A while back, I wrote that it would be a waste of my time to talk to some of the people in the upper Midwest who had voted for Donald Trump and had thereby provided the razor-thin margin that propelled the Worst Possible Person Ever into the White House. Not surprisingly, the reaction was mixed. One guy hit me low, comparing me to Hillary Clinton. He went on to incorrectly claim that I had written that 75 percent of Trump supporters are "bigoted, ignorant, and stupid." I didn't say that; I used the 75 out of 100 for something totally different in another part of the column. But it's okay; math is hard for some people, so we'll just let that go.
He did, however, make a good point when he asked, "Isn't it just possible that many people who are as racially unbiased and patriotic as you are simply have an honest but different point of view?"
It is indeed possible and that's the saddest thing of all in this ongoing tragedy.
When I was young, I understood why racists and rednecks, terrified of change, would vote for the likes of George Wallace and Lester Maddox. Today, I understand why short-sighted zealots support Benjamin Netanyahu and his reckless policy of building Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory. It often simply comes down to petty self-interest, but, God in Heaven, please tell me that there is a limit—somewhere!—to self-interest.
I happen to know a few hard-working, decent, (racially unbiased), patriotic people who voted for Donald Trump and, for the life of me, I have no idea why they did so. Comedian/activist Chris Rock is currently going through a divorce, one that is particularly ugly, even for Hollywood. When he was recently asked whether he would ever get married again, he snapped, "Not (even) if it would cure AIDS."
That got me to wondering. Is there anything that could have gotten me to vote for Donald Trump? I know for a fact I wouldn't have done it for money. My vote is a quasi-sacred trust and money is just money. But would I have voted for Trump if it somehow magically meant a cure for AIDS? Or cancer? Or MS or muscular dystrophy?
That's a tough one. I suppose I would have if it for sure would have meant a cure for a disease. But the aforementioned people voted for Despicable Him in exchange for maybe a tax break.
Let's be clear: I would rather have a Democrat in the White House than a Republican, if for no other reason than the fact the economy always performs better under Democrats. I know that sounds wildly counterintuitive and sends conservative talk-show hosts and other lame-oids screaming into the street, but it's true. Since the end of World War II, every single Democratic President has seen the economy perform better during his term than it had for his predecessor and/or his successor. It performed better for Truman and Kennedy than it did for Eisenhower. It did much better under Clinton than it did for either of the bookend Bushes. And yes (suck on this!), it performed better under Jimmy Carter than it did during Ronald Reagan's first term or for Reagan's eight years, total. (In the interest of accuracy, Reagan's second term was slightly better than Carter's four years.)
If a regular Republican is in the White, c'est la vie. I don't remember much of Eisenhower, but I've read that he was a decent fellow and he came down on the side of right when he sent the federal troops into Little Rock. I'll be honest, I was never a fan of Richard Nixon and I was right not to have been. Gerald Ford was harmless. Ronald Reagan was a nice guy with crappy politics; the same for the first Bush. The second Bush allowed Dick (The Devil Himself) Cheney to talk him into getting into two stupid wars, thereby ruining the economy, but he wasn't a bad person, per se.
I didn't vote against Donald Trump because he's a Republican (which he became about an hour before he decided to run). I did so because he's a bad, bad person. That's the problem I have: The aforementioned Trump voters had to look at him and say to themselves, "He's obviously a liar. He's a bully, a braggart, an adulterer, and he boasts about committing sexual assault on women. But, even though I'm informed enough to know all that stuff, I'm still going to vote for him, anyway."
How does that work? I know why the trashy and the morons voted for him; they see Trump as one of their own. I know why racists supported him; he talks like one of their own. But why would a smart person vote for him?
So yes, it is possible to have voted for Trump and not be bigoted or stupid. But you are on the same team with the racists and the dolts, perhaps forever.