Many years ago, an American rabbi published what would become a self-help bestseller called When Bad Things Happen to Good People. The book was intended to help people get past unfortunate events in their lives, and not become defined by those events. Right now, I think what is needed is a book called When Good People Do Bad Things. The purpose of this book would be to explain how ordinarily good people brought themselves to vote for Donald Trump.
The inauguration of that lumpen orange narcissist is only a little over a week away. All over the world (with the possible exception of Russia), people are asking how this could happen. How could any sane, halfway moral person justify to himorherself the notion of ‘President Trump.’
Now, I will grant you, Hillary was hardly the best choice of candidate for the democrats, or any other party for that matter. I would much rather have seen Bernie or Biden, myself. Or any number of women. Gender is not the reason I didn’t particularly like Hillary. Neither were emails or Benghazi, or any of the muck the republicans tried to throw at her. I didn’t like Bill that much, either, although it had nothing to do with Monica, and everything to do with economic policy. And it was, again, economics, and the sense that both the DNC and Hillary herself thought ‘it was her turn’, that made me prefer other options to the former Secretary of State.
Having said that, I would have preferred the election of nearly anyone – even the return of George W. Bush, never mind little Jeb – to the smirking misogynist about to occupy the Oval Office. (And I definitely would have preferred Hillary to either Bush.) The only person in the running who may have been as unfit for office as Trump was Ted Cruz, thankfully now a political has-been.
So how did they do it? Ordinary middle Americans. Salt of the earth types. Church and BBQ types. People who I wouldn’t have expected to cros the street to spit on a New York billionaire. How did they bring themselves to vote for such a creep? Such an obviously crazy, frequently bankrupt, don’t leave him alone with your daughter or your savings account creep.
A lot of people say it was racism, and I don’t doubt there was some of that. Too many confederate flags at Trump rallies, too many swastikas painted on walls since the election, to think otherwise. But I don’t think racism could possibly have motivated that many voters.
Some others say it was about economics. Not that anyone, including Trump voters, believe he has an economic plan at all, never mind a good one. But that the economy that has been foisted on Americans, and that has taken their jobs, their homes and, worse, their dignity over the past 37 years, if not longer, had finally made them stand up and say, ‘no more.’ There may be something to that.
The so-called ‘left’ in America bailed out banks while they foreclosed on families. They bragged about economic recovery, even as the divide between rich and poor grew, and careers you could support a family with were replace with jobs with low pay and no security. Or with no jobs at all.
Anyway, I look forward to an explanation that isn’t too easy, or too comfortable for those who lost. I hope America – and France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Britain, too – gets its act together before it’s too late.