About that 40%…

The problem isn’t Trump. As numerous people have recognized, Trump–despicable and dangerous and deranged as he is– is the symptom, not the disease.

I’ve previously posted about the systemic and structural fault-lines that have been exploited by Trump’s GOP supporters and fellow-travelers–but the disease, the root problem, isn’t the systems. It’s those supporters. Polls suggest that some 40% of Americans fall into that category, and the recurring, haunting question is: why? How could any sane adult look at this man and say, yep, that’s the guy I want directing my government? That’s the role model I want my kids to emulate?

Actually, I think my manicurist answered that question during a recent appointment.

She’s an adorable young woman (and very “woke” as the current terminology would have it). We were discussing the election, and she shared her distress that several family members were Trump supporters. I asked the question I always ask: why? What was her impression/ best guess about the basis of that support? She thought for a moment, then said “I hate to say this, but I think they are sort of racist, and Trump gives them permission to feel that way.”

Her anecdotal suspicions continue to be confirmed by the research, some of which I’ve referenced in prior posts. As more studies emerge, the evidence continues to grow.

The Washington Post recently reported on research into the authoritarian proclivities of Trump supporters–research that  linked those tendencies to racial animus.

In “Authoritarian Nightmare,” Bob Altemeyer and John W. Dean marshal data from a previously unpublished nationwide survey showing a striking desire for strong authoritarian leadership among Republican voters.

They also find shockingly high levels of anti-democratic beliefs and prejudicial attitudes among Trump backers, especially those who support the president strongly. And regardless of what happens in 2020, the authors say, Trump supporters will be a potent pro-authoritarian voting bloc in the years to come.

The research paints a picture of  people who are “submissive, fearful, and longing for a mighty leader who will protect them from life’s threats.” They are particularly prone to divide the world into friends and foes, and to believe that the foes far outnumber the friends.

Other researchers have reached similar conclusions using very different methods. Vanderbilt political scientist Larry Bartels, for instance, recently used YouGov survey data to find that many Republican voters hold strong authoritarian and anti-democratic beliefs, with racism being a key driver of those attitudes.

In the most recent study, respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement: “Once our government leaders and the authorities condemn the dangerous elements in our society, it will be the duty of every patriotic citizen to help stomp out the rot that is poisoning our country from within.” Roughly half of Trump supporters agreed with that statement,  which–as Altemeyer and Dean point out– is “practically a Nazi cheer.”

If there has been one overarching lesson to be learned from the past few years, it is the (previously unappreciated) extent to which tribalism, racism and bigotry explain things that are otherwise inexplicable. A recent essay from New York Magazine analyzed the failure of Congress and the President to agree on a second, desperately needed stimulus package. The author’s conclusion was stunning: “bailing out” blue states would benefit ethnic minorities–something Republicans are loathe to do.

The most plausible explanation for this state of affairs is this: Most Senate Republicans face no great risk of losing their seats to a Democrat this year or any other. For them, the main threat to their power is a primary challenge. And right now, conservative media has turned opposition to fiscal aid into a cause célèbre, casting support for “blue-state bailouts” as treasonous.

How hateful do you have to be to withhold aid during a global pandemic to people you see as “Other”–even if by doing so, you and those you view as your own kind are harmed as well?

Even if there is a blue tsunami on November 3d, the people who hold these attitudes will still constitute a troubling percentage of the electorate. We can only hope that they fall far short of a majority.

And I have to wonder: What the hell is wrong with them?

 

 

39 thoughts on “About that 40%…

  1. From the Nixon Southern Strategy days, to the Moral Majority days, to the Tea Party days, to the Trump cult racist days….all the same people – all the same crap.
    They will keep doing this shit till they are defeated at the ballot box – SOUNDLY.
    I sure hope this is the year. Lets hope so

  2. Based on what trump supporters say about freedom they are basically projecting their real fears and beliefs onto the democrats. Not surprising since the president has been projecting the most awful aspects of his policies onto the loyal opposition for 3 1/2 years.

