THE YEAR OF THE LIBERAL: Who the heck voted for Candidate Trump?


How should we liberals perceive them:
Who are the people who voted last night for Candidate Donald J. Trump?

Presumably, most of these people are New Hampshire residents. Beyond that, we'd be slow to offer a generalization, not even a demonization!

Slightly more than 100,000 people voted yesterday for Candidate Trump. Across the nation, millions more are waiting to follow suit.

For ourselves, we'd be slow to offer a generalization about that many voters. That said, this morning's New York Times offers some information about yesterday's legion for Trump.

The report was written by John Broder (no relation). After sifting yesterday's exit polls, the Timesman started like this:

"Two-thirds of New Hampshire Republican primary voters agree with Donald J. Trump’s proposal to temporarily bar Muslims from entering the United States. And they overwhelmingly express fear of another terrorist attack."

For reasons we'll flesh out by the end of the week, we compliment Broder for inserting the word "temporarily" into his description of Trump's proposal. That said, two-thirds of yesterday's Trump voters agree with the proposal in question, which the candidate first adumbrated on December 7 in some sort of written statement which fell short of being a formal tweet.

You're right! Like many of Candidate Trump's "proposals," this proposal isn't exactly a real proposal. In part because he quickly began to calibrate, sand and refine his proposal, it isn't enormously clear what Candidate Trump has proposed, to the extent that he has proposed anything at all in this area.

Meanwhile, the broadcasters who fight for the right to pretend to interview Trump have never tried to nail him down on this proposal's content. Doing so might anger Trump! That could be bad for a TV star's ratings, thus for his millionaire salary.

That said, two-thirds of yesterday's Trump voters support the proposal for that temporary ban. Doesn't that make it fairly obvious that we can deploy our favorite bombs as we describe these people?

Can't we drop our N-bombs and X-bombs, along with our I-, R- and B-bombs? Isn't it clear that these people are haters? Doesn't that justify H-bombs?

For ourselves, we'd advise a bit of caution. After all, if two-thirds agree with Trump's proposal, that means that one-third of his voters said they don't.

We know that most of those vermin are lying. Still, that's at least what they said.

(For the record, Vermin Supreme finished fourth yesterday on the Democratic side, attracting at least 251 votes. With admiration, we recall his platform from New Hampshire 2000: "It's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter." Vermin Supreme is completely authentic. You always know where he stands!)

Back to yesterday's Trump voters, and the question of how to describe them:

Candidate Trump advanced his immigration "proposal" on Monday, December 7, in the aftermath of the shootings in San Bernardino. That Thursday, he journeyed to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he received the endorsement of the New England Police Benevolent Association.

Outside the event, a small number of Trump supporters stood opposite a somewhat larger group of anti-Trump demonstrators. On the Rachel Maddow Show, two members of each group spoke on videotape.

For MSNBC viewers, this represented a very rare chance to see Trump voters explaining themselves. First, though, let's review what the anti-Trump people said.

The interviewer seems to have have been Katy Tur. At any rate, this is what the first Trump opponent said:
REPORTER (12/10/15): What brings you out here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm here just to, just to—in solidarity with others who are very concerned about Donald Trump's very racist and bigoted remarks about Muslims and about trying to deal with the problems of terrorism by banning everybody who has a certain religious belief. I think that's un-American. It's unconstitutional. And it's stirring up hatred and anger. And it's all about just trying to attract attention, but to the detriment of all of us really, and our safety.

REPORTER: Why is it important to get out here and be on the street with a sign and be visible rather than—

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess I just feel that I need to be with people who stand for caring and love and the values that I believe in. And I want to—I don't want to be alone sitting in front of a TV watching this. I want to be part of a movement that's standing up and saying we need to do something to speak the truth about what America is really about.

It's not about hatred. It's not an American value.
To us, this person seemed completely sincere. She wanted to be with others "who stand for caring and love," as she apparently does. She said Trump's proposal was "very bigoted and racist." It was "stirring up hatred and anger."

