Reporting in From Trump Country, 2020

A picture of a Trump/Pence sign, with the notation by me: Same sign. Different year.

John ScalziFour years ago (almost exactly), I wrote about Darke County, the place in Ohio where I live, and how I expected it would vote in the 2016 presidential election. Darke County is a small rural county, and like most small rural counties in the United States, it skews pretty seriously conservative and Republican. As part of the 8th District of Ohio, it hasn’t sent a Democrat to the House of Representatives since 1932, and it hasn’t voted for a Democrat for president since 1964. It’s as reliably Republican as you can get, and in 2016 I predicted that Donald Trump would take the county with about 70% of the vote, a number I picked out of the air based on the share of the vote previous Republican candidates for president garnered in the county while I was living in it.

Well, I was wrong about that. Trump won the county with 78.53 percent of the vote — not just outstripping my own prediction by eight and a half points, but winning the county by the largest percentage of any presidential candidate going back at least to 1856, that being the presidential election where Wikipedia stops breaking down the Ohio presidential votes by county. He also did so by a substantial margin over the next highest percentage-getter (that would be Mitt Romney, with 71.72%).

Regardless of whether I like it or not — and I don’t — Trump was a historic candidate for Darke County, and one whose selection cannot merely and entirely be explained away by reflexive Republican lever-pulling. My county chose Donald Trump, specifically. The vast and unambiguous majority of the voters here wanted what he was selling. And, well. They got it, all right.

Now it’s 2020, and you may ask: How does Darke County feel about Trump four years on?

The answer, at least as far as I can see: Pretty much the same, actually, and those who are in the tank for him are even more obviously in the tank for him than they were four years ago. Four years ago in Bradford, the town where I live, there were Trump street signs, like the one in the picture above. Here in 2020, there are multiple signs per yard, and banners, and flags, not just with Trump’s name on them, but of him standing on a moving tank whilst screaming eagles fly alongside him, and no, those flags are not being flown ironically, they really mean it. There are occasional Biden signs, mostly of modest size, but anecdotally they are outnumbered by Trump signs by at least twenty to one. The 2020 Darke County Trump tank is deep and perhaps a bit frantic. If Trump is hoping for “shy voters” to suddenly spring up to take him to victory, he’s not going to get them here. Darke County Trump supporters may be many things, but shy does not appear to be one of them.

Whether the ostentatiousness of Trump’s supporters here will translate to the same number of votes as he got in 2016, or if it’s just whistling in the dark(e) by people who can read the news as well as anyone else and can see the looming electoral massacre, I can’t say. I can say it would not surprise me at all for Trump to once again get 79% of the Darke County vote, give or take a few percentage points. I will be surprised if he gets less than 75% of the vote. If he somehow slides below 70%, I’ll be in shock, and Biden will almost certainly have had a landslide victory, which will include taking Ohio as a whole.

And you may ask, well, how can this possibly be? Did Darke County not experience the same previous four years as all the rest of the country? Does its citizens not see how historically awful Trump is? What are they thinking? How can this be explained away?

Well, and in no particular order, here are some of the reasons why I think Trump is still going to take Darke County, Ohio (note well: My explanations will mostly not be the reasons offered by actual Trump voters):

1. In fact, Darke County didn’t experience the same four years as some other places. Darke is, again, a small rural county in Ohio. It’s 98.5% white, and conservative in a Republican state. Trump’s awfulness is mitigated here by the county’s whiteness, Trump’s general lack of antagonism for Ohio as a whole, and by the fact that although agriculture has been disrupted by his administration’s dimwitted policies, Trump and the GOP are perfectly fine with welfare for farmers and the agricultural sector. The pandemic has not bitten down as hard here as it has in other places, both in the state and in the US in general. Don’t get me wrong, Darke County has not escaped the general rain of shit from the last four years. But it’s fair to say it’s been a lighter steady patter of raindrops at the periphery of a much larger storm.

2. Trump is offering up conservative policies and judges. He’s doing a whole bunch of other really shitty things, because he’s a corrupt and bigoted grifter, but also, you can’t deny that he’s danced with them whut brung him, and given doctrinaire social and economic conservatives pretty much everything they’ve wanted over the last four years. And guess what? If he wins the election, they get another four years of that! There are a whole lot of people for whom that’s enough — or at least, there are enough who want what they can only get with a Trump win (Biden’s not gonna stuff any more poorly vetted, stridently doctrinaire conservative judges on the bench) that they’re willing to put up with graft and corruption that they don’t think is going to affect them, anyway.

3. A whole bunch of the voters are being fed shit from social media and questionable news sources and either they don’t know it or they don’t care. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the epistemic capture in the US of (not only, but in particular) poor and working class whites by conservatives, billionaires and propagandists is one of the great social engineering success stories of the last half century. This includes an informational ecosystem that’s easy to get into and hard to get out of because it simultaneously stimulates fear and anger responses, degrades one’s own ability to reason, and breeds mistrust in outside sources and political points of view. In other words: cult conditioning.

Now, it would unfair nonsense to suggest the people of a county that hasn’t gone for a Democrat since LBJ would not be reliably voting for whomever the GOP candidate was every four years. But it’s not unfair nonsense to say that convincing a historically large percentage of these folks to vote for someone who four years ago was clearly not competent to be president, and in 2020 has a nearly four-year record of venal graft and malice, is the fruit of a decades-long effort to get into their heads and make them resistant to actual facts that are right in front of them. It’s not coincidence that QAnon is metastasizing through conservative and GOP circles at breathtaking speed; having a millions-strong corps of voters willing to lap up even that level of rank bullshit is in fact the goal.

(“But her emails!” Well, yes, and that’s to my point exactly — the decades-long demonization of Hillary Clinton far out of proportion to any actual misdeed or misstep she might have ever made is a perfect case study of how this epistemic capture has worked, and helped to make her a weak enough candidate that a walking loaf of unearned privilege like Trump could edge her out of the presidency.)

Related and slightly more charitably:

4. Not everyone actually follows or cares about politics. These are low-information voters but it doesn’t mean they’re stupid; it just means on a day-to-day basis they’re worried about what life is dishing out directly in front of them. The US is really good at filling up all your hours with work and family and errands and Dancing With the Stars and/or The Bachelor, especially if you are poor or working class and you’re on an economic precipice anyway. Politics is a luxury item in the United States, and again, we work really hard to make it so. So when it comes down to voting, often it’s just easier to pick a team to root for, and probably the one that all your friends and family are rooting for and the one you see and hear talked about on radio, TV and social media.

I understand that most of the people who are reading this aren’t that sort of person and possibly cannot fathom how someone could be this sort of person. But if you’ll allow me a moment of cynicism here, let me suggest that these sorts of voters are some of a political party’s favorite. Nothing like someone unthinkingly punching in a party line vote, no matter if you are Republican or Democrat. The parties rely on that sort of “this is my team” thinking. And here in Darke County, that team is the Republicans.

