The Guardian gave space for Donald Trump supporters to explain themselves, and the results are genuinely interesting. Republicans or conservatives who are signing on to the #NeverTrump campaign, in particular, should read through it to get a better sense of how voters outside the beltway bubble perceive the way Washington works.
There's the self-described "patriotic socialist" who has decided that strong borders are the most important issue, even though the writer is also pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and in favor of boycotting Israel. There's a Hispanic millennial Florida attorney driving a metaphorical dagger into Sen. Marco Rubio's heart, no doubt, worried that "political correctness" has turned into a tool to destroy people and likes how Trump fights back. Her sister also worked for Trump and says he's much nicer than his public persona. There's the 20-year-old gay Muslim who actually supports the temporary ban on Muslim immigration and believes Trump will end the U.S. practice of ignoring how awfully our ally Saudi Arabia behaves.
What's truly fascinating are two self-described progressives who are voting for Trump for different reasons but are partly driven by the same recognition of the brutality of the foreign policies put forth by both parties.
Trump progressive number one works in a "liberal arts department" and is voting for Trump because the writer thinks Trump actually is bad for the country and will cause Americans to reject "unrestricted neoliberalism and libertarian free market superstition." Given that Trump is the same kind of trade protectionist as Bernie Sanders, I don't see how that would happen. There's nothing libertarian about Trump's economic platform. But nevertheless, the writer makes an important point to those who point out the cruelty of the way Trump would approach the war on terror:
I don't find conversations about how morally repugnant Trump is to be interesting when the rest of the candidates seem to also support imperialistic and fascist policies concerning drone strikes, torture and mass surveillance.
Progressive number two (a yoga instructor) thinks Barack Obama has been similarly terrible and doesn't think Sanders can beat Hillary Clinton:
Barack Obama talked about hope and change, but I believe he failed to deliver on his promises. His record with drone strikes and prosecutions of whistleblowers are especially troubling (not to mention he didn't follow-through with prosecutions of those who caused the financial crisis).
As far as Obamacare goes, I'm not buying it, because it seems ignorant to throw money at a problem and hope it will get better. I'm glad more people are covered, but the plans aren't worth shit, as many of them don't kick in until you spend thousands on a co-pay. No thanks.
Bernie is a breath of fresh air, but I'm not sure he can beat Hillary. In a match between Bernie and Donald, I'd vote for the former. In a match between Hillary and Donald, I'd vote for the latter. It isn't a vote for Trump, but rather a vote against the political establishment (which must be removed from office at any cost—even if it means electing a reality TV star for president). The stakes are too high. Hillary cannot win or the oligarchy will continue unabated.
Note that none of these supporters are making the argument that Trump isn't a con artist or that he actually is a conservative. It should be very clear by reading all these letters that absolutely none of these folks care about Team Red or Team Blue or squad goals that originate from D.C. An approach that would challenge Trump's ascendancy needs to internalize that reality.
It's also clear from these letters that the Republicans aren't the only folks who should be worrying about what's going on in the minds of Trump voters. I had figured that the Democrats might be worried that Sanders' supporters would stay home come November rather than vote for Clinton. But these letters show Sanders' fans also considering Trump. Maybe that's also feeding some Democratic ire toward the "Bernie bros."
In other crossover news, remember former Democratic primary candidate Jim Webb? He says he won't vote for Clinton either and is considering Trump. His logic:
"The reason Donald Trump is getting so much support right now is not because of racists," he said. "It's because people are seeing him as the only one who has the courage to step forward and say we've got to clean the stables of the government, we've got to make it work."
"With Donald Trump, you're either going to get something very good or very bad," he added. "But with Hillary Clinton were going to get more of the same thing. Do you want the same thing?"