Two Parties, Not Two Countries

We've just had an election, not psychoanalysis.

America’s pundits are failing to heed their own pre-election warnings and are blaming the American people for our not being a hundred percent sure Donald Trump was defeated. Despite knowing for weeks that a massive number of mail-in votes combined with efforts from Republican-controlled state legislatures to make them hard to count would slow the result—and skew the early count toward the Republicans—they’re writing columns based on the early results.

POLITICO’s Michael Kruse weighs in with “Trump’s losing. He also won again.

The much-anticipated, practically existential 2020 election, after all, did not produce the repudiation of Trump and his coarse personal style and politics of division that (slightly more than) half the country craved. The rips in the national fabric he’s spent the last five years showing and sowing are only more stark.

I, too, was hoping for a more obvious repudiation. While I think we’re going to see a rather massive Biden popular vote margin, we didn’t get the Electoral College landslide I was predicting. But it’s absurd to argue that most Trump voters were enthusiastic about his coarse style. They had two and only two options. There wasn’t a Decent Conservative option; it was Trump or the most liberal Democratic platform in generations.

The Atlantic‘s George Packer (“Face the Bitter Truth: We are two countries, and neither of them is going to be conquered or disappear anytime soon.”)

We don’t yet know the outcome of the election, but its meaning is already clear. We are two countries, and neither of them is going to be conquered or disappear anytime soon. The outcome of the 2016 election was not a historical fluke or result of foreign subversion, but a pretty accurate reflection of the American electorate. The much-discussed Democratic majority that’s been emerging since the turn of the millennium is still in a state of emergence and probably will keep on emerging for years to come. The will of the majority is indeed blocked by undemocratic rules and unscrupulous politicians, but it’s a bare majority without enough numbers to govern. When America finally becomes the promised land dominated by tech-savvy Millennials, its political values will be far from certain.

It’s certainly true that there’s not a national consensus backing the Democratic Party’s agenda. Hell, there’s not a consensus among Democrats as to what their agenda should be. There are 330 million of us and we’re diverse.

But Packer ought know better than to treat a series of winner-take-all elections with diffuse but binary choices as a test of the national mood. Even the bluest states, Massachusetts and California, are only two-thirds Democratic. Even our reddest states, Wyoming and West Virginia, are a quarter Democratic. Indeed, even at the county level, we’re shades of purple, not deep blue and dark red.

Tens of millions of Americans love MAGA more than they love democracy. After four years of lawbreaking and norm-busting, there can be no illusions about President Donald Trump. His first term culminated in an open effort to sabotage the legitimacy of the election and prevent Americans from voting. His rallies in the final week of the campaign were red-drenched festivals of mass hate, autocratic self-absorption, and boredom, without a glimmer of a better future on offer—and they might have put Trump over the top in Florida and elsewhere. Even as “freedom-loving people” came out in unprecedented millions to vote, their readiness to throw away their republican institutions along with their dignity and grasp of facts suggests that many Americans have lost the basic qualities that the Founders believed essential to self-government. There is no obvious way to reverse this decline, which shows signs of infecting elements of the other side as well.

The percentage of the Republican electorate that attends rallies is infinitesimal. And it’s just bizarre to argue that people turning out by the tens of millions to vote in elections that are very much real are doing so out of some love of autocracy or desire to subvert democracy.

But the composition of Trump’s followers, with a large minority of Latino voters and a nontrivial number of Black voters, makes their motivations more various and complicated than the single, somehow reassuring cause that progressives settled on after 2016: racism. There turn out to be many different reasons different kinds of people want to fling themselves at the feet of a con man. The votes show that progressives’ habit of seeing Americans as molecules dissolved in vast and undifferentiated ethnic and racial solutions without individual agency is both analytically misleading and politically self-defeating, doing actual harm to the cause of equality.

The voters are given two, decidedly imperfect, choices. Despite all of the justified talk about a Cult of Personality surrounding Trump, the overwhelming number of Trump voters aren’t cultists. They just see Trump as better than Biden on the issues they care about most. Or they’re just voting the way they’ve always voted.

There’s a lot more but you get the drift.

Also at the Atlantic, Naval War College professor, NeverTrumper, and Lincoln Project contributor Tom Nichols argues “A Large Portion of the Electorate Chose the Sociopath: America will have to contend with that fact.”

. . . America is now a different country. Nearly half of the voters have seen Trump in all of his splendor—his infantile tirades, his disastrous and lethal policies, his contempt for democracy in all its forms—and they decided that they wanted more of it. His voters can no longer hide behind excuses about the corruption of Hillary Clinton or their willingness to take a chance on an unproven political novice. They cannot feign ignorance about how Trump would rule. They know, and they have embraced him.

Again, most didn’t “embrace” him; they voted for him. For political junkies, that may seem a distinction without difference. But the vast majority of normal people don’t obsess over the daily actions of their political leaders. Most vote the way they always have, which is just like Daddy did.

Sadly, the voters who said in 2016 that they chose Trump because they thought he was “just like them” turned out to be right. Now, by picking him again, those voters are showing that they are just like him: angry, spoiled, racially resentful, aggrieved, and willing to die rather than ever admit that they were wrong.

Oh, c’mon. Sure, there’s a lot of anger, grievance, and resentment in the electorate. Unlike many of the current fights, that’s genuinely true for both sides. And, rather clearly, Atlantic columnists.

Still, Biden is likely to win half a dozen states Trump won in 2016. Trump’s holding on to most of those states; there was no real prospect of him picking up a seat Clinton won. Given how massive turnout was for both sides, somebody rather clearly changed their minds. Millions of people, probably.

To be clear, I never expected a Biden landslide in a country as polarized as the United States. I was a wet blanket even among my Never Trump comrades, holding out only the modest hope that Biden would recapture the states Clinton lost in 2016, and possibly flip Arizona. But I expected the margins in all of those states—and especially in Biden’s birth state of Pennsylvania—to be higher. I suspected that Biden had no real chance in places such as Texas or Georgia or even North Carolina, all states in the Trumpist grip.

So, it’s looking like Biden indeed flipped Arizona and recaptured the BLue Wall states Clinton lost. And may pick up a place so much like Georgia as to be, well, Georgia. And even Trumpist North Carolina is still too close to call, although likely to stay in the Trump column.

Nor was I among the progressives who believed America would repudiate Trump’s policies. For one thing, I am a conservative—and I know my former tribe. Trump voters don’t care about policy. They didn’t care about it in 2016, and they don’t care about it now. The party of national security, fiscal austerity, and personal responsibility supports a president who is in the pocket of the Russians, has exploded the national deficit, and refuses to take responsibility for anything. I had hoped, at the least, that people who once insisted on the importance of presidential character would vote for basic decency after living under the most indecent president in American history.

