US 2020 Election Series: Trump trauma

US 2020 Election Series: Trump trauma
Donald Trump assuming the position

Don’t feel like reading? Listen to me tell the story.

*Names may have been changed to protect the interviewees.

In the lead up to the November 2020 United States (US) Presidential Elections, I have become fascinated by how divided the nation is, and the effect that is having on its citizens and people living there.  What is it like if you hate Trump and feel like your democracy is crumbling down around you?  What makes a Trump supporter, and how do they feel about what is going on?

This post explores the opinions of two Americans who, it is fair to say, hate Donald Trump, and are devastated by what they see him doing to their country.

Dan is from a Mormon family and lives with his wife and kids in Terre Haute, Indiana, and working not far away in Paris, Illinois.  Both areas are very much Trump heartland and very ‘white’ compared with the bigger cities.  Dan says Terra Haute is around 70% white, and Paris was a ‘white nationalist fortress’ from the Civil War into the 1970s.  He said it was 99% white until then and is now probably around 97% white for all the progress since then… 

There are Trump signs on people’s houses and in their yards.  There are Trump stickers on people’s cars, and Trump hats and shirts prominently on display in the supermarkets.  There have been pro #BlackLivesMatter protests, but it was about 50 white kids standing out the front of the local University.

Katie grew up in New Jersey and lived for some time in New York before falling in love with an Australian, and moving with him around the world for his various expat roles.  She has been living in Asia for the last 10 years or so, but when the pandemic started, like many others she panicked and took her kids back to the US thinking it would be safer. 

They stayed in what would become one of the coronavirus hotspots, Florida for three months before flying back home to Asia, much to their relief.

Dan and Katie don’t know each other, and there are a lot of things I’m sure they disagree on, but they both agree, Donald Trump is the most divisive and dangerous president they have seen in their lifetime, and it scares them.

The lead up to the 2016 Presidential Election

Both Dan and Katie liked having Obama as president.  Dan appreciated the significance of having a black president, even though his politics differed from Obama’s.  He likes him as a person, and says he can disagree with a president and still like them.  But he hated Hilary Clinton as a candidate.  He felt like both were terrible candidates and voted for a ‘sacrificial third party’ in the election because he couldn’t stomach either of them.

Katie loved Hilary Clinton and was sure she was going to win.  How could she not?

And the next President of the United State is…

Katie was shocked and saddened when Donald Trump won the election.  She couldn’t believe it.  She had an American friend where she was living who didn’t come out of her house for a week she was so devastated.  Katie wasn’t that bad, and thought they had ridden out other presidents before who were not the best, so maybe this would be alright?

At first Dan thought it was funny that Hilary was defeated and Donald Trump got in.  They were both terrible after all, but very quickly he became anxious about the danger their new president posed.

“When Trump won, I didn’t think he was going to be a good president,” Dan said.  “I wasn’t excited at all, but I didn’t think Hilary was going to be a good president either.  I thought they were both awful candidates.  So when Hilary lost, I just sort of laughed about it.  I voted third party.  I voted for some sacrificial loser.  I thought they were both awful candidates.  It was funny to me at the time.

“What I have learned since then, is that I was definitely believing some deliberate lies, like a lot of people were.  There was a group of some pretty fierce neo-Nazis that were backing Trump by deliberately creating lies about Hilary Clinton, and they had great success in their ground game.  They commonly got stories on air that they dreamt up that morning.  They had a really good system. 

“Like Pizzagate (a conspiracy which has been proven false about an elite paedophile ring associated with the Clintons operating out of a pizza shop in Washington DC) …  I didn’t know much about it, but it certainly made me suspicious of her.  But it was cooked up in a right-wing laboratory, literally.  ‘Well what can we hit her with today?’  ‘What about this pizza shop?’  These were deliberately cooked up lies about Hilary Clinton, and that is what I have learned since.  It is very sad.”

The biggest presidential inauguration in history, and certainly much bigger than Obama’s…

It was Trump’s response to the photographs of his inauguration which genuinely concerned Dan about the kind of president Trump was going to be.

