I don’t count any Trump supporters among my close friends, although I have family members who are devoted to him. I used to spend time reading the articles about how deeply polarized Americans need to build bridges and understand each other. Now I read those less. I think our politics has become so tribal that democracy ceases to work in any inclusive sense. No more Teddy Kennedy and Orin Hatch reaching across the aisle to legislate bills to improve children’s health. Now, it’s all in or all out. I think that when white populists are ascendant, like now, we get policies that favor Americans who are rich, white, Christian, and fearful. When progressives are ascendant, we get policies that favor the best talent no matter where it comes from, evidence-based decision making, high ethical standards, and optimism about the future.
There are really no bridges between those two positions, so I think policy will lurch back and forth depending on who is in power. Over time, I think that will hurt the country badly, as many things — like climate change legislation and control of nuclear proliferation — require long term commitments and honoring commitments agreed to under previous administrations. Clearly we don’t have that now. I’m just as polarized as anyone else. I hope that when progressives are in power again, policies put in place by Trump get thrown aside without a second glance. Lurch, lurch.
I did read this article by Gerard Alexander, a professor at the University of Virginia – – core Trump country. His position is one I’ve heard before: “Liberals, you made us vote for Trump because you disrespected us, and we’re going to do it again in 2020 just to spite you.”
That’s what I mean about there being no bridges. Trump is proud of his race-baiting, xenophobic, anti-Muslim remarks; they are among this best applause lines at rallies. I don’t get why his devotees aren’t proud too, instead of trotting out the “you made me do it” line.