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Nice writing.

Resentment of elites is a powerful motive in democratic politics, and so is the feeling … that the economy was better under Trump. But that disregards the moral and psychological cesspool himself: a bully, a liar, a bigot, a sexual assaulter, a cheat; crude, cruel, disloyal, vengeful, dictatorial, and so selfish that he tried to shatter American democracy rather than accept defeat. His supporters have to ignore all of this, explain it away, or revel in displays of character that few of them would tolerate for a minute in their own children. Now they are trying to put him back in power. Beyond the reach of reason and even empathy, nearly half of my fellow citizens are unfathomable, including a few I personally like. The mystery of the good Trump voter troubled me.


The essay is a sincere effort to understand Trump voters/enthusiasts.

The tragedy [of Kurtis Bay’s wife’s death in the hospital] fed his skepticism toward what he called the “managerial class”—the power elite in government bureaucracy, business, finance, and the media. The managerial class was necessary—the country couldn’t function without it—but it accumulated power by sowing conflict and chaos. Like the hospital’s doctors, members of the class weren’t individually vicious. “Yes, they are corrupt, but they’re more like AI,” Bay said. “It’s morphing all by itself. It’s incestuous—it breeds and breeds and breeds.” As for politicians, “I don’t think either political party gives a shit about the people”—a dictum I heard as often as the one about whiskey and water.

Bay saw Trump as the only president who tried to disrupt the managerial class and empower ordinary citizens. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. would do it too, but voting for him would be throwing his vote away. If Trump loses this year, the managerial class will acquire more power and get into more wars, make the border more porous, hurt the economy by installing DEI algorithms in more corporations. “I’ll vote for Trump,” Bay said, “but that’s, like, the last thing I think about in terms of how I’m going to impact my neighbor, my friend, my society.” Everyone wanted clean air, clean water, opportunity for all to make money and raise a family. If the extremes would stop demonizing each other and fighting over trivia, then the country could come together and solve its immense problems—poverty, homelessness …

I listened, half-agreeing about the managerial class, still wondering how a man who dearly loved his multiracial family and cared about young people on the margins and called his late wife “the face of God on this Earth” could embrace Trump. So I asked. Bay replied that good people had done bad things on January 6 but not at Trump’s bidding, and he might have gone himself if the timing had been different; that he didn’t look to the president for moral guidance in raising children or running a business; that he’d easily take “grab her by the whatever” from a president who would end the border problem and stop funding wars.

Margaret Soltan, June 10, 2024 11:13AM
Posted in: good writing

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5 Responses to “Nice writing.”

  1. Dmitry Says:

    Are you still optimistic about November?

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Optimistic would be going too far; but yes, I think Biden will win.

  3. Stephen Karlson Says:

    The author might have gone there to get some understanding of things presidential but in so doing missed something that’s outside the purview of presidential power. It’s the water.

    Specifically, in the course of all those observations of people carrying on about water policy, the only reference to pricing the stuff is hidden in the story of the guy running tank trucks to people whose allocation ran out.

    It’s all rather amusing to this Milwaukee kid who knows the story of the sewer socialists included water meters, it being no accident, comrade, that the Badger Water Meter Company set up in Milwaukee, whilst the sewage commission still sells off dried activated sewage sludge for fertilizer. Meanwhile Arizona and the other desert states of the west use more than half of their water allotments — nothing can go right when you allocate resources by politics — to agriculture.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Stephen: Tell me more. It’s true the author doesn’t talk much about pricing. But he talks a lot about how huge amounts of water go to massive farms…

  5. Stephen Karlson Says:

    UD: Oh, gosh, I could go on forever about Westerners allocating water by politics and hoping for the best. The farms rate “allotments” and a lot of that article was about the arguments among political types over who gets those allotments. Don’t get me started on “flood irrigation” which is how suburban householders get those green lawns you’d expect along the shores of Lake Michigan …

    Meanwhile, in the Milwaukee of my youth, I recall summers when the city enforced side-of-the-street watering rules (west or south side on odd number days, east or north side even, corresponded to the house numbers) and that was WITH those Badger Water Meter products ticking away outside each house.

    Those farms? All over the desert regions of the Western states they have their allotments, and Democrat and Republican, Trumpian or Obaman, are in some agreement that the allotments must continue in some form, and don’t you dare talk about pricing stuff. It’s enough to make an economist giggle but for the consequences being what they are.

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