On Sunday, it will be two months since Election Day. There’s something I need to express before I move past the election, and it’s taken awhile for me to formulate this.
I don’t understand you, the Trump voter. Or at least the “normal folks” who voted for him.
I’ve tried. I really have. I’ve read Hillbilly Elegy. I listened when Jon Stewart told Charlie Rose that Trump voters weren’t bad people, that they weren’t all racist, and I thought about it for a long time. I’ve read and thought about the economic situation in which far too many middle-class families live. I’ve listened to the podcasts conducted by liberals wearing hairshirts.
And here’s the thing: I just still don’t get you.
Oh, I get the racists and misogynists who voted for Trump. Certainly, not all Trump voters are racists and/or misogynists. I do think Bill Maher was correct, though, when he said “Not all Republicans are racists, but if you’re a racist looking for a political party, you’re going with the Republicans.” That holds true for racists seeking a candidate to support: That candidate is unquestionably Donald J. Trump, endorsed by the KKK and all.
What I don’t get are the “normalistas” who voted for Trump. I live in a red state in a comfortable suburb that’s mostly white, and the metrics of the election results in my county tell me that most of my neighbors voted for Trump. Election results tell me that most of the people with whom I interact locally voted for Trump.
These are nice people, I always thought. But nice, informed people don’t vote for Trump. I’m sorry, but after two months of pondering this, this is the ultimate truth I reach.
You voted for Donald Trump knowing the following facts:
- During his very first speech as a candidate, he described Mexicans as “rapists and drug dealers” while allowing that some of them are probably nice people. He attacked a federal judge who was born in Indiana as being biased and therefore unable to do his job because he was Mexican.
- In the past, he’s spoken of women saying “You have to treat them like shit.” He’s engaged in locker room talk my father, husband, stepsons and pretty much every decent man I know would never, ever say. Do you or your male relatives and friends speak this way?
- He was under investigation for fraud in multiple states, with charges brought and proceedings leading to trial, for his scam Trump University. This is not an allegation – it is a fact, and the suits were deemed to have enough substance and evidence that they were not dismissed by any judge.
- He heads a fake charity called the Trump Foundation, to which he hasn’t contributed money in nearly 10 years; he solicits (illegally, as it turns out, in several states) money from others, and then donated it to charity in his own name and took the credit for the donation. He used his charity to pay bills and fines that should have been paid from a regular personal checking account.
- He heads a global business that works with foreign governments and has no intention of divesting himself from that business. And a “blind trust” run by your children is most certainly NOT a divestiture.
- He hasn’t paid federal income taxes for almost 20 years – so when you hear him talk about our wonderful troops, our vital first responders, and the importance of our veterans, he actually hasn’t paid a cent for their salaries, benefits, arms, protections, families or any other type of support.
- He has lied far more than any other candidate during the 2016 election cycle, including primary candidates. Politifact, a non-partisan fact checking organization who tracked the veracity of major party candidate statements, proved that only 7% of his utterances could be called “True” or “Mostly True”, 78% of his statements as “Pants on Fire”, “False” or “Mostly False”, and 15% were classified as “Half True”. It is an inescapable fact that he is a liar, as much as you don’t want to hear it.
- He insists that he is honest and transparent with the American people, but is the first candidate in about 40 years who hasn’t released his tax returns. Given the structure of the Trump Organization and the nature of their business, the American people, including you, don’t know to what foreign governments he owes money.
- The Economist, which is well-respected, unlike, say, Breitbart.com, Infowars.com or Fox News, named a potential Trump presidency as a Top Ten Global Threat in March, 2016.
- He believes climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. Despite the Chinese actually correcting him about that, he refuses to believe the vast majority of climatologists and other scientists and indicated plans to undo nearly all Obama-era environmental protections.
But you’re okay with a pathologically lying, tax-evading conman who displays xenophobia with our southern neighbors, has made countless misogynistic statements, ignores science to the peril of humanity’s sustained future, and is identified as a global threat. You don’t know where is allegiance is, because you know almost nothing about his business debts. You can’t say he’s not like the things he actually says, because you don’t know otherwise. Like the sound of that? You voted for him.