“It wasn’t about the lying (about the size of the crowd), it was that he was so upset about it,” Dan explained. “Even then I could see that he was ignoring facts.  I could see very clearly in that first event that this man was not in touch with reality, and I got really scared on Inauguration Day.  Within a week of his inauguration I was thinking he was unstable.   

“Also, that was when I started to notice the other disturbing pattern, that his supporters will accept the most outrageous red herrings.  They will take anything that they would never have accepted from another politician, for the most thin and ridiculous explanations for his behaviours.  They will take those and latch onto them like they have believed in them their whole lives.

“And they are ridiculous stories.  They are ridiculous answers.  You could look at him and go, well that is the most ridiculous explanation I have ever heard, and they were fighting for them like it was the end of the world, from the beginning.

“The pattern of Trump and his followers was clear and we have seen the same thing over and over. That’s when I knew we were in huge trouble.  Within a few days I knew we were in for the worst. 

“I think a lot of people had hope that he was all talk, because there are a lot of people who turn out to be a better politician than you expect, that happens sometimes.  So I was just trying to be hopeful.  But the hope was gone within a week.”

How did Trump get voted in?

Katie doesn’t want to understand Trump supporters for her own mental health, but has some theories as to how some of them think.

“I don’t have any insight.  I don’t have any understanding at all,” Katie said. “If I did, I might be brain dead because I don’t want to understand them.  I have no idea what they think.  I think a lot of them are older and go with the MAGA, you know, the Make America Great Again.  And they vote on one issue.

“My Mum’s sister likes Trump only because of healthcare.  She was so petrified about Obamacare because she has a lot of conditions, and she didn’t even understand the issue, but that is what she clung to.  A lot of people are really religious and so they only vote on abortion.  That is their most important issue, so they want a president that votes for no abortions.  Which is so stupid and ridiculous and a non-issue.  But that is what people think.  I don’t really know.

“One of my Mom’s other friends still support him, but they are very evangelical Christians and I think that is a lot of it.  People who are very religious can’t even comprehend supporting someone other than a Republican.

“We know another person who voted for him because he works in oil and he wants to keep making a lot of money.  That was his only reason.  It is not ethical or anything, and his wife was so embarrassed.

“Once people have chosen Trump, they are not going to change.  I think maybe 10% will change even after all he has done.  I’m not really looking to know or be friends with anyone like that.”

Gay marriage and the Supreme Court

Dan has some more specific theories on why Trump was voted in despite clearly being a terrible person.

“The seeds must have been there,” Dan reflected. “One thing that really hurt the Democratic Party was legalising gay marriage through the courts.  I’m not saying whether gay marriage is good or bad or not, but for a lot of us, and I was on this side of it at the time because I was still going to church every week, but for a lot of us, gay marriage was one step too far. And having it imposed by nine people was an intolerable failure of democracy.  Nine people is not a democracy.  A lot of conservatives were so mad about gay marriage, I really think it was the main issue that let Trump win.  It came down to the Supreme Court.

“I think that if gay marriage had come to America by voting, I think that is the way those things need to happen.  I think having any issue solved by the court is unfortunate.  If we can vote on things we should.  The conservatives were so upset about the Supreme Court.  They could see that whoever won was going to get two judges right out of the gate.

“In Utah, in Mormon land, Trump poles so bad.  Mormons really don’t like Trump.  Mormons in general are not anti-immigration.  Mormons travel the world, they do their missions, and go live in another country for two years.  So Trump polled really badly in Utah.  But he slammed it in the elections.  He took something like 80% of the vote in Utah, and that was all to do with the Supreme Court I think.  

“And when Hilary Clinton lost, I was pretty relieved at the time because I thought the battle for the Supreme Court is all over.  That is the way I felt.  Because Trump is going to put in two conservative judges and the Supreme Court is never going to be taking on this kind of fight again.  And I was relieved.

“So in addition to the Trump supporters, you had a lot of people who hated Trump, voting for Trump because of the Supreme Court.  Trump turned around and gave those people the judges they wanted, and the conservatives love him for it.  On the conservative side, I think that is the issue that gets the people who hate him to still vote for him.  But fortunately that is over.  That is in the past.  The Supreme Court is so thoroughly locked now.”

