Much time and effort is being devoted to “understanding” the typical Trump voter, so that we may better “understand” why a suckered minority of Americans has saddled us with a suspected criminal regime.
Reporters and authors and pollsters and academics are journeying to their communities, divining their purported wisdom, trying to “understand” why they’re doubling down on their love for a demagogue. Surely there must be a rational explanation for why – get this – support for Trump in recent weeks has actually upticked.
Well, here’s an explanation: Trump voters are a lot like the late comic Rodney Dangerfield, who famously said, “I get no respect.”
Stanley Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who specializes in taking the pulse of Macomb County, Michigan, has returned from that pivotal working-class enclave (it swung for Reagan, Clinton, Obama, and Trump), and released a report on his findings. Here’s one of his key lines:
“Trump voters complain that there is no respect for President Trump or for people like them who voted for him.”
The same complaint is voiced by Trump voters in a new book. Republican operative Brad Todd and conservative columnist Salena Zito have teamed up to write a book, “The Great Revolt,” and they got a quote from a Macomb County citizen who feels “ridiculed” for backing Trump. In her words, “There is no respect for anyone who is just average and trying to do the right things.”
It is indeed a worthwhile effort to “understand” the sentiments of our fellow citizens. Nevertheless, I’ll try to say this as charitably as possible: If you want respect, you first have to earn it.
And you certainly don’t earn it by spewing nonsense. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a hard time respecting people who have no idea what they’re talking about. For instance, a Trump voter told Greenberg: “When Trump got elected, over 180 companies actually came back to America.” There is actually zero evidence that any such thing occurred. I found a ’17 story which said that “at least 180 companies” wanted to bid for contracts on Trump’s fantasy border wall, and I found an ’18 story which said that “roughly 180 companies” are saving piles of money thanks to Trump’s plutocratic tax cut bill, but I found nothing that confirms the Trump voter’s magic thinking.
Apparently the Trump voters in Macomb County are taking heat from young people in their own families. One woman told Greenberg: “A lot of the young kids – I call them young, they’re in their 20s, you know, late 20s – I see them as Democrats, they don’t support the President on (bringing change), so they’re latching on to everything in the fake news, about what he’s done, what he’s said, you know? What he’s ruined, you know?”
“Everything in the fake news”…And she wonders why she gets no respect. If she truly wants to earn it, she should refrain from parroting Trump’s demagogic mantra about the free and independent press; to earn respect, she should demonstrate to the “young kids” that she has the capacity to parse empirical facts and separate what is true from what is fake.
Greenberg also offered this summary: “Trump voters believe that he is ‘a good businessman’ who is ‘making the economy good’ and ‘bring(ing) jobs back to states.’…They applaud him for being ‘patriotic’ and say he cares ‘about making America great again.'”
But if they truly want to earn respect, they can’t simply parrot the slogan on a MAGA cap. And they won’t earn respect by hailing Trump as a “good businessman,” a descriptive that’s empirically contradicted by his multiple bankruptcies and the longstanding refusal of American banks to loan him money. (Even now, these Trump voters are either clueless about those facts, or choose to simply ignore them.) And they won’t earn respect by hailing Trump as a job-creating genius (factually, job creation was higher in Obama’s last full year – 2.24 million added – than in Trump’s first full year – 2.06 million added).
And this general complaint from an “older white working class woman” does not warrant respect. She told Greenberg that many years ago “there was so much respect for the president. And I don’t care what he did, or what he said, there was always respect. It was always ‘Mr. President.’ And now, (the lack of respect) disgusts me.”
I’m sorry, ma’am, but it’s hard to respect someone who somehow believes that Trump is a normal variation of a typical president. Especially when it has been copiously documented that this particular guy has lied, misled, and deceived more than 3000 times in just 15 months. Which in itself is one big reason why the majority of Americans give Trump scant respect.
Actually, it’s not that hard to “understand” Trump voters, for reasons they’re reluctant to say out loud; as one new study concludes, “traditionally high-status Americans, namely whites, feel their status in America and the world is threatened by America’s growing racial diversity.” I’d have more respect for them if they made an effort to embrace that diversity, rather than fear it. I’d have more respect for them if they made an effort to understand us, the American majority.
But since they won’t, alas there is only one solution. Starting in November, they need to be out-voted.