A tabulation of left liberal media defeats in three of the most important democracies.
I dedicate this article to an existential war which has been going on for the past two decades (roughly) between two entities within secular democratic societies across the globe, who have both coagulated into existence.
The liberal media intelligentsia and liberal establishment is the first of those entities.
And the other entity is the right wing strata of the body politic of a country.
In three major democracies on this planet, these two units of civil society have been pitted against each other in a battle in which the victor runs away with the prize of public opinion and a leader who epitomizes the widest possible consensual view.
Since we are trying to tabulate a global trend, I can only do broad brush strokes for each individual country that I’m going to describe in this narration, but let’s start nonetheless.
The first of these democracies is India, a teeming country with a raucous and vibrant democracy. And in many ways the battle in this country has been the loudest and most intense. Since the unfortunate tragedy of the Gujarat riots in 2002, the liberal media, led by NDTV, unleashed the opening salvo of this war on a right wing politician of India and took the initiative of galvanizing liberal public opinion against him and his kind, at least to their initial advantage.
The right wing strata of Indian politics closed ranks though and mustered up a defence which solidified behind their man over the years. Having stopped the liberal assault, they found the energy and imagination to launch a counter-attack, portraying Modi as an uncompromising free market economic miracle worker and ruthless fighter against terrorism, two descriptions of him which are reasonably accurate.
Modi craftily used the media focus on him to portray an image of himself which was appealing to the middle classes of India, as a person who could deliver quick growth, fight Pakistan and terrorists with gusto and restore much needed machismo and backbone to the image of a rising India which didn’t feel adequately represented by the frail image of his predecessor.
The liberal media (and establishment) tried everything they could to stop his rise, including attempts at trying to delegitimize his candidacy through the courts.
But Modi could not be stopped. And the individual, who most liberals in the media world and outside described as someone deserving a dog’s death, was crowned the PM of India in 2014.
The most noticeable aspect of this battle was the growth of the right wing within Indian society as this fight intensified. By the time the fight was over and Modi declared victorious, not only were the liberals left to lick their wounds but they also found, to their horror, that their decade long pubic brawl with this one man had created a titanic army of right wingers standing by his side, ready to face the next battle. In other words they left their opponents stronger than before the clash had started.
Strike one for the right wing.
The second battlefield country was the UK, obviously not as raucous as India, but just as passionate and devoted to their politics. This time the fight was between the liberal media’s view that UK should remain within the EU and the right wing who opposed such a proposition, primarily because of concerns about open borders.
As in India, the liberal media, this time led by the BBC, hurled the first barrage in this debate. Leading a clutch of leftist media outlets like the Guardian, they launched a tirade against anyone who advocated Britain leaving the EU, sometimes labelling them as “out of touch little Englanders” who were misfits in the new, sophisticated, global world in which we live.
However when it became clear that the opposition to remaining within the EU was not just a right wing issue, but also a concern for the blue collar working class, they tried to change the narrative to economics. But that didn’t work either because what the “Leave campaign” was truly energized about was immigration and the right to govern themselves.
In any case, there was no national or international consensus about the economic consequences of leaving the EU. For those favoring Brexit, there were examples of Switzerland and Norway as countries which were doing fairly well outside the EU. And so the economic concerns were not compelling enough to create a wave in favour of remaining within the EU.
More so, because the concerns of the right wing in Britain were about identity, not economics. In the minds of most “Brexiteers”, identity trumps economics.
And in the minds of the nationalist right wing, the identity of Britain was under threat. The nightmare of being ruled by people they hadn’t elected and therefore could not remove, fed this fear.
To top it all, remaining within the EU meant having to contend with open borders. And with Europe facing the worst immigration crisis since WWII, the possibility of their island being flooded with illegal migrants whom they could neither stop nor remove under EU laws, broke the camel’s back.
It was all about identity. Britons were not willing to dilute their own identity under a wider EU banner. And certainly not if that banner also promoted the ideology of an open border which cannot be protected by a constituent country.
The entire liberal media kept ridiculing this class of people as “fruitcakes and the basket of deplorables”, painting them as the underbelly of society which has to be put up with for the sake of democratic fairness.
As in India, this class of people found a person to rally behind. Nigel Farage became the face of the Brexit campaign, and his party, (UKIP) gained rich political dividends, portraying itself as the defender of the nationalist voice of the British people. Like in India, Farage’s enmity with the liberal media worked to his massive advantage.
Once again the liberal media resorted to name calling, labelling any centrist, traditional middle class voter in Britain concerned about immigration and the rising tide of Islamic intolerance in their towns and cities as a “racist” or “fruitcake”. Consequently, this demographic got driven straight into the waiting hands of Farage.
Anti-immigration and anti-Islamic street protests kept growing and at each step, the left liberal media could inject no gravity or logic into the debate, succumbing repeatedly to the instinct of name calling.
When the time to vote came, the liberal establishment, (in their bubble of self-righteous wisdom) had almost convinced themselves that it was only a tiny vein of illiterate, noisy half-wits who would vote to leave the EU. The result surprised even the “Brexiteers”, inadvertently revealing that even they had bought into the media’s description of them as a fringe political phenomenon.
And as in India, when the battle was over with Farage victorious and the BBC and the leftist media left wounded and sobbing, the political landscape of Britain had changed dramatically. As the haze over the battlefield cleared, it was the flag of the nativist right wing which was fluttering all over the old country with the liberal intelligentsia cornered or invisible.
