… voted for someone who immediately attempted to overturn the election and promote an insurrection. Either they made a terrible mistake or they are complicit in his actions. Impeachment will force them to decide between these two. That could turn out badly.
The alternative is to let them keep the illusion that they are good people who made a reasonable choice last November. I can’t see how that could possibly turn out other than badly.
23 thoughts on “74 million Americans …”
538 are keeping up their log of Trump’s approval rating. The three polls taken after 6 January cluster round 33%, just 10 points down on his long-run average. It’s not conceivable that any significant number had not heard and seen videos of the insurrection. Very depressing.
I don’t wish to split hairs when I say the people who voted for Donald Trump in November 2020 could not have known at that time what will happen after the election. Some people among those voters may have had something close to what actually did happen as a possible outcome but considered it to be a very low probability event. Some other people among those voters may not have considered the actual outcome at all as a possibility. In what sense did these two possible groups of people make a mistake?
Yes, those who actively participated in the failed take-over of the Capitol and associated actual or planned actions in other cities are complicit at least in the sense of blind faith in ‘the leader’.
Unless being proven otherwise, I believe the 74 million Americans, who voted for Donald Trump in November 2020, are not a homogeneous group of people, characterised by the properties of those to stormed the Capitol.
The Republican senators don’t seem to be a homogeneous group of Trump supporters either.
Perhaps I misunderstand when I say the voters are not involved in an impeachment process.
A close friend of mine, who has visited the USA many times during the past decade has expressed her concerns about a civil war in the USA for quite some time. One of her red flags was her observation that political discussions among friends and acquaintances dwindled after the 2016 election. She gained the impression people became afraid of political discussions – in the sense of avoiding even raising or commenting on current events. A strange way of practising ‘freedom of speech’. It is possible that the November 2020 Trump voters don’t know whether they are a divided population.
I know some Trump supporters, one of the first things they say is “please let’s not talk politics”. That’s not easy when Trump dominates the news cycle and Trumpism is the prevalent political force in Australia.
Trump appeals to the suspicious, the dubious, the paranoid – people who think that life has passed them by and they’ve been shortchanged – that’s something not defined by class or income.
He speaks with authority and certainty, he has battled those that want to take his hard earned wealth and he continues to prevail. This appeals to the aggrieved.
Well now the tide has gone out and we can all see that he has been swimming naked. I expect that loyalties will be tested.
The Trump supporters I have come across have been motivated by different reasons. Some fit into the extremely gullible/fantasist category which is sad when they are otherwise nice and generous people. It’s very disappointing to see people fall down rabbit holes – it’s often been a slow process and they have been gradually falling into conspiracy theories. There is also a strain of people who supported Trump from the beginning believing he was going to shake things up – combining a kind of nihilism with other social resentments. Then there are the faux pragmatists who fool themselves that he has brought jobs back to the US as promised. Reality doesn’t feature much in any of this, but the lesson is that Trump has been very skilled at tapping into discontents that have been ignored or felt to have been ignored. Some of those discontents are malign and misdirected, but the economic insecurities are real and need to be addressed.
Ernestine asks, “In what sense did these two possible groups of people (who voted for Donald Trump) make a mistake?”
They made a mistake by voting for Donald Trump, both in 2016 and in 2020. That is a most egregious mistake when it was always clear to intelligent and aware people what Donald Trump was and is;
(a) A millionaire oligarch;
(b) A pathological, narcissistic liar and manipulator;
(c) A moral criminal and probably a legal criminal even before he incited insurrection;
(d) A racist, sexist and capitalist elitist of the ugliest kind.
All this was clear to people who understood, via political, economic and even psychological theory, what Donald Trump was. Of course if they didn’t understand, Ernestine’s question rebounds somewhat to support her case. One can’t make a choice-mistake if one doesn’t understand. If one doesn’t understand, then the best possible choice(s) are not within the Venn circle of understanding; hence rational choice is not possible. The 33% (estimated) of “moral deplorables” are perhaps more accurately termed the morally incapacitated, through knowledge incapacitation. There will be a sub-group who are sociopaths and psychopaths but we can’t do much about their poor reality checking. Such people need to treated and sometimes “sectioned” under mental health acts (which process needs many of its own checks and balances).
The rest of the those morally incapacitated through knowledge incapacitation need (or rather needed) proper education and socialization. Without that, we get, well, exactly what we have got in the USA now. Catabolizing public health, welfare and education leads to the generation of more sick and incapacitated people, including those who are morally incapacitated. Vast increases in investment in public health, welfare and education will be needed to avoid this happening again and to re-educate and re-socialize as far as possible the adults with these problems.
Being a “left realist” as I term myself, I advocate the velvet glove and the iron fist, in that order. First, you help people regain work, income, activity, dignity and a sense of having a stake in the whole nation and the body social and politic. This post would get too long if I listed all the programs needed, especially in the USA. Ultimately, there will be a core who will not change and if and when they take violent actions against society and minorities (it’s usually minorities who cop it) then the iron fist comes down, according to law, checks and balances. People who worship force and violence ultimately only respect only one thing, even more force and violence than they can muster. With the right policies, the recalcitrant core will likely be so small that they will quail from open political violence. They will know (unless completely crazy) that they have no hope in taking that path.
What if ? What if the Corona virus hadn’t happened ? What if Trump had been presiding over a healthy economy and rising share market come election time ? Under those scenarios there is every chance Trump would be about to begin his second term as US President and hence leader of the free world. The fact that seventy four million Americans were still willing to support Trump despite all the scandals over the previous four years, despite the hundreds of thousands of Covid deaths under his watch, does not bode well for the future of US democracy. While Trump may fade away, Trumpism will not. The realm of alternative facts and wilful ignorance which inspires Trumpism and unfortunately much of the Republican Party shows no sign of dissipating.