How to deal with Trump supporters?

Dan is surrounded by Trump supporters on a daily basis, and he is not about to let them get away with what he sees as their ignorant views.

“I think a lot of them know their position is ridiculous deep down, and they really don’t like to come out and defend him,” he said. “But then they will turn around and vote for him.  You can see they are supporters by the way they talk, and what they wear.  At work especially they keep their mouth shut.  I get in constant raging arguments on Facebook because I am so intolerant of it right now.  I hate the flimsy arguments. 

“Someone will post something on my wall with some ridiculous story that they would never have believed from anyone else, but they are swearing on it like it’s their religion.  I see that stuff and I have the hardest time ignoring it, and I just want to jump in there and start fighting with them because it makes me so mad.”

While Katie doesn’t wish to become too brain dead by associating with Trump supporters, she does try to be respectful.  She has a friend in Asia who is an intelligent, 60 year old, pro NRA and guns, Trump supporter.  Although Katie does not agree with a lot of her views, she respects her. 

This woman shared something right wing on her Facebook page about #BlackLivesMatter.  Katie says it wasn’t racist and was even written by a black man, but was very right wing.  Her friends on Facebook went crazy.  Many ‘unfriended’ her, or left angry responses attacking her as a person for expressing her views.

“I’m allowed to post my views,” Katie said her friend posted a few days later. “I respectfully look at other people’s views; all the people that listen to NPR, all the liberals.  That is your right.  The state of the country today, that you can’t even express an opinion without people unfriending and unfollowing you… I am a good friend. I am a good person.”

“I can accept other people’s views,” Katie said of her right wing friend,  “I don’t have to like them, but it doesn’t mean I am going to write hate things on her post…”

Don’t steal Trump’s limelight!

The head of the condominium where Katie’s Mom lives in Florida is a 75-year-old Trump supporter.  Katie came across him gardening one day when he said to her, “I can’t stand watching the news.  You know Fauci? (Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the US since 1984) He wants the limelight.  He’s just trying to steal the limelight.”

“I’m not sure that I understand that,” Katie replied.  “He’s a scientist; he’s not trying to steal the limelight.  He’s actually just trying to help.”

She then quickly changed the subject. 

Katie told me, “I didn’t even care to delve into his situation; why he is like that.  He has probably been a Republican his whole life… I don’t understand Trump supporters.  I think there are less and less…

“I think he (Fauci) has the worst job in the country at the moment, having to deal with Trump every day, and get any sort of sense into him about it.

“People are getting so furious.  If I lived where my Mum does, I could live next to those people.  I don’t hate them.  I don’t want to hear about how – like if they wear Trump stuff every day I will let them know, but I can still be neighbours with them. 

“I do get annoyed if they are never going to wear a mask though.  It is the lack of respect for other people.  How are you not getting that you are lacking care for other people?  That is the thing.

“Trump needs to wear a mask.  He should have done it from the beginning.”

Trump and the coronavirus response

At Dan’s factory in Paris, his workplace is very aggressive on coronavirus protection.  They do temperature checks when they enter the facility, wear masks all day, and every table and corner of the building is marked with where they can and can’t stand.  Once you leave his factory however, despite there being a full mask order for the State, everyone takes their masks off.  Coronavirus transmission rates are low in Paris and Terra Haute, likely because of the isolated nature of the towns and vast distances to get there, but they are still at risk. 

“I blame it on Trump,” Dan said. “Because I think Trump has gotten really paranoid about the appearance of the virus.  He is really focusing his anger on masks.  This is where I started to think that Donald Trump was really crazy, and that his craziness was hurting our country, because there is no basis for hating masks or no reason for hating masks, except that we have this senile old guy with these rabid fans. 

“It is literally a cult of personality, and the guy at the top has got a thing about masks.  There is no basis behind it; there is no science behind it. He thinks that everyone wearing masks affects his election chances or something like that, and he is actively stirring up his followers to view masks as an infringement of their rights. 