This person made no attempt to characterize Trump voters. Her characterizations were restricted to Trump alone.

The same was true of the second anti-Trump demonstrator that night. As presented on videotape, this is what she said:
REPORTER: What brings you out here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tired of listening to Donald Trump spout off hatred, anger, fear-mongering on people, ruining America. I just can't stand listening to it anymore.

My Muslim friends, my African-American friends, my Hispanic friends, it's exhausting. It's not OK. It wasn't that long ago that the Irish people were pariahs? Who's next?

My family's been in this town since the 1600s. If anyone should go, it should be him, not us. He needs to leave. If anything, he's not welcome in my town.
To our ear, this person was a bit more acerbic. That said, she too said nothing about Trump voters. She ascribed hatred to Trump, said nothing about the people who support him.

Within days, that would change. A string of columns in major newspapers described Trump voters in every possible negative way.

In a headline on a New York Times column, they literally seemed to be "Goose Steppers." (According to Timothy Egan, "35 percent of Republican voters...say they’re all in with the man sieg heiled by aspiring brownshirts and men in white sheets.")

Paul Krugman described them as "a bloc of xenophobic and/or racist voters who have been there all along." Krugman also described them as "monsters."

Gene Robinson noted the fact that the sitting president is black. He said this "adds insult to injury" for Trump voters: "For Trump's supporters, it is hard to imagine a more perfect target for fear and loathing."

The people interviewed by Tur had savaged Candidate Trump. At least as excerpted on the air, they'd said nothing about Trump voters.

Liberal journalists were less dainty, and this doesn't even count what was being said at sites like the new Salon. This helps explain why experts and scholars are now describing last year, 2015, as a "year of liberal loathing."

Could those scholars be right? Tomorrow, we'll look at what that pair of Trump voters said for themselves when they spoke that night, apparently with Tur.

Trump voters are very rarely interviewed on MSNBC. More often, our cable hosts sit around saying that they can't imagine what goes on in such voters' heads.

This allows us the liberals to imagine such things for ourselves. Sometimes, the things we imagine can get pretty rough.

In each case, we were struck by what that pair of Trump voters said that night. Scholars are describing 2015 as a year of liberal dumbing-down and as a year of liberal script. They even refer to "liberal loathing" when they describe this past year.

Could these experts be right in some sense? As we finish work on our new pavilion and transition to a new set of concerns, we'll explore that question in the next two days.

We think the question is important. But then, "you may say [we're] a dreamer," much as John Lennon once said.

Tomorrow: What the Trump voters said


  1. We were struck by how many times BobBot has teased the two month old video of Trump voters he could not show in real time due to the more important Three Card Monte series.

  2. What goes on in the heads of people who support the Muslim ban is pretty obvious - they have a fear and hatred of foreigners who they think pose a threat. This is a normal and natural human reaction, but of course it is opposed to the teachings of Christ (to which most of the people involved claim to subscribe) as well as to liberal morality.

    Exploiting such feelings by politicians is also normal and this is currently being done by most Republican politicians. The media can attack such politicians themselves (they ought to) but this will probably have little effect on the voters themselves - the feelings are too basic and are not going to be overcome by what media reporters and pundits say. There apparently will always be a Fox news or some other outlet to which people can turn if they want to indulge their racist and xenophobic feelings. There have always been newspapers which, like politicians, find it profitable to exploit xenophobia and jingoism.

    Somerby seems to think that having a better and less partisan liberal media would make a difference, but this is very doubtful.

    1. I think you're wrong. People support the Muslim ban and a curtailing of immigration overall not out of fear but rather out of selfishness. They would prefer to be surrounded by people who produce value at the same rate or better than they do. They would also prefer to remain among their own cultural and ethnic majority. Outside of that, they are tolerant of foreigners who do not freeload the system or commit crime. I cannot say they are wrong in their beliefs.