    There is another aspect tho, many trump supporters loath trump but hate the rest of us even more. It makes no sense but they’d happily burn it down and throw gasoline on the flames while shooting the fire fighters rather than let those of us with “liberal” views “win”. We have a lot of educating to do but how without seeming to resort to the soviet “re-education” model, something I fear the right would be happy to use if it could.

  3. We all know why the wealthy and the corporations support Trump and his lies but, what percentage of that 40% of loyal supporters are the racists and the have-nots? What percentage of that percentage are women, blacks and Hispanics; subdivisions of minorities who are his primary targets?

    “The most plausible explanation for this state of affairs is this: Most Senate Republicans face no great risk of losing their seats to a Democrat this year or any other. For them, the main threat to their power is a primary challenge.”

    That “main threat to their power is a primary challenge” is an issue I have harped and ranted about on this blog repeatedly but been ignored even when the voter turnout at primaries is shamefully low. Those at the highest levels of government did NOT start at the top; they began in their home cities and states and rose to their current heights via primary elections. As Linda Ellerbee used to say, “And so it goes!”

    Is this 40% some undiagnosed form of Stockholm Syndrome; they support the element which is trying to destroy them and have made them their heroes.

    Being deaf and depending on closed captioning…plus being so sick of Trump’s face I must control my gag reflex when he is in front of cameras…I look at the crowds of his supporters as older faces of teenagers at a rock concert. Or those long ago Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley fans, some of whom actually fainted from the thrill of being so near their idol. Those Republicans in the Senate and the House who stand in public supporting him have hate-filled eyes and rabid looks on their faces; and, yes, they are the disease.

    “And I have to wonder: What the hell is wrong with them?”

  4. Patmc, you let out one link. Prior to Nixon’s Southern Strategy, there was the John Birch Society. And it is useful to remember that the Koch brothers’ father was one of its co-founders. And those guys made the Tea Party people seem like amateurs when if comes to tribalism.

  5. In 1992, Bill Clinton ran on “It’s the economy stupid”. In 2020 Biden COULD be running on “It’s the racism stupid”. But the whole story doesn’t begin and end with racist beliefs and grievances…they’re being fueled by other factors, the greatest of which is economic.

    One of my brothers went to work in one of Indiana’s thriving factories in 1966 and that’s where he spent the next 30 years. In in 1978 or so his wages had reached around $17.00/hour (which is equivalent to $74 in todays $) plus spectacular insurance, retirement and vacation benefits – essentially what the UAW had negotiated for unskilled auto workers. By the time he retired in 1996, he was being pad just over $12.00/hr and his benefits had been shorn to the bone. His medical coverage barely require exorbitant out of pocket costs.

    This same story can be told millions upon millions of times over by people of his generation (Boomers) and the following GenXer’s. While the Bill Gate’s and Koch Brothers of the world were becoming richer than oil barons and people were watching TV shows like “Dallas” and “Dynasty”….working America was left to its own resources to get by. And get by is about all most of them did. It didn’t look at all to them like the system was working in their favor…they didn’t have a massive law firm on K Street looking out for their interests. Today I can drive 5 miles North on State Rd 9 from where I live and there’s a banner out in front of an automotive component factors advertising job openings with wages from $15.50 to $16.30/hr., or only 22% of what my brother was being paid for essentially the same work 42 years ago.

    Recently I also heard an economist cite research (which I cannot replicate) that in EVERY decade between 1820 and 1970, or 150 years, productivity and real wages increased for the American worker – even the decade that included the Great Depression!. What happened after 1970? Technology and global trade put an end to a shortage of unskilled and low-skilled labor that helped the rise of wages over those many years. But the geniuses in charge of policy in the halls of Washington, the think tanks and the business schools all embraced the economic upheaval thrust on American workers as “creative destruction” that would result in millions of workers to “up-skill” and “re-skill” to enable them to obtain higher-paying jobs and realize the American Dream.

