My wife has enormous influence on me. I listen to whatever she says, and am often convinced to change my view, at least slightly, because of something she said. On the twentieth anniversary of our marriage (today, August 3rd, 2016), it is, therefore, appropriate to write a brief note about a recent change in my thinking about the 2016 elections.
This change is a good one; good in the sense that it lets me live my life feeling less disgust for other people. That makes me happy, because feeling disgust for anything is not pleasant in any way. So what changed? My view of Trump voters.
Let me start by saying that I was guilty of thinking badly of all Trump voters. In my mind, a vote for Trump, at best, meant tolerance of racism and bigotry, and that upset me. But, after thinking it through, and trying to see the other side, I’m not sure what I would do if I were a republican right now. It’s easy to say that I’d never vote for a racist, but maybe it’s not so simple. Maybe it’s totally reasonable to recognize that there are bigger, longer-term issues at play here. Yes, Trump is disgusting. Yes he’s at best an opportunistic racist (could be plain old racist). Yes, he lacks most requisite experience for the job. Yes, his temperament makes diplomacy unlikely and may even be a real detriment for the country. But, the next president will have one, perhaps three Supreme Court nominations to make. The next president will have four years to try to push legislation through, or will be the final step of approval or rejection for legislation pushed by Congress.
I’ve been trying to imagine the tables being turned. Somebody like Alan Grayson (who I find way over the top with his attacks) or Rod Blagojevich or Anthony Weiner…If it’s somebody I really don’t like, but who will appoint people I like to the court, and who is more likely to sign legislation passed by a Congress that the democrats control..I can imagine voting for that person over even the most reasonable choice on the republican side.
Because of this realization, I’ve stopped finding it nauseating that people would vote for Trump. But, that doesn’t mean all is well in the world. I still cannot stomach their need to justify voting for him, as unpalatable as they think he is, by demonizing Clinton. She’s a remarkable, amazing, accomplished woman. Bashing her in ways she doesn’t deserve, in ways that others get away with, sends a powerful and awful message to women and girls and people everywhere. Not to mention that there’s a very good chance she’ll be the next President of the United States…entering office with baseless smears; smears that were generated only to make a vote for Trump seem less awful. That needs to stop, but I doubt it will.