How I Changed My Mind about Trump

And the winner, predictably, is Trump.

In 2015-16, I was a huge Hillary person and I even wore a Hillary badge the size of a large dinner plate. Long-time readers saw a picture of the badge and know it’s true.

When Trump won, I was very upset. I didn’t cry because I’m no longer capable of crying anywhere except the cemetery but it was as close as I get to it.

I was upset because everybody I knew and every news source I accessed told me he was going to betray Ukraine, give Putin everything he wants, crash the economy, start wars, and collapse the US dollar. I didn’t want any of this so I was upset.

I have this extremely unusual quality, though, which is that I am incapable of getting emotionally invested in a politician, whether positively or negatively. (Anybody who comes in with the Hitler fallacy at this point gets banned for being a total idiot).

To me, a politician is a function. I don’t relate to them as human beings because I don’t know them as human beings. I perceive people who read Michelle Obama’s biography (or one written by any relative of somebody important) as aliens. I understand reading Barack Obama’s books. By virtue of being a US president, he was a figure of enormous public importance. But how is his wife more interesting than, I don’t know, my husband’s wife or your nephew’s brother-in-law?

Very soon into Trump’s presidency, the US dollar left its 8-year-long stagnation (I’m very sensitive to currency fluctuations because I have family and pay for services in Canada). My students started refusing low-paid campus jobs because they already had better-paying ones. My financial situation improved. Ukraine got everything from Trump in 3 months that it couldn’t get from Obama in 2 years. Putin got punished like the little bastard he is. No wars were started. Unemployment plummeted.

With the extraordinary degree of animosity Trump provokes, I’m guessing if there was something against him, we’d hear it. But for 5 years, there’s been nothing but hoaxes and lies. The “grab ’em by the pussy” hoax with the part “and they let you” consistently edited out and the outlandish “he confessed to sexual assault on tape” repeated like a mantra. The “he mocked a disabled reporter” hoax, the Russia hoax, the Ukraine hoax, the fish tank cleaner hoax – there’s no end in sight.

So yeah, since I have a functioning brain AND absolutely no Daddy issues whatsoever (I’m a Mommy issues person), I changed my mind from “he’s a unique threat to democracy” to “his biggest observable problem is that he’s a people-pleaser.” He says whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear, and it has zero connection to reality.

In reality – and not in rhetoric or “tweets,” God, I’ve so had it with the “ah, look what he tweeted, democracy is in peril” crowd – he’s a lot less of a nationalist than I’d like. He’s got a kick-ass economic team that is to Obama’s what your intellect is to a snail’s. (For the particularly gifted among us, I’m not comparing Obama’s intellect and Trump’s. I’m comparing their economic teams. In personal intellect and oratory Obama is light-years ahead. Which did nothing to stop him from bombing out a bunch of countries, mishandling the economy, or wasting every opportunity to do a criminal justice reform. Or to do anything, really).

I wish we had somebody better than Trump. It should be so easy, right? Somebody smarter, less self-involved, with a stronger personality and a coherent worldview, somebody more loyal, somebody who doesn’t tweet even. And, of course, the important stuff: no wars, withdrawing troops, fracking (the only thing that really hurts Putin), economic protectionism, not exploiting Central America for serf labor, everything DeVos is doing in education (she’s been amazing, and I say it as somebody who hated her with the power of an exploding sun), resistance to the PC culture, supporting Ukraine.

Show me somebody like this, and I’ll go vote.

P.S. I want to thank reader methylethyl for coming up with such a great blogging topic. These posts have been massively popular, giving rise to comments that are often better than the actual posts.

14 thoughts on “How I Changed My Mind about Trump”

  1. (blushes) You’re welcome!

    The funny thing here is that I have never been any kind of liberal, and our feelings on Trump are nearly identical. I voted a write-in in 2016 because I found both candidates personally repulsive. I still really wish his wife would hide his phone, or that Twitter would do us all a favor and ban him for life. But his track record in office… is not bad, actually! And I say that as a conservative who was so horrified by W Bush (stupid wars, corporate bailouts) that I didn’t vote for fifteen years. Why let aesthetic distaste get in the way of an OK track record? I’ll probably vote for him this time.

