Reading at the Crossroads

Reading at the Crossroads is an archive for columns and letters which appeared in the Terre Haute Tribune Star. I also blog here when my patience is exhausted by what I feel is irritating, irrational and/or ironic in life. --gary daily

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Location: Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

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Sunday, November 06, 2016

Letter on the True Trump Base

Trump’s base will have to live with themselves
One question has become the premiere intriguing query about Trump’s presidential run. Regardless of victory or defeat at the polls, political scientists, historians, and journalist of every political stripe are asking: How is it that Trump attracts the “white, working class, male” close to his side given how far away he stands from this group’s interests and values?
By now we know through verified documentation that Trump was a spoiled, obnoxious rich kid who grew up to become a spoiled, obnoxious man-child. Though he went to an elite military finishing school, he slandered a Vietnam War hero (Sen. John McCain). And there was his high-handed dismissal of a Gold Star family who lost a son in Afghanistan (Khizr and Ghazala Khan). This all comes from a man who avoided the draft by using four student deferments and a doctor’s visit that found a questionable heel problem. And this beat-the-drums-for-me-I’m-a-billionaire, made a big deal about a pledge to a veterans’ cause back in January of this year. Remember how he finally came through after being pursued to fulfill his donation four months later?
As a vaunted business man (many thanks to his father’s $14 million startup fund.), Trump has proceeded in his supposedly outstanding building career to stiff both small business owners for work delivered and workers out of wages earned. He regularly uses or threatens to use costly lawsuits to beat down competitors and deter challengers. Many, many of his business ventures failed miserably, ending up in bankruptcy. And don’t expect to see his tax returns, ever. Why should we, the voters, know any of this?
Don’t all “really, really, smart businessmen” running for president do this?
Trump is a performer who welcomes and thrives on public attention. So we know all about his three, scandal-filled marriages. His string of affairs with models (some of whom he ranked by a number system on radio programs heard by a vast audience), filled magazines for years. Most recently there are the personal and painful reports from 12 women who came forward to reveal that Trump’s predatory sexual behavior goes beyond “locker room” talk. The man has a serious problem with women. He might find work judging livestock at a county fair, but keep him away from the local beauty pageants.
The shils in his crowds at campaign events may revel in this Bully Billionaire stuff, but none of this would be something to be proud of among the “white, working class, males” I grew up with.
But that said, I realize this focus on a misunderstood and easily maligned working class really diverts us from a group of Trump voters deserving more attention. This is the True Trump Base, the white, middle-class, males and females who praise and worship the man. Even in the reddest of the red states, even in Indiana (but hopefully not in bellwether Vigo County), this group will probably deliver more votes to Trump than any other demographic. What’s up? No one really asks and no one really knows.
Those in the True Trump Base know in their heads, their hearts, and their souls, that Donald Trump, Republican candidate for President of the United States of America, is only a showman, a con man, a sexist, a demagogue, a fraud, and an inveterate liar. And these are voters who have the leisure and resources to study the candidates, their experience, temperament, and intelligence.
Yet these respectable, usually thoughtful and patriotic American citizens making up the True Trump Base are ignoring and/or rationalizing their votes for Trump. For reasons beyond understanding, they disappear the hard evidence of Donald Trump’s failings. They will troop into the polls and cast their ballots for a man who is totally unqualified to be our president.
If Trump, by some nightmare turn, is elected, this True Trump Base will have to live with their acts of willful ignorance. If Trump loses, they will still have to live with their acts of willful ignorance.
— Gary W. Daily, Terre Haute

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