For the past several years, the New York Times has sent reporters to districts that voted for Trump. And the New York Times has been excoriated and mocked for doing so.
“White guys in an Ohio diner,” sneered a number of journalism critics and pundits.
I never understood the sneering or anger. Did the critics fear that I, for one, might read an article covering Trump voters’ thinking and be swayed by their positions?
Nonsense. And since over 60 million people in this country voted for Trump, and the polls suggest over 40 percent of Americans still think Trump is a fine guy, I’d say this was a story to be regularly covered by a major newspaper.
Alternatively, pundits (probably of flailing GOP persuasion) are warning us we need to wake up and pay attention to these people’s lives and thoughts and disappointments. We need to make sure they, too, are fulfilled — or at least better educated in civics.
The question we all ask is…Why?
It was the first thing out of my mouth when a dear relative called to say she and her whole family voted for Trump. “Why?” It was the first and only question. “Why?”
My dear relative did not really answer the question. She pointed out that the United States political map was mostly red. I pointed out that the majority population in those red areas consisted of cows. I recall a brief exchange involving Trump as a businessman, during which I pointed out he had been a repeated failure.
So I read those Times articles with interest, especially because the reporters gave ample space to what these people had to say on the subject of Why?
And what did they have to say? Nothing. Not once did I read any statement that made sense, that bore any factual content.
It was rote, not rationale. Each of them sounded as if he/she were in a light hypnotic trance, repeating the same few bizarre explanations of why they supported Trump. “He tells it like it is.” That’s one of my favorites.
When I read what these people had to say, I found myself stymied, unable even to imagine asking them what the hell they were talking about. I realized there was absolutely no way to breach the fantasy wall they lived behind. You can’t challenge irrationality. There is no entry point.
I had to assume (and now I know for sure) these people got their information, their “truths,” from somewhere remote from my sources. I found it significant that, throughout the past four years of such reporting, none of these people had evolved beyond clichés. They were saying the same damn things in October 2020 that they’d been saying in January 2017. “He tells it like it is.”
Let’s ask that looming question again: WHY? What’s the point of this? Swaying public opinion? We are voting and they’re driving their trucks around, trying to drive a Biden campaign bus off the road.
Pointless. A blast of loudness signifying nothing. Except maybe that these are people whose self-worth is centered in owning trucks and guns and making noises. Bravi. Pitiful.
I don’t give a fuck about how their votes, their trucks, their guns are an expression of their anger, their pain, their sense of deprivation, of depression because they’ve lost the American dream — a grim paradise of blue-collar, white-faced “libertarian” working men and, oh yeah, their house-wives.
I think we’ve all answered the question “why.”
Because they’re stupid. That’s why.