“So we have got a country where our president is deliberately inciting division over the most basic solution to the coronavirus, that other countries all seem to understand.  I don’t think there is an issue like this anywhere except America because of Trump.  There is no basis behind it, it just bugs him and he is literally leading a cult.  So if it bugs him personally, which the masks do, we get millions and millions of people who think that wearing masks is a betrayal to their country. That is the truth. 

“That is why America is not getting better.  It is the main reason.  I’m sure it is the main reason.  I’m sure that all of the people who have joined his cult, obviously that is their fault, but as the leader of that cult, I would put the blame 99.9% as Donald Trump’s fault.”

Dan also noted that if people are told to wear masks, and it is in their best interests, they will.

“Even if you are crazy about masks, you are not going to quit your job over it.  We’ve got all these die-hard Trump people who wear masks all day long at work, and take it off as soon as they get outside.  If they go shopping somewhere and they tell them to put on a mask, they will tell them to fuck off.  But they will do it at work.  That’s where we are at.”

It’s murder

Katie believes about 60% of the population is devastated by Trump and his handling of the nation, in particular the coronavirus pandemic.

“One of my Mum’s friends threw something and broke his TV,” Katie said of a friend watching Trump talk about the coronavirus.  “What can you do? You’re watching this show and he’s just telling flat out lies.  So I think people who have a brain, that are intelligent that never liked him from the beginning, have to see him and watch him endanger people’s lives. Eighty-thousand less people probably would have died if he had modelled good behaviour, put in a proper lockdown, and told people to wear masks. 

“A lot of people see him as a murderer.  That is how a lot of people view him.  And he is.  And a lot more people are going to die.  It is not a joke; it is distressing and it is really sad.  It is distressing as someone who has family that they care about living there.

“My brother goes to work every day in a pharmacy in a Target and you know, he’s not too young, he has high blood pressure, it is concerning.  People get very upset about that, and then they have to deal with people who like Trump, and walk in without a mask and that’s their right, right?  What can you do?”

The real Pizzagate?

Katie always wore a mask when she went to her Mom’s local pizza place.  But she was the only one she ever saw doing that.  The staff didn’t wear one, none of the other customers wore one…  Florida is one of the worst hotspots in the US for COVID19 right now and this is going on. 

The last time she went, she walked in with her mask and immediately felt the eyes of a male customer about her age, glaring at her.  She knew he was judging her for not being that old and wearing a mask in there.  She was furious and it was all she could do not to start a fight with him.

Did he even know they were in the middle of a pandemic?  Why was HE so hostile toward HER?

Mayhem in mistrust

Dan feels Trump is a danger to the country for more than just the coronavirus.

“The most damaging thing is the mistrust created within the Federal Government,” Dan said. “Our country is at so much risk right now because Vladimir Putin can call him (Trump) up and tell him something, and Trump will believe it.  And he can get a report across his desk from the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), from the fucking CIA, and he will believe Vladimir Putin over the report from CIA because he is just nuts.  He is really just insane. 

“It has hollowed out the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), it has hollowed out the CIA, it has hollowed out the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).   The career politicians have vanished.  If he gets four more years, the bureaucrats will all be gone and we will never be able to get our system back where it was.  No one will even know how to run the IRS… like literally.  I think he is doing incredible damage to the Federal Government, not to mention making us all hate each other.  The systematic damage is really severe… man… man that sucks.”

Post-modern Populism

Dan and his brother were discussing how Trump supporters have unwittingly joined the ranks of the post-modernist movement, but not in the usual, more intellectual way…  Post-modernism is a ‘movement characterised by broad scepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity of the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic control.’

“He said what we have is a post-modern populism,” Dan said of this discussion with his brother. “For years post-modernism was the tool of the left more than the right.  The right wasn’t post-modern at all.  But now you’ve got this real turn away from objective truth by conservatives.

“They say, ‘You can see it that way, and that is fine, but I don’t see it that way.  I see it this way.’  And they have turned away from objective truth.  This is not post-modernism about whether there is God.  This is not post-modernism about freedom, or liberty; this is post-modernism about: is it black, or is it white?

“It’s really very frustrating to have someone try to talk post-modernist to you when you are not discussing Plato.  You are discussing whether the traffic light is green, or whether the traffic light is red. And they want to talk about, ‘What does colour mean?’  That is where it has gone, and it is very frustrating.”