There’s too much to unpack in that paragraph. But, gee whiz. Partisans stay with their guy, excusing their flaws. Republicans supported Richard Nixon until the bitter end. Ditto Democrats and Bill Clinton. And, look, the deficit exploded under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush; Tom and I cared but we didn’t vote for Walter Mondale and John Kerry. That’s not how it works.

It’s clear now that far too many of Trump’s voters don’t care about policy, decency, or saving our democracy. They care about power. Although Trump appears to have received a small uptick in votes from Black men and Latinos, the overwhelming share of his supporters are white. The politics of cultural resentment, the obsessions of white anxiety, are so intense that his voters are determined not only to preserve minority rule but to leave a dangerous sociopath in the Oval Office. Even the candidacy of a man who was both a political centrist and a decent human being could not overcome this sullen commitment to authoritarianism.

This reads like the ex-smoker who becomes an anti-smoking zealot. Yes, there’s a lot of “white anxiety” and “cultural resentment.” But most Trump supporters have no idea that our democracy needs saving; why we just had the biggest electoral turnout in a century and voted out tons of incumbents, including quite likely the sitting President. All his wailing and tweeting aside, he’ll leave office on schedule at noon on January 20, assuming he doesn’t take his ball and go home before then.

And, look, it would have been easier for me to vote for Joe Biden in 2016 than it was for Hillary Clinton. He is indeed a decent human being—an extraordinarily good one in a lot of ways—and a centrist. But his party is much more polarized than it was four years earlier. Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police and Green New Deal are important parts of that coalition and there’s legitimate fear than a way-past-his-prime Biden won’t be able to contain it. And, remember, it looked ahead of time that those people would control the Senate, too.

Tom and I are Never Trumpers for the reasons he points to but, in many ways, we’re both better cultural fits for the Democratic Party than the populist party the GOP has become. We’re not just college-educated, we’re college professors. We’re still relatively conservative politically but we’re not climate change denialists or railing against the wearing of masks. But, again, we’d likely still be aboard the train if we didn’t find Trump himself so personally abhorrent. In a world of binary choices, few are likely to be happy—let alone intellectuals and policy wonks who obsess over this stuff in a way normal people don’t.

My greatest fear, aside from an eventual Trump victory over the coming days, is that no matter the outcome, both parties will rush to draw the wrong lesson from this close election. The Republicans will conclude that just a bit more overt racism (but less tweeting about it) will carry the day the next time. They will see the exit polls that called for a “strong national leader,” and they will replace the childish and whiny Trump with someone who projects even more authoritarian determination. They will latch on to the charge that democracy is a rigged game, and they will openly despise its rules even more than Trump has.

So, here’s the thing: there is no “they.” Or at least, no “they” who reads exit polls and controls the process like a puppet show. Hell, I wish there were. We wouldn’t have Trump.

Instead, we have a bizarre primary system in which self-selected candidates present themselves to the most rabid parts of the party electorate in a byzantine series of contests where the least-representative Americans winnow the field.

Historically, the process has worked out, such that the most rabid ideologues canceled each other out and relative moderates rose to the top. A lot of the candidates—Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney—were rather bland and uninspiring but they were decent, competent men. In 2016, it gave us a reality show talk host.

While the party elites may or may not draw any lessons from the mixed signals of 2020—I suspect, for example, that they’ll continue to do their best to recruit women candidates—it’s really not up to them who wins the 2024 nomination.

The Democrats, for their part, might look at this near-death experience, and, as they sometimes have in the past, conclude that moving left, including more talk of socialism and more social-justice activism is just the tonic they’ll need to shore up their coalition. Some Democrats tend to believe that almost every election confirms the need to lurch to the left, when in fact the 2020 election should be a reminder that Trump would have beaten anyone left of Biden.

So, first, Biden is likely to win a rather large popular vote majority and Democrats are likely to pick up a couple of Senate seats. (We’ll see what happens with the likely double runoff in Georgia.) I don’t see how that’s a “near-death experience” in what we knew was a polarized electorate.

But, yes, I expect the Democrats to move left in 2024. Biden is going to be in his 80s. He’s the party’s past as well as its immediate future.

If the vote plays out as it seems it will at this point, Biden will become our 46th president. But Americans can take very little pride in the overall vote and what it reveals about nearly half of our electorate.

American voters, including those who didn’t show up or who voted third-party in 2016, are now like drunks who have been bailed out of jail in the morning, full of relief as their lawyers explain that the police aren’t pressing charges. If Biden wins, we will have a second chance to keep our democracy intact. Some of us will have a moment of clarity. Most of us will just want to go home, throw up, change our clothes, and hope for the best.

But many millions, eyes dimming and livers failing, are still reaching for the bottle.

Honestly, I think most of them are just going to get dressed on go to work, living their lives, as they do every day. The notion that we’re defined as a people by who makes it to the top of our bizarre political process is silly. We’re the same people we were Tuesday morning.

UPDATE: I originally misinterpreted Kruse’s lament for what didn’t happen as a direct, rather than indirect, indictment of Trump voters and have re-written the sentence.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2020, Society, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Roger says:

    But, again, it’s absurd to argue that most Trump voters “craved” his coarse style.

    Reread Kruse’s sentence. The thing that “(slightly more than) half the country” craved was the repudiation of Trump and his coarse personal style and politics of division.

    ReplyReply
    2
  2. James Joyner says:

    @Roger: Yes, fair point. I’ve rewritten the sentence.

    ReplyReply
    2
  3. wr says:

    “The notion that we’re defined as a people by who makes it to the top of our bizarre political process is silly”

    It’s a democracy, so yes, we as a people are responsible for our choices. We chose to continue slavery for centuries. We chose to pass and enforce Jim Crow. We chose to throw people in jail for homosexuality. We chose to ignore climate science and revoke laws attempting to diminish pollution. We chose to pretend that Covid is just a minor flu and no steps should be taken to end it.

    You are free to say “but I didn’t vote for any of that.” I didn’t either. But we as a people did by voting our leaders into office.

    You can attempt to avoid personal responsibility, but it’s a moral abomination to claim that we as a people can’t and shouldn’t be defined by the actions of the people who we choose to lead us. It’s the Good Germans all over again.

