Psychology And Trump Support

I have had real trouble getting my head around the fact that somewhere between 35 and 40 percent of Americans actually support Donald Trump. Here is a man who demonstrates hourly that he is boorish and crude, none-too-bright, embarrassingly and painfully ignorant, and bereft of anything resembling a coherent policy agenda (or, for that matter, a coherent anything).He routinely embarrasses us on the world stage, his cabinet is a cesspool, and his crazy tariffs are threatening the economy. And that’s just for starters.

What accounts for the support?

I’m clearly not the only person who struggles with this question. What do his rabid supporters in the GOP see in this man who repulses rational, thoughtful people around the world?

Psychology Today had an article attempting to answer that question; it rounded up all of the psychological theories about Trump’s appeal.

Some of the explanations come from a 2017 review paper published in the Journal of Social and Political Psychology by the psychologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Thomas Pettigrew. Others have been put forth as far back as 2016, by me, in various articles and blog posts for publications like Psychology Today. A number of these were inspired by insights from psychologists like Sheldon Solomon, who laid the groundwork for the influential Terror Management Theory, and David Dunning, who did the same for the Dunning-Kruger effect.

This list will begin with the more benign reasons for Trump’s intransigent support. As the list goes on, the explanations become increasingly worrisome, and toward the end, border on the pathological. It should be strongly emphasized that not all Trump supporters are racist, mentally vulnerable, or fundamentally bad people. It can be detrimental to society when those with degrees and platforms try to demonize their political opponents or paint them as mentally ill when they are not. That being said, it is just as harmful to pretend that there are not clear psychological and neural factors that underlie much of Trump supporters’ unbridled allegiance.

So what were the theories? The “benign” ones ranged from rich people being willing to support him because they’re making money, to the theory that “showmanship and simple language” engage the brains of some people, to America’s addiction to celebrity.

These are “benign”?

The list also referenced research showing conservatives more responsive to threat: fear, in this theory, keeps his followers energized. And it included the the Dunning-Kruger Effect (Trump followers aren’t simply misinformed;  they’re completely unaware that they are misinformed.) Authoritarian personality disorder was another.

And of course, a significant number of recent studies have correlated support for Trump with “racial anxiety,” a polite word for racism. (This one has been my “go to” explanation; they support Trump because he hates the same people they do.)

I’m no psychologist, and I don’t play one on TV, so I can’t evaluate the relative merits of these theories. But I want to add one. Bear with me…

Recently, I was listening to “Fiddler on the Roof.” Tevya was singing “If I were a rich man,” and I was struck by the passage where he sings that, if he were rich, all the men in town would come ask him difficult questions.  “And it wouldn’t matter if I answered right or wrong; when you’re rich, they think you really know.”

It was an “aha” moment. The line made me think of a Guardian report quoting Steve Bannon.

According to an upcoming book obtained by The Guardian, Bannon predicts Trump will be abandoned by his base following various investigations into his family’s secretive finances.

“This is where it isn’t a witch hunt — even for the hard core, this is where he turns into just a crooked business guy, and one worth $50 [million] instead of $10 [billion]. Not the billionaire he said he was, just another scumbag,” Bannon tells Michael Wolff in Siege: Trump Under Fire, according to an advance copy seen by The Guardian.

Is a significant portion of the American public really that superficial?

Maybe I should ask a Kardashian….

37 thoughts on “Psychology And Trump Support

  1. Who is being polled; are their names cherry-picked from the RNC membership or possibly Wikileaks subscribers? Are they being weeded out (no pun intended) from the die-hard, garden variety of registered Republicans by their gerrymandered districts. If you go into a Domino’s Pizza Parlor and ask their favorite pizza; the only answer you will get is…Domino’s.

    The book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” is a compilation of descriptions of psychological (or pathological) symptoms by 27 psychiatrists and mental health authorities because it took that many specialists to cover Trump’s many and varied displayed symptoms of mental imbalance and incompetence. Many of his supporters probably display all of these symptoms individually so they are easily overlooked as being uninformed and are lured by whatever symptom they harbor within themselves. We already know the staunch Republican voters have always voted for and supported Republican candidates and elected officials no matter their foolish or dangerous foundations. The one issue running through the Trump supporters in my neighborhood is their Catholic religion; all but one had not displayed a political yard sign until 2016 when “Trump For President” signs sprouted in 11 yards.

