Tag Archives: presidential election

The Paradox of Trump Support

New Orleans      There was a time when families followed a careful rule.  When gathering with the blood, avoid talking about religion or politics.

Only part of that rule still holds, as America becomes more and more secular, despite the hardcore pockets of evangelicals around the country.  You can talk about religion all you want.  Now in the era of mindfulness, fewer go to churches, and more can simply claim to be spiritual or religious by their own lights.  I watched the subject rise and fall without a whine or a whimper recently in a family gathering when one of the young members took a poke at the senior patriarch around the table.

Politics, on the other hand, is probably still best avoided, especially in the time of Trump.  It’s a minefield!

Nonetheless, fools go where wise men fear to travel, and I found myself having a conversation with a cherished uncle recently.  He tapes Fox and Friends, and finds them compatible company and highly informative.  Fair enough.  I don’t watch them so though I suspect they would make my hair catch on fire; I really don’t have a clue.

Talking about President Trump with him was more educational.  This is a conservative Republican squarely in the president’s demographic.  He’s carrying some age.  He’s white.  He’s a retired business executive.  He’s whip smart, but deeply opinionated.  Saying all of that though his view analysis of Trump and Obama was both interesting, and I fear predictive of the challenges November holds for progressives and winning then.

He said to me in effect that Trump says stupid, arrogant, and despicable things.  Trump is embarrassing to him.  His biases and ethics are inexcusable.  On the other hand, he believes “his polices” have been great for the country.  Comparing Trump to Obama, he then added that Obama’s character was flawless and that every word that came out of his mouth was amazing, but he believed “his policies” were disastrous.  He believes the country and his own situation will survive fine, regardless of who wins, but he also things it will be disastrous if Trump were to lose.

Thinking about this conversation later, I think it represents a warning for kneejerk progressives.  Good, decent people who disagree with many of us on particular policies can easily hold two ideas in their minds at one time when it comes to President Trump.  They can both abhor his brutish, narcissistic, bombastic, exaggerated, and biased self-presentation on the one hand and still easily vote for him, because they see it in their self-interest based on what he and his people have delivered.  The same deal with the devil that is characterized by the Republican majority in the Senate and his leader, Mitch McConnell, is not exceptional, but has leeched deeply down to even rank-and-file Republican base.

I’m sure this isn’t a newsflash.  The polls have shown for three years how rock-solid Trump’s base has been despite unending scandals and crises.  It would be a huge strategic and tactical advice for Democrats to assume, Hillary Clinton-like, that that base is her “deplorables.”  It’s not.  It’s people on the other side of the divide who aren’t getting a message clearly about better policies, and are willing to live – at this point – with a brute and a bully, if they see – and hear – the benefits.

Assuming that no one in their right mind can vote for Trump is a huge mistake.   They don’t like Trump any more than the rest of us, but they can live with him as the devil they know, rather than the devil they don’t know.

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The Surprising Ineptness of Liberals and Moderates

Houston       Let me start by saying, I have mixed feelings about Senator Bernie Sanders as a candidate for President, not on ideological grounds and not personal to him.  I’m just not sure that I’ve seen the candidate arise yet that I feel confident can beat President Trump.  I’m certainly not horrified at the Democratic Socialist tag, largely because I’m not sure what it means to him or anyone else, but I’m all in favor of de-fanging any and all relics of the Cold War, and that’s one of them.  In Europe or India, saying you are a socialist is a little like saying you brushed your teeth that morning.  Who cares?  Certainly, not worth a heart attack.

But, I’m mystified about the rash of heavy breathing headlines and pundit panic now about Sanders.  He came within a hair four years ago.  He won and did well in these same primaries four years ago.  He was old then.  He’s older now.  He was saying pretty much the same thing then that he’s saying today.  What’s new?  Why the shock and awe?

But, now they are all in a cold sweat trying to figure out how to stop Sanders.  Was this a news flash to them? Were they a lost tribe somewhere in the vast forests and plains of America and this was their first contact with news and politics?  Who among the liberal and moderate forces hasn’t seen this movie before?  Now, it’s a rerun, they should know the songs, dances, and lines by heart.

The problem is those damned pesky voters, isn’t it?  They don’t seem to be in love with the middle-of-the-road.  They seem to like driving on the left and right shoulders now, if they like anything at all, and that’s what confuses me.

It takes a horse to beat a horse, and the problem for the middies is that they don’t seem to be clear on their horse or how to ride ‘em.  They moan and groan about Joe Biden. They seem surprised that he is four years older than 2016, and that he hasn’t changed much.  Former Mayor Bloomberg had his past slap him upside of the head once again when his crazy, racist finger pointing away from his millionaire and billionaire banking and finance friends to blame redlining and the end of racially discriminatory lending for the financial crisis.  Amy, who?  Pete, what?

The two leftish candidates for a long time had a mutual nonaggression pact.  The mod-libs don’t seem to see the far horizon much but whine about the others while they elbow each other back and forth.

Is it really too much to ask for someone to actually be in charge of the Democratic Party who might exercise some leadership and wrangle a deal to beat Trump out of this stampede?  Somehow reading about resignations after the coming defeat will give no pleasure compared to actually getting everyone on the same page about beating Trump and making the deal that real voters will actually like.

Sanders, Warren and the like actually seem to have a plan.  The mod-libs seem clueless except for crying about the future while they piddle away the present and shove each other around.  Is it a wonder that promising nothing much at all just isn’t very exciting to most people?

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