Nothing like this, on this scale, accrued to any of his opponents. Yet you made this bizarre choice. And I just find that astounding. If you are, in fact, my neighbor, I used to think more highly of you.
Here’s the thing: Everything above is a fact. Not an allegation, and not the fake news that some teenager in Macedonia dreamed up for Google Ads income that people like you bought into and believed. What’s above are facts investigated by journalism outlets that you probably dislike and call the “mainstream media”.
And here’s what’s wrong with your opinion and any rebuttal to the above you could formulate: You might hate them, but nearly all mainstream media outlets have journalistic standards that require them to fact check every sentence in every story, not just once but twice. Sure, they can have off-the-record sources, but they need to have on-the-record sources corroborating a substantial portion of the anonymous source’s story. Do they make mistakes? Not damn often.
Was that level of due diligence done with the story of John Podesta and Hillary Clinton running a pedophile ring out of a D.C. pizzeria that you believed (and quite possibly spread on social media as #Pizzagate)?
And outside of that reference, I’m not going to mention any of his opponents in this argument. Because with every heinous thing he’s said, indicated he believed, or done, it really doesn’t matter who ran against him. He is, inarguably, the worse Presidential candidate from a major party ever to run in this country. Author Stephen King even said that we didn’t know how much of a crook Nixon was in advance, but we certainly did know it about Trump.
You know one of his first acts will be to repeal Obamacare, which he and the GOP claims is a disaster. Funny how it’s not a disaster for you if you’re diabetic, or for your friends who might be cancer survivors. Once Obamacare’s repealed, being treated for depression at some point in your life will make it impossible for you to get health insurance because Obamacare’s prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions goes away. Your 23-year-old kids will have to get their own health insurance even if they live with you when they’re out of school. And the lifetime caps on healthcare will be back. You probably think Trump will keep the “good” parts of Obamacare, don’t you? Guess what! If it were that easy, the good parts would have been laws waaaaay before 2010. If it were that easy, Trump and the GOP would produce their replacement plan instead of saying it will be “something terrific”. But they can’t, because it’s not easy. Insurance economics dictate that you have to increase the “risk pool” in order to keep the good parts. Guess what enlarging the risk pool is? The individual mandate! So get ready to say goodbye to the parts of Obamacare you like. And remember, you voted for Trump and you want Obamacare repealed.
I could go on and on about how you’ve screwed your friends who may be different (like LGBT, Muslim, Jewish, handicapped or just anyone who’s not a white-bread, fourth generation, God-fearing Christian American who might be diabetic or depressed). Frankly, though, I suspect you’re not worth it.
Because you’re good with all this. In fact, most of you seem inordinately proud of it. You just voted in a candidate that you really don’t know much about – and what you do know seems to be okay by you.
And the fact that you’re good with this kind of makes you either a horrible person or a kind of not terribly bright one. Or both.
I tried to understand you. But I couldn’t get past how you proved your disregard for anyone who’s not white, straight and male. I couldn’t get past how you accept what’s going to happen to your friends who are NOT white, straight, male and in perfect health. Come to think of it, I think you’re a pretty piss-poor “friend”, and certainly not one I’d want to have.
And if you aren’t white, straight and male but you voted for Trump, then I’ll just never see you as very bright or informed, and I’ll always see you as doing something stupid that screwed you as well as your friends. It’s regretful, but I can’t escape that conclusion.
Because with Donald J. Trump, it doesn’t really matter who ran against him. He’s that horrific for our country. And you support that.
Please, don’t talk to me. At least, please never tell me you voted for him. Because some bells can’t be unrung and some things can’t be unheard. Because I don’t know that I’ll regain enough respect for you over time to want an actual relationship with you.
No matter how hard I try.
So, with this said, it’s time to close the book on the election and move forward to be part of The Resistance.
Oh, and P.S.: I feel pretty much the same way about Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin (who I’ve grown to like very much) voters, and voters who wrote in a candidate. With the stakes in this election, you may have “voted your conscience” but you threw your vote away and turned the tide to Trump in three key states. Thanks a bunch for treating THAT responsibly. And for Green Party millennial voters, my advice is to hit the beaches for spring break and take your young families on beach vacations soon, because there’s now an expiration date on these nice areas of our planet.