I Talked to a Trump Voter
Like much of the world, I’ve been watching the horror show of this year’s US presidential election with morbid fascination. I’m also, with a raised eyebrow, now watching the teary-eyed meltdowns/whiney calls for RESISTANCE!!!, coming in the form of multi-thousand-word blog posts and articles, from the regressive leftists in my Twitter feed (and trying very hard not to turn the said feed into an echo chamber for the next few months at least).
Having read a few analyses of why we’ll be having (and make no mistake, the whole world will be having) this unqualified, lying, women-abusing, hyper-narcissistic buffoon as a POTUS the next four years, I decided to do some sociological research of my own. Once, I would’ve called the method I used completely unscientific, but, seeing the gems the New Real Peer Review has been sharing with us, I can no longer with clear conscience call it so, although I hold no hopes of being able to publish it in, say, Current Sociology. Not because of the completely flawed method, but because it lacks the attitude and buzzwords of the fields which consider “autoethnography” to be valid science.
The purpose of this paper is to establish the reasons for Donald J Trump’s victory in the 2016 United States Presidential Election, focusing on the analysis of the lived experience of the Trump electorate. The research was conducted using an unstructured, not-in-much-depth interview of a sample of one. Drawing on the principles of autoetnography, I chose as the sample a white Christian cis-woman, single mother of three, relatively low-income, non-inhabitant of the Rust Belt. The choice of the sample was largely influenced by my decade-long friendship with the sample, and a resonable certainty that the sample was representative of the Trump electorate (i.e., did vote for Trump), although this was still uncertain at the start of the interview.
In the preliminary questioning, I established that the sample did indeed…
And there I am, thinking I don’t have it in me to get a PhD… But let’s be serious.
My friend did, indeed, vote for Donald J Trump.
WHAT?!?! A woman, even a white one, voting for TRUMP?!?!? But that is against her own interests!!!
So I asked her, why? Not “how could you?!?!?”, but a simple “why”.
She gave me a fairly lengthy answer, which jumped from topic to topic, but in the end, we agreed that her reasons could be summed up in the following four issues (given here in no particular order):
- changes she thinks Trump will enact to make Obamacare more affordable,
- (perceived) shared conservative values,
- the middle finger Trump’s been giving to the regressive left, hyper-PC movement(s),
- changes in the tax code she thinks Trump will make that will benefit the single-mothers-of-three, lower-income (or similar) demographic.
Two fairly specific financial issues, values, and a middle finger.
I didn’t argue with her, except to call Trump a “lying, women-abusing, corrupt hyper-narcissist who will say things because they are outrageous, not because he particularly believes in them”, and that from “my perspective, I couldn’t figure out what Trump’s values are, beyond ME, ME, ME!“. She asked me whom I would’ve voted for, and I told her it would’ve been Hillary, as a lesser of two evils. That was it, from my side, since I had come to ask, not to argue. Or throw a screaming tantrum.
Then I asked, out of those four issues, which would she say was the most important one?
I suppose this would be a good place for a disclosure: I came to this “research” with a confirmation bias; I wanted to get a certain answer. But aside from the clues I might’ve given in distilling her longer explanations and in a brief discussion of some of the definitions, I believe I succeeded in not showing it.
Did I get the answer I favoured? Yup. It was the number 3. She told me she was tired of the oppression olympics, and that, in this respect, Hillary’s presidency would’ve left things unchanged, if not worse. Trump is rude, she called him, but he is showing the middle finger to PC Principal, and that is the main reason why she forgave an orange clown for being a sexual predator and voted for him anyway.
There. That is the conclusion of my “paper”.
If, at this point, you would like to call my friend a self-hating, white supremacist, deplorable fascist, I would like to point out that, in the parts of the conversation I don’t consider official parts of my “interview”, she also expressed these views:
- gay people should be allowed to marry (but not sue family businesses out of existence for refusing to bake them cakes; they should vote with their wallets, and give their custom to the businesses which will),
- public servants who refuse to marry gay people when required by law should be fired (but not jailed),
- legalising marijuana has benefits over it being illegal.
Immigration and Muslims were mentioned more or less in passing, twice and once, respectively, over the course of a two-hour conversation. Race wasn’t mentioned at all, and she didn’t defend Trump against my assessment of him, either.
Also, she, a relatively devout Christian, has read Richard Dawkins’s God Delusion (which I sent her as a tongue-in-cheek Christmas present some years ago). It didn’t change her worldview, but she didn’t get any trigger warnings from me, and didn’t need a safe space to hide in when she opened that package, either. The snowflakes out there should take note.
So, leftists and fellow liberals, I think people like my conservative friend already get your message, and don’t particularly disagree with it.
But they do very much object to the shrillest, loudest form of its delivery.
Originally published at zelenilav.com on November 21, 2016.