All Donald Trump’s Deplorables

To characterize 70 million Americans (pick a number) as thugs and insurrectionists is dishonest, and I would say unpatriotic. But in a way, not surprising to me, when I consider that many elites, the MSM and the core of the Left want to fundamentally change the nature of the United States from a representative democracy based on the Constitution to a socialist state. mrossol

WSJ 1/12/21 by William McGurn

Whatever political future Donald Trump might have envisioned for himself is now dead. He squandered a good chunk of it in the Georgia runoffs, when he made them all about himself instead of about keeping Republican control over the Senate. But it was finished off by the mob of his own supporters who stormed the Capitol this past Wednesday and inflicted more lasting damage on their man than anything his enemies ever managed.

At the moment, Washington is consumed with just how humiliating Mr. Trump’s exit will be—with a second impeachment, with the 25th Amendment invoked, with his resignation. There’s even talk of holding a Senate trial when he’s no longer president.

 

But for anyone who cares about unity and healing, the president’s fate is no longer the primary concern. More important is the future for the half of America that supported him. Because there is an effort to lump the 74 million Americans who voted for Mr. Trump with those who rampaged through the Capitol—thus rendering them unfit for polite society going forward.

There’s no denying the reality of the thugs. But let me tell you about the people I know who attended that rally. To a person, they are decent, ordinary Americans who didn’t enter the Capitol and wouldn’t dream of disobeying a police officer.

Some (but not all) believe the election was stolen. They’re mistaken, but that doesn’t make them white supremacists, domestic terrorists, religious extremists or any of the many noxious names they’ve been called. Those I know personally are now terrified that they will be doxed—meaning vengeful leftists will make their personal information public—and perhaps fired from their jobs if it gets out they were in Washington for the rally.

These are also people who have no problem with arresting and prosecuting those who did break the law that Wednesday. A Reuters/Ipsos poll reports that only 9% of Americans consider the rioters “concerned citizens” and 5% call them “patriots.” The remaining 90% includes millions of Trump voters.

True, those millions include some, perhaps many, who believe in conspiracy theories and don’t trust their government.

But where could that have come from? Might it have something to do with watching leading media outlets proudly declare they wouldn’t even try to be fair in reporting about Mr. Trump, and then go on to promote the conspiracy theory that the president was a Russian agent? Is it any surprise that people might then look to other sources of information, some of which are dubious? Or that distrust in government grew as people learned how leaders at the FBI and Justice Department abused their police powers to interfere in an election and then undermine an elected president?

Everywhere a Trump voter turns, he sees ostensibly apolitical organizations enlisting in the “resistance.” Here’s an email just sent to every kid in America applying to college through the Common App:

 

“We witnessed a deeply disturbing attack on democracy on Wednesday, when violent white supremacist insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to undo a fair and legal election. The stark differences between how peaceful Black and brown protesters have been treated for years relative to Wednesday’s coup again call attention to the open wound of systemic racism.”

Mr. Trump’s power to cool passions, now running at a fever pitch, is almost nil, and in any event his time is running out. But if Joe Biden means what he says about being president for all Americans, including those who didn’t vote for him, he has work to do. A healthy start would be to ask his fellow Democrats to call off the impeachment that will only rub raw an open wound, or make clear to the anti-Trump Republicans in the Lincoln Project that their effort to blacklist anyone who served in the Trump administration is a prescription for more rancor and division.

 

Some ask: Why is it on Mr. Biden to soothe disenchanted Trump followers? The answer is because in a week he will be the nation’s leader—and he’s already promised as much. In his victory speech he said it was time to “stop treating our opponents as enemies.” He’s right, but it will take leadership to make these words real for millions of Trump voters who feel, with reason, that the hatred and contempt directed at Mr. Trump is also meant for them.

Hillary Clinton admitted this when she infamously labeled these voters “deplorables.” But funny thing about that: In her original remarks, she made clear she was consigning only half of Mr. Trump’s supporters to her “basket of deplorables.”

The other half, she said, are “people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures.” She went on to advise that “those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

She was willing to consider at least half of Mr. Trump’s supporters worthy of understanding and empathy. Today, this would make Mrs. Clinton the moderate.

Write to mcgurn@wsj.com.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/all-donald-trumps-deplorables-11610406826?mod=opinion_lead_pos8

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