FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2022
Biden disappoints Blow: Why did people vote for Donald J. Trump?
We have no idea. That said, back in November 2020, 74 million people did. You'd have to ask them why they voted that way—and they wouldn't all say the same thing.
In our view, Donald J. Trump was the worst presidential candidate ever. Those others didn't agree with our view. As a matter of basic principle, we respect them as neighbors and friends—and as fellow citizens.
We disagree with the way those people cast their votes—but then, they disagree with the way we cast ours! Some of us people respect other people. Quite a few of us people just don't.
Godfrey attended Donald Trump's rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. While there, she spoke with various supporters of Trump, including the ones who said this:
GODFREY (9/5/22): Trump is back at the forefront of American politics, just two months ahead of the midterm elections. This time, the former president is in a strange new position: He’s backed into a corner by legal trouble. And his ever-loyal fans have joined him in a defensive crouch. “We came because of the Mar-a-Lago raid,” Mike Rutherford, a truck driver from East Stroudsburg, told me. He sat near the stage in a folding chair alongside his wife, Pat. “We’re here to support him,” Pat said, nodding. “I can’t believe how brave that man is.”
For the record, that isn't our own basic view.
Of course, depending on where you get your "news" in our segregated news environment, you can be encouraged to think a wide array of things about a wide array of topics. With perhaps a hint of condescension, Godfrey extended her reporting:
GODFREY: The Trump fans I’d spoken with earlier, standing near the Dippin’ Dots ice-cream stall and in line for Chickie’s & Pete’s chicken cutlets, all had his back. “It’s politically motivated,” Jim Shaw, a barber from New Milford, told me when I asked what he made of the search at Mar-a-Lago. “If Donald Trump wasn’t looking like he was the [leading] Republican candidate for president, I don’t think it would have happened.” Every one of the dozen or so people I talked with offered some defense of the former president: The search was a setup; the evidence was planted; Biden’s DOJ was trampling on Trump’s constitutional rights to keep him from running for office again.
I detected a touch of desperation in many people’s responses—a sense that, if Trump-endorsed candidates don’t win in November, America as they know it will cease to exist. Here in northeast Pennsylvania—just 20 miles down the road from Biden’s hometown—was a gathering of people not just pessimistic about the future of the country under his leadership, but deeply fearful too. “At this point right now, I’m worried about being targeted by the FBI because I’m a Christian, I’m conservative,” Pat Rutherford said. “I know they won’t find anything, but I am going to need a lawyer to prove I am innocent.” The DOJ “is like a militia for the Democrats,” Linda Hess, from Selinsgrove, told me. “I think our First Amendment rights are basically gone as conservatives. I really do.”
"Trump and his loyalists are eager to fan these fears," Godfrey now said. This helps introduce one of the world's most basic distinctions—the eternal distinction between the misleaders and the misled.
As they stood near the Dippin’ Dots stand and the Chickie’s & Pete’s, these barbers and truck drivers gave voice to various views which arguably have been derived from "fanned fears"—and from misinformation.
Our own blue world often runs on the fuel of misinformation too. But very few public figures in American history have produced crazy claims to the extent that Donald Trump has, and he has had plenty of help from Republican leadership cadres—from groups of high-ranking "MAGA Republicans."
He's had help from the gaggle of undisguised Crazies—from Giuliani, Powell and Flynn. He's had help from the Republican senators who refuse to push back in public against his relentlessly unfounded and ludicrous claims.
By and large, barbers who stand near Dippin' Dots stands believe that the last election was stolen. Within our segregated news and information culture, they hear this claim again and again, then again and again—and they don't hear it contradicted.
Republican senators know that this claim is ludicrous, crazy, bogus. The barbers near the Dippin' Dots stand believe that the statement is true.
They also know that they'll be mocked for being barbers standing near Dippin' Dots stands. Our blue tribe culture has frequently functioned that way, going back a great many years.
As our political world has fallen apart in recent years, many people have conspired to mislead the misled.
For ourselves, we regard Donald J. Trump as being so disordered that we aren't sure what he actually may believe. That said, the United States Senate is full of people who know that these "stop the steal" claims are clownishly false.
They know these claims are clownishly bogus, but they refuse to say so.
President Biden could have named some of their names when he gave his blood-red speech on Thursday, September 1. He could have described their conduct when he gave the several speeches which preceded it.
Instead, he spoke in sweeping terms as he made blood-red accusations. He failed to distinguish between the Republican Party's leadership cadres and the GOP rank and file.
It's a form of kicking down. Dating back many decades, members of our own blue tribe have often seemed to relish the unhelpful practice.
Starting on August 25, we were troubled by a toxic combination—by the vehemence of Biden's descriptions, matched with his refusal to say, with any clarity, who he was talking about.
This past Monday, on Labor Day, he began to walk his rhetoric back. He began to signal that he was mainly discussing the GOP's rancid leadership cadres, rather than the masses of the misled.
Tomorrow, we'll show you what he said. We'll also cite Charles Blow, who made a point of saying that he prefers to loathe the entire 74 million.
Charles Blow is a good, decent person, but he's inclined to loathe Others en masse. This longing is deeply bred in the bone, and it's how nations come apart.
A barber stood near the Dippin' Dots stand. The lesser angels of our blue tribe's nature have had a strong tendency, for a very long time, to proceed unwisely from there.
The Others can see us when we do this. This constitutes one of the ways large nations come undone, fall apart.
Tomorrow: Biden and Blow
Full disclosure: We lost a lot of time this morning. For that reason, we're stretching things out.