    Actions > Words.

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  2. Sorry, this is just a musing more based on your conservatism post. But much of what prevents me from being as identified with conservatism for you is that for every Tucker Carlson, there are a hundred Charlie Kirks (not to mention the occasional Matt Walsh, a man even more elitist than modern liberals, and just generally a jackass.) I appreciate the good ones, but they are far and few between, much like good liberal figures are far and few between. Of course, the interesting conservatives aren’t as relentlessly attacked by “their own side,” so that’s something.

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    1. To be fair, I don’t really consider these people to be conservatives. I’ll boldly suggest that Bernie Sanders is more conservative than Ben Shapiro: listen to Shapiro gush about the march of progress here! But it’s not as if the new totalitarians are “true liberals” either. The current liberal political grouping is the woke nuts, the current conservative grouping is largely composed of these idiots.

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  3. As for Trump, I’m skeptical that the growth in the economy was thanks to him (just like I don’t blame him for the current economic crash.) I think presidents have a lot less control over this stuff than people think they do. I’m also overall just less impressed with his approach to economic policy than you have been. Apart from the tariffs (which were great, don’t get me wrong), he seems to have governed like a typical Grover Norquist Republican. Tax cuts, deregulation, etc. Even as far as the tariffs go, big companies like Apple were exempted from many of the tariffs. This is part of a pattern from Trump of being a faux-nationalist. He loudly bleats about nationalism, then quietly governs like a typical politician. In 2016, I disliked Trump because he seemed beyond the pale, a possible fascist. Now I dislike him because he’s just like every other fucking president. As soon as he got in office, he got to work pursuing the Mitt Romney agenda. And this is to say nothing of his pathetic response to the riots.

    However, it’s not like he’s facing steep competition here. When it comes down to it, who’s more likely to push through some awful trade deal, him or Biden? We all know the answer to this. And I do think Trump has possibly moved the Republican party in a better direction, though that’s like pulling teeth. And if you’ve seen the new wave of “up and coming MAGA conservatives” it’s…not good. Madison Cawthorn, who recently unseated an incumbent in a red district, is a good example of this. He’s just Paul Ryan in a MAGA hat.

    I’m still undecided on my 2020 vote. I might vote for Trump, I might vote third party. I would’ve rather have voted for Bernie, or better yet, Sherrod Brown, but alas. Not that I don’t have major issues with Bernie as well. There were no great choices here.

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    1. During the great recession of 2008-9, there was one country (that I know well. It’s possible that there were others) that didn’t experience almost any effects. The job market was brilliant, there was hardly a ripple. The dollar was strong. Even the housing market was fine. Throughout 2010-15, they did amazing compared to the US and especially Europe. I’m talking about Canada, of course. The Harper administration, with all its massive faults, had an amazing economic team. So I think that the way things are handled does make a difference.

      I agree completely with what you say about Trump and I can’t begin to comprehend why people aren’t seeing that his biggest problem isn’t that he’s uniquely anything but precisely that he became a very typical, run-of-the-mill Republican president immediately after getting elected. If he loses, it will be only because his base won’t turn out because it’s disappointed. If the MSM were capable of producing anything but ridiculous slogans, they’d notice that.

      My greatest hope is that we’ll see in 2024 both parties moving in a new direction. The Republican party is completely rotten, and it’s not because of racismsexism or any of that garbage. It’s because the party is held in a tight grip by primitive free marketeers who count on people voting for them out of the fear of the woke left. Democrats, on the other hand, are just as rotten because they have stop giving a toss about economic well-being and only produce slogans and stoke animosity. Both parties have become too rigid and adopted useless, primitive ideology that can’t possibly accommodate the changing reality of the post-national world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree that the president’s approach to the economy matters, just that it is often overstated. I guess I’d just like to know what you find impressive about Trump’s economic team because I’m just not seeing it (but I also don’t know that much.)

