Trump’s unfitness for office, and his destruction of government institutions and norms, is positively cartoonish in its obviousness and threat. But — three years in — have any of your Republican friends admitted that to you?
It is a really important question because as bad as Trump is, the long term threat to the country consists of the people who voted Trump into power. And, even as someone who lives in the North East, I don’t hear any previous Trump voters expressing regret, disappointment or (more appropriately) embarrassment for their prior vote. (I have Republican neighbors, friends, co-workers and (much less so) family members.)
What I hear falls mostly into three categories:
- “You know, I have been so busy with [X or Y] that I really haven’t had a chance to pay attention to politics.” From my experience, this is an answer predominantly from women Trump voters. “ Umm, a family pet was sick, or there was some kerfuffle with a school teacher . . . you know I have been taking care of my family and so can’t talk about any of this.” In faux interest, they will typically add: “What did Trump do wrong?” It is all transparent bullshit, of course, and these committed Trump voters will remain committed Trump voters,
“I think Trump is crazy and I voted for an independent. But do you see how dangerous [Sanders, AOC, Pelosi, Warren, Hillary] is? And Biden will be joining that list soon. At the continued risk of stereotyping, I find in my experience that this response is mostly from Republican men. First, there is a fake declaration of agency (“I wrote in Bill Weld’s name.”). Then they turn to a diatribe about women (much more so than Obama). You can expect a whole castration argument about Hillary, AOC, Pelosi and (maybe most of all now) Elizabeth Warren. But . . . that is just the warm-up to defense against “socialism.” If you stick it out and remain non-confrontational, eventually the racist stuff comes pouring out.
Flat-out Trump Supporters. This is the other group, and while they are less populous in the NE, you have to at least give them credit for honesty. Here you get the whole Fox News agenda — immigrants, sanctuary cities, vote fraud, anti-abortion, judicial appointments, gays, feminism . . . really anything on the Republican playbook.
But . . . at least in my experience . . . wherever they fall above . . . none of the Republicans that I know disavow Trump, or voting for him again.
That is sobering and terrifying. And we can’t ignore this.
My own, optimistic view is that a good deal of these people will stay home (i.e., not turn-out) but I have no idea if that is true in the “swing” states. These are scary times.
But — again — let us know if you have had different experiences with your Republican friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members. I would love to be wrong about all this.