I really like PBS’ Frontline documentaries. They have a series of shorts out now called “Betting on Trump.” Each one interviews Trump voters concerned with a different issue: Water in California, Coal in West Virginia, and Jobs in Pennsylvania.
Perhaps most telling is the flip of previous Democrat strongholds like Erie. The Democrats took these votes for granted. The failure of the Clinton campaign to reach out beyond the cities is well-documented. Trump traveled around the country and found all these ignored voters and told them what they wanted to hear: that he’d bring the jobs back, that he’d loosen environmental regulations so they could get water and do their jobs, and so on. Clinton’s campaign was busy courting celebrity endorsements.
I’ve talked about this before, how the media only covered the controversy and not what Trump was actually doing. And I think I finally figured out how to explain why it’s so bad that everyone’s doubling down on the “he’s racist, his voters are all racist” rhetoric.
You see this?
This is a political Nice Guy™. You know, the Nice Guy™ who cannot believe that women keep dating jerks but won’t date him because he’s too Nice, often with a smug sense of superiority whenever the girls’ relationships don’t work out for the best. If only women were smart enough to not go for assholes.
The political Nice Guy™ can’t believe his side lost because they’re so Not Racist. Since all he and his side ever brought to the table was being Not Racist, they can only assume the reason they lost was because everyone else is a stupid asshole that likes racism. If only voters were smart enough to not go for racists.
In both cases they’re missing the point: Who cares if you’re nice or not racist or whatever? Congratulations, you’re capable of entry-level civility. What do you and your side bring to the table? Oh, that you’re nice and not racist? Okay, what else? Beyonce? What else? A no-fly zone over Syria? Another war, really? Well, better luck in 2020.
The hell of it is, the keys to defeating Trump in the next election are right here. Millions of voters who picked him because he promised to help, most now with a serious case of buyer’s remorse. Any prospective Democrat (or any other party candidate for that matter) could start right now, picking up momentum on Trump’s failed promises, and substitute their own. It would be time for any and all Trump opponents to reach out.
But, nah. It’s better to preen about how Not Racist™ you are and treat these people like they’re all scum. Note that I’m not talking about responding to actual racists. Those people are generally beyond reach. But if you’re gloating about a stroke victim in her 50s not knowing if she’s going to be able eat, maybe you’re the asshole.