6 thoughts on “Hearing from Trump Supporters

  1. Some general comments first.

    • Evaluating politicians is very difficult. Just putting in the time and energy to get information and make sense of it can be extremely difficult, especially if one isn’t really interested in politics. But even if one does this, one can still be in a bit of a fog. Because of this, I believe many people find short-cuts to evaluate and choose politicians. Single-issue voting is an example of this–and, in my view, can be defended given the problems I mentioned above. Another example is judging a president by the economy. Good economy = good president; bad economy = bad president.
    • One of the biggest frustrations I have is that there doesn’t seem to by any mechanism to settle claims made by supporters and opponents of Trump. Russia collusion was a serious matter or a hoax! The media gave Trump terrible coverage because they hated him, or the coverage was largely accurate and appropriate. I’m especially frustrated there doesn’t seem to be a process by to evaluate extreme claims, in a way that supporters and opponents will view as legitimate. Consequently, people can make extreme by false claims with little or no consequence. And to be clear, the claim that Trump and his campaign colluded or cooperated with Russian interference is an extreme claim and should be subject to great scrutiny. There should be serious consequences to those who made these claims if it proves to be completely unfounded.

    By the way, in a way, I am a single-issue voter as well. For me, if I deem a POTUS to be unfit and a threat to the Republic, then their policy positions won’t matter to me.

  2. A Christian Minister
    The first letter is from a Christian minister, who seems to be a single-issue voter, or close to it. This is the reason he seems to have voted for Trump.

    He defends religious liberty and the lives of unborn children.

    Trump has pledged–and has succeeded–in appointing conservative judges. So I can see why he’s happy with Trump in this regard. The part about religious liberty is less clear, unless he ignores the Muslim ban at the start of Trump’s presidency. I worry that when Christians speak about Trump defending religious liberty, they mean Christian liberty, excluding other religious faiths of the same liberty.

    Investor
    The second guy is an investor. His position is short and sweet, and I appreciate the candor:

    I’ve almost doubled my net worth under Trump’s presidency.

    Shouldn’t I reward the administration that has added to my net worth?

    This is a compelling argument. If an individual benefited economically under a presidency, that seems like a valid reason for a supporting a president.

    But what I wonder is if this person is aware of Trump’s flaws. For example, I wonder if this person has followed Trump closely enough to wonder if Trump is emotionally and cognitively fit to be president. If he has questions about this, would he still reward the president? Does it not matter that the president didn’t release his tax forms and divest his business, using the office of presidency to enrich himself and his family, including from American tax payers and foreign countries?

    Or is he unaware of this and other problems with Trump–or does he deny that they’re true?

    And here’s another question I have: Suppose the American economy did well under Trump (prior to the pandemic), but this was achieved by increasing the deficit by $1 trillion and significantly weakening protections to workers, food safety, the environment, drinking water and air quality, etc. Would he still feel like we should reward Trump?

    To be continued…

  3. Bitter at the press coverage
    That’s the impression I get from the letter of the next person.

    Journalists with feigned objectivity blamed Trump and his administration for all the bad things in the world. On many days there were multiple pieces slamming the president and his administration.

    One thing that has driven me crazy from people who cite negative coverage as proof that journalists are out to get Trump is that they never seem to consider if the coverage is actually appropriate. That is, they assume really negative coverage must mean the journalists are biased.

    But there’s a simple way to test this in my view. Put Trump aside, and ask yourself what kind of coverage you’d expect if the following described a presidential candidate or president:

    • paid off a porn star and Playboy bunny; caught on tape saying he can grab women by the genitals;
    • Getting into public spats (“counter-punching”) two(!) Gold Star families;
    • Suggesting his primary opponent’s father was involved in the JFK assassination; global warming was a hoax by China; claiming “millions voted illegally” for his general opponent, with no proof and blatantly lying about the numbers that attended his Inauguration;
    • saying Mexico is sending over “rapists” (and some of them are good people); complaining about immigrants from shithole countries (Haiti, and African countries), expressing preference for immigrants from Norway; choosing as chief political strategist a person who ran a website promoting the alt-right;
    • calling the press the “Enemy of the People” and “fake news”

    I could go on. It doesn’t matter if the president was a Republican or Democrat. The coverage would be brutal–as in really bad. And here’s the second important question: Would that be appropriate? I think the answer is yes–or at the very least, understandable.