    And that last part? It didn’t happen. And so here we are with millions of American workers who were raised in that environment, or lived it themselves or both. And who’s to blame? Themselves? Ha! Not a chance in Hell! Of COURSE, it’s the failed policies of a codling socialist regime in Washington. Of course it’s black people and others whose happiness depended only cashing welfare checks, food stamps and admission and employment preferences based on the color of their skin! And all of this was carefully bundled up into a slick marketing package and sold over and over and over again to those same American workers and their children and grandchildren for going on 52 years (1968).

    And finally, in 2015, the patina of civility was ripped away like a band-aid off a fresh wound and the American worker embraced the belligerence of man who made an entire career out of conning his customers, his investors and even his own family. His biggest attraction to them was that “he tells it like it is”. What they didn’t know at the time and many (the 40%) still cannot
    believe is that “it” was all part of the con.

    And it’s not clear to me that the big con will be over just because the opposition may be taking over the White House and possibly the Senate. But we’ll see. SOMEONE has got to level with these people and just STOP with the lazy hazy platitudes.

  6. JoAnn
    “And I have to wonder: What the hell is wrong with them?”

    Maybe, like Trump, they never learned to listen and/or read, never had educational playthings – just learned to gaze at their navels and discover the use of their equipment while waiting for delivery of the next cheeseburger .

  7. Jeffery,

    If you ask those institutional bigots what liberal means, they will not provide a coherent definition. Their hate, bigotry and committed ignorance is reptilian. Their brains simply can’t break out of the emotional merry-go-round that keeps these poor people seething.

    The billionaires and millionaires (John Birch; Kochs; Americans for Prosperity, et. al.)aren’t like those closer to the Earth. They’re in it for the money, the power and the control, and even if Satan himself were a Republican defending their wealth, they’d be all in for him too.

    The aggrieved white person is also intellectually lazy. Sheila’s manicurist (Gee, maybe I should have one of those.) was NOT lazy. She was NOT embedded in a sense of grievance. Unlike her family, her eyes are open and her emotions don’t rule her attitudes.

    I’m still blown away that here in 2020 there are STILL 40% of white women who adore Trump. The stark difference between that demographic and women of color is astonishing – but understandable – as well: About 95% of those women abhor the orange hairball. I think that pretty much defines the racist imperative shared by a stubborn majority of white people. I read an interview with a white woman voter where she told the interviewer that she voted the way her husband told her to vote. Maybe she belonged to the same mindless, backward religious cult as Amy Coney Barrett.

    Well, at least this election cycle is showing the world who and what we are as a nation. The idiot minority has been with us all along. Remember the American Nazi Party of the 1930s? They’re still with us. Remember the KKK rallies in the 20s and beyond? Sorry, Indiana. Your state still harbors a virulent population of these wretches…as does every other state.

    Calling for complete unity is a pipe dream. The 60% of us who remain rational, progressive in the strict definition of the word and dedicated to the Constitution must once again shoulder the burden of moving our nation and its GOOD people forward to “a more perfect union.” We simply cannot, now more than ever, allow a counter-civilization group to destroy what so many GOOD people have built.

  8. Vernon says 40% of white women adore Trump. Last night a Russian immigrant fawned over DJT before asking her question: “I just want to say, Mr. President, you have a beautiful smile.” I was like JoAnn: the gag reflex set in. Did NBC not vet that woman? How did she get in there? I was so appalled I’ve forgotten her question. There is no shame.

  9. Wayne,

    Hope you kept your dinner down. His smile is fake too. All his teeth were capped for his TV bullshit show. LOL. Don’t worry about the woman’s question. It was undoubtedly as vapid as her remark.

