In a little over two weeks, the most tumultuous political year since 1968 may come to a conclusion—or perhaps not. Will this be the end of Trump or does he have another rabbit to pull out of the hat? That is the subject for another piece.
The right loves to make two polar opposite claims about Joe Biden. One is that, they will point out, he is a career politician—47 years we continually see. On the other hand, they are fearful that the “radical” left will control him.
Believe me, the so-called radical left is not happy with Biden—many will hold their nose and vote for him in order to get rid of Trump, but many others will not. Biden has a long history of moderation that borders on conservatism, at least by the standards of his day.
And the radical left as they call it—not so powerful. They were not able to elect their man, Bernie Sanders. They have few seats in Congress. There is little doubt that the right will try to make Biden into either an agent of or tool of the left just as they did with Obama, but the left will never be happy with the arrangement—and if Biden wins in November and takes the presidency in January, the battle will be on for 2024 under the assumption that, at 82, he would not run for second term.
I worry that what has been set in motion over the last four years will not turn back. But perhaps that is a very pessimistic view. After all, we have seen with Father Coughlin, the rise of the John Birch Society and even the rise of Southern Resistance on the right—and radical left movements (this time real) during the 1960s on the left—much higher levels of political violence than we are seeing today.
I was reading a book on the Weather Underground earlier this year, and it noted that, at the time of an explosion in a townhouse in New York, it was one of more than 2000 bombs that went off in the US in 1970—we don’t even approach that level of violence now.
On the other hand, the political realignment may well be permanent—if evolving. We are seeing a movement of white, no-college voters, especially males, moving away from the Democrats and toward the Republicans. We have seen a movement the other direction with regard to suburban women.
There was a fantastic article in the New York Times this week, that found, “The white suburban voters the president needs to carve a path to victory have turned away from him, for deeply personal reasons.”
The article points out that there is not a lot of movement in terms of political support, but “there is a demographic group that has changed its mind: white women in the suburbs.”
The Times notes that Trump carried suburban voters by four points in 2016, according to exit polls. But they note that Biden right now leads among suburban women in battleground states by a whopping 23 points and, among men, they are tied.
More important is understanding why, and while the Times uses individual level data and anecdotes, it is rather interesting.
Writes the Times, “Not all of them voted for Mr. Trump, but all carry regret about 2016. For them, the president’s words and actions have forced an intimate re-examination of their deep-rooted, more conservative political identities — taught in church and school and inherited from their families — and some things that are even more personal: their sense of morality and the values they hope to impart to their children.”
What is even more interesting is “the women described how Mr. Trump had turned them off from a Republican Party they once supported, one that they now see as intertwined with the president’s divisive rhetoric.”
Don’t stop reading here, because you will miss the rest of the story that the Times doesn’t tell.
There is also a reverse trend happening, which seems to be happening mostly among men—white, older voters, but I have also talked to quite a few women who fall into this category as well.
I know a bunch of them very well and I have known some for a long time. The people I know are mainly older, white males, and most of them were quite liberal and even progressive. Now you talk to them and they sound like a poster child for QAnon.
I don’t know how many there are of this group, but the media has not done a great job of finding this group. Unlike a lot of the core of Trump supporters, some of these people are very educated—we are talking about people with doctorates.
This past week, I received an email with something about Dr. Judy Mikovits—you know, Plandemic.
This is someone I have known for decades. Talked to the emailer’s son, and yes, he’s become a full-on Trump supporter. I know too many people like this—some I have seen transform before my eyes. Something is happening here? I have had lengthy discussions with a number of people, and their transformation is very radical and very complete. I don’t see how they go back to what they used to be.
I reached out to some old friends, one with whom I go back to college days, so I have known him for almost 30 years now. Educated, an Evangelical Pastor, tends to vote Republican, but most would consider a moderate. Another friend of mine is also Evangelical Christian, most would consider him a conservative Republican—most of my friends, traditional Republicans, are voting for Biden. In some cases, it will be their first vote ever for a Democrat. Several of them refused to vote for Trump last time, but couldn’t vote for Hillary.
What fuels this? Deep distrust for authority? Partly. But also anti-government and the media itself.
My friend’s view: “The media keeps fueling it by showing an obvious bias towards Trump. All they have to do is be fair and he loses his power.”
Unlike previous movements, social media, cable news and the internet give people ready access to spoon-fed conspiracies and fake news that are easily believed and hard to discredit.
In his view, “Trump took advantage of this and saw an opening before anyone else realized what was happening.”
Is this permanent? He is more optimistic than I am because I am not sure how you go back. But if you look at history, even Germany was able to walk back, once they removed the messenger that was able to focus and channel these feelings.
My friend has a warning: “Biden’s role is key in this. If he is a unity President, he could help us all reestablish ‘Normal.’ If he is a revenge President, it will only intensify.” He also believes: “There will be quite the battle in the Republican Party if Biden wins. I believe we have some strong people on the bench that can step forward and help us.”
That’s even assuming Biden wins. We shall see what the next 17 days bring us.
—David M. Greenwald reporting
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