Cry, the Beloved Country

 

J’ai quatre-vingt-six ans. I’m in my eighties. Shouldn’t this be the time of my life, surrounded by my children and grandchildren, and now with the time, for the first time, just to enjoy being together with them. While at the same time, having time for myself, and the things I want to do, the things that are still all important to me.

But instead of thoroughly enjoying myself in my eighties I find myself, along with many others, a good number of us, probably now a majority in both red and blue states (Trump is the president without having ever won a majority of the people’s vote) confronted with a noxious, and dangerous president, Donald Trump, living, as it were, in Trump Time.

Now in my eighties I struggle to get out from under his influence. But he’s everywhere, almost the only subject of  the daily news that I continue to watch and read. Why do I even go on watching the news? Because the news he makes is so terrible that if one does love one’s country and cares about what’s happening one cannot not watch.

Trump news is mostly, if not all, bad —there are, desperate immigrant families coming to us seeking asylum, the parents being imprisoned and the children incaged; there are other democracies much like ourselves, friends and allies of ours,  the relations between us now being neglected if not torn-up and discarded;  there are the cruel and murderous dictators in Turkey, Egypt, Russia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere, that our president fawns  upon, much as Pence and others of the president’s lickspittles fawn on him; there are huge pieces of the Antarctica glacier falling into the oceans as the earth’s atmosphere warms; there is the now all prevalent religious dogma, the hallmark Trump’s people, replacing the country’s long reliance upon the free and truthful thinking of journalists and scientists, not to mention the country’s founders, in their search for truth. In fact, under Trump untruth reigns. And I could go on and on. Of course I fear for our country, for my children, and their children, their children’s children, for the lives yet to come.

Trump is changing the country, and not for the better.  On the home page of Bill Weld’s campaign for president (Bill Weld is a hero for me, so far the only Republican to oppose Trump’s otherwise uncontested candidacy in 2020) a commercial provides a mashup of some of Trump’s worst verbal outrages; his criticism of the late Senator John McCain for getting captured in Vietnam; his mockery of a disabled reporter; his declaration that there were “fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville; and then from the “Access Hollywood” tape when he says to host Billy Bush, “I moved on her like a bitch.” Weld’s own campaign slogan, “America deserves better,” ought to be adopted by the whole country.

What accounts for Trump attracting tens of millions of supporters, for his complete dominance of his base of evangelical Christians, and what accounts for the screaming mobs at his rallies?

thankyou lord jesus

Why is he apparently so well liked by so many? I think about this a lot, and don’t have a single answer. I’d like to have an answer in order to undo whatever holds his people together and in his corner.

I guess what I would say now is that he shares several important traits with his supporters, the two most important being his white skin and, what probably follows from that, a mistrust of the other, of what is different. Obama was different, and that difference was what Trump used to get his presidential campaign off the ground.

He told his people that Obama wasn’t born here, wasn’t an American, and this is what his people wanted to hear, because he was different, and not only because he was black. Also because he was educated, one of the Eastern elite. And Trump’s people mistrust the elite no less than the other. His fewest supporters come from the ranks of the college graduates.

This was situation at the election of 2016. The chart below shows the voting preferences of whites. Trump over Clinton with 54% of all whites, 56% of white men, 60% of non-college and over 50 whites, and 77%, the highest percentage, of white evangelicals.

Trump's 2016 base

Now 2020 will be different from 2016, although since we don’t yet have a Democratic candidate we don’t really yet know the real differences between the two elections. But we can probably count on Trump winning the white vote. Whites are probably no less prejudiced and no less afraid of the other than they were in 2016.

Now those of us who. want Trump out, want Trump to lose in 2020 are thinking all the time about who might be the best Democratic candidate to beat Trump. To judge by the graph above wouldn’t the best candidate be a white male, to win from Trump in those areas where he has the strongest support?

Perhaps, but isn’t there a lot to say for a woman and minority candidates in order to attract even larger majorities in both categories than Clinton.  This ought to be enough to send him packing. I come up with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Maybe together? Maybe Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams?

The bottom line for me is that Trump has to go. He’s simply doing too much harm to our liberal democracy. So the only question is how he will go. Probably not via impeachment because the Republicans in the  Senate will never impeach him. They are simply too much in love with their own cushy jobs, and want to stay where they are and are afraid of his base if they turn from him.  In just too many instances their people back home, the white evangelicals, are still with Trump, in spite of the devastating for Trump Mueller Report. Can you believe it?

 

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