Letter: Who supports Trump?
To the Editor:
Assuming that political choices are rational, it's fair to ask Trump supporters what he has done for them to win their allegiance. Has it benefited them when he lowered taxes for the rich and corporations, thereby increasing an historic disparity in wealth; when he separated children from their parents at our southern border; that he has advanced possible destruction of our planet by undermining EPA regulations; that he has minimized the COVID-19 pandemic, and failed to launch a national strategy against it, as have other advanced nations — a neglect that has resulted in tens of thousands of needless deaths; that he has sabotaged the U.S. Postal System, delaying delivery of vital medicines and money millions of Americans depend upon for survival; that through the latter, he has threatened democracy itself by impeding vote-by-mail, under the assumption that the fewer the voters, the better his chances of reelection; that he buddies up with the autocrat Putin, who wants nothing more that an American autocracy to justify his own — and which Trump himself, as an egocentric autocrat, ardently yearns for?
The answer is clearly "no"; the above, that almost comprehensively defines the Trump administration, is not in the interest of the majority of his supporters. That being the case, we must conclude that political choices are not necessarily rational. But if not, what then are they? Maybe we can find some answers in examining who does, and does not, support him.
Polls indicate that the bulk of Trump support comes from the non-college educated, while the college-educated almost universally oppose him. This would seem to indicate that those more intellectually advanced know where their real interests lie, while the others do not. But this still doesn't answer why the latter support him. So we must look elsewhere, and I'll advance the thesis that it's a question of identification: Trump is a crude anti-intellectual — simplistic in his conclusions, and of limited articulateness — all of which the less educated can identify with, and be comforted by. And so we see one of the potential pitfalls of democracy: It hinges on the developmental level of the body politic — and we have to live with that, because there is no better, more just system. But it does demand that we work tirelessly and consistently to advance the intellectual development of our society — which means an uncompromising dedication to education, and making it equal both in content and availability.
The good news is that we seem to be advancing along that continuum — as indicated by the unprecedented number of college students, as well as by the increasing unpopularity of Trump. The possibility of his sweeping defeat in November harks back to that of Herbert Hoover by FDR in 1932, under conditions of a similar, devastating economic downturn.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.