Trump Supporters Make Their Case

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.
Trump at a rally on March 13. By the way, America is already great again. (Joe Skipper / Reuters)

In these past few days I’ve argued that Donald Trump is an increasingly impressive political performer, whose lack of substantive knowledge on public issues is increasingly obvious. He keeps saying “we’re going to win again” and “it’s going to be great” because that’s all he knows to say about anything involving what a president does. Three installments to this effect are here, here, and here.

For the other side, a sample of reader mail defending Trump. First, from a reader in Europe, a “shake things up” / “intensify the contradictions” argument:

I think I would vote for Trump.
- what American politics needs is radical change. Hillary won't bring that. Bernie is too weak to deliver.
- he would probably really split the Republican Party. Maybe leading to a multi-party system?
- said that Bush lied the country and the world to war.
- does not unquestioningly take the Israeli side.
- he is not a fascist, racist, white supremacist. Wall or no wall.

I wrote back saying: thanks for laying this out, but I disagree for many reasons, among them that Trump does not know anything about either domestic or international policy, choices, problems, goals. The European replied:

I understand. But I believe it is irrelevant. The position of president was never meant to be as powerful as it is today. The country should be rueld by a functioning Senate and Congress.

What America needs is direct democracy where people can vote on issues directly, like in Switzerland. There is no place for riots and violence in such a system, because it gets settled with a vote. If the majority agrees, then the rest has to shut it. Even if the decision is very controversial and might limit some people's rights. It happens all the time in Switzerland. But decisions also get reversed in subsequent votes. And with some issues, like repealing mandatory military service, they vote on it every 10-15 years. Always with the same outcome.

The point is that people actually have a direct voice and what the majority decides actually happens. I think in today's America most of the "elite" and the politically left-leaning there is a lack of trust in the people and their ability to make sane decisions.

The result is Trump.

Again, Hilary will not change this. Trump is just so disruptive that it might lead to some actual change.

For the record, I find this unpersuasive, the kind of thought-experiment that might seem “interesting” from Europe but not if you’re in the middle of it here. Still, offered for the record.

***

“When are you hypocrites going to question your own party?” A more common theme in pro-Trump mail is anger at the hypocrisy of the press in general and me in specific. A polite version:

Got it. You hate Trump. That’s very clear. I'm no fan either. But I'm still waiting for one of you media elites to step up and say, “I cannot support a pathological liar corrupted by an insatiable thirst for power who abandoned four American to protect a political campaign.” [JF note: for those in doubt, he is talking about Hillary Clinton.]

How about it James?  Can you spot a phoney regardless of party? Or is your indignation only in one direction? I think I know the answer.

The less polite alternative:

James you are a pathetic little dickhead
Crawl back in your wigger rat hole
Continue to write slime propaganda and I suspect it will catch up with you
     Buzz Mitchell
     American

And in essay-question form:

While I might agree that the disavowal of Donald Trump may be a wise thing for Republicans and especially conservatives to do, as his statements seem not presidential, bellicose, and needlessly insulting to many. I would also ask, will you write a similar article suggesting Democrats or Progressives, disavow Hillary Clinton, for actions that break the law, that enrich herself and family though using her position and former positions in government, for her unjustifiable role in attacks and smears against women her husband had sexually abused, and for her constant and conspicuous and ubiquitous dishonestly?  

When I see such an article from The Atlantic, or any of the plethora of similar leftist magazine articles which show up on my Yahoo browser page daily, then I might agree that you have a valid point about candidates declaring they won’t support Donald Trump. Otherwise, Mr Trump’s possible nomination and election does not seem any more disastrous than Ms. Clinton’s.

***

Here’s a long message that combines views of the press and the political establishment with complaints about the economy.  I’m not taking the time to copy-edit the whole thing, because generally I don’t do that with reader mail. Also, the style of presentation is part of the message.

The reader starts by objecting to my claim that Trump, successful as he may have been in business, is shockingly ignorant about public affairs.