  10. Well done, Patrick.

    Actually, Sheila, it is systemic. I believe blacks were codified as a fraction of a citizen in our founding documents and it wasn’t lifted until the 1960s, and when it was, the hate remained and went underground instead.

    Vernon touched on the recent developments, which are how the Oligarchs began using propaganda to manipulate. We are still seeing it today, but it was assimilated in the 1950s and 60s. It was used by the Oligarchs to shift a unified citizenry against Fascism (Antifa) into consumers.

    Suppose we pay close attention to what just happened on social media by censoring the NY Post story about Hunter and Joe Biden. Twitter has been buzzing all week with journalists from both camps speaking out. Very fascinating! WaPo and NYT have written articles citing “anonymous sources.”

    On national television, during one of Trump’s recent rallies, he admitted to sending in the US Marshals to kill an “Antifa” member Michael Reinoehl in Washington after he shot and killed a “patriot” in self-defense. Of course, the immediate response by local officials was Reinoehl had a gun. He didn’t. They gunned him down, and Trump admitted as such on national TV. Trump and Barr ordered an assassination of an American citizen and then bragged about it.

    As we continue to see Americans’ sorting based on race and the hate-filled rhetoric and propaganda spewed by the right-wing, this will continue on a deadly trajectory. My biggest worry is liberals might be too soft for what is needed in the coming weeks and months.

  11. More and more of my friends are talking quite seriously about leaving the United States if Trump wins or finds a way to stay in office. They have grown tired of not only his work in DC, but also the parallel, and sometime worse efforts of red state governors (see TX, GA, FL for a start) and legislatures.

    Back in the day, there was a cry, “America, love it or leave it”. Should a blue tsunami occur in a few weeks, think it is time to tell that to the 40%.

  12. The more time we spend consoling ourselves by wondering what is wrong with them (as opposed to us) the less likely we are to find our way to a more civil society. They are 40% of the population (if we don’t count some among us with parallel tendencies on our side of the aisle). Sure we have to be careful of “their” desire for an authoritarian leader — after all not enough care was taken while Hitler was emerging. But doesn’t it seem even a teeny bit condescending to argue that they
    are in search of “a mighty leader to protect them from life’s threats”. How far off is that from religious beliefs encompassing “Our Savior”?

  13. It isn’t that racism is the reason for Trump’s support. He simply used racism, his and that 40%’s, to catch their attention and reel them in. Once captured he continued to bait that hook and set it hard as he then appealed to the greed and avarice that so predominates large segments of society. He panders to the not-so-bright by denigrating science. He panders to the violent by encouraging violence. He presents himself as everything to everyone.
    Want to feel OK about your lust? Trump. Want to feel OK about your bigotry? Trump. Want to ease the guilt of your hypocrisy? Trump. Truly, he is the answer to every failures’ dream.

  14. Theresa,

    With all due respect… Trump and his father have been racists to their cores for decades. Trump uses every weakness in everyone to promote his brand. He has re-invented the definition of film-flam man. Of course he is a racist – to his core.

    He panders to anyone who supports his bullshit. Who else in a right mind (Trump presents as a psychopath) would embrace the slime that is QAnon?

  15. Vernon,

    With all due respect… I never wrote that Trump or his father were not racists. I wrote that Trump used his racism, and the racism of that 40%, to get their attention. Then he kept feeding that racism as he pandered to the vices and immorality found in them all.

  16. I think ascribing Trumpism to racism, both overt and covert, is an oversimplification that does not begin to explain the phenomenon. The problem is that we have 35% (I think 40% is too high) of people who get all their information from sources which reinforce their own us v. them world view. Any negative information is filtered out by Fox News, Limbaugh, OANN, and social media which only has you connecting to like minded “friends.” While racism, sexism, nativism is a component of what motivates them, that’s only one segment of the people who make up the 35%.