5. Some of the people voting for Trump are just shitty bigots. As I (and others) have said before, not everyone who votes for Trump is a shitty bigot, but all the shitty bigots are voting for Trump. I’m not going to pretend my home county doesn’t have its fair share of shitty bigots. They’re everywhere! Darke County is not different.

6. Rather more of the people voting for Trump are not shitty bigots in their daily lives, but don’t have to deal with the fallout of shitty bigotry, so, meh. Hey, you know what’s really hard to make white straight cis people understand? The dynamics of systemic bigotry! It will not be news for many of you reading this that the US is really good at convincing people that so long as they aren’t actively a shitty bigot every waking moment of their lives, that they don’t have to be concerned with, or engaged on, issues of systemic bigotry — and indeed (see point 3 above) there’s a whole apparatus designed to make them feel like when other people want them to engage on those systemic issues, it’s them who are being attacked when they’re good people, okay?

And they are perfectly good lovely people on a day to day basis, who also aren’t wrapping their heads around what a vote for Trump means to so many other people and in a larger context… or they are, and have decided it’s not really all that bad.

I’m not here to excuse voting for a shitty bigot. What I said four years ago about it still stands, and here in 2020, you can’t say you don’t know who Trump is as a president, even if you are a low-information voter. My friends, no one who has the mental capacity to fill out a ballot is that low-information at this point. Voting for Trump in 2020 is an explicitly racist, sexist, homophobic and transphobic act, among the many other terrible things that it is.

Also, it’s something that at least 70% of my neighbors, and possibly as many as 80% of them, are planning to do in a couple of weeks, if they have not already done so.

I’ve had a lot of folks ask me (and some others judge me) about that and ask me what it’s like. The answer I have for that is, well, I don’t know, what’s it like for you? Very few of us, I suspect, and especially the straight white cis folks, are completely without a Trump voter somewhere in our social orbit, just as very few Trump voters are completely without a Biden voter in their midst — I mean, for at least some of those Trump voters, that person is me. 63 million Americans voted for Trump in 2016; it’s not unreasonable to predict he’ll pull close to that number in this election as well (I’m hoping for much less, mind you). And some of those voters might be, and statistically speaking are likely to be, your family members, or friends, or neighbors or co-workers or classmates.

For me: the ones that are active, shitty bigots I am happy to leave by the side of the road, and have, when it’s come to that. As for the rest, well, you know, look: I am not innocent in my life of having benefited from and even having leveraged to my advantage the biases of the system. I’m still working to be a better person on that score. I recognize that I’ll be working on myself, and to make the world and my country fairer and more just for everyone, until I die, and that I will leave the work undone when I go. We are all in process.

Including, potentially, people who voted for Trump. There are some people who voted for Trump in 2016 who are actively casting a vote against him in 2020 because they realize now the danger he represents. There are going to be some people who will need to have him lose (knock on wood) this year and have all his presidential protections stripped away before they recognize all the graft and corruption and malign incompetence he brought into the White House, and how it damaged the country. Part of me is gonna want to yell at them because Jesus Christ it was all right there how could you not see it, but another part of me is going to take a breath and remember we are all on the metaphorical road to Damascus, and some people take longer to have the scales fall from their eyes. When they do, work can begin.

Biblical allusions aside, I’m not, shall we say, expecting miracles. I’m also not expecting Darke County to go blue in 2024. But I think it’s okay to hope for some change, and to work for it as well. We’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, please vote, folks. It matters.

103 Comments on “Reporting in From Trump Country, 2020”

  1. Notes!

    1. Political post, Mallet is out, be decent and kind to each other in discussion, so on and so forth. Also remember I have my BINGO cards out for unthought-out political screeding and if your comment ticks too many squares the Mallet will find it. Engage your brain, not talking points, please.

    2. For the record I happily acknowledge that this is the sort of piece that a straight white cis dude could (and in fact did) totally write, and that a) it is thus open to criticism on that score, b) other people who are white and/or straight and/or cis and/or male might disagree with some or all of its premises and construction. That’s fair! Have at it.

    3. Hey, could we not have whaddaboutism in this thread, please? I acknowledge that neither Biden nor the Democrats, or the supporters of each are flawlessly on the side of angels, but a) I’m not talking about them here, I’m talking about Trump, the GOP and the voters thereof, b) let’s not pretend at the moment that “both sides are just as bad.” Peddle that bullshit elsewhere, thanks.

    4. Also, triumphal “root for my team” exercises will be frowned upon and likely to be Malleted, either from blue or red perspectives. Let’s not act like low-information voters here, please.

    5. As a final point, I note Darke County because I happen to live here, but I suspect the same dynamic is at play at a whole lot of counties like Darke County: small, rural, mostly-to-almost-entirely white, and historically conservative/Republican. Darke County is not that unusual, folks.

  2. I didn’t think there could be a redder county than mine, which went for Trump in 2016 with just about 72 percent. A rather depressing number of down-ballot races never even bother running a non-GOP candidate. I’m optimistic enough people have realized that this shit show doesn’t deserve a renewal, but I’m realistic enough to not count on it.

  3. A good friend of mine, white, college, female, voted for Trump before and will again. She doesn’t read the newspapers and doesn’t watch the news. She only uses social media for her real estate sales. She always votes Republican at the top of the ticket and Democrat through the bottom. She is as uninformed as you can get but she doesn’t see why she should *have* to be informed just because of Trump. She exasperates me.

  4. Yeah, I’m gonna bitch about #4. If you can’t be bothered to research the issues beyond Facebook, Twitter, and the crap that lands in your mailbox, and TV ads then please do us all a favor and don’t vote. Cuz your sources are shit, your opinion is shit and your vote is shit.

  5. I admire your optimism, that the scales will fall from people’s eyes. Personally, I have none of that optimism. After 4 years you have to be choosing to be willfully oblivious and plenty are. Add to that my general feeling that he’s unlikely to ever actually be punished for any misdeeds anyhow, and I think the odds of the masses that support him ever acknowledging that he was, and always will be a poor choice.

    Instead it’s all just going to be more “deep state” bullshit, and rampant denial of facts and logic. He was cheated. We were all cheated, etc, etc, etc.

  6. Interestingly, the ‘fancy’ street in our neighborhood here in SF (read: the one with the expensive houses that’s actually in a different district from the rest of the neighborhood because rich people) has a TON of Biden signs in the window. They’ve usually skewed conservative or centrist in the past.
    Related, we visited my in-laws north of here the other day and saw exactly ONE Trump sign the entire time…on the lawn of their neighbors across the street.

