For the entirety of our election season, Americans held their breath in anticipation of last Tuesday, but the political pendulum disobeyed the laws of physics liberals came to expect.

News outlets report that 18 million voters cast a ballot in disbelief about either candidate’s qualifications. With such prominent and obvious dissonance being discussed for months, the election results only came as a surprise to those that assumed middle-class Caucasian families would prioritize issues like gendered bathrooms before economic hardship.

Donald Trump won in the Rust Bucket because their economic situation is the most dire topic of all. Cities like Philadelphia and Detroit have succumbed to crime and addiction. Last year, 500 people overdosed on opiates in the City of Brotherly Love. The Bush-era bailouts did little to promote job opportunities in these states.

Indeed, one can hardly argue that a long history of Democratic governance has done much to improve the Great Lake states. White families from here have felt left out of the political process for decades, and the Democrats ignored their pleas at the Democratic Convention for a broader platform to address economic decline in their communities. Hillary Clinton didn’t even bother to campaign in those states until the numbers started to better reflect reality in the last days of the election.

Much of the online media attention will now be directed at the success of the alt-right, but the left deserves far more scrutiny. For Democrats to fumble such an important contest to a man whocould barely compile an appropriate statement indicates not just incompetence, but also a deterioration of values on the left.

Perhaps unlike all other Western democracies, ours is one that truly priorities moderation through principles of limited governance, but in continuously praising European social democracies, liberals lost sight of this important American value. The left is trapped in an inconsistent policy position. Social media sites hum from all the liberals claiming to defend personal liberty for oppressed demographics, but these same people simultaneously clamor for more government intervention, the very institution responsible for the most deranged forms of discrimination and oppression.

Conservatives enjoy highlighting the asinine behavior of liberal college students censoring free speech on state campuses, but the dreadful connection liberals have with government goes far beyond the realm of speech. Liberal, once a term that meant a person supported freedom of religion, press, assembly and markets, now means that a person believes taxation is an appropriate means of engineering society.

Instead of trusting in the same people liberals claim they want to see free, the left refuses to trust that the majority of people can care for each other. Bureaucrats must manage education, health care, charities, and all other realms of life. These expectations of the state to resolve all problems are frankly unappealing to the middle class. The left must adopt a more libertarian spirit when it comes to economic and social policy. One can still work to promote social welfare policies without first resorting to the state as the first solution.

Similarly, if liberals truly believe the right has a monopoly on hate speech, they clearly have not been paying attention to the rot from inside their own ranks. Black Lives Matter organizers in Philadelphia segregating media by race is hateful. College feminists pulling fire alarms on associations seeking improvement in men’s rights as fathers and students is hateful.

If the left hopes to remain relevant, all of the accusations being hurled at the new conservative movement must first be reflected upon through the eye of a mirror.

This is the start of a new recurring column. Check back soon for the second article in the series.