    ReplyReply
    16
  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    Sixty-seven million Americans voted for a white supremacist, a man who does not believe in science, breaks deals with allies, tears babies away from their mother’s breasts, denigrates anyone who irritates him, including his own chosen employees, lies every time he opens his mouth, and has sold his shriveled soul to Putin and MBS, and you don’t think that means anything psychologically?

    James, you’re the one displaying some psychological issues. Seriously, are you nuts?

    Do you hire white supremacist pathological liars? Do you willingly associate with them? Would you have not been bothered if someone of this character was one of your subordinates in the Army? If one of your kids despised Black people, lied right to your face and when caught they started attacking you, would that be OK with you as a father?

    You’re wrong. We are two countries, and yes, half the country has lost its fucking mind. And you are in denial.

    ReplyReply
    26
  5. charon says:

    This may or may not be motivated reasoning on my part, to fit my earlier projections, but I am thinking the surprising or at least unanticipated strength of the GOP in this election is derived from a “black swan” of the Covid pandemic combined with how the GOP is addressing that pandemic.

    (D) voters overwhelmingly think controlling the pandemic takes priority over” getting people back to work,” “restoring normality” etc. reasoning that things will not get back to normal until the virus is defeated.

    As shown by exit polls etc., (R) think dealing with the pandemic is not important enough to be a voting issue, basically they just want to get back to behaving normal as best they can and “take the punch” i.e., let the virus do its thing without doing much to stop it, so they fear the(D) approach to interfere with that with lockdowns and other restrictions.

    I think that was a big driver this time around, and a pro-GOP black swan

    You can compare the various states here

    https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/

    to see how that approach is working out.

    Given the 3 week lag between infection and death, the week lag to need hospitalization, it seems likely a lot of hospitals will soon be turning people away.

    ReplyReply
    3
  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    While we’re at it, I’m sick of hearing that Democrats have moved left. Oh? On what issues?

    We’ve been for Civil Rights since the 60’s. Still are. We’ve believed the rich should pay more than the middle class. Still do. We’ve been pro-choice. We still are. We support NATO. No change.

    So WTF? Oh, I see: we’ve moved left because we want to do something about climate change. Right? In much the same way as if we discovered an asteroid hurtling toward the earth it would be socialist or communist to suggest maybe we should do something about it?

    List the issues where we have moved far left.

    Then, I’ll list the issues where Republicans have lost their goddam minds.

    ReplyReply
    22
  7. James Joyner says:

    @wr: It would be different if we were a direct democracy, voting issue by issue. But we have this crazy quilt system that makes it increasingly possible for a minority-support candidate to win the presidency and gives disproportionate control of the Congress to minority views as well. And a Supreme Court that can declare legislation approved by that process unconstitutional. Agency is rather hard to pin down.

    @Michael Reynolds: I have a lot more control over who I hire and what behavior I tolerate from my children than how people in Georgia are going to vote for President or Senator.

    And, if it’s really true that significant number of Black and Latino voters moved in Trump’s direction, then it’s an even stronger signal that binary choices lead to bizarre outcomes.

    ReplyReply
    9
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A vote for trump wasn’t just a vote for lower taxes, it was also a vote for “a white supremacist, a man who does not believe in science, breaks deals with allies, tears babies away from their mother’s breasts, denigrates anyone who irritates him, including his own chosen employees, lies every time he opens his mouth, and has sold his shriveled soul to Putin and MBS,” (thank you Michael). It’s a package deal James.

    Let me repeat myself, voting for trump doesn’t mean you’re a racist, it does mean you’re OK with a racist in the WH, and in the end, does the difference matter?

    ReplyReply
    16
  9. charon says:

    @charon:

    Just to be clear, when people tell pollsters their top priority is “the economy” what they mean is they do not want little itty bitty virus that everyone will eventually get anyway interfering with their lives and finances.

    ReplyReply
    1
  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    Let’s say I have only two people I can hire to clean my house.

    One is a liar, a thief, a molester of women, and hates anyone not of his own color, but I think he does a better job mopping the floor.

    My other choice is honest, decent, not a molester or a racist, but gosh darn it, he sometimes misses the corners when he mops.

    I have a wife and children and possessions in my home. Yet, I hire that first person. And you think my hand was forced? Poor me, that’s the only choice I had, between competent but evil, and less competent but not evil. What can I do? I mean, I had to hire the one in the Nazi armband because: mopping!

    Your thinking on this is absolutely jaw-dropping.

    ReplyReply
    7
  11. R. Dave says:

    [I]t’s absurd to argue that most Trump voters were enthusiastic about his coarse style. They had two and only two options. There wasn’t a Decent Conservative option; it was Trump or the most liberal Democratic platform in generations….And it’s just bizarre to argue that people turning out by the tens of millions to vote in elections that are very much real are doing so out of some love of autocracy or desire to subvert democracy….Despite all of the justified talk about a Cult of Personality surrounding Trump, the overwhelming number of Trump voters aren’t cultists. They just see Trump as better than Biden on the issues they care about most.

    With most Republican candidates, James, I would agree with your statements above – and, indeed, I’ve made that exact argument to my more stridently liberal friends and family members in just about every Presidential election before 2016. However, I just think Trump is the exception, particularly now that he’s been in office for 4 years and folks can’t hide behind a supposed veil of ignorance. You don’t have to be a political junkie following all the daily dust-ups of Washington to understand what Trump is and what he believes – he comes right out and says it in the most blunt and obvious terms possible. Now, that doesn’t mean the tens of millions of people who voted for him “embrace” his racism, xenophobia, jingoism, corruption, cruelty, and incompetence, but it sure as sh*t means that either (i) those things aren’t deal breakers for them or (ii) people’s ability to delude themselves into ignoring or explaining away those things in order to justify their tribal preference is virtually unbounded. And either way, that’s a pretty depressing revelation about the true state of our polity.

    ReplyReply
    7
  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    By the way, what is this binary choice b.s.? Republicans had something like a dozen candidates to choose from in the primaries and they chose Trump. They are evidently quite happy with that choice. Right? They chose among multiple possibilities, picked an absolute creep, and now we shrug and say, ‘Gosh, it’s a drag they had no choice?’

    ETA: And by the way, they could have primaried Trump this go-round. Did they? Nope.

    ReplyReply
    12
  13. Franklin says:

    I’ve heard Trump described as having an “abrasive personality” by Trump voters. They’ll admit to that much. But they’re also proud of the way he tweaks those sniveling libs. And then they go to church and hear something or another about loving everybody, and they nod their heads. It’s those people that have a psychological issue.

