Brian Beutler has a detailed piece taking down the attempts in the media to blame the rise of Donald Trump on liberals supposedly crying wolf at past Republican candidates like Mitt Romney—when, in fact, liberals were sounding the alarm on the dangerous bets the GOP was making in subtly courting racists. A post last week in Tablet singled out another pair of Trumpian scapegoats, who should actually be regarded as anything but: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, for supposedly promoting the smug liberal commentary that contributed to polarization:
And yet, as Stewart ranted to the camera and reminded Hannity and Co., to raucous cheers, that they “don’t own” this country, it was hard not to see how he and Colbert had helped to create the very specific type of internet-era liberal smugness (and, consequently, ignorance) that, though far from the sole cause by any means, has been a significant factor in both the rise of Trump and our current political fracturing.
But far from contributing to cultural “ignorance,” the likes of Stewart and Colbert actually expanded people’s collective knowledge of the situation that was developing: Republican voters this year behaved exactly as the smuggest liberal would’ve predicted, supporting a race-baiting pseudo-strongman who is basically an outgrowth of the conservative infotainment complex. If this election had been written as a novel or a screenplay, it would’ve been ridiculed as the product of a smug, over-educated liberal who didn’t know anything about conservatives. Except of course, it really has happened—and the smug cultural liberals, who have warned that the GOP is full of maladjusted voters, have been proven correct.