    “And of course, a significant number of recent studies have correlated support for Trump with “racial anxiety,” a polite word for racism. (This one has been my “go to” explanation; they support Trump because he hates the same people they do.)”

    Six to eight years ago there were several vacant homes in this small neighborhood (comprised of 4 short streets with only 1 way in and out) as the older, original owners died or moved away. These vacancies have gradually been filled; predominantly with black families and a few Hispanics, all of whom maintain their homes and yards whether rented or owned. That fact seems to have escaped notice by the Trump supporters and I continue being mostly overlooked on my daily walks. I believe it was Archie Bunker who said, “You don’t have to be Italian to make spaghetti.” We don’t need to be a psychiatrist or mental health worker to see some of the signs in our family members , friends, co-workers and neighbors who continue to support the current administration and its leader.

  2. A friend, wondering about this same question, did a very non-scientific polling of folks he knew who support Trump. They also voted for him. He asked them why. I’m told that in every case, the response received was because “he talked like them”. This seemingly means, “he talks like me; I understand him; he’s like me.” So sad, so very wrong. Trump is nothing like the average individual in southern Indiana (nor many, many other places here in U.S.).

  3. Yes, the American public is superficial. If the economy is growing, all must be well. If the stock market is up, then we have the right people in charge.

    If you think highly of someone labeled as “Not too bright,” what does that say about you?

    And finally, we have a racist in the White House…just another average Don like us.

    The GOP and Mitch have been on Twitter clamoring about the border and hammering the Democrats for not signing a bill giving Trump the money to fix the “massive border problems.”

    Another mess Donny created, but they mention it was a mess before and only Don has the solution. I can only imagine what the PR team at Fox News are saying. (eyes rolling)

  4. Sheila,

    “Is a significant portion of the American public really that superficial?”

    Yes. They’ve been brainwashed. They hate democracy, just like the large minority in Germany who were for dismantling the Weimar Republic. They’re not going to accept anything less, surely a Democratic victory in 2020 isn’t going to change their minds one iota.

  5. Yes, Sheila, a significant portion of the American public really is that superficial.

    That is why they idolize the people in their home towns that have the most money, along with the sports stars, actors, actresses, mega-preachers, etc.

    They see those people as extra special because they have a lot of money and live glamorous lives, not because they are necessarily good people or may have contributed a lot of good to society and their fellow citizens or communities.

  6. Trump voters are motivated by hate and jealousy. They feel like ‘losers’, and won’t be satisfied till all of us loose with them. It’s sick.

  7. I think it might be more correct to say 40% of registered voters support 45. That means that roughly 25% of Americans support him. What is most interesting is that 81% of Republicans support him, which says a lot about today’s Republican Party. He is what we get when we cannot be bothered to do our duty as citizens.

  8. That superficiality comes through whether clothed in piety or the garb of the hedonist rich. It shows itself in the values the Trump supporters now so openly display. It is that blind belief in money as the solution to all problems. It is believing that if rich one “deserves” to be rich, and if not rich, one only has to support those who are to join the club. It is the belief that if the rules stand in the way of amassing money then the rules do not apply. It is a belief system that degrades humanity by their willful ignorance as to the results of ones own behavior while pursuing money. And yes, 40% of Americans are this way.

  9. if anyone asked a new yorker from NYC they would have warned you about how a sewer flows. hes never done anything for the working class,except find ways to screw em. avoided war via a privilege. even his daughter tiff is forbiden to join the military,or lose her million dollar monthly ransom. he sold out anyone who tried to screw him. the daily news at least kept him in text,screwed. self promoting with a pecker. and promoted his cheap side shows as viably worth the time they wasted on them. the apprentice was a ideal way to educate how the corprate world works, screw anyone,for money,and dont look back. so, here we ask why anyone would stick with human excrement? maybe they all walk the same path,under thier breath..

