Can we trust either party?


Published: 7/13/2019 4:00:30 AM

Daniel Brown [“Americans flirt with ‘Nazism-lite’”] points out some of the horrors of the Trump presidency. My FaceBook feed is full of other, almost endless, lists of all the reasons to hate this man and his administration. Each ends with a question, how could people support him?

Yet, Trump’s current approval rating is at 42% according to FiveThirtyEight, the poll of polls site. Only 52% disapprove.

I’m a 73-year-old white male, not rich, but doing OK economically. (There is no doubt my gender, race and culture played a part in my doing OK.) Today, I’m solidly in the Progressive camp. I give regularly to both Sanders’ and Warren’s campaigns, and, more important, the organization RepresentUs, which is trying to fix our democracy.

But I started my adult life as a Republican, and spent a number of years running my own small company. That can make one a conservative in a flash. I think I understand why Trump remains popular with so many, and I think the Democrats ignore those reasons at their peril.

Yes, there are the neo-Nazis, but they aren’t the swing voters.

One Trump supporter I know oversees rocket launches at Cape Kennedy, is white, a Christian, and a family man. In his spare time he devotes his business acumen to managing one of the most successful community theaters in Florida.

The artistic director he works with is gay, many of the people involved in the theater are gay, there are plenty of women, blacks and Hispanics involved in the company. Is this the neo-Nazi you imagine voting for Trump?

He runs that theater like the business it is. Because he does it well, the theater thrives. Through his eyes Trump is a lesser evil than any business-bashing Democrat.

Every tax, every regulation makes his job more difficult, makes the theater less profitable, less able to provide work for aspiring talent.

Many who work in education, or for the government, don’t really understand how their economic well-being is directly derived from the corporate engine driving our economy. Those closer to it do.

Is it any surprise that small business owners, the people who work for them, and the self-employed hit with the insurance mandate all think Trump is the lesser evil?

I’ve read the number one issue for most voters on either side of the spectrum is government corruption. Voters might disagree on abortion and immigration, but they agree the government doesn’t work for us.

There was a moment in the debates, on this exact point, that Trump won hands down. Hillary accused Trump of not paying his fair share of taxes. Trump responded by saying he took advantage of all the loopholes in the tax code that Congress provided for people like him. He asked Hillary why she, when in Congress, didn’t fight to close those loopholes.

And this is a key point. People don’t trust either establishment party, and any politician coming from the outside is better than someone from the inside. Both Obama and Trump captured the swing voters by promising change from business-as-usual government.

What about the media? It does have a liberal bias. It is simply annoying to read the main stream press as a conservative. No, it’s not “fake” news, but like any news, it is biased.

Here’s a small example from late in 2016. Headlines: “Trump calls Hillary the devil.” Well it was true, but missed the story. I listened to what he said, and what he said was that Sanders had sold out when he supported Hillary. He said Sanders made a deal with the devil, and then, seizing an ad-lib opportunity, riffed into “and Hillary is the devil.”

There was an important, but uncomfortable for liberals, point he was making. But it was lost beneath a headline designed to make him look like an [expletive] yet again. If you were a Trump supporter, wouldn’t you tune into Fox News at that point?

There’s more to turn reasonable people off on the left – political correctness, immigration, football... But I’m at 750.

I hate what the Republicans have done as much as anyone, but there are reasonable, independent voters out there who perceive the shenanigans on the left are worse and better hidden from view.

The Republican court just said gerrymandering is OK. This means the only way to get them out of power is to appeal to Republican and swing voters in those gerrymandered districts.

That means understanding their issues.

And also, supporting RepresentUs.

Dennis Merritt is a resident of Shelburne Falls.

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