Will Trump be elected President in 2020?

“I really think that Joe Biden is going to win,” Katie said. “It is impossible that he won’t.  He is so far up in the poll.  There is no way… there is just no way.”

While Katie refuses to entertain any idea that Trump will serve a second term, Dan is not so sure.  He thinks it is possible that even the conservatives that hate Trump might still vote for him as a payback for stacking the Supreme Court.  He is, however, horrified at the prospect of what would happen if he is voted in.

“There will be a lot of serious anger,” Dan predicted.  “The only way he is going to win is with something really trickly with the Electoral College like he did last time. Even last time he lost the popular vote.  I think that if he wins again while losing the popular vote, we will see a new level of anger at the Electoral College.  I think the Electoral College is finally going to get settled in the streets.  If he gets in again while losing the popular vote, it could get really bad.  It is really not fair at all that he is in there to begin with.  If it happens that way again wow, I don’t know… Just thinking about it again makes me so mad.  This might be enough to switch people over.

“I worry that four more years of Trump, and he might never step down, honestly.  He is dictator material.  If he has four more years to spin his lies to his cult about how the media is out to get him, and the Democrats are taking over… I think he is that dangerous.  I think we have got to get rid of him right now.

“I worry that with another four more years, he could literally have a foundation in place to just ignore the elections.  It happens all the time in other countries.  Second world democracies; it happens constantly.  The president loses and just doesn’t bother to quit.  It happens all the time, so what makes us think we are so unique?  Trump is just the kind of person who could do that.”

Republican’s days are numbered

When discussing why so many Republicans are supporting Trump despite his insane behaviour, Dan said he thinks they know they lost their democratic right to lead some time ago, and know their days are numbered.

“The representation in the Senate is so undemocratic now,” Dan said. “If you look at the number of votes being cast in total, the people in the Senate are all wrong.  None of them belong there.  On the Republican side especially.  The Senate greatly favours the countryside.  They set it up that way as a compromise with the South….  It is getting to be a bigger and bigger problem.

“I think they know that their grip on power is inherently unfair.  That is why they are willing to work with a dictator.  They have already sold out in a way. 

“I think that is why there is so much opposition to Puerto Rico becoming a state.  I am so for having a state in Puerto Rico. I want that so bad, but everybody knows that if you make Puerto Rico a state, that every single senator that comes out of there is going to be a Democrat.  Flat up.  No doubt about it.  So no, the Republicans are fighting the Puerto Rico state so hard, because they know that their power position is not based on fairness already.  They know it. 

“Long-term, eventually the population shift will get so large, that they won’t be able to play this game anymore.  I think they are 20 years away max.  That is my main source of optimism.  Give it 20 years, and the population will even out.  It is evening out.  The countryside is less white every day.  And the countryside is more Democratic every day.  The population is mixing together more and more. 

“If you give us 20 years, the Republicans will lose the Senate forever, and they will never get it back again.  We will start to see Puerto Rico get statehood, and maybe (Washington) DC.  Maybe we split California into North and South California.  When you look at the population imbalance in California, they should really be two or three States.  There’s no willingness to even talk about that right now, but eventually it is going to happen.

“The votes in the red states (Republican Party supporting) get more and more purple every year, and the votes in the purple states get more and more blue (Democrat Party supporting).  There is a huge migration from California because California is at its limits.  You’ve got Nevada, which used to be a total red state, but now it is totally blue, because they have had hundreds of thousands of people move from California with their Democratic voting memberships, and now Nevada is solid blue.  That is going to happen from one end of the country to the other and it will get better.  Wouldn’t that be great?  I think that will be great.

“The demographics are against them.  They were running out of time anyway when the slipped Trump in. No one is going to let their guard down again, and in 20 years, the demographics will shut them out forever.  That is what I hope happens.”

US in decline

When discussing whether the US can recover from the Trump Administration, Katie talks about the inevitability of a US decline in world standing.

