Voters supporting Republican nominee Donald Trump represent the greatest threat to democracy since World War II, according to University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) political science professor Michael Suk-Young Chwe.
In a blog post for the Princeton University Press, Chwe argues that white men are dangerous to the country, as evidenced by their support of Trump. Democracy in America, Chwe claims, will only be safe when whites and men — and especially white men — willingly surrender their power to “multiracial and multi-gender coalitions.”
“Until Obama’s election, the conflict between democratic institutions and the ‘racial and gender order’ was less apparent because the outcomes of national elections were consistent with overall white and male dominance. It is often said that the first test of a fledgling democracy is when the first peaceful transfer of power takes place,” Chwe argues.
“If we think of this transfer as occurring from one ethnic and gender group to another, democracy in the United States and in most western European nations has not yet passed its first real test. Instead of willingly giving up power to multiracial and multi-gender coalitions, a majority of whites and males support a candidate who wants to upend the democratic process.
Chwe later suggests that the federal government should do something to “pacify” Trump supporters.
“After the Civil War, the federal government found it too costly to enforce the rights of African Americans in southern states, and tolerated lynching, Jim Crow, poll taxes, and literacy tests,” he writes. “Only more than a century later, when the civil rights movement forced the issue, did the federal government intervene. In the coming decades, will the federal government find it too costly to intervene and ‘pacify’ the enclaves of Trump supporters?”
Chwe (which UCLA’s website notes is “pronounced like chess without the ss”) later suggests it’s unfair to feel sympathy for Trump supporters.
“Some recommend trying to understand and sympathize with Trump supporters, who feel like something is being taken away from them and have low education in an economy which increasingly rewards only smarts and favors ‘female’ over ‘male’ personality traits,” he writes. “This is of course necessary, but this sympathy and understanding is more expedient than fairly given; have you ever heard anyone advocating sympathy for the ‘Asian working class’ or ‘Black working class?'”
“The danger to democracy itself from Trump supporters is real and must be confronted. It is the greatest danger to democracy since World War II, even perhaps since the Civil War, and completely internal,” Chwe writes in the article’s concluding paragraph.
“If we had done a better and earlier job with confronting, as opposed to accommodating, white and male privilege, and convincing people that what they feel is being taken away is something that they never should have felt they had in the first place, we might not have reached this situation,” he writes.
“Combating white and male privilege is now not only about justice but also about steering democracy away from self-destruction. As it is, we made our society just inclusive enough to save it.”