  10. Voting isn’t the only major issue. How many “whites” will stand-up against Trump’s racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, misogyny and call him a fascist face to face. Is it 1%? I doubt it.

    Who are we kidding?

  11. We are not as exceptional of a people that we often think we are. A large portion of the American electorate is “boorish and crude, none-to-bright, embarrassingly and painfully ignorant”. We elected the worst of us and it’ll take the best of us to get him out of office.

  12. “And it wouldn’t matter if I answered right or wrong; when you’re rich, they think you really know.”

    This so true. Many millionaires – billionaires have been held up as icons of supreme wisdom. Accumulated wealth is equated with intelligence, wisdom, and it fulfills the American Dream. You can add in the supernatural prosperity gospel that accumulated wealth is god’s blessing. Only when it becomes clear that wealthy person or corporation engaged in fraud to obtain riches is the belief of great wealth as a measure of success shaken.

    In the pantheon of heroes or heroines or role models who would the American Public hold in the highest esteem or role model for life’s or personal achievements: the inventor of face book ( a billionaire) the founder of Amazon ( a billionaire), Henry Ford, a highly paid athlete, an entertainer – or Albert Einstein, Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin, Carl Sagan, or Yuri Gagarin (first man in space)???

  13. What about Mike Pence and the christofascist “acting secretaries” on the Trump Cabinet?
    Giving them a free ride?

  14. trumps selling out America. and hes the icon. he now believes in total corruption,that allows him,to gather dirt,and use it,withoutbregard to the institution we call the election. we played our hand in foreignaffairs to, cia, fbi. and who else? but when an American citizen speaks of treasonist behavior for thier own (or mitches bitches) gain. its past the red line..
    time for a impeachment,and arrest after he leaves.

  15. I just paid a visit to the Fox News Facebook page. They are absolutely giddy over Trump saying he will accept help from foreign governments to get re-elected. Why? Because they love seeing the “libtards stirred up.” They think Trump is a genius for manipulating us into a constant frenzy. These are cruel people, Ms. Kennedy, and they cannot wait for us to try and impeach Trump. They love seeing us as the “losers for a change.” And they are convinced they will get 4 more years of this. They are literally having the time of their lives because they hate us so very much. Making us miserable and frightened is worth everything to these Trump supporters.

    Meanwhile, we are all over the place for 2020. Savaging our candidates for president…another mistake republicans don’t make. We need to get it together or we are looking at another 2016.

  16. Those of us who don’t support Trump believe that he’s a loser in all respects and he makes us as a country losers. His only accomplishment in life is as a celebrity like the Karsdashians. He’s the epitome of make more money now regardless of the impact on any others ever which is the mission of businesses and property criminals everywhere.

    While a little exaggeration the notion that businesses and property criminals march to the same drummer is a revelation to me. It reveals that you could put all of the businesses and property criminals on a spectrum of legal to illegal and of course the businesses would be clustered on the legal end of the spectrum and the criminals on the illegal end of the spectrum but with plenty of overlap at the line (well, it used to be a line but that too has spread into a much less distinct cluster.) Trump quite obviously operates by choice in the area between legal and illegal. His daddy taught him to lawyer up lavishly and continuously and do what you have to and rely on the lawyers to take advantage of the legal/illegal cloud to keep you barely out of jail.

    It’s interesting but not surprising that he has Americans supporting that style of crime/business or, if you prefer, business/crime.

  17. STARTLING … UNBELIEVABLE. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t noticed this before. While sitting at the breakfast table and forcing myself to read the morning paper, I realized that Archie Bunker’s voice was booming out of the TV. But wait! It wasn’t Archie Bunker. It was Donald Trump. It sounded exactly like Archie Bunker: the run-on sentences … the total illogic … the hoarse voice … the constant negative assessment. I wonder how long it took Trump to master Bunker’s vocal approach.

  18. We’ve allowed the horror show to continue in the name of not causing trouble. It’s gone way too far. There comes a time when you have no other choice than to resist BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

  19. Sharon Mills; thank you, thank you, thank you! Also that herd of presidential wannabes needs to be thinned.

    “Meanwhile, we are all over the place for 2020. Savaging our candidates for president…another mistake republicans don’t make. We need to get it together or we are looking at another 2016.”

