During the last three years, more than one liberal Democrat has pondered the mystery of why anybody would support Donald Trump.
Some reasons have been hard to refute—for instance, that a powerful pro-business sector has maintained a poorly educated Republican base by reducing their access to better educational opportunities.
This is the analysis offered on the Not Fake News dialogue of September 3 between the professor, Chris Waldron, and the journalist, BobGatty.
Gatty broaches this subject again on the humorous Not Fake News video “Did Ya Ever Wonder?,” where he and his co-host, Jackie Cristiano, apply the question to Trump.
Screwing up her eyes in wonder, Jackie asks, “What do they [Trump supporters] hear that we don’t hear?”
“Especially women!” she adds, when contemplating Trump’s success with female Republicans who overlook his infidelities and misogyny.
Meanwhile Gatty sums up the typical MAGA-voter’s ability to make excuses for a lying, cheating president in one word. “Incredible.”
There it is: even two smart, seasoned Democrats are at a loss to explain Trump’s appeal.
So Many Reasons
Maybe the problem is that there are so many reasons—so many, ironically, that we can’t fully fathom any single one of them.
It’s as if rational Democrats have been attacked by a swarm of bees. We duck and blink and wave our arms, powerless to pinpoint the individual bees stinging us in the face and neck.
In an attempt to find some relief through understanding, let me pinpoint 10 of these sting-bites.
Ten Bee Stings
1. Hillary. They hated her in 2016. In 2019 they hate her successors—Elizabeth, Joe, Bernie, and the other “radicals” right behind them.
Of all the reasons to back Trump, this one would be the most logical if—and it’s a big if—we were talking about Election Day 2016. But we’re talking about undiminished support three years later.
Since I myself, a lifelong liberal Democrat, grudgingly voted for Hillary, I can understand why moderate anti-Trump Republicans chose the man they didn’t like but could live with rather than the woman they deeply disliked and could never live with.
After conceding that, however, I’m at a loss.
2. Trump’s backers, apparently unversed in the facts of American history, believe that America was once “great” and that an illiterate billionaire who has probably never read a chapter in a history book will return us to that mythic era.
3. Among a large segment of the U.S. population, anti-Chinese sentiment runs deep, at least as deep as anti-Russian sentiment. Communism is hard enough for them to stomach when it comes out of Russia. But out of China? Forget it.
The Chinese, no matter how many affordable goods they make for us, are an enemy. Trump doesn’t fear them, thus his haphazard and damaging (to these same supporters) trade war doesn’t bother them in the least.
4. Trump voters think they’re watching a TV show. Their beloved leader was so amusing when yelping on The Apprentice and talk shows that they enjoy seeing him bark at reporters and cavort at rallies. Reality TV is, for these viewers, Reality Life.
5. Trump gives his supporters permission to act out their lowest fantasies.
When I heard him, on the 2016 campaign trail, bragging about the loopholes he used to avoid paying taxes, I thought, “Well that’s it, he’s done!” Surely this brazen fraud had ruined his chances for good.
Far from it. The base rallied around a billionaire who refused to pay taxes to the very government he aspired to lead! The rest of us could pick up the tab for his salary, etc.
The moral: Their president doesn’t pay taxes, and so they either don’t pay theirs or, almost as bad, don’t want to pay their fair share.
The same formula worked with his bedroom betrayals. No big deal. The diehard devotion of his defenders leads to one conclusion: they have either cheated on or would like to cheat on their partners.
6. We all know denial makes it easier to get through the day, and Republican denial goes deep.
On Labor Day, listening to local sports talk radio as Hurricane Dorian approached, I heard the award-winning host blame Gov. Henry McMaster’s mandatory evacuation order on pressure brought by “liberals and climate-terrorists.” (The real reason the host was “pissed off” is that Friday night high school football games were cancelled.)
7. In number 3 above, communism reared its ugly head. The other “ism” that Republicans fear is socialism. With politicians like Sanders, AOC, and Omar on the march, the American Way of Life is at stake!
The millions of Trump supporters who benefit daily from social programs defined as socialist, since they are funded by tax dollars and managed by government agencies, are blind to their own ignorance.
Furthermore, they don’t realize that despite their reliance on government programs ranging from Social Security to Medicare, capitalism is doing better than ever.
The Washington Post’s Chris Ingraham reported on December 6, 2017 that “the richest 1 percent now owns more of the country’s wealth than at any time in the past 50 years.”
The one-percenters own about 75 percent of the country we call home.
So, Trump supporters, calm down and take note: capitalism is doing just fine . . . for somebody other than you.
8. Self-delusion. On a recent CNN-sponsored roundtable, evangelist Republicans told why they remained loyal to a man who no one can pretend embodies Christian values. Speaking for the others, one panelist shrugged off the contradiction by saying it wasn’t his place to judge Donald Trump’s personal choices. This panelist was content to leave that to God.
9. Party loyalty. Plain and simple. Born and bred a Republican? Forever a Republican.
10. Racism. The ugly truth must be spoken. Trump bullies a wall into existence, his fans cheer, and America’s legacy as a haven for the oppressed goes up in smoke.
The louder the president rants about patriotism, the more he reveals his hollow soul, his fear-mongering tactics, his contempt for human decency, and his disregard for American democracy.
Millions of weak-minded individuals take up the cry, ready to dismantle the Statue of Liberty itself if that’s the price for stopping those murderous Mexican rapists storming the border.
Feel any better? Any closer to an answer that will stop the pain?
Me neither. Because the bees keep stinging, and relief is at least 16 months away.*
*Apologies to bees, a noble creature essential for human life on earth, for lending themselves to the negative analogy contained herein.