As of Thursday morning, more than 68 million Americans had voted for Trump. About 4 million more voted for Biden, but we may be stuck letting the lawyers decide who won the election.
Once again pollsters and prognosticators of all stripes got it wrong, saying before Nov. 3 that Biden would walk away with the election, promoted by a national repudiation of the vileness of Trump’s reign in the White House.
That didn’t happen. Nearly half the voters in the country ignored Trump’s lies and general stupidity and tried to return him to four more years.
At this moment that looks highly unlikely, but it is worth pondering the fact that so many in our nation revere a man who is reprehensible in every way imaginable. I am suspect of the mental acuity of voters who overlook the oily crassness, racist, criminal behavior and damage Trump has caused to this country, dividing it as in no other time in history.
If you look at a national map of who voted for whom, it seems clear Biden swept the major cities (and suburbs) in nearly every state, while Trump’s voters tended to be more rural and fiercely loyal to the President. These are not people who read the New York Times' stinging rebuke of Trump, listing scores of reasons he should not be reelected. In fact they appear to read and watch only right-wing propaganda like Fox News and Breitbart. So we are left to dismiss them as ill-informed rednecks who fear a socialist/Communist rule that is pure Trump fantasy (and misinformation).
But Trump voters are not all right-wing, gun-toting, white supremacists -- although looking at the crowds at his pre-election rallies, you saw an awful lot of people who matched that description. These folks have come to deeply distrust Washington (and the media), and assume that much of the reporting on Trump’s failures is “fake news.”
There is nothing fake about 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day, or the mounting death toll. I heard any number of Trump voters say that Trump was not responsible for the pandemic -- but rewatch last Sunday’s "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," where he carefully outlines what more Trump could have done to save the nation.
My neighbor is seemingly a nice man. We have always had cordial chats over the back fence. Until one day a few months ago, he hung a Trump flag from his porch. I have not spoken to him since. I don’t know how to say to him, “Are you kidding? You want to put that asshole back in office? Have you not been reading the papers for four years?”
I suspect you are in a similar situation with friends and relatives who voted for Trump. You are embarrassed for them and wonder what you might still have in common. Given the vastness of Trump’s base, this is a problem we all face. And it is a struggle.
Having been part of the Great Eastern Establishment Jewish Monied Press, I am well aware of its liberal tilt and general intellectual disregard of the population in the flyover states. But you have to understand the impression these folks leave when they say things like “He tells it like it is.” And “He gets stuff done.” No, he lies constantly and works only in his own self-interest.
It takes very little investigation to understand that most of the accomplishments of the Trump administration are, well, bullshit. But be that as it may, can we in any way reconcile ourselves to living in a nation that (thanks to Thump) is profoundly divided?
What are your strategies for resuming conversations with your Trump-supporting neighbors?