  7. I agree Trump supporters aren’t shy. They are loud! I don’t think the silent majority are Trump supporters.

  8. I live in a similarly red area. Thanks for putting this down in print for those don’t see life in the rural red areas of the Midwest in their day to day.

  9. I’ve always split my vote down here in Houston and sometimes voted in the GOP primary As it is inconceivable any Republican officeholder at any level can’t see the sheer malice of this administration, I voted Democratic for every candidate, On November 4 I’ll go back to eyeing both the Democrats and Republicans warily, but for now we need to put a stake in the heart of Trumpism. My fear is that we’ve lost the GOP as a viable center-right party for the next generation as the moderates just walk away from the crazies.

  10. “But can we agree that socialism is not a good thing?”

    No.

    My home county is Multnomah, Oregon (the home of Portland). It’s the exact opposite of Darke Country. Here, the Republicans often don’t run candidates for the local state house and senate positions (the city & county offices are all non-partisan. As pleasant as Darke County is, I really don’t think I could live there. (Among other things, I wouldn’t want to not live in a city.) Based on actions of Trump supporters in some area, I don’t think I’d feel safe there.

    (And don’t repeat the lies back that the right-wing press and the GOP has been saying about Portland. Other than the businesses that have closed because of the pandemic, our day-to-day life is fine here–as long as we can keep Trump’s storm-troopers out..)

  11. My 89-year-old mother, who is white with a high school education, is anxiously waiting for her ballot so that she can vote for Biden, and help get rid of Trump.

  12. Thank you for this. I live in a comparable area in Canada (Alberta) and the feeling of being alone and under constant siege is exhausting. It means a lot to hear rational words from someone else in a similar (arguably worse) place.

    Again, thank you!

  13. In defense of Wikipedia, the Republican Party didn’t exist before 1854 and didn’t run a presidential candidate until 1856.

    Having said that, it is a cult. Even if these people were to read periodicals all day long with CSPAN on in the background, they’re voting for Trump.

    You can not reason them out of it, because they did not reason themselves into it.

  14. Sadly, I too have Trump voter friends. What it boils down to, despite what they say (he’s for law and order, he protects my religion, etc.), my 401K is doing ok and I don’t want my hard earned money going to anyone else. The other things he does don’t affect me so I don’t care.

    I am reminded of that poem:

    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

  15. Rural western Canada is very solidly conservative too. It’s sad. 90 years ago Canada’s socialist party was formed by western farmers and for quite a while was the core of their support. Now they’d vote for Trump if they could.

  16. I have some friends, one is my business partner, who actually believe the things Trump and Fox news say. I can’t figure it out, because you can’t have a civil conversation about that whole alternate universe. I really is a division that goes too deep, even is Q is a Filipino pig farmer,

    I do think Trump has lost enough support that Biden will win, but I will not put any money on it. I know that some of the things I identify with have been affected by disinformation, but there is so much of it out there for the others guys, I can almost see how they can get there from here.

  17. What I get from trump supporters if I ever point out anything is basically that I’m brainwashed by the liberal media. They don’t even get that he can say one thing one week, and the next be saying the opposite and denying that he ever said the first, even though it’s right there on video, and they probably saw it when he said it.
    He’s run his businesses on the edge of being pyramid schemes, talk them up, get loans and investments, pull money out like crazy and pay off just enough investors that talk stays positive, have a bunch of contractors do work, and then pull the plug on the business when it’s sucked dry of capital. Offer the contractors pennies on the dollar for the money they are owed, since the alternative for them is getting the same in bankruptcy court, fighting high priced lawyers, and what little the do get going to their own lawyers. One issue with this is it’s forgiven debt, which you have to pay taxes on, but somehow he’s claimed the losses as his losses. That’s why he’s paid little in taxes in years, false losses. Then he repeats with the next idea.
    For this people saw him as some kind of business genius due to this, and voted for him as a non-politician. Somehow they thought anybody had to be better than a non-politician. Even better if it’s a millionaire self made businessman(if you don’t look close at his business dealings)
    Then you’ve got the solid conservatives, who are going to vote republican no matter what, because they think doing otherwise would mean voting for communist socialists who are going to allow mass murder of just born babies, allow mass immigration and give the immigrants full time high wages as welfare, paid for by raising taxes 200%

  18. “But can we agree that socialism is not a good thing?”

    I’d love to discuss the pitfalls of socialism with people, if socialism were even on the ballot. If you say a Biden presidency would represent socialism coming to the States, you are either lying, delusional, or stupid. Even the soi-disant “socialists” that have achieved any level of success in American politics would have to call themselves Social Democrats in any country where real socialists or communists have any appreciable influence.

  19. One note about the sign with Trump and the eagle and the flag. It isn’t even a real U.S. flag! Too many stripes, not enough stars. Says something about Trumpers, maybe.

  20. Look, it’s one thing to have *a* Trump voter in your orbit. It’s quite another for *80%* of your neighbors to be in that camp. My reaction to a giant Trump tank eagle flag is not dissimilar to seeing an Iron Cross or swastika flag from the side of the road.

    It’s great that it doesn’t effect your life or give you agoraphobia! But I would not feel safe in that environment. And I’m white!

  21. [Deleted for responding to a deleted comment. No worries, John Lorentz, you’re good — JS]

  22. I live in a deep-blue county in a purple state that Trump won by about 35,000 votes in 2016. The conservatives here are desperately trying to peel away just enough liberal votes in this state to throw it to him again. And they may succeed.

    It is astounding and terrifying how many people I know will happily acknowledge that they don’t feel any need to read a newspaper because they get their news on face-book. I know that’s been part of the larger strategy for decades, along with the Republican approach of “no office too small” in pursuing EVERYTHING on the ballot, but it still shocks me how well both have worked.

    The thing that scares me the most right now is not so much Trump’s own strategies (the guy is dumber than a box of rocks and couldn’t articulate a strategy if it was on the teleprompter), but rather those of the rabidly conservative old white men who are desperately trying to hold onto power for a few years longer. Plus the fear of what the white supremacists will do to aid and abet them, now that they’ve finally got one of their own in the Oval Office. Then on top of that, add in the foreign actors who are very well aware that it is to their advantage to have a narcissistic loose cannon in charge, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a rerun of 2016.

    That’s what keeps me up nights worrying. If the cadre of conservatives and white supremacists can manage to disenfranchise just 50,000 Dem voters in my state, we could once again be a swing state that allows him to steal another election. I don’t care what the polls say; didn’t the polls show Hilary with something like a 90% chance of winning at this point in 2016? The Republican machine helped him to steal that election, and with four years to prepare for this one, I am terrified that they’re going to do so again in 2020.

    I’ve voted, my county clerk’s office has acknowledged that they received my ballot, and I’ve done my tiny little bit to keep my county deep blue and my state on the violet side of purple. I just wish I could sleep at night.