“I think myself and probably many other people think the US is in decline anyway, and has been for some time,” Katie reflected. “I don’t think that is a surprise to anyone.  Of course Asia is booming and everything is going on in China, and I think people are already awakened to that fact.  It is the same way it was with Great Britain a hundred years ago.  There are a lot of people who are more… people who are well read and knowledgeable about history, are aware that it is, in a way, a natural process. 

“I think the US is definitely in decline, and that is not necessarily a bad thing considering how much bad stuff we have put out into the world in the past five or ten years. I think he has done some irreparable damage for sure.  To the economy, to making a generation that is so divisive and angry and unable to have a discussion with someone who doesn’t really agree with them, which I think is the worst thing. Without being so angry.  That needs to be relearned.  I don’t know if that is possible.  I didn’t know there was so many people who supported Trump.

“I think so much has changed since even when we were kids.  In our generation things were so comfortable and steady.  You weren’t exposed to transsexuals, or gay marriage, or people who were so different from you.  All of a sudden now it is everywhere.  And if you are not okay with that, or slightly uncomfortable, then it is really hard to live in the modern world. 

“I think there are a lot of people who feel left behind.  And when they feel left behind, they choose someone like Trump. Because they are really uncomfortable with things that are so different from their lives, so they found this person who will say or do anything to please them just to get a vote, but they don’t care why, it is just making them feel more comfortable.  I think maybe that’s why.  There is a huge change in our lifetime socially.”

‘Uncle Grandpa’ for President?

“I’m a bit disturbed we couldn’t find anyone better than Joe Biden to run,” Katie commented on the prospect of the Democratic nominee becoming president. “I wish Obama could run again.  OH Michelle Obama! What about her?  She’s great.  Couldn’t they find someone more vibrant?  Hillary!  What about Hillary?  Come back Hillary!  That would be great.

“He’s (Joe Biden) fine, but he’s really too old.  We call him ‘Uncle Grandpa,’ me and the kids; he looks so old.  He doesn’t look like he is even capable.  He’s 79.  That’s old!  Trump is 74 which is old.  He’s going to be 85 by the time he finishes.  That is really old to have such a stressful job.

“If Joe Biden gets in, it will go back to being hopefully boring.  That’s what we want.   It’s just boring.  Maybe he’ll say some offensive things, but whatever… He’s not an inherently bad person, so it won’t be that bad person.  Whereas Trump is probably up there with Hitler with being that evil and nasty, and he’s a really terrible person.  I don’t think he has any core, I don’t think he has any values, I don’t think he cares about anyone but himself.  I think he is stupid.  I could go on and on.  I think he is a horrible person.”

Dan at least has confidence that if elected, at least Biden will get Trump out of office.

“Biden has said when asked in an interview that if Trump doesn’t leave after the election, the army will march him out of the White House,” Dan said.

“If Biden is not worried, then okay… If you say so.  The fact that he would even have to talk about it just shows how much things have changed.  That never would have happened after any presidency in my lifetime.”

Can I just have some news?  Just… NEWS… without the views

Another change Katie noted is the consumption of ‘news’.

“When we were kids, you would turn the news on and it would be news,” Katie reminisced.  “It would actually be what happened.  Then you could watch a show later which would be an opinion piece, or 60 minutes or something, and you could hear what people thought about it.  And that is fine.   But when you are watching a show and you are not that intelligent, and you are thinking, this is the real news, this is not just someone’s opinion, it is really confusion.  So you watch it and think, okay, I don’t know where to find just straight news.  Just tell me what happened today, I don’t want to hear your opinion.  You can’t find that.  We watch BBC a lot.  For entertainment we watch Fox News and see what those assholes are saying.”

She has even converted her Mom to watching some Fox News in moderation.

“You have to see what people are looking at,” Katie told her Mom. “You need to understand what your neighbours watch.  See what they are thinking today.  You need to know.  It is kind of interesting to see what people watch and truly believe.”

Knock ‘im out Nancy!

Say what you will about ‘Uncle Grandpa’ and the rest of the Democrats, but both Dan and Katie agree that Nancy Pelosi (Democratic congresswoman and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives) is knocking it out of the park.

“I like Nancy Pelosi,” Katie said. “She gets very snarky with him and I love it.  Anytime she can, she just digs right in.”

