Whatabout that 70 Million?

Here are ten vignettes exploring the issues:

Vignette #1:
by JuanPa@jpbrammer

“So I’m a Mexican American from a poor, rural (mostly white) town in Oklahoma. Missing from this debate? How poor whites see themselves. If you’re wondering how poor, exploited white people could vote for a dude with a golden elevator who will fuck them over, here’s how. They don’t see themselves as poor. They don’t base their identity on it. They see themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

The stigma against poverty is incredibly strong. It is shameful to be poor, to not have the comforts of the middle class. So they pretend they aren’t poor. They are willing to lie to make it seem like they aren’t poor. They purchase things to make it seem like they’re not.

In my town, wealth wasn’t associated with greed, but with hard work and inherent goodness. You are blessed if you have material wealth. When they see Trump, they don’t see an extortionist who is rich because of the very conditions that keep their own communities in poverty. They see someone who claims he worked hard and was justly rewarded with wealth. Most men, especially, think they too could be Trump were it not for the unfair obstacles put in their way. White men who don’t consider themselves successful enough have so many excuses for their “failures”‘

Vignette #2:
President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

Vignette #3:
“Marx was very aware that when people change their ways and views it is generally in reaction to an intolerable situation in the present and only to a small degree because of the attraction of a better life in the future.” – Bertell Oliman

Vignette #4:
“Trump’s enduring popularity clearly has much to do with factors beyond the pandemic. Much of what he said and did as president was thinly veiled white supremacy, misogyny, race-baiting, and class warfare. But Trump’s vacuous promises about the virus were more than self-serving, disingenuous, and deadly; they were also convincing and appealing to many people.” – James Hamblin

Vignette #5:
“Now Americans and the rest of the world are wondering how some 70 million people could vote for Donald Trump, after his racist thuggery was on full display for so long. Democrats had declared the 2020 election “a battle for the soul of the country”. The fact that some 70 million Americans voted for the diabolic charlatan that is Trump has prompted many Americans to wonder what exactly is this “soul” they think they are fighting to save.

“I think it’s a mistake to convince ourselves that Trump, or Trumpism, is easy to defeat,” Noah Berlatsky wrote in the Independent. “The truth is, as we are learning again, Trump, in all his incompetence, brutishness, and cruelty, embodies one powerful, ugly, and persistent version of the American dream.” – Hamid Dabashi

Vignette #6:
“Why did they vote for Mr. Trump? Undoubtedly, some have been squeezed out of the American dream and have lost hope for themselves and their children. Since they have lost any faith in Congress, they have shifted their faith to a “strongman” and an exciting rally movement where they can belong.

Some probably feel that sex roles, sexual orientations, reproductive rights and family structures have changed too much and too rapidly. Others are attracted to force, violence, a macho use of guns and are repulsed and threatened by people who are different than them; white nationalism is their answer to all problems.

Apparently many, both of modest means and those of wealth, see their economic interests best served by Mr. Trump, and disparage a place for the commonweal.” – David Gray

Vignette #7:
“People have had four years now to find out just how truly terrible Mr. Trump is. How indifferent he is to the norms of civil discourse and to the responsibilities of democracy itself. How transparently racist he is, how divisive, how selfish. We know he’s a chronic liar who, when caught out, simply doubles down on the lie. We know that he is using the levers of government to enrich himself. We know he delights in and urges on the most violent impulses of his most dangerous followers.” –

Vignette #8:
“But what of the 71 million people who voted for Donald Trump despite his incompetence, despite his lying, his bullying, his cheating, his racism, despite all the moral failings he proudly flaunts as virtues? Those people aren’t going anywhere, the poison-spewing right-wing media that created them isn’t going anywhere” – Margaret Renkl

Vignette #9:
“Overwhelming majorities of both Biden and Trump supporters said in October that a victory by the other candidate would lead to lasting harm to the nation. Nine-in-ten Biden voters said this about the prospect of a Trump victory, and 89% of Trump voters said it about the prospect of a Biden win.” – Pew Research

Vignette #10:
““To us over here [in the United Kingdom], almost to a man, we were shocked that almost half of America could look at what Donald Trump has done over the last four years, and like it, and actually want more of it. I mean, to us, it’s almost impossible to understand that.

It seemed, from the way it was painted and the media that we tune in to, that the man constantly lied and bullied and cheated and made a complete disgrace of himself.

The conclusion that I’ve come to is that we have been given different sets of facts according to where we reside and what information we tune in to. Now, this has been already suggested in this very interesting film called ‘Social Dilemma’. The theory is that once we express an opinion, we are fed the information that we want to hear and so we get more and more polarized.” – Brian May


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