    I have the same level of fear for 2020 that I carried and tried to tell people in 2016.

  20. There also are those energized by Trump’s bravado. They are entertained by it and wish they had the self confidence to be that outrageous. But it ceased to entertain long ago. At some point, a con man is just a con man.

  21. My book, “Why Angels Weep: America and Donald Trump” covers much of this analysis. Thank you all for corroborating my research.

    So, it’s clear to the rational people who are not so self-absorbed as a Trump-ite to see that a true head case lives in the White House. But what of a slime ball like Mitch McConnell who thwarts any legislation that serves the American people? What indeed? He does it because he’s been ALLOWED to do it. Republicans in the Senate make the rules, and they’ve given McConnell more legislative power than anyone in our history. Not only is this creature from the swamp more corrupt and taking more cash from corporate/banking America, he managed to get his equally corrupt wife into a position where he and his wife can bilk the American taxpayer for his personal and political gains. Follow the growing Elaine Chao story as she gets herself embroiled in Scott Pruitt land….only ten times worse.

    Oh, and I attended a marvelous stage presentation of “Fiddler on the Roof” last night in Denver. The audience chuckled at the line about the rich and the rich wannabes. I think they got it.

  22. Thank you Sheila, as always,

    Piggybacking somewhat off of what Marv Kramer keyed, given the rampaging apathy a sizable portion of a population of this country has toward government, it’s as if many feel that all of this is like some kind of perpetual motion machine. They don’t give government much thought as if it’s not much more complicated than the sun rising every day and setting in the evening-it’s always there and most of these people actually feel that the workings of government do not really affect them. There are several reasons for this type of thinking stemming from just the burdens of their everyday lives and, as has been mentioned in this blog many, many times, the woeful ignorance of civics.

    It’s hard for me to understand and grapple with because I try to be am so much the opposite in my thinking as are, I’m sure, all the other participants in this blog are. Nevertheless, these people represent the common denominator in this country and they are the ones that are being manipulated by a President who has no scruples whatsoever in regard to doing whatever is necessary for his own benefit, his own personal benefit. While I am not sure, obviously, how Donald Trump ranks things that are actually important to him but it seems fairly obvious that the traditional ideas of what’s good for the country are far down on his daily list of things to do.

    One does not have to go any further than the comments he made regarding accepting opposition research information from foreign and possibly hostile entities and that there was nothing wrong with it to get a handle on just how this man thinks if one really wants to call it that. When you mix the blankness and incompetence of this man with if the legitimate yearnings of people who feel as if they have been left behind in this country who see him as their savior we have a disaster in the making. There are lots and lots of comparisons, as Marv has eluded to, between what is happening now here in this country and what happened in Weimar Germany in the late 1920s with the rise of Hitler and fascism that stemmed from a somewhat similar situation where a large portion of German society had been beaten down by both the effects of the Great War, the impact and burden of war reparations. They were right for the manipulation that Hitler envisioned which was carried out by his underlings. In his case it was Josef Goebbels and his propaganda machine where today it’s Fox News and their highly paid propagandists that see people today and are as disillusioned average Germans were 90 plus years ago as easy fodder for manipulation.

    All of this is so incredibly bizarre and yet it goes on day after day after day after day with us awakening to the latest incredibly stupid and/or counterproductive calamity that the man in the White House either creates or makes worst every day. We watch as our legislative branch, which is actually the preeminent branch of our three branches of government, grapples with this junk every day when its members are preoccupied and seemingly driven by what they perceive as their chances for reelection next year are instead of fixing this incredible mess, a sickness that afflicts both parties that has thrown a huge monkey wrench into our chances of pulling ourselves out of this calamity. Nevertheless, in this country is going to survive a fashion that sandy were close to what we have always been accustomed to school and to take a lot more effort and is being currently expended in regard to fixing it. We must hold our legislators accountable as well as our national government accountable. We must always remember that we are, as our founding fathers intended, to be our government’s masters not its victims