“I really appreciate Nancy Pelosi,” Dan echoed.  “I like the way she is being firm, calls him out on his lies.  She used to annoy me when I was younger, because she is a strong personality on the left.  Boy do I appreciate that now.  She is being honest. 

“She got a lot of criticism for tearing up Trump’s speech at the State of the Union address.  A lot of people were really bashing her for that. I thought it was a great response.  I thought his whole State of the Union address was very hostile to her position.  She was forced to sit behind Trump while he said some awful things about the things she believes in.  Yeah, she tore up the speech and I thought it was awesome.  Go Pelosi!”

Where to from here?

For Katie, it is not all over for the US.  While she is glad she doesn’t live there now, she says it is still a place with a lot of opportunity and good people.  If her husband got a good job there, she would go back.

For Dan, there are some more immediate goals at hand.  He will not sit idly by while he is surrounded by people who might vote Trump back in.  He would like to volunteer and door knocking, and has given money to Joe Biden’s campaign.

“Not a lot because my wife wouldn’t want me to,” he said of his donation to Biden.  “She understands why I am angry, but she is still on the end of the spectrum that thinks that having a conservative in the White House is worth some of the crap that comes along with it.  She’s not as angry as me, and she is worried about Biden, especially on abortion.  So she’s okay.  She will be okay if he wins, and she’ll be okay if he loses.  But I am not going to let Trump win without being seriously involved. That means calling people out on Facebook, it means going out and knocking on doors.

“(I have to)… let people know that Trump isn’t right, and it is okay to vote for Biden even if you are a conservative, because Trump is a bad man.  And the better vote, even for the Republicans, is to vote for Biden so that their party can heal and leave the fascist moment behind them.”

The End

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Until next time!


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  1. Ken Hoolihan

    Hello Claire, I could fairly classify this piece as a partisan political statement. Storytelling by two Democrat supporters and no Trump-supporting Republican, is by definition, one-sided. It does not provide any insights into the Republican mindset other than as interpreted by Democrats. Having said that, Dan made quite a bit of sense to me. IMHO he is absolutely right that Trump has adopted identitarian politics plus a crude version of postmodernism relativism. That just underscores how evil Pomo is if he uses it as well. Also, I was hoping for some pithy analysis by you at the end of the stories, but sadly, no. I know story-telling is fashionable now on the left but is it really a sound substitute for conventional political analysis. Just saying.
    The most insightful view I have seen on reasons for the philosophical difference between Democrats and Republicans is provided in the book; “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics And Religion” (2012) by Jonathan Haidt. The author is a social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University. His biggest contribution (from memory as I read the book a year ago) is Moral Foundation Theory. There are 6 moral foundations. All six are important to conservatives (ie, Republicans) whereas only two, Care/Harm and Fairness/Cheating are significant for progressives. This is why progressives have difficulty understanding the moral motivations of conservatives but conservatives can quite well understand progressives. I think the frustration and anger which come across in Katie’s comments stem from this lack of understanding.
    Just for the record, I detest Trump and progressives equally and think that Biden is way too old to be effective and leads a fractured party made up of an uneasy alliance of classic liberals, socialists and progressives. I am deeply saddened by what is happening to the US and very concerned for the people. The world waits with bated breath for November.

    1. ClaireRWriter

      Hi Ken,

      If you want to delve into the brains of some Republicans in a similar way, you might like this week’s post.

      I am not an expert on American politics, nor do I wish to be, so I don’t want to get into any major analysis as that is a bottomless pit! There are also plenty of others out there who have that covered. What interests me, and what I will try to highlight occasionally in the lead up to the election, are the thought processes and opinions from US citizens from different backgrounds and belief systems.

      I am not interested in pushing my own beliefs onto people in these articles, or even challenging them too deeply on points I don’t agree with (which can be challenging and I don’t always succeed at the interview stage, but I am getting better!). What I find interesting is where people are at now, and why they think the way they do given how polarised their country is right now. I’m not on a crusade to change minds, but rather to peer into some from a variety of different backgrounds.

      I also think it will be fun to talk to these people after the elections again and see how they feel about it all.

      I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

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