Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sympathy for the Devil

Today in the NYT, an article asks "Are Liberals are Helping Trump?" The idea is that liberals have gotten so hostile to reluctant Trump-voters that they may be pushing those reluctant-Trump voters further into the arms of The Donald--rather than wooing them back.

“We’re backed into a corner,” said Mr. Medford, 46, whose business teaches people to be filmmakers. “There are at least some things about Trump I find to be defensible. But they are saying: ‘Agree with us 100 percent or you are morally bankrupt. You’re an idiot if you support any part of Trump.’ ”
He added: “I didn’t choose a side. They put me on one.”
The Omnivore thinks this has a pretty obvious diagnosis. The reluctant Trump-voter has very little idea of how the non-Trump voter (either conservative #NeverTrump or various liberals) see him. To them:
  • He is very, very possibly compromised by Russia--a foreign enemy.
  • He has conflicts of interest that go well beyond anything the Clinton Foundation ever approached. He is blatant about them, for example, hiding his tax returns.
  • He has clear, extant connections to literal white supremacists and American Nazis. He, for example, refuses to repudiate antisemitic threats and violence on national TV.
  • He seems to be running a chaos-ridden White House that corrects none of the supposed problems of moneyed interest in power (his staff are mostly 1%'ers) and alienates or antagonizes our allies.
  • He lies--blatantly, and trivially--about all manner of things--with flimsy excuses (or even non-excuses such as "alternative facts"). He does this non-stop and seems unable to restrain himself from it.
On the other hand:
  • He nominated a decent Supreme Court judge (for the #NeverTrump conservatives, at least).
For people who were not in Trump's camp to begin with Trump has done nothing to reassure them that he is remotely suited for the job. Furthermore, to the unconvinced (which is most of the voting populace and, by polling, most of the country), we are one serious crisis away from a disaster.

For these people a reluctant--but not repentant--Trump voter seems to have put their imaginary needs over the country's--over their fellow voter's. Essentially the partner in a marriage who took the family's life savings and bet it on a horse-race because they have faith in a "system that can't lose."

If this happened to you--if your partner bet, and then appeared likely to lose, a ton of your money--how warm would you feel to them.

This is beyond the "identity politics" dimension which most reluctant Trump-voters cannot or will not examine.

Trump and Identity Politics

From the article:

Late last year, he hit it off with a woman in New York he met online. They spent hours on the phone. They made plans for him to visit. But when he mentioned he had voted for Mr. Trump, she said she was embarrassed and didn’t know if she wanted him to come. (He eventually did, but she lied to her friends about his visiting.)
“It invalidated anything that’s good about me, just because of how I voted. Poof, it’s gone.”
Trump, on TV, talked loutishly about trying to sleep with a married woman and then exulting in his celebrity status that allowed him to grab women by the pussy because he was so attractive to them. Some indications are that older women simply expect that behavior from men--even if they don't condone it--so it isn't a deal breaker.

That, should you have nodded your head, can be safely read as older white women. Why? Well, it turns out that for minorities--gays, blacks, Muslims, etc. And for younger women, they feel, rightly or wrongly (rightly--but let's talk to the reluctant Trump-voter for now) that they have things to lose

Aside from the controversial ones like the right to an abortion or their fear of getting shot by a police officer without repercussions simply because they are black, let's talk about the smaller--but still every-day things: garden variety racism. Some sexism.

Things that go on from cat-calling to haranguing or the odd loutish remark from someone in your real-life personal space.

For the reluctant Trump-voter, this is a new experience! A woman on Tinder doesn't want to date you because of your vote! Horrors!

For the reluctant Trump-voter, this has never happened because of his skin color. But trust The Omnivore, far more people have been swiped left (turned down) because they're black than because of a vote. If you feel like your vote invalidating you was wrong--how do you think people feel about their skin color invalidating them?

Is that "tearing the country apart"? Everything "good about you--poof, gone"?

To quote Sarah Palin, who you thought was a solid VP candidate: You betcha.

Sympathy For The Trump Voter

The disconnect here is not on the side of the non-Trump voter: It's on the side of the Trump voter. How does The Omnivore know? Simple logic: If you voted for Trump, you voted for a change agent. You wanted a non-politician who would shake things up. You wanted something that was new, different--and more like you.

You got it. Trump is not a politician. He doesn't seem to understand government, foreign policy, or the executive office and the Constitution. He doesn't spell things correctly, he plays games with the truth. His rambling 77 minute press conference convinced a highly qualified ex-Navy Seal not to come on board as the National Security Adviser. 

That's a change agent right there. That is totally what you voted for. The problem is that for most people the negatives really, really outweigh the positives: if the system wasn't working before it looks like it's headed for even worse now (US Treasuries tanking). If you thought racial politics were bad? Going to get worse under Trump who is inexplicably friendly to White Nationalists (well, explicably if you look at his cabinet--but let's pretend you can't see that).

Basically you voted for dramatic change--you got it--but you don't want to own it. It's not everyone else's job to accommodate that for you.

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