A popular meme from a liberal writer, Andy Borowitz, today:
Stopping Trump is a short-term solution. The long-term solution, and it will be more difficult, is fixing the education system that has created so many people ignorant enough to vote for Trump.
Here’s the problem with that statement: It’s playground name-calling dressed up in a grown-up policy issue.
Certainly we should improve our educational system, and give more people the opportunity for advanced education. A steady majority of Americans for the past 15 years say they’re dissatisfied with K-12 education.
Instead of looking for unity, Borowitz turns the issue into just another put-down of Trump supporters.
Calling them “ignorant” isn’t “the long-term solution.” It’s part of the problem. Condescension just adds insult to the injuries that these voters feel they’ve endured.
Another meme today:
I’m not a friend of Donald Trump, but I won’t denigrate those that are. And for those that are a fan of Donald Trump, denigrate means to “put down.”
Friends, listen to yourselves: ‘I am so smart. And all you Trump people are so dumb.’
Is that really the right way to counter the divisiveness that we blame Trump for?
Trump’s support base is white, working class Americans. If you can turn away for a moment from the riveting sound bites and read an elaboration of his positions – try this transcript from the Washington Post – you might understand why blue-collar voters support him.
They’re people who were hit hard when their jobs moved overseas and are thrilled to hear a wealthy businessman declare that free trade made America poor. People who are mad that we blew hundreds of billions of dollars on a senseless war in Iraq and are glad that Trump will stand up and say that. People who believe that our gutted cities need jobs and support, and that’s what Trump says he’d do.
Trump supporters are angry because they don’t see their hard work being rewarded any more. Some of them are disillusioned Democrats.
Anger gets ugly when it turns to blame. I’ve said that Trump supporters scare me. That’s because their anger can be manipulated into violence, and into overriding basic human rights.
That’s on Trump. Take him to task for manipulation, yes. Pin him down when he’s inarticulate and vague, for sure.
But the anger of voters is not something you can make vanish with condescension and sweeping generalizations. You can’t get rid of it by going to Trump rallies and screaming, “F*** you!”
You don’t have to be racist to be angry.
You don’t have to be stupid to think that American politics could benefit from frank discussion about issues that the educated elite have declared as settled.
And I don’t have to support Trump to understand why millions of Americans do.
Today’s penny is a 2012, the year of Trump’s first presidential election campaign.
The featured image above is a tight crop of Trump’s hand, from the lead photo on his campaign site.