    But then there’s these single issue voters, for example those who sincerely believe we are murdering babies by the millions, and they’re willing to hold their nose for the person they think will slow that down. Just because you and I disagree with their assessment doesn’t mean they are mentally ill.

    ReplyReply
    4
  14. @James Joyner:

    binary choices lead to bizarre outcomes

    I think this is key, as I have argued for years.

    I think it is both true that it is profoundly disturbing that there was not a greater repudiation of Trump because we have all seen who he is and that there is no escaping the effects of partisanship in a two-party duopoly.

    If your goal is to understand the outcome, then you have to accept what political science literature has often demonstrated: the candidates matter a lot less than you think, that voters are primarily motivated (in the aggregate) by partisanship, and that certain key issues like abortion can have a lot of significance.

    Not surprisingly, I will be writing more on this are thoughts coalesce and time permits.

    ReplyReply
    6
  15. Scott says:

    There is, as they say, a lot to unpack here.

    But the vast majority of normal people don’t obsess over the daily actions of their political leaders

    I think this is true. I look at my middle-upper middle class suburb in Texas. Most people are comfortable, with no real immediate issues. Why not vote for Trump? Nothing he has done has had an immediate effect on them. A little extra money through cutting of taxes, no major escalation of war, no healthcare changes. For most people, the long term is the long term and they are not worried about it. We all would think our neighbors would be different but they are not.

    We’re still relatively conservative politically but we’re not climate change denialists or railing against the wearing of masks.

    You are also rationalists. You are suspicious of emotions. And we are a nation that is indulging in emotions and grievance.

    A while back, I realized that while I have a conservative temperament (not given to sudden change), I am also a fact-based, rational thinker. I used to be a somewhat conservative voter and I still am, I guess, but what I see on the far right is not rational and I reject it. I will reject emotional “leftist” thinking also. As a result of all that, I have been tending to vote for the party that is less ideological and more technocratic.

    ReplyReply
    6
  16. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds: The President isn’t a housecleaner.

    If the Democrats had nominated a more corrupt version of Bernie Sanders and the Republicans had nominated Jeb Bush, almost everyone who voted for Clinton or Biden would have voted for Sanders. The Supreme Court, alone, would be enough to keep them on board. It’s the nature of binary choices.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    By the way, what is this binary choice b.s.? Republicans had something like a dozen candidates to choose from in the primaries and they chose Trump.

    Again, it’s really process. Yes, there were a bunch of the zealots who show up to stand in line in Iowa and New Hampshire that liked Trump’s “fuck you” style. But the not-Trump offerings were scattered among eighteen or so alternatives. Even by the time I had a chance to cast my ballot in March, it was both (1) essentially over with and (2) not obvious which of the surviving not-Trump candidates I should vote for. By that time, my preferred candidate, Jeb Bush had already withdrawn. I wound up voting for John Kasich. But here’s how it came out:

    Donald Trump 356,840 34.80% 17 0 17
    Marco Rubio 327,918 31.98% 16 0 16
    Ted Cruz 171,150 16.69% 8 0 8
    John Kasich 97,784 9.54% 5 0 5
    Ben Carson 60,228 5.87% 3 0 3
    Jeb Bush (withdrawn) 3,645 0.36% 0 0 0
    Rand Paul (withdrawn) 2,917 0.28% 0 0 0
    Mike Huckabee (withdrawn) 1,458 0.14% 0 0 0
    Chris Christie (withdrawn) 1,102 0.11% 0 0 0
    Carly Fiorina (withdrawn) 914 0.09% 0 0 0
    Jim Gilmore (withdrawn) 653 0.06% 0 0 0
    Lindsey Graham (withdrawn) 444 0.04% 0 0 0
    Rick Santorum (withdrawn) 399 0.04% 0 0 0

    Trump got less than 35% of the vote. Marco Rubio got just slightly fewer votes. Rubio-Cruz-Kasich got an overwhelming majority! But, while not-Trump was the decided preference of Virginia Republican enthusiasts, Trump was the winner.

    Now, in Virginia at least, we awarded the delegates proportionately. But, in most states, it’s winner-take-all in the Republican primaries.

    ReplyReply
    4
  17. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If your goal is to understand the outcome, then you have to accept what political science literature has often demonstrated: the candidates matter a lot less than you think, that voters are primarily motivated (in the aggregate) by partisanship, and that certain key issues like abortion can have a lot of significance.

    Yes, exactly.

    Obviously, candidates and campaigns matter some. Trump won last time and lost this time. But, absent nominating a child molester, we know that the Republicans are going to win Alabama in any statewide, national election.

    ReplyReply
  18. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I’m with Michael. As I said in the other thread, nearly half the country wants a culture war or is at very least is willing to associate with the white nationalist side of that war because that’s a price they are willing to pay for their judges and tax cuts. When the Republicans were dog-whistling their authoritarian racism, you could argue that the country club Republicans didn’t know they were aligning with deplorables. With Trump letting his freak flag fly and his rally attendees chanting their support, that argument no longer flies.

    In short, we have two countries. In only one of them, the rise of authoritarianism and white supremacy is acceptable.

    ReplyReply
    9
  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Franklin: But then there’s these single issue voters, for example those who sincerely believe we are murdering babies by the millions, and they’re willing to hold their nose for the person they think will slow that down. Just because you and I disagree with their assessment doesn’t mean they are mentally ill.

    No, but voting for the guy who will end up being responsible for *the deaths of half a million* Americans says they are full of shit about the whole damned issue to begin with.

    ** before this is all over I fully expect us to top this number by quite a bit, maybe as soon as Jan 20, 2021.

    ReplyReply
    4
  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    They gave me a choice between a Twinkie and a shit sandwich, and well, I’ve always been in the party of sandwiches, so I guess I’ll choose to eat shit.

    I think you and Steven are such organization men you can’t see beyond it. People make choices. Full stop. If they can’t pick a side between good and evil then guess what, that’s not the fault of the system. And yes, yes, YES, it was a choice between good and evil.

    It’s amazing how ready conservative white men are to dismiss personal responsibility when it comes around to their own choices. Vas? Ve might be responzible? Nein, nein, nein, it vas ze syztem.

    You both need some truth and reconciliation. You both supported a party that held power by appealing to racist attitudes. All the way back at least to Nixon. And you both knew it. You need to take a look at yourselves, at the roles you’ve played, the role your party has played, and stop trying to sidestep responsibility. You laid the table for Trump. Deal with your own complicity.

    Because otherwise what I see is a man trying to find a path back to the party that created the atrocity of Trumpism, without ever having to face his own guilt. And you are guilty. Not the system, you.

