Tuesday, March 21, 2017

But What Do We Do About Trump?

At the end of our monthly Hampton (NH) Democratic Club meeting, after all the usual business about how we should vote on the upcoming warrant issues for the town, to fund teachers and firefighters and school building, and plans for the summer lawn sale and for the picnic, and who we could get for speakers, one of the octagenarians raised his hand and squawked, "But what do we do about Trump?"

That of course, was the 800 pound gorilla in the room nobody had talked about, and this was the animating reason why we were all in that room in the first place.

A woman in the middle row stood up and said she loathed the President and she loathed all the people he had around him and she loathed the hate he had directed at Muslims and Mexicans, of which we have few or none here in New Hampshire, but she still thought it was awful.  Seized by the crest of that wave, I leapt to my feet and said I was sick of all the whining and wringing of hands and I wanted to do something, to foment revolution and I invited anyone who was interested to come meet at my house, and realized immediately I had not asked my wife about this, but then I thought, "Did Che Geuvara ask his wife or his mother?" 

About 10 people stood up and said they were with me, which was bracing, but as I looked from face to face, I asked myself: With me for what?

What could 10 townspeople from Hampton, New Hampshire do about the man who 60 million people had voted for?  A friend told me about driving to his home in Minnesota through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin and he saw an uninterrupted  sea of Trump signs and he was not at all surprised on November 8.

How many hundreds of counties had flipped from Obama to Trump across the rust belt? And why?

They had drunk the Kool Aid, just as the followers of Jim Jones had done.  They had bought into the fantasy, they had forsaken reality, the reality that immigrants are only rarely sadistic rapists, radical Islamic Terrorists, that no terrorists organization, not ISIS or Al Qaeda are a serious threat to the United States, that the worst they can do is unleash a flood of refugees which overwhelm the good will of liberal European nations.  They had drunk the Kool Aid of coal mine jobs coming back, of factories re opening because Trump told the capitalist owners to do that, of Obamacare as Disaster Care, of white working class, work a day men having been stabbed in the back by a mongrel Democratic Party that wanted to take their jobs and their self respect and give it to dark skinned immigrants, of white policemen shooting unarmed Black men in the back because the white policemen thought themselves in danger.

But the thing is:  You know while a sizable portion of Trump fans are unabashed racists, a sizable portion in the North and Midwest are not. The same people who voted for Obama, far as we can tell, voted for Trump. While his vote in the South may have come from the womb of the Ku Klux Klan, in the rust belt it may well have been a case of "I want my job back." 

These voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan may not have been put off by Trump's appeal to racists. They knew they weren't racists, but they knew they had seen their towns collapse after the factories closed.   Had it been between Bernie and Trump, they may well have gone for Bernie because he played the class war card better than even Trump. Trump made the enemy everyone outside our borders who stole our jobs. Bernie made the billionaires who sent the jobs overseas the enemy.

Looking at President Trump in Nashville, I could not keep my eyes from the two village idiots standing behind his left shoulder. At every Trump speech, there are always  two village idiots behind his left shoulder, a different pair of individuals but always the same. They look liked they had been drawn by Mad Magazine artists.  They grinned and shouted "USA" and "Lock Her UP" and I realized there is no way you could win these guys over. They are a lock for Trump and Rush and all who sail with them.

Well, maybe Bernie might appeal to them, if they ever lost faith in Trump.

But the thing is, this part of the citizenry, of the electorate, will never allow themselves to see Trump for what he is and is not.

So, if we cannot win these guys over, who are we going to convince? How do we approach the flippers in those rust belt counties that once went for Obama?
And if we can identify who our audience is, how do we reach them?

I imagine vast rallies like the Trump rallies, with Bernie or some charismatic speaker rousing the crowds to go out and carry the message forth, the way Trump did.

But who? And what is his message?

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