  23. No matter how you slice and dice it, it all comes down to an inability to perform even a modicum of critical thinking. Catering to Russia and kissing up to Kim Jung Un are ultimately not in Trump supporters’ interest. Scoffing at America’s laws and Constitution also serves no useful purpose. Ignoring his gargantuan hypocrisy concerning abortion and religion is not moving them in a helpful direction. Blowing off nepotism is not a positive for them personally. Vile and ignorant speech does not advance their cause. Supporting his intense racism conflicts with their real-life experiences. Locking children in cages at the border gets them nothing. Speaking in gross and disrespectful terms about women is a non-starter. Perpetual lying is antithetical to effective government. Insulting allies while praising dictators undoes the hard work done by brilliant and dedicated diplomats over the last seventy years. Portraying immigration as the nation’s biggest threat is hollow and leads to no useful plans. Promoting ideas derived using the anal-extraction process, e.g., building a wall, is a dead end. Insulting national heroes like John McCain gets them nothing. Attacking judges who do not support his violations of the law provides zero to the supporter. On and on and on goes the list of violations against humanity and those he pretends to empathize with. Yet they bow to him as if he were somehow providing for their needs.

    How rational is it to misapprehend your own self-interest and then lavish adoration on the man who punishes you for your ignorance. A little critical thinking could go a long way here, but no one knows how to trigger it in people whose minds are compartmentalized for the specific purpose of supporting their prejudices

  24. Trump’s claim to fame has always been the persona of a self-made billionaire with all of the right instincts, savvy, charisma and negotiating skills to make massive amounts of money on any project he takes on. If you watched the A & E Biography series on the Trumps, you’d learn what absolute malarkey this is. Donnie was supported by his father well into his mid-forties with money he obtained by being a slum lord. Donnie has always been a total liar–he was charged with racial discrimination in housing for an apartment building in his name in which 2 HUD employees answered an ad for a vacant unit. The first was a black man, who was turned away immediately after being told the unit was already rented. The next was a white woman, who went in immediately thereafter, and she was given a rental application. To this day, Trump claims he “won” the lawsuit that actually resulted in a consent decree, fines, etc.. The series also covers his multiple business failures and his massive ego and arrogance which are worse than you can imagine. You’ll need Pepto Bismol to sit through the whole thing.

    There are 2 things that Trump will fight to the death: the first is disclosure of his finances because this will puncture the hot air balloon that his entire persona relies on–his massive self-made success and wealth; the second is if they put Donnie, Jr. in jail, which could happen if he has lied about the Russia meetings. If that’s what it takes to get rid of him, I hope it happens.

  25. Speaking as a lifelong Republican, a conservative who cut his teeth on the Reagan Revolution, I am appalled that so many of my fellow GOP jumped aboard the Trump Train. It’s taken awhile to understand it, but I think I have a firm understanding now. It isn’t about people aspiring to be rich or racism or hatred. Or certainly about conservative positions on issues, which often isn’t the case. Trumpism is a personality cult. Trump could change his positions 180 degrees and his followers would support him. He is their LEADER. They will even say he’s been sent by God. (I can’t blame God for Trump.)

    The personality cult has been a long time in making. Chief culprits who laid the groundwork are people like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Ann Coulter, etc. They have for years been building the “us v. them,” Democrats are evil narrative. Trump latched on to that tribalism. The diffusion of the media has meant that people don’t have to hear opposing views anymore like they did during the Watergate era. They just go to the media outlet that will reinforce their positions.

    I am by nature a very optimistic person. But I’m not optimistic about how this all ends. People need to knock off the nonsense saying Pence is as bad as Trump. Not even close. Despite people’s opposition to Pence on an assortment of issues, at the end of the day Pence at least respects American democratic values, the Constitution, and the rule of law.. Trump does not. Trump aspires to have dictatorial powers and makes little secret of that fact.

    Speaker Pelosi said she hopes the election is not close because if it is Donald Trump may refuse to concede he lost and refuse to leave office. I’m telling you, it doesn’t have to be a close. Even If Trump loses all 50 states, he will still tell his followers he only lost because the
    election was rigged. His supporters will believe him and urge him not to leave office.

  26. Tom and Betty,

    The following might better explain why we appear to be so impotent when it comes to neutralizing the destruction of our FUTURE by Donald Trump.

