Friday, November 11, 2016

Strange Boots

I've struggled to place myself in the shoes of Republicans who disliked Trump, but voted for their party anyway.

I start with someone who believes in my core progressive ideology -  pro-choice, government services for the poor, regulations, climate change, healthcare, higher taxes, etc. - but then expresses paranoid, racist and misogynist sentiments.  I can kind of imagine it, however there's really nothing like that on the left, where on the right you have an entire culture devoted to it (the 50% polled who seemed to express similar feelings to Trump - the "deplorables").

I find it hard to imagine.  Much of what is frightening about Trump is not just his bigotry but his authoritarian tendencies, seemingly born out of a hyper-masculine machismo which I am also allergic too, yet which is also a popular disposition on the right.  By itself, machismo isn't necessarily problematic, but in the context of larger retrograde attitudes, it takes on a bullying, chauvinist quality.

So I imagine these non-Trumpist Republicans as disgusted by his racial bigotry (the homophobic policies I'm assuming they're quite amenable to), embarrassed by his dim-witted bloviations, his crassness making them wince.  But he's also likely much more of a recognizable type, the kind of fellow not uncommon in right wing circles, be it leather-upholstered backroom offices or at the opposite end of a construction yard.  They are used to seeing him, tolerating him, even appreciating his git-r-done brashness all-the-while shaking their heads and rolling their eyes.

So now he's been nominated and, well, as long as he's surrounded by enough good old boys, he'll generally continue policies we want: dismantle Obamacare, cut up climate change regulations, stand athwart the gun rack, appoint conservative justices who might just finally end the fetal holocaust, and with any luck nuke ISIS.

I take solace in the fact that, while I disagree with these policy choices, they don't necessarily represent moral monstrosity.  They don't actually want to violently march into neighborhoods and rip apart undocumented families.  They don't actually want to ban Muslims.  They don't actually want to waterboard-and-then-some.  They don't believe in crazy conspiracy theories.  They don't read Breitbart.

However, their party nominated someone who does.  They have to live with the fact that they are in bed with this movement, which has consumed them.  At what point do you decide to leave?  We'll see.

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