Strike two for the right wing.
And finally, the third battlefield was America. The land of the free and the home of the brave saw the latest battle in this global trend. This time it took the form of a presidential election.
Trump’s candidacy for the presidency was the most direct, loudest, brashest attack on left liberal sensibilities ever witnessed. Trampling on every possible left liberal sensibility imaginable, Trump launched the opening salvo this time.
Perhaps somewhere in his mind, he was aware of the losing streak of the left liberal narrative across the world. This was revealed by his eagerness to make enemies with the liberal media. He must have known that it brings tremendous political gains.
And he played that to the hilt. Repeatedly attacking the liberal media, he made sure he remained in the news and also made sure that the liberal media hated him and expressed that hate on TV.
He must have seen the trends from Europe (maybe not India), and concluded that the rise of the right wing has much to do with fighting the liberal media establishment. There is no better way to portray yourself as a “man of the people”, than to attack the elitist, sniggering, condescending, liberal media. It’s called “American populism” and it works a charm. People end up voting “against” the anchors on CNN rather than “for” the candidate.
And as usual, the liberal media got goaded into duly turning up to play its part in this theatre.
As in India and Britain before, it was middle class concern about identity (this time more so with illegal immigration as opposed to legal immigration in Britain) and the fight against Islamic terrorism (hello again, India), which were the calling cards of the right wing call to arms.
It is true that perceived economic decline and job losses have been a huge part of Trump’s success. But the edifice of his campaign was built around illegal immigration and his pledge to ban the entry of Muslims into the US. Those are the two pronouncements which built his campaign and gave him the two things he really wanted, support of the silent majority and hatred from the liberal media.
And with the plodding predictability of a Hollywood car case, the global turn to the right handed the left wing media another defeat and the right wing another hero.
And once again the battlefield doesn’t represent a carnage in which both sides have been severely depleted. The right wing forces standing next to Trump are more numerous and more determined than before this battle started and his popularity is set to increase as he steps into the initial stages of his presidency.
Strike three for the right wing.
In arguably, the three most important democracies of this planet, (my apologies to the rest but this is anecdotal), the leftist liberal media has been thrashed by the right wing. In India, I would argue that it has been pulverized. In Britain they have gone into sulk mode and in America they are befuddled as of now (perhaps the most harmless of emotions to experience if compared with what they could end up facing in the coming days).
Identity trumps Economics
One remarkable aspect of this political tide, (in at least two countries which we have analyzed here) is that for the people deciding the future of their respective countries, identity has trumped economics as a concern based on which they have made their choice.
The economic benefits of leaving the EU were obscure to most people voting in the Brexit referendum. It wasn’t clear to the average British citizen whether leaving or staying would bring the most economic benefit to Britain. But immigration and the changing demographic nature of British inner cities played the crucial role in convincing people that they were “losing their country”.
It is a similar story with the American case. The economic benefits of a Trump presidency are unclear. A more belligerent and bellicose administration does spook the markets into thinking that the helm of the ship might be in the hands of someone given to brash and unpredictable decision-making. And the kind of protectionism that Trump has advocated so far definitely goes against the bible of a global economy. But again illegal immigration and the left’s refusal to engage with anyone wanting to raise this subject created the polarization which benefited Trump.
The Islam factor has been the most pernicious in making identity the main issue for middle class voters. Much more so in Britain because of the changing demographics of British towns and the kind of social unrest it has brought upon places like Luton, Bradford, Dewsbury, Rotherham, Leeds, East London etc.
This factor though not as severely present in America, has however been felt just as severely, where the consequences of unregulated Islamic immigration into Europe have been visible on the daily news.
Islamic encroachment and its insidious misuse of the freedoms available in liberal, secular societies to attempt “Islamization” of their host countries from within and the attendant pandering and appeasement of these actions by the liberal sections of those societies have led to the right wing rebellions which we now witness. From demands for Halal food in schools, enforcing dress codes in public to running Sharia courts in the UK outside the British legal system, Islamic Sharia demands have ridden rough shod over every possible secular space in British public life.
The liberal class of British society has been enthusiastically coming up with excuses for this unreasonable behaviour, painting every Islamic demand with the sympathetic brush of “opposition to western imperialism”, thereby blaming the west for everything. Not content with giving the worst Islamic demands some shade of legitimacy, the liberal media started labelling anybody attempting to draw attention to this problem as a “racist”, conveniently forgetting that Islam is not a race. The Islamists started using this tactic themselves. They started using the word “racist” to shout down anyone bringing attention to their obvious attempts to divide society based on religion, in the full knowledge that they would get at least some support from the left.
Well, it was only a matter of time, before this dam would break. The right wing in every country reacted violently and the political center having been labelled “racist” by the left, for having raised concerns about Islamic demands, duly moved into the arms of the right, swelling their ranks and giving them unstoppable momentum.
Consequently, the right is on the rise across the world.
The left wing, liberal media in each country declared war on the illiterate, backward, unsophisticated, blue collar right wingers in three major democracies of the world and have been beaten to a pulp in each battle.
The same trend is visible in other democratic countries across the globe.
Whether it is France, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, you name it. The right wing is on the rise everywhere.
Left liberals are now considered a joke at best and Islamic terrorist sympathizers at worst. As long as this trend remains confined to the world of politics, we will avoid a world war. But for how long?