  17. Unacknowledged racism is the core of the 40%, as Isabel Wilkerson articulates in her profoundly insightful book, “Caste.” When it comes to a choice between democracy or preservation of whiteness, it’s clear that whiteness trumps (pardon the pun). That realization explains so much of why the 40% vote against their self interests when it comes to healthcare, taxes, the economy, jobs, and the environment. The 40% fear that ‘others’ – specifically browns and blacks – will get ahead and leave them behind. Now that jobs have evaporated, family and religious ties weakened, there is little to hang on to but their status as a white person and the privileges that are bestowed from membership in that class.

  18. To Patrick: The minimum wage in Geneva, Switzerland, is $25 an hour, and with healthcare a la single payer that’s a livable wage, unlike that of your brother. Wage inequality in this country is nothing more than slow strangulation of demand. Let’s hope that a Biden administration will resemble FDR’s New Deal and that we open our economy up not with greater dividends to shareholders but better wages to workers which, paradoxically, lead to greater demand which in turn adds to shareholder dividends in an exercise of what goes around comes around.

    I agree that racism was not started by Trump but he is its cheerleader. Racism will disappear, if ever, only through education, so as I see it our only recourse is to keep on keeping on.

  19. Professor Kennedy,

    “Racist Republicans or Trumpies” that’s a harsh, but 100% true reflection of their biased views today. Look at the first debate when asked to condemn the white supremacists from the tragic killing and he wouldn’t do it even after FOX moderator Chris Wallace kept hammering him to do so!!

  20. Yes, racism has had a long shelf life in the USA. The overt Jim Crow, and KKK night riders are gone. The spirit remains. The Trumpet made it clear Jim Crow segregation was still OK, when he warned the gated white enclaves about the dark skin and anti-fa invaders and The Trumpet was their defender.

    I have at times posted about the limp knee, spineless response from the Democrats to the Republicans.. It was on full display when a mask-less Diane Feinstein hugged a mask-less Lindsay Graham at the conclusion of Supreme Court Hearings.

    No one is supposed to be hugging anyone outside of their family right now, never mind hugging a possible vector when you are in a high-risk category for a deadly virus while neither party wears a mask.

    This is Real People:

    As Republicans wrap up the Amy Coney Barrett hearing with plans to vote, Dianne Feinstein praises Lindsey Graham: “I just want to thank you. This has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in,” she tells him. “Thank you so much for your leadership.”

    “This has been one of the best set of hearings that I’ve participated in,” Feinstein told committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who was instrumental in orchestrating this hearing, reversing his promise of four years ago not to hold a confirmation hearing in the final year of Trump’s term.

    Graham also participated in the months long blockade of Judge Merrick Garland, allowing the GOP to effectively steal the seat Barack Obama should have filled in the final year of his presidency.

    And, for this hearing, Graham refused to require that all participants be tested for COVID-19 in advance, despite the fact that Barrett’s nomination celebration, a super spreader event, had likely resulted in the infection of two GOP senators who sit on the judiciary committee, and indeed participated in the hearings in person, delivering their remarks without masks. Graham personally refused to be tested himself, despite exposure to infected individuals. “Thank you so much for your leadership,” she added.
    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/feinstein-graham-hug-photo-barrett-hearing.html

    WOW, some people go by the words when they go low, we go high in other words we do not stoop to their level. OK, what I see here with Diane Feinstein is total subjugation and unconditional surrender. Feinstein is supposed to be a Democratic leader?? Kick me again Lindsay, I will keep smiling. I am disgusted with her performance.

  21. You always come back to racism as the reason. Pretty pathetic when Trump continues to garner more and more support from minorities. Imagine if they are ones that put him over the top on Nov. 3th. Maybe they aren’t buying the liberal lie any longer and that means the left is screwed for a very very long time. Candace Owens, Terrance Williams, Kanya, plus several black candidates running for GOP seats- John James -Michigan, Joe Collins- California, who has a savage ad against Maxine Waters. You know who is supporting them???? Black and WHITE Trump supporters! You see we are bonded by an ideology not by your skin color or gender. Did you see those Democrats disrespecting ACB ??? You don’t think people recognized their visceral hatred while she was nothing but a class act. The left is digging a big hole and showing America what they’re really about. Your hatred for Trump is eating you alive and exposing your party’s true intentions.
    Order your antidepressants now, you’re going to need them.