    ReplyReply
    13
  21. Scott F. says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think it is both true that it is profoundly disturbing that there was not a greater repudiation of Trump because we have all seen who he is and that there is no escaping the effects of partisanship in a two-party duopoly.

    Not only have we all seen who Trump really is, but we’ve also seen what he wants for the country. I would argue we’ve seen from Republican leaders and GOP rank & file much more regret about Trump’s character than dissent from his vision for the nation’s future.

    Both you and James have shared that you were able to escape the effects of partisanship, so it’s possible. You still hold your convictions, but you’ve found association with Trumpism (not just Trump himself) too much to bear for further association with the GOP in its current form. I am deeply disappointed that you two are the exception and not the rule.

    ReplyReply
    4
  22. Northerner says:

    Again, most didn’t “embrace” him; they voted for him. For political junkies, that may seem a distinction without difference. But the vast majority of normal people don’t obsess over the daily actions of their political leaders. Most vote the way they always have, which is just like Daddy did.

    Pretty much this. I used to think scientists were unique in overestimating how knowledgeable and interested the public was in their field (science). Everyone knows something about how DNA works, about F=ma and special relativity, about the laws of thermodynamics, about orbitals and chemical bonding, about the mechanism of evolution and the scientific method, right? I mean, science is one of the biggest drivers of our lifestyle we have, so of course everyone understands at least those basics, right? So if people don’t understand any of those its because they’re crackpots rather than just someone who’s never bothered to learn them, or to listen to teachers when they’re covered in school.

    But I’ve since learned people who are interested in politics are just as likely to overestimate the interest and knowledge people have about politics and political leaders. So people who support guys like Trump do so because they like his values rather than just someone who always votes for the same team.

    Habit explains far more about human behavior than most people realize. Good habit and bad habit.

    Being a scientist, I’m even biased enough to say knowledge of science is more important than knowledge of politics (politics is less fundamental to our lives than physical reality). I doubt I’d get much agreement on that here though.

    ReplyReply
    3
  23. drj says:

    It’s amazing how ready conservative white men are to dismiss personal responsibility when it comes around to their own choices.

    I have to agree with this.

    Everyone who voted for Trump knowingly* voted for white supremacy and against democracy.

    * At some point, “ignorance” becomes culpable.

    Apart from that, they may be decent people. People are, after all, not one dimensional.

    But the “that” is a rather big thing. Not so easy to overlook.

    It’s far too easy to simply handwave this away. There is a kind of moral degeneracy that is rampant in GOP-voting circles.

    Maybe it’s simply human nature or shitty cultural values. And, certainly, the two-party system doesn’t help.

    But Trump has been shouting loud and clear for weeks that he would be trying to steal the election; that democracy is only valid if his side wins. Even that didn’t deter close to half of the electorate.

    If we can’t call this immoral what can we label as such? Serious queston.

    ReplyReply
    5
  24. Michael Cain says:

    So, it’s looking like Biden indeed flipped Arizona…

    I’d be inclined to think that you have cause and effect reversed here. Kelly’s margin for US Senate looks to be bigger than Biden’s, so two Democratic senators. The Democrats may increase their share of the US House delegation from 5-4 to 6-3. Both state legislature chambers are too close to call yet. This year Arizona has continued a long-term transition from Republican to Democratic overall (as has previously happened in New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada), to Biden’s benefit.

    ReplyReply
    2
  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    @drj:
    Put these same people on a jury, facing an accused thief who has shown that he had only a binary choice: steal or let his children starve. They would not hesitate to find the guy guilty. Because the escape hatch of ‘it was an impossible binary choice,’ is only for them.

    I realize I am a white man, but Jesus Christ, the inability of white men to even contemplate their own, personal failings, is astounding. It was the system, waaaah. I could either have a tax break while destroying families, or I could not have a tax break and not countenance an atrocity. It was a binary choice, what was I to do? Oh the dilemma.

    You want a binary choice? Here’s one. Miep Gies. She had a binary choice between risking her life and the lives of her family to shelter the Frank family in Amsterdam, or, obey what was then the law of the land. The ‘system’ presented her with a choice not just between good and evil, but between a good that meant terrible risk, or evil. And somehow that Austrian/Dutch woman got it right.

    She goes down in history a hero, Righteous Among the Nations. But but but but but, my tax break. Waaah. Fucking hell.

    ReplyReply
    8
  26. Alex Hamilton says:

    American Capitalism (greed) corrupted the Republican Party. The party has no moral compass anymore (if it ever did) and it’s not going to get better anytime soon. In the end Republicans have won (Supreme Court/Lower Courts, Gerry-mandering, unjust tax system, income inequality, Citizens United, guns, police reform, etc), hope it was worth it.

    ReplyReply
    4
  27. grumpy realist says:

    @R. Dave: This is why I don’t want Rod Dreher over at TAC to EVER AGAIN moan about morality. If you spend multiple months dithering about whether to vote for a narcissistic liar/rapist/cheat/adulterer/deadbeat don’t then turn around and try to convince me that any of those sins are anything you really care about. You’ve made it obvious already–if those sins were in fact important to you there would be no dithering–you would vote against Trump, no matter how much you wanted those “pro-religious” judges on the bench.

    As it is, Dreher reminds me of the old saw: “would you sleep with me for a million dollars?” “I guess I would!” “How about $100?” “What do you take me for?!” “Oh, we’ve already established that–we’re now just haggling over the price.”

    ReplyReply
    8
  28. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    But but but but but, my tax break.

    Don’t forget: “Abortion is murder.”

    Except that, of course, nobody truly believes this.

    If these pro-life people actually believed that babies are being murdered by the thousands, they would do more than protest.

    They wouldn’t hail legislators for proposing legislation that would make murdering babies illegal – but only after eight weeks or so (fetal heartbeat bills) .

    They wouldn’t accept that a conservative majority on the Supreme Court would prioritize judicial precedent over stopping the ongoing mass murder of American babies.

    Of course, most of these people have convinced themselves that they believe that abortion is murder. But even that is pure moral weakness. The lie is so transparent that even the smallest good-faith effort would expose it.

    And if they, somehow, do actually believe it, their moral weakness is even bigger. Because these Second Amendment heroes are simply letting it happen.

    These people deliberately stick their heads in the sand so that they can justify voting for someone who – apart from his very significant personal failings – steals children in their name, who wants to rob their fellow citizens of their political rights, etc., etc.

    If you want to explain this kind of immorality through social and political structures – fine.

