So did Jenna Johnson: What do Donald J. Trump's 63 million voters now think about Donald J. Trump?
There's no way to answer such a sweeping question in a definitive way. Unless we think Those People are all alike, there are many different answers to that sweeping question.
Still and all, Nicholas Kristof made the effort last week. He visited Oklahoma, then wrote a column about what he heard. His column in yesterday's New York Times started like this:
KRISTOF (4/2/17): Rhonda McCracken is a kindergarten teacher and a Republican who voted for President Trump. Now she’s wrestling with the consequences.Kristof says he interviewed "many people like McCracken—fervent Trump supporters who now find that the White House is trying to ax programs they have depended on...And they’re upset," Kristof says.
McCracken’s deep-rooted conservatism is matched by a passion to support Tulsa Domestic Violence Intervention Services, a nonprofit that helped her flee an ex- who she says beat and choked her, once until unconsciousness. She became teary as she described how staff members at the organization helped her and her son escape that relationship.
“They saved my life, and my son’s,” she said, her eyes liquid.
So she is aghast that one of Trump’s first proposals is to cut federal funds that sustain the organization. “My prayer is that Congress will step in” to protect domestic violence programs, she said.
Later, Kristof says that some of these voters are "shocked" at Trump's proposed budget cuts. He also says the Trump voters to whom he spoke do not (yet) regret or renounce their votes.
Eventually, as Kristof explains, a familiar note appears. "Some of the loyalty seemed to be grounded in resentment at Democrats for mocking Trump voters as dumb bigots," Kristof says.
He lists this as the first explanation for the loyalty to Trump. There We go again!
We liberals! Again and again, we cheer as our massively "privileged" Harvard men denounce Those People as "hillbillies." We then express our vast surprise when The Others won't accept our brilliant advice about the right ways to think, behave, vote and live.
We send our most highly "privileged" players out to name-call The Others. In this morning's Washington Post, Jenna Johnson explains who some of these less "privileged" people are.
Johnson went to Oklahoma too, in search of Trump supporters facing proposed budget cuts. Who are the hillbillies against whom Rich railed in his recent New York Magazine piece? In this passage, Johnson described a deeply admirable Rose of Sharon, a young woman whose Oklahoma life hasn't exactly been Frank Rich's crystal stair:
JOHNSON (4/3/17): When Crystal Tate was in middle school, she attended a week-long program that took her and other low-income students to visit college campuses in Oklahoma and Texas, introducing them to a world that can be foreign and intimidating.There were 17 kids in her high school class. She wasn't taken to see Harvard and Yale; she was taken to see schools like Southeastern Oklahoma State. Those trips to those relatively unheralded campuses introduced her and her classmates "to a world that can be foreign and intimidating."
The trip was organized by Talent Search, a program offered through the decades-old federal program TRIO, which helps first-generation, low-income students get into college and graduate by providing the support they may not be receiving at home.
Trump wants to cut TRIO and another initiative called GEAR UP by $193 million, saying many such programs are redundant and there is limited evidence that some of the initiatives work—assertions that Tate and university officials wholeheartedly reject.
Tate is now 21 and a junior at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, studying to become a teacher. She pays for college with a combination of Pell Grants, which the president has pledged to protect, and other scholarships. She lives with her grandparents in Boswell, about 30 miles away, so that she can coach girls’ sports teams there.
Out of Tate’s graduating high school class of 17, six attempted college or a trade school and only two stuck with it, including her. She plans to be the first college graduate in her immediate family.
“School was a place where I felt at home, where I felt like I could be part of something bigger than myself,” said Tate, who did not vote in November. “And in order for me to further my ability to be something better than myself, I knew that college would have to happen.”
This admirable young person is making it at Southeastern State. Pay no attention to the fact that Tate didn't vote last fall, not even for Jill Stein. She's one of the people Rich was insulting with that "hillbilly" tag.
A lordly magazine in a big city ran that mindless headline. Such conduct occurs on a regular basis. Conduct like that spreads political poison all across the land.
Who the heck is Crystal Tate: “I’m determined to prove that first-generation, low-income students can make a difference,’’ the Bennington High School graduate said in The Oklahoman. Also, “I intend to return to rural Oklahoma to help others live healthier, happier, more informed and brighter lives.”
Welcome to the breadth of the land! For more Crystal Tate, click this.
For Bennington, Oklahoma, click here.