While my Democratic friends are busy trying to navigate their confusion and despair, my Republican friends aren’t saying much about Donald Trump.
It is awkward to talk about him, isn’t it? Maybe they’re being polite, maybe they worry Trump will do something to cause them to regret their votes, maybe they didn’t vote for him. I don’t know.
If we’re cautioned not to discuss religion or politics in polite company during normal times, what do we do in the age of President Trump? Nice weather we’re having today.
In Sonoma County, of course, Republicans are outnumbered. Only 1 in 5 local voters cast a vote for Trump in November. More people are registered as decline-to-state than are registered as Republicans.
Last week’s anti-Trump march in Santa Rosa, perhaps the biggest political demonstration ever in Sonoma County, testifies to the widespread fear and anxiety among Democrats — not to mention a palpable sense of disbelief.
Political views aside, Democrats remain flummoxed by the idea that millions of Americans would vote for a person who has so many unredeeming qualities.
In social settings and business meetings, too, have you noticed that people are reluctant to speak his name until they can’t stand it any longer? Then the same questions come spilling out: Is it OK to talk about this here? How could this happen? What do we do now?
It’s worth noting that we are only having this conversation because a relative handful of voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania didn’t vote or switched from Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump to 2016. In a divided country, small shifts in the electorate can cause dramatic changes in the way the country is governed, and if you don’t believe it, you’re not paying attention.
Despite all the hand wringing, we know a lot about the majority of Trump voters.
They tend to be older, white and male. Many have voted for Republicans for their entire lives, just as their parents before them and their parents before them.
Most Trump voters don’t live in big cities. Only 1 in 10 voters in Manhattan voted for him, and only 1 in 10 in San Francisco, too. Trump won Texas, but Hillary Clinton won Dallas and Houston.
Trump voters subscribe to what might be called the new Republican orthodoxy.
They don’t like the way the country is changing, whether the changes involve immigration, social programs, abortion, identity politics, regulation or corporate efforts to control costs (and prices) by offshoring jobs.
They blame politicians, and they want the government run by politicians to be turned upside-down.
You know the rest.
They think they pay too much in taxes. They want to roll back laws intended to protect health, safety and the environment (laws they view as wasteful and ineffective). They distrust efforts intended to level the playing field for women and minorities.
Some also believe a smaller government should still find the resources to round up and deport 11 million people. Some believe iPhones can be made in Petaluma (never mind that a minimum wage worker in California is paid three times what a worker in an iPhone factory in China is paid).