    But, then, at the very least be consistent and approach street crime through the same lense.

    But no, when the blackity blacks in the inner cities (because that’s where they all live) have no regard for their fellow human beings it’s “moral failings” and “broken culture” from here to eternity.

    Which makes me wonder: when those Trump assholes in their shitty trucks tried to drive that Biden bus off the road, where were their fathers? Where were their community leaders and pastors who should have taught them to distinguish right from wrong?

    Isn’t this yet another clear sign that white rural culture is irretrievably broken?

    ReplyReply
    4
  29. Northerner says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You’re hanging out with a very atypical group of white guys. Most of the ones I know are very aware of their personal failings. If anything, their lack of confidence stops them from trying things, everything from trying to further their education past high school (why bother, I’ll just fail anyway) to changing from a dead end job (no one will hire me to do anything else), and with younger guys, often even asking out someone they’re attracted to because they’re sure they’ll just be rejected.

    A very big part of coaching sports is trying to overcome the sense of not-being-good enough that so many people (of all races and genders) feel. There are a few people who are extremely and unwarrantedly sure of themselves, but they’re the minority. And you quickly realize its not just their sporting abilities they doubt. Most people think they don’t measure up to the standards they see all around (mainly in movies and TV) and go into a silent retreat. Talk to counsellors or psychologists if you doubt that, or look at depression and even suicide stats. Being unaware of personal failings might apply to the rich and famous, but not to most people, including white men.

    ReplyReply
    3
  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    There wasn’t a Decent Conservative option; it was Trump or the most liberal Democratic platform in generations. [emphasis added]

    I see the homecoming dance has started. I’m glad I didn’t miss it. The punch there is really tasty. Mmmmmm…

    On the positive side, all has returned to normal in Republicanville. The bad old nasty man has been rebuffed, the dog whistles are back in place, and the same tired argument has been brought out of mothballs and shined up once again. Order has been restored to The Force.

    For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.

    Indeed, even at the county level, we’re shades of purple, not deep blue and dark red.

    Speaking only for myself, of course, your earlier statement about “the most liberal Democratic platform in generations” sounded pretty deep red to me. Still, you’re entitled to your opinion and I’m glad you’ve found your way home. It’s been a long and painful sojourn for you, but all is well now.

    ReplyReply
    4
  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @R. Dave: In 2015, the Republicans turned down better–well at least less evil–more qualified, more competent, and more experienced leaders to go with arguably the most incompetent buffoon in the history of the evolution of life from random primordial chemical sloughs. Yes, “…either way, that’s a pretty depressing revelation about the true state of our polity” sums up the situation nicely.

    ReplyReply
    1
  32. James Joyner says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Speaking only for myself, of course, your earlier statement about “the most liberal Democratic platform in generations” sounded pretty deep red to me. Still, you’re entitled to your opinion and I’m glad you’ve found your way home. It’s been a long and painful sojourn for you, but all is well now.

    I just don’t think there’s any dispute here. Most of what I read is center-left or further and that’s the consensus. It’s what they’re telling the Bernie Bros and Warren supporters: Joe isn’t a progressive ideologue but he’s still carrying the water for the team. The Overton window has moved left and he’ll attempt to govern that way.

    On the social issues, recall the Obama was nominally anti-gay marriage. Trans rights didn’t become a thing until after he was re-elected and was hardly top-of-agenda. We’ll certainly see an attempt to expand upon ObamaCare.

    Court packing is now off the table, at least until the midterms, given the failure to take the Senate. But it was clearly on the agenda otherwise.

    ReplyReply
    1
  33. Andy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    A vote for trump wasn’t just a vote for lower taxes, it was also a vote for “a white supremacist, a man who does not believe in science, breaks deals with allies, tears babies away from their mother’s breasts, denigrates anyone who irritates him, including his own chosen employees, lies every time he opens his mouth, and has sold his shriveled soul to Putin and MBS,” (thank you Michael). It’s a package deal James.

    I agree that voting is a package deal. I’ve argued here before that voting is inherently an affirmative act, regardless of your stated reasons for voting for a candidate. We don’t get to avoid responsibility for our votes because we’ve been forced to vote strategically and make compromises in our reasoning and calculus. The “lesser evil” is still evil. Even if it’s a better or justifiable choice when looking at the big picture, or in terms of the policies that matter to us most, we can’t completely avoid the consequences inherent to the affirmative act of voting.

    Just keep in mind the “package deal” doesn’t just apply to Trump. So if you voted for Obama (as I did in 2008), then we can’t dodge responsibility for all the bad things his administration did. He doesn’t get a mulligan for all the people killed and maimed in the Afghanistan surge, the drone wars, and the wars in Yemen and Libya which number in the hundreds of thousands. And Bush doesn’t get a mulligan for Iraq and its consequences.

    If you voted for Clinton in 2016, then you voted for an unapologetic warmonger who was on the wrong side of every major foreign policy mistake of the last two decades. Package deal.

    On a personal level, I voted for Obama in 2008 knowing his plans for Afghanistan were foolish and would result in a lot of pointless bloodshed. But I did that because I thought he was overall a much better choice than McCain. I stand by my vote and the reasons I made it but I also acknowledge the consequences which included two colleagues killed and a friend who blew his brains out after a long struggle with PTSD following his experiences in Afghanistan during the surge. I’m just one person with one vote which wouldn’t have made a difference in the ultimate outcome, but I do still feel some responsibility for all that, despite doing my best to argue and inform people about the folly of Obama’s Afghanistan policy. Package deal.

    But there’s another side of that coin which is what James very appropriately and ably describes in his post. De facto binary choice voting in a hugely diverse country of 300+ million means that compromising principles is often unavoidable. The incentives of our system drive us to rationalize-away responsibility for the full consequences of our vote in order to pursue the policies that matter most to us as individuals. Hence it forces people to vote strategically and even against their own interests if other concerns are more important.

    While I wish that more Americans had the introspection to take responsibility for the full consequences of their votes, I think it is incorrect to take that further and suggest they actually support everything about a candidate. Lots of people (including me) will vote for a candidate while at the same time promising to oppose some of that candidate’s policies. Yes, there is a dissonance there but that dissonance is because of how our system artificially forces people into two narrow, imperfect options. I can’t blame people for that, even Trump voters.

    ReplyReply
    4
  34. JKB says:

    @James Joyner: But, absent nominating a child molester, we know that the Republicans are going to win Alabama in any statewide, national election.

