I am confused. All the Republican candidates say that Trump is a bigot, racist, liar, con-man and misogynist, so why do they also say they’d still support him? That makes no sense. If one thinks someone is so unqualified to be President how can then one say, “But I’ll support him anyway?”
I, clearly, fall into the Never Trump category primarily because his authoritarian leanings are frightening to any of us who have worked in countries that are authoritarian or totalitarian. I spent too many years helping countries get away from that mind-set. To see America heading in that direction is terrifying.
A close friend who lives in London emailed me this question: Why are people supporting Trump? I think there are several reasons. Trump is doing so well because there are many voters who are thinking that authoritarianism is a good thing because they are scared – scared of their economic future, frightened of the terrorism that is rampant throughout the world, fearful that the next generation will be much worse off than their parents are. And there are definite problems in our economy that need to be fixed. But to me, supporting a potential dictator is not the way to handle the future. Fear, however, frequently has brought about authoritarian regimes in the past.
In addition, it seems that our entire society has become much more accepting of vulgarity, stretching the truth (or some would say lying), general rudeness and greed. When Nixon and Kennedy ran against each other, there was no talk about the size of each other’s extremities nor was either accused of disseminating secret documents illegally or of taking huge fees from a narrow interest base. If our choice is Trump or Clinton as my friend in London said, “I mean who could vote for a lying, vulgar, misogynistic, bigot and con man, with no policies, with a history of grinding down the downtrodden folks who are his core voters? Or a woman who is being investigated by the FBI for improper or illegal use of classified documents?”
Perhaps, instead of blaming the candidates, we should start at the micro level – the individual voter. After all, we vote for these candidates – or write–ins if we are too disgusted. After a little bit of soul-searching, I have to admit that as a Marine child, I tend to have fallen into the “sailor mouth” group which definitely falls into the “vulgar and rude” columns. The English language easily provides the tools to be precise and to express disgust, anger, frustration, as well as love, friendship and kindness. So I am taking the first step – a jar to hold dollar bills each time I take the easy way out and use a swear word instead of stretching my vocabulary and using descriptive but clean language. It’s a tiny step but if we each tried a bit harder to support candidates that reflect a more civilized, policy-oriented attitude, perhaps we will have better choices in the future. And we could name the new party “The Party of the Rational,” as a friend suggested!