    The following is from “The Apartheid State in Crisis: Political Transformation in South Africa 1975-1990” (Oxford University Press, New York, 1991)p. 4:

    “The foundation upon which the formal political order rests can be thought of as a “substructure” of domination—social interactions, cultural norms, economic activities, and informal power relationships that create the basis for compliance with the prescriptions of the ruling group [Deviant Elite]. Changes in this underlying structure are often the precursor and condition for alteration in the political system’s “superstructure,” the formal system of power. Basic alterations in the former, the substructure of power, can be thought of as involving political TRANSFORMATION, and can be distinguished from political TRANSITION, the movement from one formal arrangement to another. Transformation prepares the way for transition.

    “The relationship between transformation and transition presents considerable analytic difficulty because the linkage between substructure and superstructure if loosely coupled. Shifts in the foundation or substructure will not necessarily be immediately reflected in corresponding alterations at the formal or superstructural level. Nevertheless, these shifts in the underlying foundation of the political order ought to be viewed as representative of signal political change, which over the long run will lead to a transition at the formal or constitutional level.”

    “My point can perhaps be clarified by use of an analogy drawn from the political world. A volcanic eruption produces change, often dramatic change, in the landscape. The eruption is a product of unseen geological changes occurring deep beneath the surface of the earth—rock becomes superheated, gases build, and a magna of gas and molten rock push upward. Sometimes these underground geological changes produce venting and tremors noticeable on the earth’s surface. They are signs of the underlying geological changes taking place, and they are also harbingers of a future transforming volcanic eruption. They may also involve alterations in the earth’s structure that relieve pressure and thus delay or prevent an eventual volcanic cataclysm.”

    “In this book I will be examining the changes in South Africa’s “political magna”—much as the geologist studies volcanic activity—so as to better understand why, how, and when political changes occur within society’s formal arrangement of power.”

    The vast majority of those participating in this blog are TOTALLY centered on the TRANSITION, not the TRANSFORMATION, as is 99.9% of the population. That’s why we are now “up shits creek without a paddle.”

  27. Paul K. Ogden; you say…”It isn’t about people aspiring to be rich or racism or hatred.” “Trumpism is a personality cult.”

    In case you haven’t noticed; Trump’s personality IS about being rich, racist and spewing hatred.

    Paul K. Ogden; you say…”People need to knock off the nonsense saying Pence is as bad as Trump. Not even close.”

    Pence IS just as bad as Trump; he operates on a different level, by working his way into people’s heads and hearts through their most personal and deepest and weakest sense of self, their religious beliefs. His damage will destroy people from the inside out; Trump works on their outer, social beliefs of those they believe to be less worthy people. You say; “…Pence at least respects American democratic values, the Constitution, and the rule of law…” If Pence respected American democratic values, the Constitution, and the rule of law we would not be stuck with his RFRA and life endangering anti-abortion laws in the state of Indiana.

    You have found your own way to excuse the damage being done to this country by the current Republican cult of White Nationalists. Your last paragraph is an overt call to Republicans to be prepared to support him should he lose the election; telling them to continue ignoring democratic values, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

  28. JoAnn,

    “Pence IS just as bad as Trump; he operates on a different level, by working his way into people’s heads and hearts through their most personal and deepest and weakest sense of self, their religious beliefs. His damage will destroy people from the inside out; Trump works on their outer, social beliefs of those they believe to be less worthy people.”

    Ditto.

  29. Read a hundred books on how to become rich, and you will find they mostly agree on a long list of “traits” that you must develop in order to become rich. Then read a few books by psychiatrists and sociologists that list the characteristics of a sociopath. Surprise! You will find that the two lists are identical.

