I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I’ve tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth. No one was satisfied.”  

As soon as I told anyone who worked in mainstream media that I was a Trump supporter, my worth dropped. They rushed to make me feel stupid. They laughed in my face. They told me that my career was over — that anyone who had even the most tenuous, tangential association with Trump was going to be a pariah once the dust settled around Hillary in the Oval Office. 

And to be clear, the judgement wasn’t just coming from liberals. Conservatives who did not dare support Trump in public, for fear of ridicule and scorn, made judgements just as quickly.

It was at least a thousand times worse for Trump.

From the moment he announced his candidacy, entrenched D.C. politicians and media super elites fell over themselves to make a mockery of him and smeared him incessantly.

They called him bigoted, racist, xenophobic, and misogynist, like his supporters — pressing this argument on the public with such one-sided constancy that they stretched, and finally broke, the trust of readers and listeners nationwide. 

While the professional journalists and D.C. insiders busied themselves hating, condescending, and casting aspersions on Trump and his supporters, they failed to see a real grassroots movement under their noses, catching fire among millions of good-natured and hard working Americans. 

There was no attempt to seriously and honestly grapple with this genuine movement, to give it the benefit of the doubt, and to see it for what it truly represented and aspired to be.

When people think they know something already, they quit trying to understand it.

People knew Hillary would win. They knew Trump supporters were fueled by racism, rage, and ignorance. And this smug condescension cost them dearly, including for many their own professional reputations. It cost Hillary, her supporters, the pollsters and the establishment.

Everyone who “knewhas awoken, finally, to reality — a reality that is far better and not remotely as horrible as they made it out to be. They are now forced to admit that they were drastically, cataclysmically — and most disturbing, willfully — out-of-touch with people in their own country who have been rightly concerned about out-of-control spending, porous borders, an assault on values and standards that have long made this country strong, and a political class that is no longer accountable to its constituents.

This is a time for deep introspection by some of the most important people who used to run this country. People who sat in Washington, who sat in state capitals, and who still run the largest newsrooms in America and who used to be trusted for information.

They thought they could control and manipulate the vast majority of Americans, dismissing the concerns of millions with the simple, egregious lie that racist animus fueled Trump’s movement. 

The elites thought they would be spending this week teaching Trump supporters a lesson, hammering them with shame, layering them with blame, forcing them to retreat in despair, and to question themselves for having given into the fleeting political passions inspired by someone they called, so falsely and with shocking lack of evidence or empathy, a racist demagogue.

But it cannot be that 46 million Americans are foolish, racist, or gullible. These 46 million Americans, in turn, gave a lesson and a shaming to those elites.

Many Americans, among whom I am but one, have carried a burden — one of private conviction. They thought twice about discussing their political views with friends and neighbors. They worried about putting signs in their front yards.

They shied away from pollsters who called on the phone. They suffered the indignity of seeing meritorious beliefs and traditional, time-tested values that once made America great harshly manipulated and twisted on the evening news, time and time and time again.

Even the simple and well-meaning rallying cry, Make America Great Again, was deceitfully spun as a base and racist aspiration.

I made my own decision to speak out publicly and take the risks, for Trump and for our country. Like others, I decided that I was willing to bear the risks of long-term consequences.

But what a relief it is to know today that the heaviest consequences of this election will be borne by those elites who made the Trump movement necessary and then relentlessly, dishonestly shamed it as it took shape and force.

I know I’m glad that I picked my horse, many, many months ago.

Kristin Tate is a Conservative Columnist and Author of the new book, “Government Gone Wild: How D.C. Politicians Are Taking You For a Ride and what You can Do About It”

The views of Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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