So a stupid and ignorant person can build and own towers, casinos, have many businesses, and employ thousands simultaneously. Realy? Use your brain idiot. So anyone can do this according to your logic?

Either your the ignoramous for writing an entire article on something that has zero logic to it or your part of the liberal lieing propaganda machine taking advantage of the stupid american voters that Jonathon Gruber was refering to. Which would mean your just pure evil like Obama, whom only got elcted on lies and broken promises directed towards stupid and ignorant voters.

Example of Lies:

"If you like your healthcare plan you can keep it"- No, that put a bunch of new requirement on mandatory plans so that was a blatant lie. The new cadilac tax that was imposeed on small busninesses by his plan is why I lost mine. Went from paying $116 a month with $500 deductibale through my employer, kicked to the private sector paying $265 a month with a $1800 deductable. Which brings me to the next monstrous lie.

"The cost of healthcare annual increase will slow to the lowest levels in american history" -That the lie from hell. That same silver plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield was gonna increase from $265 to $430 this year if I would have kept it. That's a 62% increase from one year to the next. You tell me any year in the history of our nation healthcare has gone up that much? It hasn't! Now I'm a average income machinist making $45000 a year that ony has a catastrophic plan and paying $216 a month. How is that improved healthcare for middle class amaerca?

"The average american family will save $2500 a year on healthcare under my plan"- The above explains what a lieing crock of shit that is.

"I'm gonna bring hope and change to a disfuntional Washington"- This was his main theme during his first campaign. When you start your time in office overhauling the entire healthcare system in america and ramming down everyones throats with out even enough time for Congress to read it not to mention reach across the isles to discuss it, you set a precidence of divided politics. What did Polosi say" You have to pass it to see what's in it"? Can you get anymore divisive that this move? How many time hasn't he stated to give him what he want or he'll shut the government down? He's one elected official. Congress are hundreds of representative elected by the american people. Government has never been more divided as it is now and it's directly because of him.

"Al-Queda is at it's lowest levels of activity and on the run" Part of his debate statements just prior to the last election. Then Bengazi happens a few weeks later and he has to make up another lie to cover this one. NBot a single human being that was in Libya that day said there was a single deminstartion. I remenber on CNN a Libayan official came out the next day in an interveiw and said there were no demonstration going on. It's been a complete fabrication by this administration from day one and average joe me can see that. Terrorism around the world has gotten at least 10 time as bad since he's taken office under his polices. Another major ass deception to the american public to get re-elected.

Above are 5 examples of massive blatant lies by this administration towards us american voters that I remember thinking how great that would be if it is as he says. Finding out the facts later and him being one big fraud to the american public. Or at least the stupid and ignorant ones.

My opinion on the Trump rise against you whom don't understand. Middle class america is pissed about being misled on a massive scale with no accountability. Democrats have lied and told us everything we want to hear(which Hillary and Bernie are doing now). Republicans have been rolling over and letting them get away with it. Trump don't need to be bought and he isn't telling everyone all the nicey nice things that they want to hear. He won't put up with the lieing crap on either side of the isle.

Example- You see Hillary in the last month or so address the african american community and telling them everything they want to hear so the agree with everything she say. Prior to running she never talked that way. Good indication she's another Obama and just filling the american voters full of crap.

Just a middle class average income hard working american tired of the lieng BS by politicians and the press,thats tired of making less and having it given to those whom worked less and sacrificed less to get by. America became great without free healthcare and college. We've had to pay our way though life, why should others get a free ride. One sides bought mainly by big lobbyist, the other side just is plain bought by american tax dollars thru entitlements. Bernie just don't get that socialism isn't gonna make everyone wealthier. History don't lie so that sorta leaves Trump now doesn't it?

[I’ve removed the name, but it’s from a real person in Wisconsin]

Machinist

Nearly eight months to go, and then we’ll have to deal with the aftermath.