What Trump voters think

Trump and his supporters believe that if Bezos owns the Washington Post, then he gets to say what gets written in it. Their understanding of how the world works allows them to believe manufacturing and even coal mining jobs can be brought back simply by Trump saying so. Why? Because they believe the jobs went away as part of a liberal conspiracy. They are not sure of what the purpose of doing away with the jobs was other than to destroy America, but then they are capable of believing that thousands of FBI employees and several hundred thousand employees in the Secret Service, the Justice Department, the Pentagon, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, and the Coast Guard all have been convinced that America must be destroyed. They lump those people in with the Hollywood elites, Wall Street tycoons, and pretty much anyone with an education and a good job.

This comes perilously close to the mob actions in Congo and Cambodia when wearing a tie or glasses could get you killed. The level of hatred can be seen not just at Trump rallies but in interviews with his supporters. The scary part is that, just as the mobs in Congo and Cambodia consisted of very nice people if you caught them in their own homes, the Trump supporter may be the guy who fixes your car or paints your house or teaches your kids. We might note that sales of Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here have surged, according to Amazon (owned by Bezos, the sinister eminence behind the Washington Post).

In their towns and counties, very often the top dog, whoever employs the most people, whoever owns the most land, whoever controls funding, gets to have things his way. Should someone want to investigate, records mysteriously disappear. Not knowing how to fight such corruption is part of the problem but also buying into the corruption compromises a lot of people. More importantly, they come to accept that this is the way things work.

So it is no surprise that as they see their Man, Trump, slip away from them, they apply the template they know: a shadowy “them”. The idea that all of the investigators, journalists, professionals, and on and on might see wrong-doing that must be stopped is all hooey to them. They see themselves losing – again. Just like they lost their jobs, their towns and neighborhoods, their schools. They look around and see so many strangers, foreigners, living in their midst, and decide the country has been lost. Their last hope was the bombast of the buffoon, lighting up their world with his wild promises and vicious insults and empty braggadocio. All they have left now are the television preachers whose calls for money never stop.

May 7 Conservative Brett Stephens writing in the Wall Street Journal:

In the species of political pornography in which Mr. Trump trafficks, the naughtier the better. The more respectable opinion is scandalized by whatever pops out of the Donald’s mouth, the more his supporters cheer him for sticking it to the snobs and the scolds. The more Mr. Trump traduces the old established lines of decency, the more he affirms his supporters’ most shameless ideological instincts.

May 9, 2018 The effect of the tariffs and of pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement will be felt by Trump voters but not so that they’ll notice. They’ll blame the effects on something else, like decisions by greedy bankers and financiers. That’s the narrative the television preachers will sell.

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