  23. Every time John writes about Darke County I want to scream about apologetics…

    My county will have probably four to five times the number of people vote for Trump than Darke County purely because of population. My county will still probably go for Biden, likewise my state of Colorado will probably go Democrat.

    I know that most of the time my community is a subset of that. I have had customers go Wuhan flu at me because I am a white guy who does manual labor- so I must agree.. I don’t.
    But I call it COVID or coronavirus and change the subject back to work.

    I can think of a husband of a someone I like who will vote for Trump. I haven’t shunned him though I know his politics and he knows mine. I keep trying to edge him as part of my wider community into a better direction.

    There are people who need to be shunned and those who need examples of something else, and others that need guidance. I try, probably not as much as I should. Privilege is easy, even if to rest in it probably isn’t responsible.

    The apologetics is more general than John. It is America.

    I might, in my not so good moments, might think Darke county? Shitty racist Republicans. Everything that is wrong with America… But that isn’t fair. My community might not be a segregated but it has more of that this Darke County does. I’m not sorry for that. I do sort of shun those areas now. The same way I avoid a lot of Republicans I don’t think I can help in my community. I think that is all I can do from the outside.

    But I do hope John does more from within. That he uses his privilege responsibly. To change what he can within the community that he lives. As an example, as an influence, and as a voice that Darke county and America can be better than this.

    I try to do more in my county in return.

  24. So here’s the thing, Scalzi. It’s nice that your neighbors are nice to you, and it’s nice that they’re mostly Nice People ™. It’s even nice that you’re self-aware about the fact that their niceness to you is a function of your race and sexual identity (and income). And I do understand that not everyone who votes for Trump is a monster. And yes, we’re all on the road to Damascus, etc.

    BUT.

    When you say that they knew what they were getting, and boy did they ever get it, that’s a nicely formed little bon mot, but don’t just move on from there. They knew they were getting treason and racism and grift and all the other abominations, and they signed off on it (as you explained in your essay about cable TV packages, back toward the beginning of this nightmare). They don’t get a pass on that because they’re nice.

  25. I approve of at least a certain base level of socialism. I LIKE having public education, libraries, fire fighters, paved and maintained roads. I’d like better still to know that if I should get too sick to work I won’t be sent home to die, uncared for because my insurance lapsed. So there is that. I live in South Dakota, so pretty damn red. Red enough that there isn’t a Democrat running in for the state house in my district. I had a choice of an R or an L. Some choice that. And of course my presidential vote has always gone for electors who didn’t get to vote… But I will vote anyway, and wonder what the hell has happened to the state of McGovern, Dasch., Johnson, and yes even Herseth. I see some hope that we might sway gently back towards sanity, not that we’ll make it all the way this year. There’s a humongous Tr*mp/P*nce sign in my neighbors yard, but the people with the T Flag have taken it down and replaced it with old glory and a POW flag. So I take that as a positive. We’re 12 miles from an air base and have a lot of retired military around here, so I’m hoping for a slight improvement in our area. 2016 saw Tr*mp with 61.5% of the vote, to Hillary Clinton’s 31.7% She won a couple of counties where the Native American population is a majority. I suspect Biden may win those counties and a few more.

  26. What’s it like being a blue dot in a red county?

    Lonely and depressing is what it’s like, at least here. It’s like realizing that being friendly to people who are friendly to you but voted to take gay marriage away IS picking a side. Just not the side you sympathize with.

    But there are now more Biden signs in my neighborhood than there are Trump signs (by a narrow margin and if I choose the streets carefully) and that is good. And I tell myself about 25% of the voters are Democrats, even here, and those people don’t deserve to be sawn off the country as a whole and left to sink. So I join with the local Democratic Party and try to turn out the Democratic vote and make sure to vote early myself and hope it is enough to help tip the country, if not the county, blue.

  27. Ah, yes, living with Trump supporters among my family, and neighbors . . . you want to know the thing–well, one of them–that has me looking nervously at polls? There is a very human and understandable tendency to be unwilling to admit that one has made a mistake. Every person who voted for Trump in 2016 has to go through that shift, that gradual realization that “shit, I goofed,” in order to avoid voting for Trump again in 2020–and not all of them are going to be willing to do that, even to the extent of paying enough attention to what’s been going on in the world for the past three and a half years. (Avoidance and Denial are wonderful things, oh my, yes.) Some of them, of course, will manage it–both among the true-believer Trump voters and the casual “oh, well, why not?” Trump voters–simply because it has more to do with whether or not the person is willing to re-evaluate past choices than anything else. (Though admittedly, the more emotional commitment an individual has to a particular course of action, the harder it is to acknowledge that it is and has been and will be a wrong course of action.)

    Still. The fear that there are people out there who just can’t face changing their minds because it would be admitting having been wrong in the first place is–one of the things that is keeping me up at night, at the moment.

  28. If you live in a reliably Red county, can’t stand Trump and find Biden pathetic: What’s your opinion on voting jo20.com ?

  29. Can’tVoteAnyway:

    Assuming you’re speaking to me, a) I don’t find Biden pathetic and have already voted for him, b) counties don’t matter for presidential elections, states do, c) I’m not a libertarian and wouldn’t vote for one for president.

    General comment:

    Let’s table the discussion of socialism, please. It’s not relevant to this thread.

  30. They don’t get a pass on that because they’re nice.

    I’m voting for Biden, as I’ve voted for every Democrat since 1988 (when I was old enough to vote), because the GOP is and has been a dumpster fire since the Southern Strategy and the recruitment of racist Southern whites.

    But…when I voted for Obama, I got to own his drone strikes, and his deportations, and his continuation of American imperialism (and I can do examples for *every* President back to the beginning, so don’t even). We all do. So let’s be a little more careful with the “you don’t get a pass.”

    None of us get a pass. Trump’s an impressively awful example, but no American President is untarnished, and we all live with that original sin.

  31. Living in a deeply blue city — the vote by mail ballots I requested back at the start of September still have not arrived. Early voting begins here on the 24th. But having requested a mail-in ballot, even if I haven’t gotten it, I now cannot vote in person, unless I bring that blank ballot with me and turn it in. This is deeply depressing, along with the whole city saying “We’re finished with the virus!” And cases are spiking like crazy again all over this region that got it under control.

    I’m at the point of believing the human race needs to die off, the sooner the better. It’s too stupid to do anything else.

  32. Referring to John’s last line in this blog post (“In the meantime, please vote, folks. It matters.)”:

    * I received email on Tuesday that my ballot was in the mail. (Oregon is entirely vote-by-mail, and has been since the 90s.)
    * I received my ballot on Wednesday.
    * I filled my ballot out last night.
    * I dropped it off at the library this morning (I could have dropped it in the mail and made use of the postage-paid envelope, but I was going to the library anyway).
    * I received confirmation this afternoon that my ballot has been received.

