Op Ed

Obama-Trump Voters Key To Election

Signs of some deserting Trump, including state’s dairy farmers.

By - Jul 17th, 2019 12:47 pm
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Dairy farm. Photo from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (CC-BY-ND).

Dairy farm. Photo from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (CC-BY-ND).

Political pundit Larry Sabato opined: “The economy got Nixon, Reagan and Bush reelected. It could do it for Trump, too.” Why? U.S. unemployment is 3.7 percent, while Wisconsin’s rate is 2.8 percent. Moreover, Trump now has the powers of an incumbent, a united GOP behind him, unwavering base voters and a fundraising juggernaut. And, the “Democratic Party may inadvertently boost Trump if it gets carried away with an impeachment frenzy that prompts a voter backlash” (Sabato). In addition, if the Democratic presidential candidate runs too far to the left, Trump could win again.

However, there are barriers to Trump’s reelection, Unlike in 2016, Trump is no longer the change candidate. All the smoke and mirrors, glitter and razzle-dazzle can’t hide the chaos, contempt for democratic values and scandals of the Trump White House. On Friday, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned “amid the mushrooming Jeffrey Epstein investigation” (Washington Post).

But the basic facts about the Epstein sex crimes case (underage girls) and his sweet plea deal were known when the Senate confirmed Acosta. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin voted no, while Wisconsin GOP Senator Ron Johnson, oblivious to facts, voted to confirm. Acosta presented explosive problems for Trump. A tycoon (Epstein) in a sex scandal, getting off with a slap on the wrist. Then there was Trump’s having called Epstein a “terrific” guy who liked them “young”. Acosta had to go. Meanwhile, Trump is moving ahead with his reelection agenda: trade wars and bashing immigrants. But voters are catching on.

On Friday, Acosta imploded, then Trump came to Wisconsin for a fundraiser and photo-op. But the American Dairy Coalition rained on Trump’s reelection parade: “Trump has displayed a willingness to play hardball in order to secure concessions. Nonetheless, he has reached a point of rapidly diminishing returns and everyday (as) unnecessary tariffs remain in place, more and more of the very people he claims to be fighting for – American dairymen and farmers – are being pushed into bankruptcy. A good general knows when the day is won and when to remove his troops from harm’s way. If Trump can’t learn the same lesson, he may find few farmers willing – or able – to stand behind him”.

Similarly, the Washington Post found weakening support for Trump: “estimates show that between 5 percent and 15 percent of voters who picked Trump in 2016 had voted for Obama in 2012, or as many as 9.2 million voters. These Obama-Trump voters are one of the only voting groups to have had a significant change in their view of … Trump: In 2016, 85 percent of them held a ‘favorable’ view … — a rate that fell to 66 percent this year … .” Likewise, Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, found many Obama to Trump voters in rural Wisconsin. Democrats, pay attention!

Finally, Wisconsin Public Radio reports: “Some Wisconsin dairy leaders worry increased scrutiny around immigration is having an impact on the immigrant labor force the industry depends on”. Trump may not get a free ride in Wisconsin.

This column was originally published by Wispolitics.com

Bill Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

One thought on “Op Ed: Obama-Trump Voters Key To Election”

  1. frank a schneiger says:

    Whether intentional or not, Bill Kaplan and Larry Sabato place the current political moment within the context of “normal” politics. It doesn’t belong there. Years ago, liberals were warned that calling those they disagreed with “fascists,” “Nazis,” or “racists” was a bad idea because those terms would be drained of meaning when the day came that they had real application.

    Robert Paxton has written the standard work on Fascism (“The Anatomy of Fascism,” 2004). To summarize: Fascism is less an ideology than a set of “visceral feelings” that he describes as including a sense of overwhelming crisis; the primacy of “our” group (in this case, white people); the belief that our group is a victim that is threatened by other races, liberals and alien influences, and that being victims justifies any actions on their part; the need for authority by natural leaders (always male) and the superiority of the leader’s instincts over reason and facts; and the beauty of violence when devoted to the group’s success. (p.219) Ring a bell?

    In less than 3 years, with the unwavering support of the Republican Party, its all-white base and its first in American history propaganda network (Fox News), the Trump administration has done the following:

    * Adapted a fascist style driven by the need for scapegoats who are, except for the hated “liberals,” never white, especially demonizing immigrants who are described as disease ridden, parasitic criminals and terrorists, creating a climate of fear and disregard for human values that the white base appears to welcome, including “Christian” acceptance of family destruction and the traumatization of children, all in the name of “don’t come here.” Bringing racist extremists and neo-Nazi groups inside the Republican “tent,” and making it clear that they welcome Russian efforts to undermine our democracy on their behalf. Creating a culture of lies that has undermined the very concept of truth, all based on the reality that people believe lies because they want to, or as George Costanza of Seinfeld said, “It’s not a lie if I believe it.”

    *Systematically gutted the agencies of the federal government, placing in high level positions, including cabinet secretaries, incompetents, tools of various industries that they ostensibly oversee and self-seeking criminals and sexual predators. Focused particularly on undermining environmental law and progress on behalf of the fossil fuel and related industries and as revenge against the hated non-white Obama administration. Created a nepotistic royal court consisting of family members and hangers on willing to follow orders and play to the leader’s vanity, further undermining the institutions of government.
    * Systematically undermined democracy by attacking and seeking to destroy a free press, created a seamless national propaganda outlet, undermined an independent judiciary, threatened and blackmailed members of congress and advocated violence for dealing with its opponents.

    * Passed tax legislation and made critical financial appointments that will almost certainly produce a historic crisis when the economic downturn comes, a crisis that we will be told necessitates deep cuts in the remaining social safety net, further tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, and, almost certainly, intensified attacks on scapegoat groups.

    * Isolated the United States by abandoning or attacking our allies and forming a new coalition that includes some of the worst autocracies and human rights violators on the planet.

    Since none of this, except for the tariffs has had a negative effect on the Republican base or its elected representatives, they have remained solid in their fidelity to the leader, mostly supporting the focus on scapegoats since they don’t know any of them. In the process, they have demonstrated zero empathy for the scapegoat groups, for the “liberals” that they loath and seem willing to take violent action against, or for anyone outside the chosen group.

    So here is a moral question to ponder: What is the responsibility of these “others” to show empathy for those who have shown no reciprocal empathy for anyone else? Depending on the outcome of the upcoming elections, that may be a very relevant question.

    And for people like the dairy farmers, they might wish to ask themselves the next time they profess their loyalty to Trump, Ron Johnson or Steve King, when were they ever let down at a time of need by those they deride as “liberals”?

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