  30. WHY THEY LOVE TRUMP
    I spoke to an interesting couple today. He was an accountant and she was a professor of sociology, but they could have been Edith and Archie Bunker. They lamented that America had lost the “cataclysmic” cultural war.. They were referring to the social upheaval of the 1960s over civil rights and institutional injustice. By “lost”, they both meant that the pencil-neck elitist peacenik ethno-apologist deadbeats had won a big, big fight, a huge war, and America’s common ordinary everyday citizens had lost. He referred my memory back to Germany’s Wiemar Republic and how — because it lost the war — it was a victim of reparations — large payments of money Germany had to pay to the winners of World War !, which were intended to help rebuild countries that had been bombed to rubble.
    “Does that strike a bell?” He asked.
    “Uh…”
    “Reparations: that’s what ordinary Americans have been paying to the libtards now for over fifty years,” he explained.
    “And those reparations,” she added, “what’s called equal rights, women’s rights, welfare safety nets, health regulations, education programs, all those things Johnson pushed through, have broken this country financially, morally, and spiritually. We’re just like Germany before Hitler put a stop to reparations.”
    He nodded and tapped the table, “And common ordinary folk, who don’t know anything about reparations in Germany, do know that they are carrying too much of a burden. They know it isn’t right…”
    She summarized the thesis of their argument, “And they know Trump is doing something about it. That’s why ordinary Americans will not let Trump be removed from office.”
    “We aren’t about to let this opportunity to save America get away,” he declared.

  31. A.J. Cosentino has a point. At least from my informal poll, they hear him talk in plain language that reflects their frustration, anger and positions. The reference to the Dunning Kruger Effect has scary ramifications.
    I am saddened to read Larry Kaiser’s comments from hte people he spoke of. What is so sad is that the effects of our social change has been inclusion and an enlargement of cultural capability that embraces more rather than less people.
    It is sad to think that we will go into debt for war but cry when we begin to build educational bridges and social networks, The Conservatives have done a masterful job putting fear and anger into our hearts and saying our plight is because we are being taken advantage of by freeloaders. Hardly.

  32. “We are not as exceptional of a people that we often think we are. A large portion of the American electorate is “boorish and crude, none-to-bright, embarrassingly and painfully ignorant”. We elected the worst of us and it’ll take the best of us to get him out of office.”

    I agree with Joe Hayesʻ point about Americans not really being exceptional – because we are humans, and all human societies contain both intelligent, responsible, ethical people as well as “boorish, crude…and painfully ignorant” people. The good news, is there are statistically more good guys than bad guys. The bad news is the bad guys are louder, more organized, and have loads of money to keep them in power. Also, they cheat like heck to stay in power.

    What makes things difficult and frustrating is that the two main parties play by different sets of rules or values. Most democrats try to play fair, while many republicans pretty much follow Machiavelliʻs advice to do anything to win, including lying, cheating and stealing elections. This is my personal observation of conservative power grabs. Just look at Trump and McConnell. (yes they are examples of the worst of us)

    My hope is that the good guys get active and vote in droves. Some people are worried we have too many dems running for president…but Iʻm fine with having 20+ democratic candidates. Itʻs early days and each of them is vying to come up with intelligent, informed policies that will help the American people. As we get to know them, the field will winnow down. I will vote for whoever becomes the democratic presidential nominee – all of them are light years better than that orange idiot con-man.

    But if I had my druthers, my favorite is Elizabeth Warren. Warren is smart, strong, principled, pragmatic and full of courage and compassion. She THINKS about our myriad of problems and comes up with plans to tackle those problems. Warren is also a mid-westerner, a mom, a teacher, and consistently and persistently fights for a more level playing field for regular everyday Americans.

    Looking forward to the first set of debates in a couple weeks!

  33. SH; while you are looking forward to the first set of debates, I am expecting a mob scene and battle of the egos by elected officials whose public popularity over a few specific issues has made them believe they know more about everything than anyone else. Does that sound familiar? They are trying to be promoted beyond their level of abilities; maybe with more time and experience they will qualify; with experience comes wisdom and they, unlike Trump, will know what they do not know and will want to learn.

    Meanwhile; who is doing their jobs, the jobs which brought them to the attention of their now adoring public?

    The growing list of Democratic wannabes reminds me of an old, off-color joke about the young bull and the old bull standing on a hill, looking down at the herd of cows. Young bull, “Let’s run down there and screw one of those cows.” Old bull, “Let’s walk down and screw all of them.” Trump has his public sights on only Joe Biden; you can bet the old GOP, led by McConnell, is watching the entire herd.

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