A brief history of liberal demonization

There seems to be a whole editorial subgenre now of so-called liberals trolling their own for not being nice enough to working-class Americans (as though progressives themselves are not largely made up of the working class). What drives me nuts about this holier-than-thou finger-wagging is that it largely renders invisible the decades-long campaign in right-wing media to demonize and dehumanize “liberals” as a category of person. It’s an enormous industry without any institutional equivalent on the left. Yes, people of all political stripes call those they disagree with stupid, and insults fly on social media. But the double-standard when it comes to professional, big-money media outlets is mind-blowing. How often do you see tut-tutting essays in mainstream publications about the incivility of rich, elite conservative pundits, and how they will alienate hard-working Obama/Clinton voters with their over-the-top insults? Not bloody often!

The reference to plumber butt jokes came from a recent NYT op-ed using this as an example of liberals treating Trump voters with “elite condescension.” Way to use the very frame about “liberal elites” that Republicans been hammering home for eons to divert anger away from themselves, and from the real causes of ordinary people’s economic struggles. It is simply astonishing that this agenda of turning “the libs” into monsters — which has led us to the very door of fascism — could be invisible to so many people. And even that is letting the finger-waggers off too lightly: they are now themselves part of the demonization machine, urging liberals to condemn themselves just in case they haven’t had enough from Fox.




  • Stevie Ray Vaughn

    Spot on, Jen.

  • old hippie

    Happy to read that ma y liberals are in the working class. The consevative elites have used this propaganda for 40 years or more. And They have succeeded. How can any working class person believe that unions are bad??? There was actually upward mobility during the 50s and 60s. My family was a part of it. So the conservative elites have also demonized the word “union”

  • Platymapus

    Extremely well put and an important perspective….. I’m with Jen on this one hundred percent.

  • Mark Lungo

    I read the article linked below just minutes before coming to this page. Wow. As always, the Trumps just take everything the Republicans have been doing all along and turn up the hate a few notches.


Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.