Trump Voters Might Yet Blink


Here’s how it works:

1 – Great minds think alike.

2 – Editors have great minds.

And that is why, in mid-April, as President Trump’s approval rating began to approximate my bank account, a small army of journalists descended on Trump country to find out if the Trump base had any regrets. Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times, who usually files his reports from countries so obscure that you couldn’t even find their continents on a map, had a dateline from Tulsa Oklahoma. Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post sent in her report from Durant, Okla. Donald J. Trump won 65.3% of the Oklahoma vote to Hillary Clinton’s 28.9%.

Ms. Johnson’s report was headed “Trump’s budget would hit rural towns especially hard – but they’re willing to trust him.” She writes “In this town of 16,000 — located near the Texas border in Oklahoma’s Bryan County, where Trump won 76% of the vote – excitement about Trump’s presidency has been dulled by confusion over an agenda that seems aimed at hurting their community more than helping it.” CNN Money reported, “Rust Belt voters made Trump president. Now they want jobs” while Megan McArdle, writing for Bloomberg View, wrote a column that was headed “Trump Voters Want Respect. Here’s How to Give it to Them.”

Mr. Kristoff similarly described a number of people whose well-being depends on programs that were developed during the Obama administration but the funding would be cut under the Trump bude cut or eliminated by President Trump, they remain loyal, and would vote for him again in 2020. Mr. Kristoff writes “Some of the loyalty seemed to be grounded in resentment at Democrats for mocking Trump voters as dumb bigots ...”

In contrast, Ms. McArdle, writing “the debate still goes on about the same groups of people: the cosmopolitans from elite schools who are connected to centers of power versus those outside that privileged circle. And the questions are largely the same, too: declining economic opportunity, social decay, and the respect that these people feel that elites have failed to hand over.” Yes, there are elites, cosmopolitans from Ivy League schools who are connected to the centers of power, but they aren’t the people who voted for Clinton, they’re the Trump billionaire cabinet.

get to help pay for the Wall or the defense build-up. In spite of the fact that these people depend on social programs that would b

Trump supporters are as inclined to stereotype as the Clinton contingent, and with no greater charity. If miners lost their jobs to an Obama environmental protection regulation, what are we to say to college professors who lost their tenure to a Republican governor’s notion that a university should be more like a trade school or because a Republican president sees no value in medical research? We’ve had extensive discussions about the conditions of hard working miners who have lost their jobs because of changes in technology but surprisingly little about researchers and curators who have lost their jobs because of right wing politics.

Some of the difference between the Trump and the Clinton camps is where they got their information and the values the media provides. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, a full 40% of Trump voters got all their information from Fox News. No news source came anywhere near that degree of exclusivity among Clinton voters. CNN was cited by 18% of Clinton voters, but these voters named a much wider array of sources, including both MSNBC and Fox News.

But things may change. Headlines from the Pew web site include “Public Dissatisfaction With Washington Weighs on the GOP” and “With Budget Debate Looming, Growing Share of Public Prefers Bigger Government.” There has been a lot of speculation about the effects of the turnover at Fox News, the firing of Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and Bill Shine. As Trump supporters are exposed to more sources of information they may learn more ideas, and understand how to vote for their own benefit. Liberalism may be about to return.

Sam Uretsky is a writer and pharmacist living in New York. Email

From The Progressive Populist, June 1, 2017

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