Tobold's Blog
Saturday, October 24, 2020
The 40%

Due to the importance that the holder of the office has on a global scale, the whole world is to some degree following the news of the upcoming US presidential elections. Outside the USA the preference for "what's his name, not-Trump" is pretty clear. What many people don't understand is why Trump is expected to get at least 40% of the vote, and given the inexactitude of polls last time around, maybe even more.

As it stands, "Trump voter" is basically used as an insult these days. There is a perception that anybody voting for Trump must be stupid, and probably a white supremacist. I think that it is extremely dangerous to consider any significant percentage of the voting population as stupid, or their votes and worries as not valid. In 2017, 12.6% of German voters opted for an extreme right party, causing the global press to speculate on how the Nazis are back. But if you looked closer, you found that all the other parties had supported or not opposed a large wave of immigration by refugees, and voting for the "Nazis" was the only option on the ballot if you were uncomfortable with that immigration. The established political parties basically missed the chance of properly addressing a worry that a significant portion of the population had. So, the question is not why 40%+ of Americans vote for Trump, but rather what valid worries this large segment of the population has that makes them too afraid to vote Democrat.

I have a sneaking suspicion that a large part of the answer lies in political correctness and "woke" culture. While I wholly support the goals of fighting racism, gender inequality, and social justice, I can't say I support the way that the left is fighting this fight. Even a good fight gets tainted if it is fought by bad means. The power to get somebody fired, ruined, or worse not for something that he did, but for something he thinks, is inherently evil. The woke thought police and cancel culture are a serious threat to the freedom of expression, however noble their goals might be. And I believe that the 40% can see that, and that they are more scared of the thought police than of the orange clown in the White House.

There is a greater than even probability that the left will gain a lot of power in November. And it will feel to them as if the good guys won, and they will want to use that newfound power to implement a lot of their policies. But maybe they should remember that making certain thoughts illegal isn't actually very "liberal" at all; and it has never worked for any government in millennia of human history. Punishing people for their opinions, instead of engaging with those opinions and trying to convince the other side, is just going foster resistance. And ultimately, America loves freedom. If the deeply flawed and incompetent champion of freedom can get 40% of the votes this time, what is going to happen in 4 or 8 years, if freedom of expression finds a better champion? The left would be better off to address the economic inequality sources of social injustice, rather than trying to suppress any opinion that they find offensive.

Quite a few people are single issue voters: Evangelicals, pro-Life, low taxes, etc. All of whom are more than happy to vote for Trump. There are also significant numbers of voters who will vote for Trump because it "makes the liberals cry". (Honest. I see yard signs that say instead of "Make America Great Again" or "Keep America Great" they say "Make Liberals Cry Again".)

Not to mention the proliferation of multiple yard signs, homemade yard signs, multiple flags, and whatnot all proclaiming "TRUMP 2020"!!! in many yards. It's more akin to hero worship than anything else.
The best comment I have seen as to why the uneducated and poor continue to vote republican isn't because they believe it will make their lives better (it doesn't, look at red states vs blue states for proof of that), but because they believe republicans will hurt the people they hate (non-whites) more. Trump via russia dug deep into that (mexican rapists, shithole countries, etc), and the cult loves it. Pointing out to them that they are worst off now than 4 years ago doesn't work, because they got what they voted for, non-whites are hurting more.

I don't agree that you can reach and reason with the core cult members. They are lost. They think the 'slow recovery' under Obama was bad while cheering on the first president in modern history to lose more jobs than they created. All you can do is hope they stay in the minority, turn out to vote, and keep them on the fringe.

I do agree however that dems aren't doing themselves any favors in some of the positions they take, but as always its the lesser of two evils, and now especially the other side is far far further into evil than in times past.
Agreed on the lesser evil, I sure would vote Democrat if I had a vote.

But think how much somebody must be scared of liberals to put up a "Make Liberals Cry Again" sign on his yard! Or to vote for somebody clearly unfit for office, just because it makes the people he is scared off even worse off!
I don't think wokeness is what it's about. If you read interviews with Trump voters, they live in an alternate reality where he's done good things. Fixed health care, told those Europeans and Chinese who's boss, handled covid, etc. A bunch of stuff that is provably untrue, but thats what their alternate media tells them.
It's also abortion. There is a large set of Christian viewers who will vote Republican no matter what because they have been taught that the Republican party stands for "family values" which is code for anti-abortion and anti-gay.
The power to get somebody fired, ruined, or worse not for something that he did, but for something he thinks, is inherently evil.

I'm curious as why you associate this approach with the left. This is not new, it's called vigilantism, and it's as much a tradition of the right than of the left, probably more, if you look at how it played in various extreme right states.
I think it's a far simpler issue then you think Tobold. In the US many voters are one issue voters. Abortion, like others have said will make sure a significant portion of the population vote Republican no matter what. Another chunk of voters treat political like sports and want their side to win no matter what. That's why the middle more often then not decides elections.
It's always interesting seeing the "cancel culture" bugbear trotted out when it wasn't until this year (2020!) that it was made illegal to fire someone for being gay. Clearly political correctness gone amok.

In any case, Trump voters ARE stupid, evil, or both. Christians throwing children in cages (and losing 500+ of them, oops!) because of other people's ovaries, fiscal conservatives rubber stamping tax breaks for billionaires they'll have to pay for themselves, and everyone diving headfirst into the burning graveyard that is climate change. What could be more conservative then conserving the environment? Or not having to pay trillions more in disaster relief?

I wonder what your thoughts are on the left making attempts towards the "redefining" of certain words, simply because they are unhappy that these words are attributed to them as it pertains to political and social ideology? Surely the great Dictionaries of the world can't be wrong, can they? =)
@NoGuff: Can't say I have noticed that. Which words were you thinking about? There is a *lot* of word redefining going on in politics on both sides. And a word like "liberal" can mean something completely different in the USA than it means in Europe. Dictionaries aren't static, language always evolves.

My problem with the left has more to do with redefining history than with redefining words. History doesn't change. If you make a supposedly historical film or TV series, you can't just pretend that the world was already "woke" 50 or 100 or more years ago.
My problem with the left has more to do with redefining history than with redefining words.

And yet the most know example of this is holocaust denial, which is not exactly "from the left"..... It seems to me that you are attributing a lot of stuff left and right (pun intended) which have actually nothing to do with, well, left and right.
Reminds me of the excellent CDP Grey video "This video will make you angry", in particular the end.

@Azuriel: it's not that easy, the NYT (I think) had an interesting interview with a couple of hardcore Trump supporters, the info in it matches what I had read in "Strangers in their own land" in explicating why poor people vote for Trump.

Can't say I have noticed that. Which words were you thinking about?

"Political Correctness" is the grand daddy of them all. Its origin and usage were attributed to the left, yet most 'progressives' are upset by this anytime it is mentioned and will vehemently deny its origins.

"Racism" is another. It is no longer based on religion, color or creed, but on political orientation, and anyone who challenges the liberal agenda is branded a "racist."

"Hunger" is another. It is no longer a measure of the body's lack of nourishment, instead it is called "food insecurity" by those on the left.

These aren't some examples of innocent, linguistic drift. It is a conscious effort to reshape thought processes in society to further the progressive agenda by causing people to rely on feelings rather than on objective facts. Change the meaning and usage of words, and in effect, you change history.
On the topic of redefining words: Trump called the impeachment process against him a "lynching". He labeled at least several people to be "traitors".
Both words have very precise meaning - and the President of the US tries to redefine them for his own political gains. Many more examples can be found.

Redefining words and trying to shut down opinion with which you do not agree is definitely not only a left/liberal thing.
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