    Now that’s funny. Far more evidence of Joe Biden being a child molester than reports of a 30 yr old dating teen age girls around 1980. It was common in that time period. I know I was trying to date those same teenage girls. Woody Allen made it the centerpiece of a well-regarded movie. A popular television show, Hill Street Blues, had a 60 yr old police officer dating a high school girl as a recurring subplot for a main character. See the character played by Muriel Hemmingway in ‘Creator’.

    But Joe Biden has a long photographic and video record of being handsy with girls and young or petite women. His sniffing of their hair is known the world over. The only thing that stopped in this campaign is social distancing. I think it is more some dominance thing, being able to molest appointee’s wives and daughters on stage, but you never know.

    ReplyReply
  35. EddieInCA says:

    Kevin Drum said it best in my opinion:

    Biden Will Win, But . . .

    Kevin Drum
    November 4, 2020
    I am very disappointed in my country this morning.

    As for me, beyond my dissapointment, I’m in the same camp as Reynolds. I can live my life very well without knowingly interacting with Trumpists. I live in LA, and work in blue cities in red states (Austin, Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale) or in liberal international cities, (London, Paris, Prague, Madrid). I can easily never, knowingly, interact with a Trump supporter.

    I will go out of my way, spend more money if I have to, to avoid them at all costs.

    I will be happier.

    ReplyReply
    6
  36. Jax says:

    @JKB: There’s far more evidence of Donald J Trump being an actual child rapist, but you’re fine with that.

    I can see why, if you were chasing those same teenage girls in your 30’s. Birds of a feather flock together and all that.

    ReplyReply
    8
  37. Scott says:

    @JKB: Uh, no. I was a newly minted Lt stationed in Montgomery Al in the early 80s. We did not seek out or date high school girls. Nor did anybody else we knew.

    That Hill Street Blues story arc with Ally Sheedy was very creepy indeed. That was not “dating”.

    I know I was trying to date those same teenage girls.

    I don’t know where you were or how old you were at the time (and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know), but unless you were a teenager yourself, you did not seek out and date high school girls.

    ReplyReply
    2
  38. wr says:

    @drj: “The lie is so transparent that even the smallest good-faith effort would expose it.”

    And yet, these very people are the same ones who are constantly whining about “virtue signaling.”

    ReplyReply
    1
  39. wr says:

    @JKB: Just. Fuck. Off.

    ReplyReply
    8
  40. wr says:

    @Scott: “That Hill Street Blues story arc with Ally Sheedy was very creepy indeed. ”

    And it was SUPPOSED to be creepy. Or at least very weird. All the other characters in the show were in various degrees of disapproval of the relationship. It wasn’t considered quasi-criminal the way it would be today, but I don’t think anyone thought it anything better than pathetic.

    As for Manhattan, Mariel (not “Murial”, JKB) Hemingway’s character was a symbol of innocence, someone who had not yet been so corrupted by cynicism that she was no longer able to understand the goodness and beauty in the world (as opposed to the jaded Diane Keaton character and her “academy of the overrated”.) The movie is about a man trying to free himself from the intellectual cages we build for ourselves… not a manual on how to pick up hot high school chicks.

    ReplyReply
    4
  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Alex Hamilton:

    hope it was worth it.

    Sadly, when you’re the winner, the answer to that question is always the same–at least until karma proves her bitchiness (or if she does):

    Damn straight it was worth it.

    ReplyReply
    4
  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: No, I trust JKB to know exactly what kind of a perv he is. I’ll take him at his word on this.

    ReplyReply
    3
  43. R. Dave says:

    @Andy: Just keep in mind the “package deal” doesn’t just apply to Trump. So if you voted for Obama (as I did in 2008), then we can’t dodge responsibility for all the bad things his administration did. He doesn’t get a mulligan for all the people killed and maimed in the Afghanistan surge, the drone wars, and the wars in Yemen and Libya which number in the hundreds of thousands. And Bush doesn’t get a mulligan for Iraq and its consequences. If you voted for Clinton in 2016, then you voted for an unapologetic warmonger who was on the wrong side of every major foreign policy mistake of the last two decades. Package deal.

    The difference, though, is that for Bush, Obama and Clinton, the harm from those policies was either the result of a good faith error in judgment or an unavoidable side effect that they each tried to minimize in the pursuit of their otherwise reasonable (if potentially mistaken) policy goals. With Trump, as is often noted, the cruelty/harm is the point – i.e., the policy goal in and of itself – or a deliberately wielded means to an end. For example, Obama “put kids in cages” in a limited fashion when an unexpected surge of minors illegally crossing the border overwhelmed the system; Trump massively expanded that practice to intentionally inflict extra fear and suffering as a deterrent to other potential illegal crossings. That, to me, is a fundamental moral difference between the “package deals” that I, as a voter, have to choose between.

    ReplyReply
    7
  44. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I think you simply cannot underestimate the knowledge of the overall electorate, especially in a hyper-partisan era where the fundamental need for free speech is losing battles to an onslaught of customized propaganda. Most people I know actively AVOID trying to learn about what’s actually happening politically, and end up with a generalized sense of “my team is better than your team” without even being able to explain why. Even today, a good person I know who voted for Biden panicked because they somehow picked up that Trump won Ohio, and that meant “Biden couldn’t win.” It’s inconceivable to us in this comments section that someone could be that confused during election week where every bit of news has the race as undecided, and yet…We are the unusual ones, obsessively following this sort of stuff. I also know someone who had forgotten Trump was impeached earlier this year and had only the vaguest memory of what it was about…”some phone call?”. They voted for Biden too.

    We probably need to update Occam’s law to say: Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence *and ignorance*.

    It’s fair to rip the lack of responsibility those people show, as being a citizen means you have responsibilities (like staying informed) not just rights. But I don’t think it’s fair to blame James for “not taking responsibility” when he has split away from his party. It’s not his fault so many people don’t want to actually know. And I also don’t know how to fix the issue. You can’t force someone to learn something they don’t want to learn.

    I’m sure everyone here knows the old saw, “Democracy is the theory that people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” Funny because it’s true. Most people do not think logically-they think emotionally/instinctively, and as little as possible about subjects they don’t like, and that’s just the way it is.

    In the end, Trump is going to get ~70 million votes. I bet at least half of them are from people who know effectively nothing about actual political reality today, and that most of those would be appalled at Trump if they actually followed things like we do.

    ReplyReply
    3
  45. al Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Now that’s funny. Far more evidence of Joe Biden being a child molester than reports of a 30 yr old dating teen age girls around 1980.

