Saturday, March 5, 2016

Cranky Independents for Trump (Like Jim Webb)

Here's a good example of the sort of grouchy independent voter I worry would support Trump over Clinton:
In an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Reagan administration veteran-turned-Democratic senator from Virginia turned short-term presidential candidate Jim Webb said twice that he could not support Hillary Clinton if she won the Democratic nomination for president.

“No, I would not vote for Hillary Clinton,” Webb said.

Pressed on whether he would vote for Donald Trump, Webb said he was “not sure” but had not ruled it out.

“It’s nothing personal about Hillary Clinton, but the reason Donald Trump is getting so much support right now is not because of the, you know, ‘racists,’ etc. and etc.,” Webb said. “It’s because a certain group of people are seeing him as the only one who has the courage to say, ‘We’ve got to clean out the stables of the American governmental system right now.’ If you're voting for Donald Trump, you might be getting something very good or very bad. If you’re voting for Hillary Clinton, you’re going to get the same thing. Do you want the same thing?”
Webb has veered back and forth between the parties searching for a program that would help the people he sees as his own, the ordinary white folks in Appalachia. He hates Wall Street as much as Bernie Sanders but on the other hand is a nationalist who supports a strong defense and has little time for the problems of immigrants, trans people, and other groups beloved of liberals. Plus, he's a crank who despises most other politicians. If a sophisticated crank like Webb is thinking of supporting Trump, surely many unsophisticated cranks will as well.

I have been reading pieces lately about political insiders gaming out how many Senate and House seats the Democrats would win if Trump is the nominee, but I don't believe it. Those insiders have been misunderestimating Trump since day one, and so far as I can see they still don't get it.

Incidentally the Washington Post piece I linked to at the top is by Dave Weigel, so he is back writing for the Post. He worked for them before, and I thought he was the best young political reporter in America. But they fired him in 2010 after a silly scandal in which he was caught complaining in a reporters' chat room about how stupidly conservatives were acting over something, which was held to prove he was not "objective." To supply some pro-conservative "balance" the Post hired Jennifer Rubin, an all-around idiot, which just compounded the folly. But as I just discovered from wikipedia, the Post hired him back to cover the 2016 election.

4 comments:

David said...

I suppose a big question is, can the gap between liberals and angry working-class whites be bridged? Can the liberals convince themselves that the latter aren't simply full of hate, and can the working-class whites convince themselves that the liberals aren't simply full of contempt? Is the problem just perception, or are both perceptions, for better or worse, all too accurate? Could either side put aside the accuracy of its perceptions for the sake of political alliance? All are, after all, fellow Americans. Or perhaps that is no longer the case.

Perhaps a start would be for liberals to start advocating hard for ex-coal miners to get the pensions they are owed by bankrupt coal companies (an issue raised in the article you cite), just because they're owed them. And perhaps the NYT should have a "tell us your stories" blog about working-class unemployment.

pootrsox said...

Hear, hear, David!

Shadow Flutter said...

How does Trump lead the next closest contender by more than 20 points in Michigan? How does that happen? To me he's a charlatan and quack moving from town to town selling elixir out of the back of a wagon.

David said...

On the issue of the left-right, blue-red divide, I just read and now highly recommend this long, brilliant essay: http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything-except-the-outgroup/. Worth reading all the way to the end, which made this reader squirm, and rightly so.