Bursting the Myth of the ‘Liberal Bubble’

Meryl Streep’s speech calling out Donald Trump has reawakened accusations of a “liberal bubble.” As told by conservative pundits, liberals insulate themselves and are utterly disconnected from the way other Americans live.

It strikes me as an unfair criticism for an ideology that represents so many different types of people. The Democratic Party is famously diverse, standing up for the rights of people who are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, gay, straight, cisgender, transgender, white, black, Asian, Latino, native-born, immigrant and refugee.

How is it even possible for a political affiliation that sides with so many different groups of people to be confined to a single bubble?

With that in mind, it’s worth examining who is making the accusations of a liberal bubble. It’s hard to miss that these claims come from one particular demographic of people… perhaps what you might refer to as a bubble.

Who’s really in the bubble?

If anyone exists in a bubble, it’s a large portion of American conservatives. Specifically, I’m indicating the rural, white, Evangelical Americans that compromise the plurality of the United States population, as well as the vast majority of Republican voters.

When you look at the political issues this group by-and-large stands for, they consist of stances against people with other lifestyles. I’m talking anti-gay rights, anti-Muslim, anti-Black Lives Matter, anti-immigrant… it’s a general opposition to all people who don’t live their lives in a remarkably similar manner to themselves.

What really solidifies this group as existing in a bubble, though, is the underlying desire for an American monoculture. Religious freedom is a top priority, so long as that religion is Christianity. A country built on immigration is now opposed to immigrants, particularly those with darker skin tones. “Patriotism” has come to mean thinking the exact same way they do, while other thoughts for improving the country are anti-American.

Admittedly, liberals could do a much better job reaching out to people who identify with this particular bubble. At the same time, the left shouldn’t have to abandon marginalized people to pick up seats in Congress, particularly when the Constitution exists to protect the minority from the will of the majority.

The left hasn’t created a bubble that excludes the rural, Christian whites. More accurately, the right has intentionally developed its own bubble to extract itself to avoid the American melting pot mentality.

Trump’s in a bubble, too, although a separate one

Donald Trump did not conduct a lot of outreach during his campaign, instead focusing almost exclusively on the people within this bubble. It was a risky strategy, but one that proved to be successful.

The media has credited Trump’s victory with his ability to talk to Middle America in a way that liberals couldn’t, which is true because the left wasn’t willing to make it seem like the whites in this bubble are the only demographic that matters.

Trump may have catered to this bubble for the sake of votes, but don’t mistake that for meaning that he is part of their bubble. Trump was born into extreme wealth and has spent his life associating with corporations and the 1%. The elite’s inability – or unwillingness, maybe – to understand the plight of people without loads of money puts them in a bubble of their own.

To see which bubble Trump identifies with, just check out the cabinet he chose even after pledging to “drain the swamp.” He assembled the richest team of people to run the country ever, people who want to extend tax breaks to the rich and favors to corporate entities.

It’s the 1% who really needs its bubble burst, but so long as working class conservatives insist on keeping a bubble around themselves, average American citizens will lack the collective clout necessary to defeat the oligarchy. It is a pity.

Photo Credit: Vladimir Agafonkin

72 comments

Marie W
Marie W5 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Chun Lai T
Chun Lai T6 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Siyus C
Siyus Copetallus7 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Mary B
Mary B7 months ago

The beliefs inside a bubble do not necessarily mean they are accurate. But if the person holding them believe it, it will control their life. They will see everything thru the lens of the faulty assumption. Some people let all kinds of ideas into their bubble without any discernment and end up with conflicting beliefs and confusion. Even those who call themselves Independents who have a bigger picture, tho they do have a wider view, are still in their own bubble. With out a bubble, you would have no way to create a personality to call you. Think in terms of what your values are. Is having lots of money and things more important than good loveing relationships and a clean healthy planet? Or would you rather have lots of money so you can give most of it away, to those you love and strangers who have a need ? Those kinds of people feel very different, and that's only 2 values. How many different beliefs, accurate and not come together to end up as those 2 values. Conservative are right when they say liberals don't live in reality. What they miss is that it's THEIR reality we don't live in. Unfortunately, we still have to share the space and when they destroy the shared space, they are in violation of everything.

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Karen H
Karen H7 months ago

Well said, Mary B.

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Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran7 months ago

noted

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John A
John A7 months ago

The problem is Democrats today are Goldwater Republican corporate puppets right of Nixon and Reagan. Time to BURY them! How many of them voted FOR big pharma just this week?!

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John D
John Doucette7 months ago

That bubble does not revolve around Christianity but far right, Evangelical Christianity. Many Christian denominations fully support progressive ideas. The far right has not only turned "liberal" into something bad but they have co-opted all of Christianity and they hardly ever get called out on it. Democrats need to take control of the conversation rather than just responding.

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Chen Boon Fook
Chen Boon Fook7 months ago

Thank you for sharing

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld7 months ago

Stephen,
Yes, any group can be stuck in their own bubble, for reasons you listed and many others. The entire group of liberals (just like conservatives or other groups) does not live in a collective bubble. Read the article from The NY Times that I referenced earlier. Those liberals that live in a bubble believe that the world should operate according to their ideology, and fail to grasp that others disagree. They claim inclusivity and diversity, without fully understanding the wants and needs of many of those people they seek to include. Their recent hatrid towards conservatives (and others who disagree with them) shows how much of a bubble actually exists. Oftentimes, the liberal bubble is reserved from ivory tower types, who are steeped in ideology, but devoid of real world interactions.

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