Not all Trump voters

S. Ben Melhuish • Saturday, November 12, 2016, updated Sunday, November 13, 2016

When my former coworker @weaties linked to Tim Urban’s It’s Going to Be Okay, I had some disagreements. Turns out I wasn’t the only one; apparently, enough people pointed out enough of the flaws with the original piece that Urban wrote a follow-up. So, considering the original piece and its follow-up as a whole, I no longer disagree with “so much”.

But there’s one point I still disagree with pretty strongly. I’ll quote from the follow-up, since it presumably is closer to Urban’s current thoughts, and had a few days’ more refinement. Here is what I believe to be the core of Urban’s argument from his fifth point:

I don’t think it’s really fair to call all Trump voters hateful people, just because Trump ran a hateful campaign. … [V]oting for a candidate does not imply that you espouse all of his or her views. … [I]t’s probably not correct that all Trump voters are hateful people.

Now that I’ve quoted it, let’s promptly dismiss the last point: “probably not all” is a wishy-washy form of the meaningless and insulting “not all men”.

On to the rest: Urban is certainly correct that not every Trump voter espouses every one of his views. But every Trump voter thought, at the very least, that his patterns of stiffing contractors, anti-Semitic dogwhistling (or just plain whistling), racist accusations, and sexual assault were fair prices to pay for whichever campaign promises they wanted.

No, the voters may not be anti-Semitic. They may not think President Obama was born in Kenya. (Hell, I’ll bet Trump never thought that President Obama was born in Kenya.) But they are nevertheless signaling their approval of Trump’s grotesque words and actions, helping normalize that which was formerly beyond the pale.1

Edited to add (11/13/2016): I wrote a quick addendum on another point I forgot to mention here.

  1. I am not2 so naïve as to think that there’s not a significant portion of this country that is, in fact, racist (etc.) not just in thought or private word but also in deed. But it was at least considered unacceptable in public discourse. ↩︎

  2. Anymore. This past couple of years has disabused me of any notions to the contrary, and I am sorry that I was (probably willfully) blind. ↩︎