    Q-Anon is your friend.
    There’s as much evidence of your Biden allegation, as there was that Hillary was running a child sex slave opperation out of a pizzeria in Bethesda.

    ReplyReply
    2
  46. EddieInCA says:

    Send this to your Trumpist friends…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uItwqMFKTQ4&feature=youtu.be

    Won’t matter, but it might show them what principled conservatism looks like…

    ReplyReply
    3
  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    Just keep in mind the “package deal” doesn’t just apply to Trump. So if you voted for Obama (as I did in 2008), then we can’t dodge responsibility for all the bad things his administration did. He doesn’t get a mulligan for all the people killed and maimed in the Afghanistan surge, the drone wars, and the wars in Yemen and Libya which number in the hundreds of thousands. And Bush doesn’t get a mulligan for Iraq and its consequences. If you voted for Clinton in 2016, then you voted for an unapologetic warmonger who was on the wrong side of every major foreign policy mistake of the last two decades. Package deal.

    I do. I can list the mistakes made by any of the Democrats who’ve been president in my life.

    I can’t find an example though of an overt appeal to white racists. I can’t find an example of any of them trying to stop votes being counted. I can’t find examples of any who’ve told, what’s the number now? 50,000 lies? And I can’t find a president of either party who openly solicited campaign help from a hostile nation, or lied about a pandemic.

    I believe in good and evil; I don’t believe in black and white. Every political choice involves shades of gray. But there’s gray and then there’s straight-up evil. In the history of humanity race hatred has claimed millions, perhaps billions of lives. Trump is an evil man using evil means to hold onto power. No gray there. Black as a swastika. And unlike voters in 2016 who could pretend they didn’t know what Herr Hitler was planning, this time people knew. Voting for Trump was a vote for evil.

    ReplyReply
    6
  48. Ben says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @JKB: You know I love a good child molester but Biden is just a little too handsy for my liking. That’s why I sticking with Trump. He may have molested or otherwise grabbed the occasional pussy (and also admitted to it on tape) but that’s the moral line I draw here. As long as I think someone has done something just slightly more horrific than Trump, I can then choose Trump and be confident he is the man for the job.

    ReplyReply
    1
  49. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I believe in good and evil; I don’t believe in black and white. Every political choice involves shades of gray. But there’s gray and then there’s straight-up evil. In the history of humanity race hatred has claimed millions, perhaps billions of lives. Trump is an evil man using evil means to hold onto power. No gray there. Black as a swastika. And unlike voters in 2016 who could pretend they didn’t know what Herr Hitler was planning, this time people knew. Voting for Trump was a vote for evil.

    This!! Repeatedly.

    In the youtube video I posted above, Tara Setemeyer, a long time GOP operative says it this way: “Almost 70 million people voted for a sociopath.” That’s where I am. I don’t want to interact with people that are okay with putting brown kids in cages, and turning 500+ of them into orphans. I don’t want to interact with people who think “grab them by the pussy” is a legitimate way to attract women. I don’t want to interact with people who think there were “good people on both sides” at Charlottesville.

    Nope. Not gonna do it.

    ReplyReply
    9
  50. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    I just don’t think there’s any dispute here.

    Yes, but you don’t seem to be recognizing that this is because Richard Nixon’s platform would be the most liberal platform in a generation, from either side.

    A return to normal is not extremism, no matter how far you have to go to get there.

    ReplyReply
    2
  51. charon says:

    @charon:

    Farthur to my point about the COVID motivating the Trump vote:

    (i.e., this COVID election as a black swan benefitting the GOP):

    https://nypost.com/2020/11/05/counties-with-covid-19-surges-overwhelmingly-voted-trump-report/

    The Associated Press looked at 376 counties with the highest number of new COVID-19 infections per capita — and found that 93 percent of them went for Trump, a rate above areas that were less severely hit by the virus.

    Most of the counties were rural areas in Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin, according to the AP analysis.

    Polling also showed that voters who differed on Trump vs. Biden were also split on whether the pandemic is under control.

    Among Trump supporters, 36 percent said the pandemic is completely or mostly under control, while 47 percent believed it was somewhat under control, according to AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 110,000 voters.

    Meanwhile, 82 percent of Biden backers surveyed said the pandemic is not at all under control.

    When asked what they believed was the top issue facing the nation, about half of Trump voters said the economy and jobs. Less than a quarter cited the pandemic, the survey found.

    That was in sharp contrast to Biden supporters, with about 60 percent saying the pandemic was the most important issue.

    If you look around the issue of the NY Post this was on, it appears Rupert Murdoch has voted Trump off the island.

    You see GOP pols in general have been not much visible support for Trump currently.

    ReplyReply
  52. Andy says:

    @R. Dave:

    That, to me, is a fundamental moral difference between the “package deals” that I, as a voter, have to choose between.

    I think you make a good argument here but would point out that a “good faith error” or “unavoidable side effect” is a subjective judgment.

    Perhaps some can look back now in hindsight and conclude that Bush’s mistakes were the result of good faith errors or unavoidable side effects, but I bet most liberals would disagree. And when Bush was actually President, many of the same arguments about Bush, including comparisons to Hitler and Nazis, were made against him as are now being made against Trump. Outside of a few centrist and conservative-leaning Democrats, I don’t recall anyone on the left side of the spectrum giving Bush any benefit of the doubt about almost anything he did.

    And that’s just politics. One of the hard-coded aspects of partisanship is the assumption and inherent bias that those on your side operate on the basis of good faith while those on the other side do not. That is no less true of this Trump era which seems to be, thankfully, coming to an end.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I can’t find an example though of an overt appeal to white racists. I can’t find an example of any of them trying to stop votes being counted. I can’t find examples of any who’ve told, what’s the number now? 50,000 lies? And I can’t find a president of either party who openly solicited campaign help from a hostile nation, or lied about a pandemic.

    Which are all criticisms of Trump I heartily agree with.

    Where we disagree is our interpretation of Trump’s motives, which you think are fascist and evil. By contrast, I think his motivations are banal and not based on an ideology, much less one about power or changing the nature of society and government. Instead, he’s an egoist, kleptocrat, and grifter.

    ReplyReply
    1
  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Andy: So egoistic, kleptocratic, and grifting are not evil as long as banality is the driving force? Sorry, but I’ll take a hard pass on buying your moral compass. It seems broken, based on the test drive. Then again, in political philosophy for me the standard is not good and bad or moral and immoral; it’s wise and foolish. Right now in our country, foolish has a commanding lead and is pulling away from the pack even further.

    ReplyReply
    1

Speak Your Mind

*