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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,889

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Why She Likes Trump

One of my flaws is the subconscious assumption that other people see things the way I see them. Believing (I hope correctly!) myself to be a reasonable, compassionate, intelligent person, it's too easy for me to associate the opinions I hold, the experiences I've had and the conclusions I've drawn from them, the responses I have to people, with those qualities.

But people who have different opinions than I do, who've had other experiences and drawn other conclusions from them, are also reasonable, compassionate, intelligent people. If I don't understand those differences, it's harder for me to connect, harder for me to find common ground. We get locked in our separate compounds of otherness and fear, that way.

Which works out all too serendipitously for Our Beloved Oligarchs.

I found myself having a conversation with a woman a bit older than my daughter-- probably in her late forties. Struggling financially, just getting by. She's bitter about being "forced" to pay for health insurance, which "doesn't do her any good because she can't afford to use it anyway." She liked Obama when he was elected but has been disappointed in him since, mostly because the economy has been so punitive on her family, especially her son, who came back from a tour in the Middle East with a lot of health issues, about which "the damn VA are doing nothing." She volunteers at the local animal shelter, and she helps other veterans' families with transportation, home care, figuring out paperwork, and getting to/from support group meetings.

She has a college education, and had good jobs in management up until 2009, when the collapsing economy caught up with her employers. Now she's shift manager at a franchise restaurant and going to community college classes (on student loans) to get a real estate license. She considers herself "entrepreneurial," having done some multi-level marketing in the past. She's pro-choice and considers herself a 'non-strident feminist' (her term, I have no idea what it means.)

She should be a Hillary supporter, by the demographics, but she "doesn't like Hillary."

"So who are you supporting?" I asked her, curious.

"I like Donald Trump."

My jaw must have dropped, because she got defensive. "I do! I know he's kind of a sexist, but I don't think he really means a lot of the campaign-trail bullshit. He's just saying what will get media attention, mostly."

I really wanted to understand why she likes Donald Trump. It's completely impossible for me to imagine anyone but knuckle-dragging morons 'liking' him, but obviously a lot of people do.


It was a long conversation, but here's what I took away.

Sure, Donald Trump is a rich guy.

But "he's not like other rich people."

As far as I could make out, "other rich people" are snobs and selfish and don't want to let anyone else into their exclusive clubs or allow anyone else to enjoy the kinds of things they enjoy. Even if an ordinary person like her was to get rich, or win the lottery or something, they'd never 'let her into their places.'

Trump, apparently, is perfectly willing to 'share the good stuff' with anyone who can pay for it. If she won the lottery he'd welcome her to his fancy private jet and let her use the gold-plated plumbing fixtures without making her feel like she didn't belong.

Or something like that.

Pointing out that her chances of winning the lottery are effectively the same as my chance of sprouting functional wings would not have been helpful, so I didn't.

I did ask whether she thought he'd do much for people who aren't going to win the lottery, etcetera, and she said he was more likely to pay attention to 'ordinary people who support him' than to the Establishment political string-pullers.

As far as I can tell, the things that creep me out about Trump- the crassness, the ignorance, the qualities I read as bullying and egotistical bombast- she sees as a weird kind of not-caring-what-snobs-think integrity, and she likes that.

She likes him.

I can't like him, he gives me the willies.

But I like her. Even knowing that she thinks this way, I can still recognize that she's a good person, compassionate, intelligent, and with her own reasons and experiences behind her opinions.

Here's what I didn't do: I didn't insult her, I didn't laugh at her, I didn't tell her she's delusional.

I did tell her I couldn't agree with her about Trump, but at least I had a better understanding of why she likes him. And I told her a little bit about why I like Bernie Sanders, trying to emphasize some of the same things about him that she says she likes about Trump- particularly the bit about him being more influenced by what ordinary people need and want, than by the string-pullers in the political establishments.

It wasn't exactly the time or the setting for a discussion about the complexity of the political environment, the many powerful factors and forces that influence how effective an elected Chief Executive can be, etcetera. I don't believe I "made her think," although she for sure made ME think.

But I didn't turn her off. I didn't build a wall of otherness between us.

Maybe it was the best I could manage.


Does this count as "vote suppression"?

"Hey, folks: Don't be alarmed if you've gone to the polls at the Community Center to vote and you see a bunch of cops next door outside McBrien School with guns drawn and storming the building. It is only a training exercise!"

You can't make this shit up, can you?

Someone thought that on election day, next to a polling place, was a GREAT time/place to schedule this!

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