    By this is an example of the lack of a process where both Trump supporters and opponents can evaluate claims. And I’m not asking for the process just to prove the Trump supporters wrong. I’d want a process that could get to the truth–and if that process revealed that Trump really didn’t do and say a lot of negative things that warranted really negative coverage–suggesting that there was out-of-control bias and hatred against Trump–I’d want to know that. If the press did that, that would be something we would not to correct as a society.

    But we don’t seem to have a process like this. Or maybe Trump supporters and opponents are willing to examine questions like this in a fair and rigorous process?

  4. Skeptic of Biden’s call for unity

    Let’s start the call for unity with Michelle Obama. Last week she ripped into Trump’s 72.7 million voters as people who voted for hate, division and lies. She is a great example of the disdain that 72.7 million people have put up with from elitists like her.

    First of all, here’s the exact quote from Michelle Obama:

    “Let’s remember that tens of millions of people voted for the status quo, even when it meant supporting lies, hate, chaos, and division,” she wrote. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to reach out to these folks in the years ahead and connect with them on what unites us.”

    I do not favor attacking Trump supporters. At the same time, I think many would acknowledge that he has many flaws–but they support him in spite of those flaws–including being dishonest, hateful, chaotic, and divisive. (Again, here’s another situation where I wish there were a process where both sides could sit down and examine this.)

    Here’s another question that many Trump supporters seem to ignore: Has Trump said and done many things that would really offend and anger many people? If the answer is yes, then wouldn’t it also be understandable that people are upset at those who continue to support him?

    Hollywood, Silicon Valley and most of Biden’s party have mocked Trump’s 72.7 million voters as racists, misogynists, white supremacists and more — this, while some Trump supporters have been violently attacked for wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.

    As I mentioned earlier, I don’t support attacking Trump supporters, and I think it’s wrong to paint them all as racists, misogynists, and white supremacists. Even when Trump leaves, Progressives, Democrats, and Never Trumpers should avoid doing this. It is totally counter-productive, and will only keep the ground fertile for another politician like Trump.

  5. Explainer of Trump’s support

    This person repeats some of the sentiments made by others (e.g., media treated Trump unfairly, etc.) I think the writer gets to some level of truth with the following comment:

    Let me be very clear: The effort to “get Trump” and topple traditional America motivated the pro-Trump vote.

    There’s truth that Progressives and many Democrats want to move beyond traditional America–specifically, in terms of same-sex marriage and greater acceptance of LGBT community.

    On the other hand, I would argue that many Democrats, moderates, and center-right conservatives oppose Trump precisely because he wants to topple traditional values and norms–norms that are critical to avoid corruption and abuse of power–things that the Founding Fathers feared and tried to prevent when they wrote the Constitution. If a future president, Republican or Democrat, behaves like Trump, I hope many Americans want to rigorously oppose him, too.

    One who fears a Leftist agenda

    I hear people on the right express fear and opposition to a “Leftist agenda,” but I often don’t know what they mean. In this letter, the writer gives specifics, which I really appreciated.

    I disagree with most of where he’s coming from, but the concerns he brings up are areas of legitimate debate. Americans can have different positions about how to deal with climate change, regulation, unions, racism, etc. and to what extent these things are problems.

    For me, and for many centrists, center-left and center-right Americans, the main disagreement has to do with Trump’s fitness for office, including his trampling over critical democratic norms–not his positions on unions, etc.

    I wish Americans could agree that that there certain lines that if a POTUS crossed, Americans should no longer support that POTUS–even if the POTUS tried to implement policies one favored. What would be an example? If the POTUS aided and abetted a foreign adversary in war (e.g., treason), I would think all Americans could agree that all support should end at that point–and we should call for his/her removal.

    Now, we may not agree on those all the red lines, but we should at least agree that those red lines exist. Once that occurs, we can identify some lines that we agree on and if a POTUS has crossed them.

  6. Call for more inclusion in the L.A. Times

    I found myself sympathizing with this writer quite a bit, although I can’t comment on his specific criticisms of the L.A. Times, as I’m not a regular reader of the publication.

    This is going to be hard for the left to handle, and for the right as well, but given the probable makeup of Congress, healthy dialogue, compromise and a certain amount of pragmatism are going to be required.

    I agree totally with the call for healthy dialogue, compromise, and pragmatism. If Republicans and Democrats can focus on these things and act of them in good faith, I would have a lot more confidence in our country.

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