JQ: “Either they made a terrible mistake or they are complicit in his actions.”
I’d suggest 74 million Americans were duped by Trump’s Big Lies.
Warren Brown comments in today’s Telegraph, including:
“In short, a colossal, almost unbelievable lie is more believable than small truths. The more audacious the claim, the more the intrigue and discussion it creates until the lie takes on a life of its own…”
The power of propaganda works. The masses are more easily corrupted by messaging directed to their base emotions.
“You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
This may or may not have been said by Abraham Lincoln but it is a very ‘true’ quote. Blaming 74mil voted for Trump due to propaganda is well and fine, but it also means that a Trump Mark II who is more competent than Trump would win the presidential election and turn US into Nazi Germany. I do think that if COVID had not happened and Trump didn’t completely botched the response to COVID, he would have won the second term.
The problem is not just his lies and propaganda, the problem is so many Americans believe in them. Would the solution be to make every single American so smart that they can see through every lie? I don’t think that’s plausible, so perhaps the solution is to solve the problems that made these lies resonate with people, be it inequality, health, education and the billionaires club that is the political system. Biden now has a major in the house and the senate, if he can’t change the course where America is heading, Trump Mark II or Mark III will be the future.
Late but crucial in inhibiting Trump’s prospects post-20 January:
Trump supporters are a disparate group ,I dont think it matters too much if there isnt a single feature that they all have . The simple fact that they all at least knowingly consort with racist misogynists damns the lot anyway. I would say that a good guess at a unifying feature though might be a belief in the inherent superiority of Christian western civilisation .Not religious men themselves ,Steve Bannon and Andrew Bolt are good examples of that .There were lots of Christian crosses at the insurrection rally .
If Trump were a competent authoritarian rather than a bumbling fool he would have used Corona to his advantage and won the election easily .America got a chance it probably didnt deserve ,they now need to do something real .
I cant bring myself to click on your link Harry. So…
KT2’s Hedgehog News,
NOT fox in murdoch socks.
Fox + “according to people familiar with his thinking” is a recipe for ‘alternate facts’ Harry. But we trust nytimes – don’t we?
A horse’s ear heard, as McConnell hasn’t been quoted as yet to my knowledge: “Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, has told associates that he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the party, according to people familiar with his thinking.
Updated Jan. 12, 2021, 10:27 p.m. ET
“Live Updates: On Eve of House Vote, McConnell Is Said to Be Pleased About Effort to Impeach Trump
“Senator Mitch McConnell is said to believe that the impeachment effort will make it easier to purge President Trump from the party. And Representative Kevin McCarthy has asked other Republicans whether he should call on Mr. Trump to resign in the aftermath of the Capitol siege.
Well, I for one believe the election was nearly stolen. There is no way Biden didn’t win in a landslide. He got at least 100 million votes, and those nasty Republicans have STOLEN many of those votes. I don’t have any proof right now, but after the inauguration it will all come out. My QAnon buddies tell me there are these sealed indictments, it will all come out, do you own research, don’t believe the MSM.
… and down the rabbit hole we go….
Trump might have well won without Corona, but he sure would not have been the leader of the free world. That concept has always been rather questionable to begin with. The biggest democracies is India, followed by Indonesia. Regarding Europeans: The younger ones, that is below 50 years of age generation in Europe sure ain’t up for that blind US following, so they might protect us from evil dangerous Russians any more at all. Maybe he can still find some more Japanese or South Koreans that live in that unrealistic foreign policy realism mindset, but even that is doubtful. On top of that Trump has also managed to annihilate even the USophiles of Europeans, up to the point that they sure would have never followed that particular president.
(correction: Indonesia is only the third biggest democracy after the US of course)
And another one. Liberal democracy can also be understood as a scale, not a binary distinction. No country is a 100% one man dictatorship and no country is a perfect liberal democracy either. The US is for good reason considered a less than stellar case on those scale indices of democracy some places publish. It has been that way long before Trump. Other places that do a lot better on those scales are far from perfection either. Concentration of media ownership among people that use them to spin a rather questionable political agenda is quite common for example.
Trumps popularity declined well before COVID, it was almost the day after he was inaugurated. COVID was just another stuff up by the completely incompetent Trump.
Never Trumpers are now in the ascendancy and the prospects of the Senate voting to impeach are improving by the hour.
The millions of people who support Trump show that it’s fairly easy to be fooled; the millions of people who oppose him show that it’s fairly easy not to be fooled. Pointing out the techniques of deceptive propaganda is an incomplete analysis if it doesn’t show what makes some people susceptible to those techniques and some not.
This is why we should be asking our politicians ‘What changes do you advocate to make Australia more democratic?’ If they’re not thinking about this, why aren’t they thinking about this?
A majority of Trump supporters know that he is lying and being deceptive, in fact it is what they most like about him. Because in denying that he said this or that, when he clearly did, he is sticking it to the biased liberal media and elites. This is a natural outcome of the culture wars.
The narrative that Trump voters are the poor white trash may be as fake as it was for Hitler
Bill Maher gets it.
That article is trying way to hard to link Trump to Hitler and to pretend all is new. Many black people (and people in general) being shot by the police is a rather old US phenomena for example. Voter suppression and gerrymandering are good old business as usual in the US. If those are not enough to show numerous Americans (possibly a majority) have rather shaky democratic values, then what is?
Yes Trump was an escalation but neither was he an escalation to HITLER!, nor was the US anything but a rather shameful defect democracy with an outsized positive perception of its rather questionable positive role in global democratization.There are a trillion other dictators to take as an example, many of them came into power with substantial support of the pre Trump US.
Without an explanation of why some people like Trump’s deceitfulness and lying while others don’t, this is an incomplete analysis.