    A recent study came to the conclusion that Oregon is the easiest state to vote in, and I have no argument with that conclusion.

  33. I was deeply sad to discover, through OpenSecrets, that a colleague I like who has always been very kind to me, is a Trump supporter. He grew up in a rural part of his state in an agricultural community, so it makes sense. He left my company before there was any chance of my running into him, which is fine, since I was wrestling with how to deal with him.

  34. I appreciate you trying to break down why rural voters are so committed to Trump. I also live in a midwestern county, and it’s frustrating and perplexing to see so many people enthusiastically voting for him again after what we’ve seen these last four years. Talking with them, they seem to believe everything that they hear from Fox News and conservative talk radio. I don’t try to change their views about Trump, but I do get into arguments with them over their choice of media. It’s all I can do.

  35. I’m from Seattle, where like Oregon we’ve been 100% vote by mail for over a decade. I volunteer every federal election cycle to help protect access to the polls in Las Vegas. Early voting opened in Vegas today. In my eight hours observing, my anecdotal thoughts are: both parties have many motivated early voters. I saw a man in his full on white supremacist leather biker vest, rune and death head patches and tattoos, waiting hours to vote. Also saw Pakistani-American neurologist in his scrubs and hospital tag, voting. While he might have been a trump supporter, I have my doubts. But I can say that trump supporters are highly motivated even in blue strongholds like Vegas. I think it is good for them to stand in line with Democrats, bc it does shown them that a lot of people are voting and would make it harder for an (honest) republican to dispute a biden victory. However the Democrats must not get complacent. Because everyone is turning out.

    And for the love of this country, to honor the people who had to wait two hours next to the man with his deaths head and aryan tattoos and violently proclaiming jacket, please please don’t vote third party for president. Please don’t. You might not be worried about aryan nationalusts but a whole lot of your fellow Americans are at risk. Your libertarian leanings mean sh’t in that case, vote like the jacket guy wants a free pass to terrorize your neighbor even if it’s not you.

  36. Apparently the citizens of Darke county are either unaware of your blog, or have never read it, or I suspect you would have been tarred and feathered and driven across the county line long ago. It is interesting to me that you’re not some kind of pariah that people won’t talk to.

  37. So far, in the first three days of voting, more than 10% of the county has voted (just short of 60K),

    It”s going to be interesting to see what the overall turnout is this year.

  38. Ron Belke:

    Lots of people locally read the blog, actually. And I’ve lived here for 20 years. I don’t think my politics are a surprise to anyone at this point.

  39. You say something like most Biden supporters have one or two Trump supporters in our lives somewhere except… well no. Actually I don’t.

    And I grew up in an exceptionally conservative part of rural NC so it’s not as if I’m a liberal bubble person either. I’m still in touch with people from there and I’ve noticed something interesting. The people who have drifted away from Trump between 2016 and now are keeping a very low profile. They’re coming up to my Mom and asking her about the Democratic candidates in this weird and furtive way, because she’s maybe the only Democrat they know. The people who are still for Trump may be loud and proud but they may have no idea how their mom or sister or the guy who fixes their car or the deacon of their church feels.

    The way I see it, a lot of people supported him in 2016 because they thought his shenanigans were just theater. They thought he’d bring his business skills to bear and be maybe even kind of moderate. They didn’t like Hillary Clinton and they thought why not give him a try … and I think they’re terribly embarrassed now. I don’t know what will happen on Election Day but I think Trump’s support is softer than it looks from outside. We’ll have to see.

  40. From my perspective as someone who shares many of your axes of privilege but not all — I’m a white, retired trans woman — I’d reframe your last point. You’re centering the bigotry-adjacent “nice people” around you. And yes, if you look at it from their perspective, they’re not “bad people,” they’re just people who made a choice that has horrific consequences for not-them. So why throw out the baby with the bathwater? Maybe someday they’ll come around, and maybe that’ll be easier later if you’re kinder to them now.

    But from my perspective, I don’t care if they’re easy to live with, and I don’t care if they’re bad people or not. I care that they stop hurting me and people like me. And by extension, I want them to stop hurting all the marginalized people this country’s been hurting for so long. Seven paragraphs justifying taking an go-with-the-flow stance toward them is maybe not helping that much. (The point about the outright bigots was one paragraph, and the point about those who just want bigoted policies and judges but who would rather not shout about it was likewise only one.)

    So, be their friends, or not. I don’t care. Can you make them stop hurting us?

  41. Comments off for the evening whilst I sleep. They’ll be back on in the morning when I get up. Night!

    Update: I, uhhhhh, slept in. Comments back on.

  42. @ DAVID:
    None of us get a pass. Trump’s an impressively awful example, but no American President is untarnished, and we all live with that original sin.

    Exactly, and this is kind of a basic feature of all democracies – there is never a perfect candidate, and even a perfect candidate with the best possible intentions would slip up somewhere along the road and do something you (or your neighbour or any other of the people who voted them in) don’t like, something that has a negative impact on some peoples’ lives, something you may not have seen coming or nobody could have seen coming. Even a perfect candidate could one day be faced with a situation where there is no good way to go, where any decision they make feels wrong and is going to do harm to someone.

    So if you vote, you will have to own some bad stuff the person you voted for does (and actually, if you don’t vote, this will have an impact as well and you don’t get to wash your hands of everything that happens). All you can do is try to vote for the person you think will be best for the country. Sometimes you may have a choice between a number of capable and reasonably honest candidates, more often things are not as clear-cut, quite often you don’t get to vote for the better candidate but for the one who you hope is the ‘lesser evil’, and occasionally it is strikingly obvious who you don’t want in office.

    At least you can vote. Seen from the across the Atlantic it is pretty scary. Keeping my fingers crossed…

  43. What values do your racist, homophobic, sh*tty bigot, ignorant, cult member (I think you used all these words) share with you that makes you want to live among them? You clearly like it there and it would be crazy to like it if you hated or feared your neighbors so you like them. Tell me a story about a Trump voter that makes me like them; I mean I can hear you tell me I shouldn’t hate all of them (and, for me, personally, I do – even family and friends) or maybe I should pity them, but what would make me like them?

  44. I would be interested in a post election followup. Ohio is a toss-up right now, and if Biden wins it will not be because the rural counties went blue, just maybe a slightly lighter shade of red. I wonder if, in that environment, there are a few shy Biden voters, particularly women, who in the privacy of the voting booth may express their discomfort with Trump.

