Last night, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her party were asked to leave a restaurant by the proprietor out of “moral conviction.” Conservatives are predictably incensed. Her father Mike Huckabee tweeted his outrage at the supposed “bigotry” and small-mindedness of the restaurant owner—only two hours after posting a stereotypically racist MS-13 gang photo and calling it Nancy Pelosi’s campaign committee. Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer fumed about the partisan divisiveness of it all. This comes on the heels of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen being shamed out of a Mexican restaurant by activists.
Trump Republicans are also finding it hard to date in Washington, DC, rejected out of hand on Tinder and walked out on over drinks.
It turns out that when you come to a multicultural cosmopolitan city with an open agenda of white supremacy, patriarchy and anti-urbanism, the native population tends not to like you. When you compound bigoted viewpoints with cruel and inhumane policies like family separation as a deterrent to reduce the percentage of American Hispanic population, you may find yourself unwelcome at Mexican restaurants. It turns out that when your sexual politics are built around retrograde beliefs in male dominance and superiority, empowered women (and decent men) don’t want to have sex with you.
The irony for conservatives here is that this is the freedom of association for which they have long advocated. Conservatives have long argued for shibboleths like “states’ rights” and “religious freedom” as a code for giving bigots the power to refuse to serve and share space with racial and religious minorities, to refuse to bake cakes for gay weddings and make plates for black diners. Largely through the courts, America has rejected these arguments because minorities are protected classes who deserve freedom from discrimination–and conservatives have whined about these restrictions on their “freedom” of association in this respect for decades.
But deplorables are not a protected class. Jordan Peterson’s bleatings notwithstanding, liberal women are under no social or moral compulsion to provide romance and sex to misogynistic men. Honduran cooks are under no obligation to serve food to those who want to rip Central American kids out of their parents’ arms and put them in cages. Cosmpolitan cities have no responsibility to create safe spaces for people who reject their values and want to gerrymander them out of representation in government.
The far edges of the conservative movement often fantasize about a second civil war with the American left, imaging multi-racial shock troops coming to rural areas to extract taxes and confiscate guns, facing a local insurgency with a rifle behind every duck blind. But that Red Dawn scenario has no bearing on a plausible dystopian reality. The real situation is the reverse: conservatives want the social and economic benefits that come from ecumenical urbanism, but they want to retain the deep bigotries and social privileges that come from provincialism. They want the right to enact zoning and social policies that discriminate against protected class minorities in their own communities, but they don’t want to suffer the cultural consequences of those views in liberal cities.
That’s not how freedom works. As America grows increasingly tolerant and multicultural millennial values overtake those of squarer older generations, Trump-style conservatives will find themselves ever more on the outside looking in—especially as long as their paragons continue to run the country in ways that severely prejudice and harm women, young people, minorities and city dwellers.