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  3. I'll be voting Trump in SC. Being labeled xenophobe by pimply children of ambiguous gender doesn't have the intended effect of causing me to endanger my daughter by importing savages into my country.

    1. Your entire state was built by pimply people importing what they believed were "savages" into South Carolina as their personal property. And until a few months ago the flag these pimply savages waved in the war caused to protect their savage system still flew on your Capitol grounds.

      Your daughter, by the way, is more at risk of harm by one of the pimply offspring of someone related to you.

    2. The idea that slave labor "built the south" is a false narrative propped up by endless repetition and propaganda. Yes the 3% of landowners with slaves made a valuable contribution but the assertion that the southern states would have somehow failed without the benefit of slavery is pure hysteria. Regardless, what in hell does any of that have to do with 3rd-world muslim immigration in 2015? You may as well just say "I hate the region you were born in so your opinions are invalid". Impeccable tolerance displayed by the left. They are incapable of either persuasion or reason.

    3. So close.
      I hate your opinions, so the bigoted state you live in is invalid.

    4. Build the wall at the Mason-Dixon line.

    5. "The idea that slave labor built the south is a false narrative" is a statement by someone wanting to prove the "pimply children of ambiguos gender" are right about him.

      It doesnt take the leading expert wrong to define SC:

      "South Carolina is a state in the southeastern United States, bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the south and west by Georgia across the Savannah River, and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean.

      The Province of South Carolina became a slave society after rice and indigo became established as commodity crops. From 1708, a majority of the population were slaves, many born in Africa."

    6. Obama dismissed the threat of refugees with low-IQ snark. "Who's afraid of widows and orphans?" That kind of stupidity makes Trump look like an improvement.

    7. I can see the blood coming out of your whatever @ 10:44.

  4. Tolerance of people who are different is a virtue. But, suppose the people you're being tolerant of are themselves intolerant and bigoted? How can you be tolerant of these people, without being tolerant of their bigoted views?

    E.g., I'm sure skeptonomist habilis isn't a misogynist or an anti-semite. Yet, Sharia law treats women as somewhere between second-class citizens and slaves. Muslims the world over practice violent anti-semitism.

    I'm not sure how right-thinking people should reconcile this paradox. However, this uncertainty makes me less willing to demonize people who reconcile it either way.

    1. "How can you be tolerant of these people, without being tolerant of their bigoted views?"

      Your answer, Bob?

    2. I won't speak for Bob, but why not try to educate "these people," hoping perhaps to change their "bigoted views."

      The truth is that the media, with buttons being pushed by politicians and others with agendas, can either stoke fear or provide understanding of events. That's, I believe, Bob's entire point in this blog - if we had a better media that focused on facts instead of narratives, we'd have a more informed populace and, therefore, a better country.
      By the way, immigration is a serious issue that has no clear-cut "right" answer. The truth is that immigration - both legal and illegal - has hurt the American working class by driving-down wages. That doesn't make it something we should necessarily stop, but it is a real concern that should be addressed. (I don't see anyone on the Republican side actually addressing this issue seriously.)

    3. Immigration drives down wages only in the very immediate near-term. Wages go higher very quickly as the economy is helped by immigration overall. This was studied empirically using the influx into Florida after the boat lift, for example.

    4. DinC,
      I always actively oppose aspects of religious culture that are wrong according to my values.
      Funny that I'm often accused of being intolerant by the right when I do so.

      The answer to "because my religion tells me so" should always be "who cares?"

  5. Spoiler Alert


    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a problem. There are beliefs coming into this country that do not coincide with our constitutional rights, our
    amendments, our Bill of Rights. And if they cannot – if their beliefs are complete opposite of what we believe in and how we function in this country, then it does not belong in this country.

    REPORTER: How do you think that would work? At the border, you know

    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want the wall up. I want the wall up on the southern border. I want the walls up on the northern border. This country, we have to protect it. We, the people.