  45. I used to live in what’s now Rep. Matt Getz’ Congressional district. I thought it was extremely conservative when I was there, a large part of the reason we left when I retired (I’m part of “The Great Sort”). But checking voting stats only a tad over 70% of the votes in my former county in 2016 went to Trump–a significantly smaller percentage than the county where you live. I hope the people where you live aren’t as obnoxiously intent on sharing their views with you, missing no chance to shove them in your face.

  46. Just remember….voting for the lesser evil means…LESS EVIL.

    American Presidents, by the virtue of leading a powerful country (used to be the MOST powerful country), will often face situations where they will do harm, no matter what choice they make (be it a pro-active choice or to do nothing at all). There will ALWAYS be blood on their hands.

    That’s why it ages people so much. And that’s why I’m rarely impressed with arguments that impute personal failure when the failure is institution and is inherent in the office they hold.

  47. Interestingly, I was just listening to the Behind the Bastards podcast (https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/how-stuff-works/behind-the-bastards/e/78532983) about the Little Nazis, the folks like your neighbors who “were not men of distinction” and how they supported the Nazi party despite not supporting the anti-semitism–*and continued to do so after the war*. It relies pretty heavily on the book “They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45” by Milton Mayer. Weird how topics cycle.

    Between that and the myriad studies that show that giving facts to people only makes them cling harder to their beliefs, I just can’t help but have little hope for their eventual enlightenment. (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/02/27/why-facts-dont-change-our-minds) They’re pretty much irredeemable and I hate that thought. I hate it so much because it leaves us exactly nowhere. What do you do with that? Where do we go as a country? How do we ensure this never happens again?

    And the best I’ve been able to come up with is that we have to reform our elementary education system such that the information provided to children is as accurate, truthful, and comprehensive as we can make it at our current level of understanding with frequent review and update as new information comes to light. We gotta catch the kids at the “but my teacher said…” age. If we’re going to teach about George Washington at Valley Forge, we also have teach about George Washington pulling the teeth from his slaves so he can use them. If we teach about the American colonies, we need to also teach about the Native civilizations that were here before white guys came, gave everyone measles and smallpox b/c they were *nasty* as hell, and killed off 90% of the population. If we’re going to teach about American prosperity at the end of WWII, we have to teach about the state of Europe after the war and the School of the Americas and how we made sure there wouldn’t be any competition. And we have to hold home schooling to the same standards–if you want a diploma, you gotta pass the knowledge test.

    I came to that idea through the story about the baboon troop where all the bullies ate the garbage and died. Without that group to teach the next generation to be bullies, the troop has never replaced them and never looked back, even when juveniles of other troops have joined the more peaceful one. (https://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/13/science/no-time-for-bullies-baboons-retool-their-culture.html)

    I think K-12 educational reform can take the place of bovine tuberculosis. Hopefully. Not sure if we should rule it out entirely…kidding! I kid! I kid!

  48. I live in the most red county in South Carolina according to county by county voting history. Our circle of friends, none of whom are natives, congregate ( or did) mostly for cards and board games. It consists entirely of retired people who had careers as military officers, doctors, state and congressional staff policy writers, a college professor and a lobbyist – among other endeavors. I have no idea where they fall on the political spectrum as politics simply has never been a topic for conversation. For many of us, that was and is a ground rule of our profession and life – politics are checked at the door.

    These people, without exception, are fair and decent people as manifested by their actions and deeds. One may very well be a Trump supporter, others appear to embrace certain principles of a Rockefeller or Kemp Republican as well as liberal and progressive principles – sometimes all in the same person and a function of the topic at hand – as one can discuss life in America without it being through the lense of a specific political party. None of them toe any straight political party line on their life choices or their approach to various situations.

    I respectfully submit that people are a sum that is greater than and not defined simply by the lever they pull in the voting booth.

  49. I have a friend whose comments are similar. She moved from California to Boise Idaho. My question is why would you move from an open minded state to a state populated by bigots?

  50. Couple of points.
    You don’t put up bigger signs with other symbolism unless you feel a little threatened, there’s some reality shining from under the crack in the door so to speak.
    Second, how hard has COVID hit your county? Seeing relatives or suffering yourself from a debilitating illness that trump has shirked off can pick off a few more hardcore supporters.
    So probably all the way down to 73%, 65 if you’re slammed with COVID.

  51. “None of us gets a pass…” Sure, true enough. But this smacks of both-siderism. Obama’s sins do not equal Trump’s; Carter’s did not equal Reagan’s.

    Also, it’s curious that the Tea Party has pretty much evaporated. I never hear of them anymore. What percentage of them are now QAnon folks (MOrons)? I’d love to know.

  52. I think this a very good “guess” on some possible motivations. Having grown up in a smaller city in North Carolina, I can somewhat understand that type of area. It’s tough when something that seems so obvious to you is seen so differently by others. For me, it helps to try and find out why that might be. One of the right-wing tactics that really bums me out is how jingoistic they are – how they’ve co-opted the flag and performative patriotism as “theirs.” I bums me out, because now when I see someone with a flag on their car, or flying at their home, it makes me feel like I need to be careful around those people, to not necessarily be my authentic self. Perhaps that’s a silly hangup, but it’s how I feel.

  53. As for the why, it seems that the fifty years (and counting) of successfully implementing the GOP’s Southern Strategy demonstrates beyond any real doubt that, sadly, LBJ had it right on the button. He said: “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
    I fear that’s the only possible explanation for over fifty million people voting against their own finances (and many doing so for over fifty years). I’ve tried telling people that even if their *one and only* relevant political issue is the health and well-being of their own bank account, and nothing else matters, then the over/under figure, the number above which it arguably could make financial sense on average to vote GOP, is an annual income of about $270,000. However, the current GOP is by any objective measure a cult, so facts simply aren’t a useful tool.

  54. John .. your 2372 words can be boiled down to just 3 .. ” I hate Trump!” Years ago in my engineering college I had to take some form of literature appreciation class. We were discussing some novel of the time (50+ years ago). I was asked what the author was trying to say. My comment was why didn’t the author just say what he was trying to say.

  55. Sure, true enough. But this smacks of both-siderism. Obama’s sins do not equal Trump’s; Carter’s did not equal Reagan’s.

    Well, in return, your formulation smacks of “we’re not as bad as the Nazis”-ism. Just because you find a President worse than Obama or Carter doesn’t actually excuse Obama or Carter’s behavior. I don’t take a massive amount of comfort (though I agree with it) in knowing that even though Obama did horrendous things, he weren’t as bad as Trump. Obama still did horrendous things.

  56. Thanks for this thoughtful piece John. I’m not American, but I follow US politics as many across the world do, and I’m very invested in seeing Trump defeated.

    If Darke County isn’t changing, it’s interesting to look at where in Ohio the shift indicated by polling is making the state lineball in 2020. Trump won OH 51.7% to 43.6% in 2016. The average of polls has him and Biden on 47% apiece today.

