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Citations Needed

Nov 16, 2022

"How The Left Created Trump," revealed Rob Hoffman in Politico in November 2016. "Blame liberals for the rise of Donald Trump," insisted S.E. Cupp in The Chicago Tribune the year before. "How the left enabled fascism," explained David Winner in The New Statesman in 2018.

For decades, we’ve been fed a narrative that the rise of any right-wing tendency is the fault of leftists and liberal scolds. The electoral appeal and success of fascist movements and politicians, we’re told, is first and foremost a reaction to blue-haired wokeness warriors whose language and protests alienate and antagonize Real People. These Real People, then, have no choice but to shift further right, where they find a political home – typically shared with the likes of faux-populists like J.D. Vance, Josh Hawley, and Tucker Carlson – that makes them feel included and represents their best interests.

It’s a convenient refrain. Instead of placing the blame on wealthy and powerful right-wingers and centrists who actually benefit from the preservation of reactionary politics, or giving credit to left-wing activists for challenging devastating right-wing policies, this narrative instead demonizes the powerless, while insisting that those who are fighting for a better world should simply give up, lest their agitative ways turn off potential allies and create another Trump. Who does this narrative benefit, and how do both overtly right-wing and ostensibly liberal legacy media allow it to persist?

On this episode, we dissect the concept that reactionaries’ politics are the result not of their own interests, but of a snarky, out-of-touch Lefties who say mean things and simply bring up racism, imperialism and other injustices too much, and if they simply went away, the Trump right would starve itself to death and be replaced by moderate, reasonable National Review politicians.

Our guest is The Dig's Daniel Denvir.