by Samuel Dale
On Wednesday I marched down Broadway in Manhattan to protest Donald Trump’s election.
Thousands of millennials walked in the rain while chanting ‘Not my president’, ‘pussies grab back’ and ‘end rape culture’. I lasted two minutes before walking off in despondence.
This was the complete embodiment of the failure of American liberalism. An impotent march in a bastion of liberalism shouting about fringe issues among ourselves. Completely and utterly pointless. Sixty million people had just voted for Trump.
The American left is in the worst shape in the history of the American Union.
Barack Obama will leave a presidency, Congress, more than 30 state governorships and many Supreme Court picks in Republican hands.
His entire domestic policy agenda can and will be quickly dismantled from Obamacare to tax and financial reform.
After painstaking years rebuilding US reputation abroad, it has been shattered by the election of an unhinged bigot.
It is a dreadful legacy and he must own his failure.
It is not just America. Liberalism is clearly in crisis around the world from Brexit to Le Pen and Orban. Here are three reasons why.
Firstly, the toxic failure of identity politics. The Hillary Clinton campaign began with a colourful mosaic of American life in April 2015.
Black, brown, gay, Muslim, Latino, female. The new American progressive coalition.
For 18 months, Clinton signalled this was the future. If you were a white man then you were the past and didn’t belong in her American Dream.
And it wasn’t subtle either. Ramming it down their throats in advert after advert.
In New York this weekend I have heard a number of millennials lambast old white men simply on the basis of their colour and age.
Why can’t old white men simply accept their privilege is over? Why can’t old white men simply give up some of their power to others?
The are real conversations about ordinary people judged simply for who they are. Check your privilege.
The Democrats under Obama and Clinton have descended deeper and deeper into identity politics.
They have sliced and diced the country into races and religions.
Fine. But if you deliberately play this game for long enough then don’t be surprised if the groups you are targeting fight back.
The resentment that had been building against white Americans’ deliberate isolation by US Democrats found a home in Donald Trump.
Identity politics is growing in the UK too as Labour shrinks under Corbyn.
We see it in Sadiq Khan’s London where his Muslim faith is held up as an intrinsic virtue. No, it isn’t.
It’s great to have a Muslim mayor in an era of Islamophobia but we should assess his policies first and not his identity. We have lost sight of that.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a middle aged white man.
And there is nothing inherently virtuous about being a female ethnic minority.
This left liberal stridency on identity has to end now.
Secondly, liberal conversation is dominated by fringe issues.
Clinton spent way too much time and energy making adverts in Spanish and taking about the importance of transgender rights, for example.
It’s a big vote winner in Brooklyn but most Americans don’t speak Spanish and couldn’t give a damn about transgender rights.
These may be important matters for some but to effectively lead your campaign on social issues is outrageous self-indulgence.
Working people care about jobs, their retirement, healthcare and immigration.
People are living in abject poverty or struggling to pay the rent while Clinton waffles on about LGBT workplace rights. It’s not wrong but it reveals a different set of priorities and it is utterly tone deaf.
Liberal elites have no clue about the lives of the working class. They should learn.
And finally, the dreaded liberal echo chamber. We talk among ourselves about issues we care about without a hint of challenge or intellectual curiosity.
We tweet, like each other’s Facebook posts and pat each other on the back.
I don’t think I know a single Trump supporter in the US, where I live. And I know hardly any Brexit supporters in the UK.
We are quick to belittle or ignore opposing views as racist or stupid.
There is a enormous arrogance and smugness to modern liberalism. Virtue signalling is rampant.
It is snobbery of both wealth and education. It’s morally wrong as well as self-defeating.
It is little wonder that the white working classes without university educations have struck back. They are the target of liberal ire simply because of who they are.
I’m one of the worst offenders. Mea culpa. Big time. I called Brexit and Trump totally wrong in a self-satisfied dismissal. Completely and utterly as wrong as can possibly be.
I supported Hillary strongly. So my record is terrible and I say this with the humility or someone who is wrong often.
I worry that Corbyn is drifting further down this road rather than confronting issues that truly resonate with working Brits.
The liberal conversation is vapid and the bubble is suffocating.
It is destroying a great cause before our eyes. We must re-assess with humility, curiosity and an open mind. We are destroying ourselves.
Sam Dale is a financial and political journalist