    Evidence nationally suggests educated (suburban) white women are deserting him in droves. I guess there are not too many of these in Darke County. But there would be in the metro areas of Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland – this could be where the change will be.

    Assuming Black communities in those big cities already vote heavily Democratic, any ‘uplift’ in vote would also need to come from younger Black voters who support Biden or oppose Trump making sure they vote. Polling isn’t always a reliable indicator of who actually ends up punching the ballots.

    We have compulsory voting which results in around 95% of those on the voters roll voting, and usually
    95% of those votes being formally completed. A system where people not voting can determine the result as much as those who do vote is a great challenge.

    Aour ABC (like a government funded PBS) did a documentary on Ohio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqY3baNuImA
    Hopefully the link works and you can watch in the US, for those interested.

    It shows vividly the demographics and the divide driving this campaign, how 40%+ of Americans and the 70+% of people in Darke County continue to support this man.

  57. Gary, is nuance lost entirely on you? John says much more than’ “I hate Trump.” And I’m guessing that had Tolstoy written a two-word novel (War Sucks), it would have moved no one and been forgotten the moment it was written.

  58. Gary:

    No worries, you’re fine. The fact I dislike Trump intensely is, of course, not news. But as others have noted, there’s more to it than that.

  59. Gary, not sure why you should be in a bad mood… I mean, sure, 9,000,000 cases of COVID and counting in the US, a quarter-million of us dead, mass unemployment, an insanely divisive cult movement is creating chaos, the West is aflame… What’s to be edgy about?

    Anyway, my way of saying I’m sorry I dumped on you a bit. Sometimes nuance is lost on me as well.

  60. Thanks, John. As you imply and several commenters confess, Trump is a symptom. Unfortunately the disease is a source of unease for those of us not afflicted.

    Just like Fox News. It doesn’t supply an audience, it supplies one. They are guilty of pandering, not programming, as it were.

    The county I am stuck in was 84% for Trump last time. I haven’t seen a single Biden sign. Not one, probably because dissenters are as afraid of these people as I am. They are armed, of that I can testify. Daily. (I swear I hear AR-15s. And once an uzi.)

    These are definitely double-down folks, so I expect the next four months to be Chinese curse interesting.

  61. On the subject of road to Damascus enlightenment, do you think Chris Christie has had his moment with his comments about masks and Covid? I’ve not seen Trump throw him under a bus for them yet!
    Or am I wandering slightly too far off topic here?

  62. [Deleted because this comment was the equivalent of a comment that says “yawn,” but takes rather longer to do it. GB, you know you’re not actually required to read this site, yes? You can leave if it’s not to your liking — JS]

  63. I lived in OH for a decade. It is different than CA, in any flavors of CA that I can think of. But then so is a lot of the country. JS, I look at your county a bit differently, you still had 20+ percent vote not republican, with the most republican candidate in my 7 decades. I do not see what anyone sees in djt. I don’t get it, understand it at all. As you say we’ve had 4 yrs to see the results and he hasn’t gotten better, fit into the job, done the job, or gotten a clue what the job is. Which should be expected, he’s never done a days worth of work of any kind in his 7+ decades and he’s gone from having 400+ million to being worth a negative 1 billion dollars. I guess that TV is the defining element of our lives, or at least the lives of djt followers. Gloss over every thing, have nothing of substance, life is a reality show. Sure doesn’t feel like very good entertainment on this channel.

  64. “Rather more of the people voting for Trump are not shitty bigots in their daily lives”

    Well, maybe thats because they only run into a black person once every six months or so.

    “but don’t have to deal with the fallout of shitty bigotry, so, meh.”

    How would you know? Have you ever talked to them about politics? I keep running into what i would call polite bigots. They wont burn a cross on someones yard, but they ask them why they think more blacks in america are below the poverty line and they will politely tell you its because they’re lazy.

    Thats straight up racism. Polite? sure. Daily? Well, they think it every day they watch fox news tell them the horror stories of “inner cities”.

    Maybe ask them why they think more blacks are arrested disproportionately to whites. And they will politely tell you because blacks are more likely to be criminal. And they will politely tell you cops profile blacks for because blacks are mor3 likely to be criminal, not because cops are racist.

    That too is straight up racism.

    My guess is if you actually have a conversation about race with the polite folks around you that you’ll find racism popping up quite a bit. Polite racism, sure. And it likely wont come up often because how often do they have to deal with a black person. But racism is there.

  65. [Deleted for responding to a now-deleted comment. No worries NRCS, you’re good — JS]

  66. An interesting post from someone who’s relationship with the worst of Trumpists turns her stomach:

    http://jennytrout.com/?p=13030

    Also, “…I don’t care if they’re easy to live with, and I don’t care if they’re bad people or not. I care that they stop hurting me and people like me. And by extension, I want them to stop hurting all the marginalized people this country’s been hurting for so long.”

    Say. That. Again.

    Anyone casting a vote for this man, regardless of what they do or don’t know, read, believe or desire is voicing tacit agreement with everything that he’s done to this country.

    I happen to strongly disagree that Trumpists are “good,” ““fine” people, most especially when I and others in my community have been harassed and worse in Trump’s name.

    And it goes without saying that these incidents are far from isolated.

    It’s not just the ones with guns in their hands; it’s also the ones who support, encourage and enable them.

    Don’t forget how Kyle Rittenhouse managed to kill himself a couple protesters.

    Don’t forget the millions upon millions of people rallying to his defense, and to the defense of the domestic terrorists who planned to abduct and assassinate the governor of Michigan.

    More importantly, there is absolutely no excuse for being unaware of what this president has done; I agree whole-heartedly with the poster who argued that the ignorant would do well to keep their votes to themselves.

    This includes tantrum throwers on the left who’d rather spank the dems than prevent Trump and the GOP from bending and twisting this country into some early 20th century wasteland where wealthy SWMs and their immediate families are the only ones with liberty or safe passage.

    This is not about a simple disagreement against altruists and bootstrapping proponents, pacifists and hawks, environmentalists and polluters or 50s fetishists and forward-thinkers.

    We’ve got eugenics and outlawed abortion on one side and women’s reproductive rights on the other.

    One side is locking brown refugees in concentration camps and the other is proposing paths to citizenship and all of the rights and *obligations* that come with it.

    This country is wracked with disease and only one side is working actively and simultaneously to perpetuate the pandemic and yank healthcare out of the reach of millions of Americans because politics and racism.

    The choice couldn’t be clearer, and I have nothing but contempt for those who make the wrong one.

    The fact that they’ll bend themselves into a pretzel to help those who look and believe as they do doesn’t excuse their treatment of those who do not.