  22. Oh yeah, and Dan Bongino – how could I forget him! Trump 2020 for freedom for all Americans – even you all.

  23. Excellent piece, Sheila, as usual. One thing is for certain about Trump supporters: their support is not based on leadership, because he is no leader. He is a bully. He declares a vaccine will become available, and he tries to force this to happen, safety be damned. He proclaims that Hydroxychloroquine is a “game changer”, and he gets the FDA to consent to emergency use approval. He declares “we’ve turned a corner”, despite record high new cases every single day, and he’ll try to get Republican Governors to under-report cases or the CDC doctors to back him up. When he couldn’t bully Fauci, he got Dr. Scott Atlas, who has no experience in infectious diseases or epidemiology, to support his lies. When he can’t get the CDC to play down the need for wearing masks, social distancing and the rest, he just lies about the efficacy of masks–last night, he claimed that 85% of people with COVID had been wearing a mask when they contracted the virus. He also claims we have a therapeutic drug–another lie.

    I saw interviews on CNN last evening and those dumbasses who support Trump believe this shit, especially the “no need for a mask” garbage. They see refusing to wear masks as a sign of protest against the “Deep State”–i.e., people of good faith in government who tell the truth about Trump and won’t be bullied.

    Then, there’s Q Anon, which he refused to condemn. Another interview I saw was with white women devotees of Q Anon, who swear they’ve seen a video of Hillary Clinton beating little children, and they wouldn’t rule out satanic sacrifices of children, a pedophile ring and Clinton and Hollywood celebrities drinking childrens’ blood. When reporter Kate Snow asked one of them what she would say if Hillary Clinton stood before her and denied these things, she said she would call her a liar to her face. What form of mental illness is this?

    Yes, Sheila, I agree: what’s wrong with these people? How on earth do they fail to perceive that Trump is a fat, bloated, arrogant attention-hungry narcissist, serial bankrupter of businesses, cheater of contractors, racist, misogynist, and chronic, habitual liar whose incompetence caused millions of cases of a deadly disease and tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths?

    I can’t help but draw comparisons between Trump and Hitler, both of whom were abject failures before they somehow rose to power. They chose certain groups of people to blame for every bad thing–in Hitler’s case, it was Jews, in Trump’s case it is Democrats, “the Left”, and “liberals”, blacks (if you put a BLM sign in your yard–you are a domestic terrorist because, according to them, this is an organized group that likes to burn down businesses) and women with education, and mainstream media–and got their followers to hate them, too. Those stupid Trump followers believe anything that fat slob says, and when news outlets other than Fox and Rush Limbaugh report the truth, they refuse to believe it. Yes, Sheila, what’s wrong with these people?

  24. Pretend for a second that you are a wildly successful oligarch, smart, and it’s the 1990s. Of course what you are driven by is the wealth that you don’t have, yet. Clearly the future is the entertainment business now relocated from big buildings, theaters, to living rooms ensuring the success of advertising in selling lots of anything. You consider this and look around for opportunity and you encounter “influencers” like Rush Limbaugh who went from poor to rich building a cult of people who considered him to be their leader and teacher and apparently he was the messiah they needed to slither out from under their respective rocks. Was that opportunity? There appeared to be a sizable number of them and they were racist, angry and desperate for attention so they were in fact an opportunity. Was investing in entertainment the road to the rest of the riches? Some did and tailored the new broadcasts to their goal of more wealth for themselves. And their wealth increased. Then they got a break. The Clintons and then Cheney and then the Obamas and what started as a trickle became a torrent not because of what those politicians did as much as who they were. Opportunity abounded. The oligarchs sowed a wind and the whole country reaped a whirlwind.

