Stop Fooling Yourselves, Trump Voters Are Very Bad People
They Don’t Want A Good World, They Want A Total Nightmare
Hillary Clinton was wrong. In a 2016 campaign speech she said, “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.”
As we saw in that campaign and in all the years and campaigns since, this was an overly kind under-estimate of the vitriol and bile that Donald Trump stands on top of as the leader of the Republican Party. There has been recent commentary on social media chiding Democrats for characterizing Trump voters as bad people. Once again, we are hearing rumblings that because these are some of our collective friends and neighbors, we shouldn’t condemn them with such a broad brush.
Oliver Willis Explains is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
I think this is nonsensical and more avoidance of the very real danger we are dealing with. These are bad people who support bad things, and they are trying to usher in the worst possible version of America for us to live in. We should say so.
Adam Serwer hit the nail on the head when he used the phrase “the cruelty is the point” to explain what motivates conservative backers of Trump. This is one of those areas where what I have termed as liberalism’s “Pollyanna problem” continues to be a problem.
Liberalism has a fundamentally optimistic outlook on the world. Generally speaking, our ideal world is some sort of Star Trek utopia, where culture doesn’t just accept our differences but champions them and funnels them towards collective action for the greater good. The problem with looking at the world that way is that we assume that everyone agrees with us. But they don’t. Many voters do not see worth in such a final destination, and they will do everything including armed insurrection to prevent us from even beginning to go down that road.
When that happens, Democrats tell ourselves that they still agree with us anyway. They’re just being fooled, we say. They’re being duped by people like Trump and getting taken for a ride by conservative media (Fox News) that is distracting them from their areas of supposed agreement with us. You can see this mindset in the rhetoric and actions of Democratic leaders like Presidents Biden and Obama, who operate under the notion that “the fever will break” and Republicans will revert to some sense of normalcy.
But there isn’t a fever. The people who vote for Trump aren’t being duped about what he fundamentally stands for. Trump is not a subtle man, and he isn’t smart enough to hide his intentions. When he speaks and spews his torrents of verbal diarrhea, he is who he says is.
Republican voters love it. They embrace his rhetoric wholeheartedly and in fact they appreciate his willingness to just say out loud the bigoted ranting that they know would lead to awkward stares and cold shoulders in their day-to-day lives.
Trump opened his first presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists, pushing for a lockdown on Muslim travel to the United States, embracing sexual assault of women, cheering on police brutality against Black people, and mocking the disabled. Republican voters loved him for it to the tune of 62.9 million votes, nearly 3 million fewer than Clinton but a solid 46.1% of the votes in the election that year.
He then spent the next four years doubling down on that bigotry, using the presidency to endorse even more violence against Black people, while ramping up attacks on Latinos and Muslims. He praised Nazis as “very fine people” and when COVID hit he warmed the hearts of violent racists by describing it as “the China virus,” inspiring attacks against Asian people. Trump voters responded to this with 74.1 million votes, far fewer than the 81.2 million votes President Biden got, but nothing to sneeze at either.
People in America and around the entire world know exactly what Trump is. There was never a cloak of illusion around him, and he doesn’t bother to hide it. Why then should we still operate like the people who vote for this -- endorsing the entire program – aren’t seeing what we all see?
Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany explicitly blaming Germany’s problems on Jewish people and made no bones about his desire to wipe those people off the map. The people who backed him were clear eyed about this and many rallied to his cause because he openly said what other right-wing leaders at the time wouldn’t. Hitler didn’t come to power all on his own, but with the aid and support of German voters who entrusted their futures to him. Those people own a portion of responsibility for the genocide and global war that followed.
The same is true for our fellow Americans who stand behind Trump and we should stop covering for them. America is at a dangerous moment and there isn’t a lot of time for living in a delusional state about it. The masses who continue to pull the lever for Trump want authoritarianism, fascism, and above all else, bigotry. This is who they are and, more importantly, why they are.
They fit Sec. Clinton’s moniker of “deplorable” quite easily, it’s just that its far more than half of them.
If you like this newsletter, please consider becoming a paying subscriber by clicking here to join. I won’t be putting any of my regular columns behind a paywall and they will always be free. Thanks to everyone who has subscribed so far!
Follow me, Oliver Willis, on Threads @owillis1977
Exclusive Kal-El Photo
This dog is ALWAYS SLEEPING.