Jedediah Bila Of 'The View' Reveals What It's Like To Be Surrounded By People With Different Political Viewpoints
We all know that feeling where you suddenly realize you’re the only person in the room with your political views, but what if that was your life all the time? Political commentator and co-host of The View Jedediah Bila knows what it’s like to be conservative in a sea of liberals. She writes about her experiences in her book Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative, and on Thursday she stopped by the Bustle office to talk about politics, the 2016 election, and what it was like growing up in a family with a variety of different viewpoints.
Bila, who didn’t vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, says the outcome of the election was unexpected. “I was surprised that [Trump] pulled it off,” she says, noting that she cast a write-in vote. “I pretty much announced to the world I wasn’t going to vote for either [major party candidate].”
“I had concerns, different concerns, about each of them,” she says of Trump and Clinton. Regarding the surprise Trump victory, Bila thinks a big problem was Democratic messaging. “I think it spoke to something that people don’t want to acknowledge,” she says. “If you looked at the map… so much of the center of the country is red. I think a lot of those people didn’t feel heard by the Clinton campaign.”
As for the role that women played in the election, Bila thinks that this was another area where Democrats missed an opportunity. “I think a lot of women stayed home this election and didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton and didn’t vote for Donald Trump because they felt that no one was really talking to them.”
Bila didn’t start out wanting to go into politics. She went to graduate school for Spanish literature, but changed course when she realized it wasn’t for her. “I worked in the insurance industry, I was a cocktail waitress, I was a restaurant manager, I had a bunch of odd jobs, the ‘find yourself’ phase,” she says, adding, “I had a very long ‘find yourself phase’ — and then I went back into teaching high school.” A column she wrote about voter fraud got picked up by a few conservative blogs, and before she knew it, Sean Hannity was asking her to come on television.
Her family’s diverse viewpoints have been important to Bila and how she engages with people who have different beliefs. “My dad was a conservative; my mom was center-right. I have aunts that are super-liberal, my grandparents are Democrats,” she says. “I loved it. I would sit and I would be able to hear a bunch of different viewpoints about everything, and even as a kid, be able to figure out how I felt about everything without having one dominant viewpoint being thrown at me.”
Bila says she brings this attitude to her work as a political commentator. “I laugh a lot, I smile a lot,” she says. “I don’t come at it in a combative way, I try to listen.”
Images: Lauren Betesh/Bustle (1)