    Now we are all on storm tossed seas in a very unworthy boat. Most of the wealth that we create is vacuumed up by the wealth machine gorging itself and many of us can’t even afford health care or rent or have to choose between raising our children or working solely to pay others to raise them. Money had won, work had lost. Now a blundering government coupled with a novel virus has collapsed our most fragile systems.

    As we have come to count on, there is a tiny spark of hope on the horizon. Election Day. There are many obstacles intentionally erected between many of us and the polling places but we just have to crawl through them. There may be many more obstacles to getting our votes to count again intentionally erected but we have to fight through them too. But just maybe we take back our country.

  25. I really have no brilliant — or even mundane — insights to add to the “WHY?” Think it has been pretty well covered — to the extent a rational mind can understand — by today’s blog and posts. All of those things mentioned surely have a role and part. Kind of a “perfect storm,” just as the year of 2020 has been. Perhaps the only good thing that can be salvaged out of the wreck of the year 2020 is a tidal wave vote against Trump and Republicans at every level of government across the country.

    But I sure ask that exact question — “WHY?” — every time I see one of the polls saying 40 to 50% — or more — of people in a given State would vote for Trump/Pence. “WHY?” Indeed. But at this dire point, the “WHY?” is not as important as massively defeating Trump and his enablers!

  26. David,

    Actually, the answer is pretty simple – a toxic brew of fear from seemingly “existential threats” (pandemic, climate change, screaming technology, rampant globalization, collapse of civility/decorum, etc.) mixed strongly with historically disastrous trust in all branches of the Federal government, both parties and virtually all politicians.

    Who can “save me”? God – sorry, fewer believe or go together to pray…so TRUMP out of desperation. Last stab in the back – the Obama “Hope” campaign – nada changed….

  27. What about this “…nationwide survey showing a striking desire for strong authoritarian leadership among Republican voters.”

    Strong authoritarian leadership? I think the writers summarizing this poll have the wrong word stuck between ‘the’ and ‘authoritarian’. Those voters don’t want STRONG LEADERSHIP (strong leadership involves listening, empathy, intelligence, problem solving, concensus building, charisma, respect for others, and acceptance of responsibility); they want BRUTAL leadership but don’t quite know the words that separate brutal from strong.

    As long as the rest of us go along with the swap of wording–‘strong’ for ‘brutal’, acceptable euphemism for unacceptable precision–the longer they will get away with it.

  28. Lester, Where can we go if Trump wins and we don’t want to stay in the USA? I am under the opinion that few, if any , nations are now allowing US citizens to enter let alone live there.

  29. Actually sheila, your manicurist is correct! And, I might add, there are many more closet racists out there than anyone would like to believe. They absolutely haven’t come out yet, and, maybe everyone should hope that they don’t!

  30. A sad truth – this has been with us for ages and probably won’t go away. The KKK, the Know-Nothings, the anti-immigrant attitudes towards Germans, Irish, Chinese, Italians, Jews, and Poles, the “anti-communist” attitudes (overlapping anti-immigrant).

    The “saintly” Ronald Reagan believed that anyone who he (or Joe McCarthy) deemed to be a “communist” should be denied a job, a home, and probably membership in the human race. His cruelty didn’t diminish when he banned air traffic controllers from working in the industry for life. We have to call him out as well.

    The only solution is three-fold. First, the other 60-65% has to remember to vote. Of course, removing hurdles to voting and considering it a right, and not a privilege (subject to numerous hurdles), is part of this. Second, elected officials have to strongly condemn the racism that exists, calling out the words and deeds. Third, “break” the economy. The “fix” is in, with laws and tax codes favoring moving wealth to the already wealthy. Break it with revamped tax codes, labor laws, and such. This won’t end racism, but it will make people less likely to act on those attitudes. When you have a comfortable life, you don’t look to “destroy the government”.