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  4. “the winner, predictably, is Trump”

    I was actually least interested in this because it was kind of obvious in real time, right after the election there was some lashing out…. and then you started noticing what he was doing (or not doing) for yourself rather than trusting media filtered (pro or anti) reports.
    It’s kind of similar with Zelenski – you didn’t want him to win but he’s not (yet) been a disaster and has in some ways been kind of okay….
    What I’m really interested in is pizza (since I have the idea you used to look down on it…) I remember a long time ago you wrote that you dismissed the idea of Italian food being good and then realized…. no, it’s pretty great.

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  5. Whoa, Demotrash, four interrupted comments in a row! Whatever you think of Trump (and I give him a LOT less credit than Clarissa does), he’s not going to change the zoning laws to allow a whorehouse or opium den in my upscale suburb, and he’s not going to put idiots like AOC or Beto in charge of anything, or let Elizabeth Warren pass a “wealth tax” to strip away the possessions that I’ve worked hard over a lifetime to accumulate.

    I’m an old man who’s spent most of my life doing my duty to my fellow humans and to my country, and I’d like to live out the rest of it in comfort and peace, without rabid far-leftist so-called “Democrats” destroying the America that I’ve earned the right to die in.

    Yes, I know that the fears that I state above are exaggerated caricatures, but I use overstatement for the sake of brevity.

    To keep it short: Trump, however much of an idiot many brilliant people consider him, has somehow managed over the past three years to reside over an America that keeps enacting a moderately conservative agenda that some of us very much want to keep living within, while the Democratic Party under a rapidly losing-his-marbles Biden keeps moving ever more leftward as they pledge to take the country into an unrecognizable Futurama utopian nightmare.

    They won’t succeed of course, even if elected. But after 2020, I’d rather keep dealing with Trump’s continued successes than try to salvage the chaotic mess resulting from a psychotic Democratic Party on steroids.

    The coming election is an easy choice!

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    1. “He’s not going to put idiots like AOC or Beto in charge of anything” that there is really the best argument for voting Trump. I’ve seen the kind of people Biden is considering for his cabinet and VP, and it ain’t pretty (though it leans more towards Michael Bloomberg types than insane wokesters.)

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  6. I agree with most you say. On economic (before COVD-19) and foreign policy he has been pretty good. Miles better than George W. Bush for sure, who I consider to be the worst president in my life time.

    “He says whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear, and it has zero connection to reality.”

    Because he does not have to power to make it happen, or has been restrained by his cabinet. If anything, I’d say Trump has been one of the most consistent presidents in recent memory; most of what he says he wans to do he has done. That’s why this idea that his words/Tweets have not meaning seems rather naive to me.

    You say you don’t care about the personality of politicians, that’s something I agree with; especially their private life, I just don’t care. However, Trump is an egomaniac that just can’t pass up an opportunity to be on the news and screw things up. His daily Coronavirus briefings were a great example of that. The man just could not stand back and let the people with decades of experience handle this, and instead just had to be in front of the cameras misinforming and making things worse. This completely transcends just having a bad personality and becomes a serious problem.

    In any case, interesting post. You make good points and it’s good to get another side of the argument.

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  7. I really enjoyed this post. It made me re-examine my own opinions and come to the conclusion that emotion determines about 95% of people’s political beliefs.

    I would love to read a similar post about how/why your opinions on religion have changed over time.

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    1. I swear I have no idea why your comments get stuck in moderation.

      I didn’t change my mind about religion. I was religious as a child. I have a very religious father and it stuck.

      What is different was that I started going to church. The only reason I didn’t start going sooner is that I had no idea how to go about it. I wasn’t baptized, I knew nothing about liturgy of how you even approach a church. I had the priest’s contact info open in my browser for two years until I finally emailed him. I can’t begin to tell you how awkward it feels to show up like a bad student in the midst of an advanced course where everybody knows the material and you haven’t even figured out the course name yet.

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