    And I will support Mr. Trump when he becomes president. It`s we the people that will back him up and get this country back on its two feet and
    be a strong country, a strong nation, a nation of people that are wonderful.

    Excuse me. I`m sorry. Yes, I`m like –

    REPORTER: What are your thoughts on the Republican Party in general?

    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was a registered independent. I switched right over to the Republican Party.

    REPORTER: You`re not a total Trump diehard necessarily?

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I support him and I`m supporting what I believe he meant when he said I`ll ban Muslim immigration. I don`t think he`s a racist. I think he was talking about that we need to step back and re-examine the vetting process and get it right. We`re getting it wrong. People are being killed in America and it`s going to get worse unless it
    gets better. Unless we stop what we`re doing wrong and start doing it right.

    REPORTER: So you think it`s Trump just being smart in this circumstance?

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do. I do. I don`t think he meant all – you know, he wasn`t attacking one religion and saying banning an entire religion. I don`t think he meant that.

    1. There sure are beliefs coming into this country that do not coincide with our constitutional rights, our
      amendments, our Bill of Rights. Some years back, the citizens here voted for the California Civil Rights Initiative. The CCRI prohibited the state governmental institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity, specifically in the areas of public employment, public contracting, and public education. The wording was a paraphrase of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which guaranteed equal rights to all.

      A three-judge panel held that the CCRI was unconstitutional. That ruling was overturned at various higher levels, although never unanimously. There were always dissenters who wanted to continue preferences for selected groups.

      What this shows is that some judges believe that the Constitution itself is unconstitutional.

  6. Bob Somerby is kind of a weird O.

    Yes, when I listen to Clinton's stump speech there are things
    I question, things I know are pandering. A lot of it, actually.

    Yet I know, given the field, a vote for Clinton is a vote for
    sanity and competence.

    To prove his notion, and it is not much more than that, that Trumps supports are not as crazy as his worst verbal sewage, he finds two people from a filler news segment.

    In the meantime, he ignores Trump's most recent comments about how waterboarding is not torture and he intends on going back to find some techniques from Medieval Days.

    After having something of a fit about Spike Lee saying he wanted to bring back Jim Crow.

    Yes, Bob is very strange indeed.

  7. To me, Islamism is an existential threat to liberalism. Hence Election 2016 is surreal. Its as if election of 1950s and no mention of Communism. Or 1930s and no mention of Nazism/Fascism (well, that actually did happen and things did not turn out well).

    I always thought I was a liberal, donated $$$$ to Hillary in '08 and voted for Bill rooting for Trump.

    Not happy about it, but liberals are delusional about threat from Islamism. Not Muslims, from Islamism.

    1. That is my point, she has not said a word about threat posed by Islamism. Re the buffoon (aka Trump), we will muddle through and survive 4 years of Trump but we will not survive another year of "lets not talk of Islamism" regime in Wash. DC


      The fixation on the word Islam is a conservative talking point. Hillary is as opposed to terrorism arising from Muslim extremism as she is opposed to terrorism arising from Christian extremism, and there are both forms of terrorism affecting the world. Attributing terrorism to a religion instead of recognizing that the religion is being used to justify violence, is the mistake you and Trump are both making. The word "Islamism" is meaningless and unnecessary when we can call people who engage in violence in the name of Islam or Christianity or Buddhism or any other religion or ideology, simply terrorists.

      The reasons for avoiding attribution of violence to an entire people or religion are well explained by Clinton in the clip above. Chief among them is the need to preserve good relations with Islamic nations who are on the frontlines fighting against ISIS, the Taliban and similar groups. Undermining that national security effort, as conservatives are trying to do, is counterproductive to our interests. I would think conservatives would understand that, but they seem to have lost their minds.

  8. What an incredibly mean-spirited post. No wonder haters like david in cal and others like @ 8:06 PM gravitate to this site. They all have such a strong affinity to the blogger and his lizard-brained loathing for all things liberal and progressive.

  9. I for one pray for the new pavilion!

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