    To a large extent, the racism won’t go away, but as more LatinX, south Asians, and east Asians, emigrate, enhancing our economic growth, people will also be more likely to interact with them, and even the “x-group is bad, but you are different” people will have children who think nothing of x-group, having grown up knowing them.

  31. Bill, putting the virus aside…we have taken serious looks at both Canada and New Zealand. The latter actually has a bit of “marketing” in that direction.

  32. This is a copy of response on yesterday’s blog, that I posted very late (this morning) and it fits here today as well:

    The real problem comes in when a political party is willing to tank the country in order to gain political power. This really started the day Obama was elected and Senate Republicans vowed to make sure he was a one term President. The result was a weak economic reform was finally picking up steam in 2015, from the Great Recession of 2008, where they claimed they were just trying to be “fiscally conservative”.

    It looks like the same tactic is going to be used here in 2020. While it looked like they still might win, they pumped more money into the economy than anyone could believe possible. Now that it looks like they may loose power, they are going to make sure things are as bad as possible for the incoming President, with the hope they can keep it bad.

    Rich powerful Senators that have no moral compass, who don’t care about the guys that live in the cities, and only care enough about their rural base to get re-elected. That is the real problem.

  33. Maybe this will help – itʻs helped me feel less despairing about the division and partisanship.:

    According to Wikipedia, in the 2016 election, there were over 250 million people of eligible voting age. Only 55% voted, which is approximately 138 million voters in 2016. That leaves 112 million possible voters who did not vote in 2016.

    In most polls, about 42% are for Donald, while 52% are voting for Joe Biden. Using 2016 numbers, 42% of 138 million is around 48 million Red Hats, and 52% rounds out to 72 million Biden/Harris supporters.

    So hereʻs the part that makes me feel better – 250 million minus 48 million means only 20% of Americans eligible to vote are horrible racist bigots. Yay.

  34. The woman who likes Trump’s smile thinks he should speak less & is voting for Biden. Liking someone’s smile & liking their policies have nothing to do with one another, at least for this woman. (and maybe she believed that flattering Trump would get a better answer?)

  35. A few years ago, New Zealand was requiring peoplewishing to emmigrate to have quite a bit of capital, and be willing to invest it for some time in their country. Canada wants skills and working age people. So good luck if you are a senior and have little capital. And that seems to make sense from the other side.

  36. Acknowledging all good points and experienced conversations (above) Todd, this time i agree with you when you say:
    As we continue to see Americans’ sorting based on race and the hate-filled rhetoric and propaganda spewed by the right-wing, this will continue on a deadly trajectory. My biggest worry is liberals might be too soft for what is needed in the coming weeks and months.

  37. There was an anonymous article circulating among the Nasty Women of Indiana that explained Trump’s support quite succinctly: It’s not the allure of Trump’s racism or xenophobia that accounts for the entire 40% of the electorate. It’s us. They hate or disdain “us,” and he articulates their rage at our intellectual eliteism, policitical correctness, purity tests, religious disdain, and arrogance. Do the usual isms play a part? Heck, yeah, but the media’s sometimes caricatured and sometimes accurate depiction of liberalism and liberals is what will drive them to the polls and what will carry Trump (I fear) to another four years. Let’s be honest with ourselves: Bigotry against Trump lovers has always been sanctioned among Dem-leaning folk, though I cannot think of a single Trump voter I personally know who is heartless, ignorant, or racist. We are so revolted by the very idea of Trump that we cannot see how our own and the media’s condescension plays right into his hand and stokes their animosity. If we do not reckon with the myriad of Trump voters and the the reasons they’d rather hold their noses and vote Trump rather than trust Dems with their money and safety, we are doomed to lose the electoral college for a long time to come. Which begs the question: Just how smart are we, really, if we can’t figure out how to win back to our side at least 5% of Trump’s 40%?

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