  67. Darke County sounds like it is home to many people who have no problem with the Leopards Eating Faces Party because the leopards aren’t eating their faces. How nice for them. My family does not have that luxury.
    On a cheerful note, my absentee ballot had a D running for every office, a nice change from a decade ago, when Rs were often unopposed.
    I’ve voted in 2020 and am assisting voters with questions every day. Everyone is really keen to vote, and doesn’t want to mess up. I’m also thinking ahead to ‘22 and ‘24 and beyond. The Good Fight is lifelong, and one drubbing, even if they get it, will teach the Rs nothing. Being unable to be elected dogcatcher for an extended period may get their attention.

  68. I believe you just described Morgan County in central IN. Another county in a crimson red state that is full of small, rural towns who are trump-drunk to judge by all the trump signs and flags.

    I disagree with your take on your trump voting neighbors being “perfectly good lovely people”. Anyone who votes for the gleefully racist, hateful, misogynistic, ignorant and incredibly corrupt trump – specifically after the last four years, specifically after 219,000 dead in 10 months – isn’t a “perfectly good lovely person”. They are voting for all of that for a reason which absolutely should matter in your assessment of their character. And if their vote is for the tax cuts only then that says quite a lot about their ability to ignore the destruction of our country, the laying waste of our environment and the horrible discrimination and crimes against everyone not in trump’s special little club just for money in the bank. Perfectly good & lovely doesn’t apply.

    You could argue that some people vote Republican as a muscle memory reflex since they’ve done so all their life and they don’t pay attention to anything beyond their own lives. (I’ve heard “it’s what I’ve always done” from several relatives this fall.) That excuse no longer flies (if it ever did) – people are responsible for their vote and what it stands for even if they aren’t paying attention. Especially after the last four years.

  69. As a Brit I hate the idea of voting for Trump – and his UK TV counterpart of Alan Sugar is only a businessman because he was lucky in property, not because he could create computers.

    Having said that there are two things that I’m seeing to partially offset the criticism:

    1) He has worked out how to tax the tech giants – which I fear is why criticism of Biden is being banned by faceache and Twatter (sorry my prejudices are showing here – I hate the intrusiveness of modern tech!)
    2) He has got Israel to agree peace deals with more Arab states than Obama.

    I obviously can’t talk for your neighbours, but from this side of the pond there are some global positives to go with the domestic failures – what am I misunderstanding?

  70. Just a note that some of us get our news from FaceBook because some areas of the country no longer have newspapers. I live in a small town about an hour from the nearest big city. I subscribed to the big city daily paper and my local 3 times a week paper. The big city paper decided it wasn’t economically feasible to keep delivering to the boonies about 2 years ago, and the local paper dropped to once a week after the 2nd month of COVID. The only thing keeping it alive is the legal requirement that legal notices still have to be published in an actual paper.
    I keep up with news through the AP, CNN, and Rueters websites, and I finally got a NYT digital subscription, but I’m a motivated news junkie who doesn’t have cable. Most of my neighbors’ only media source is cable tv, the local radio station, and what they see on FB. God help us.

  71. Your state of Ohio is now, according to 538, something of a tossup.

    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-election-forecast/ohio/

    My own state of Virginia is solidly blue.

    So John …. what can we do to help Ohio go blue?

    Some ideas:
    1. Vote. Clearly, you’ve done that.
    2. Give money. I assume you’ve done that.
    3. Advocate for your position and why your neighbors should vote. Uh …. check, I’m pretty sure. You could be more direct, like an “I won’t shop at your store unless you vote for Biden, you assholes”, but I think both the vulgarity and the action of the directness aren’t your style. I think you value your continued relationship with the community more than that.
    4. Encourage others to vote. Uh…. I see a “I voted. Your turn” at the top, so check.
    5. Work the polls or help those who do. I’ve sent masks and snacks to poll worker friends.

    You’re doing most everything I can think of, this post included. What else can we do?

  72. After a couple days of thinking, I’ve come back to this thread.

    There’s several reasons I don’t live where most of my family does (rural MN and SD) but the fact that I would find it psychically asphyxiating is pretty high up there. And most of my past exposure was as a kid–before the Fox News and Facebook hate-machines got in gear!–so I can’t realistically imagine it’s _better_ now.

    There’s a very human tendency to normalize whatever’s around you, no matter how fucked up it actually is. A lot of ambient pressure to go with the flow.

    Of _course_ Mr. Scalzi can’t hate his neighbors, no matter their unambiguously vile beliefs. Of course he has to think that they’re very fine people. He lives among them. If his feelings were any different it would be intensely painful to live there.

    All the folks who do find it painful, oppressive, infuriating, or frightening would leave at the first opportunity. Have probably already left.

    Let me say this. Darke County folks might be _nice_ people. Polite and generous to nearly all people in their day-to-day lives, most of whom are quite similar to themselves. But they are in no way kind. The level of empathy required for the basic functioning of a polyglot society is just not there.

  73. I think people are absolutely correct when they point out that Trump’s election is a symptom of a national ailment rather than the cause.

    I’d even go so far as to suggest that his supporters are, in essence, either voting for themselves or for an especially powerful authority figure they personally know and respect.

    I also think most Trumpists, in all likelihood, are the products of bigot factories.

    Known more commonly as family and community, said factories spin narratives of social dominance, inherent ethnic, cultural and biological superiority and a natural right to do as they wish to whomever they wish.

    There’s also the more than occasional spine-tingling tale of the big, scary liberal who wants to create economic, social and political equality between the rightfully privileged and the subhuman other.
    The sentiments articulated below make perfect sense when taken together with what we’ve seen of Trump and his supporters’ behavior.

    “A large minority of people still confuse his arrogance for strength, his false bravado for accomplishment, and his superficial interest in them for charisma.”

    “The simple fact is that Donald is fundamentally incapable of acknowledging the suffering of others. Telling the stories of those we’ve lost would bore him. Acknowledging the victims of COVID-19 would be to associate himself with their weakness, a trait his father taught him to despise. Donald can no more advocate for the sick and dying than he could put himself between his father and Freddy. Perhaps most crucially, for Donald there is no value in empathy, no tangible upside to caring for other people. David Corn wrote, “Everything is transactional for this poor broken human being. Everything.” It is an epic tragedy of parental failure that my uncle does not understand that he or anybody else has intrinsic worth.”

    “For him, it was not `the more you have, the more you can give.’ It was `the more you have, the more you have.’ Financial worth was the same as self-worth, monetary value was human value. The more Fred Trump had, the better he was. If he gave something to someone else, that person would be worth more and he less. He would pass that attitude on to Donald in spades.”

    “Donald today is much as he was at three years old: incapable of growing, learning, or evolving, unable to regulate his emotions, moderate his responses, or take in and synthesize information.”

    “Donald’s ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father’s money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself. Donald has always needed to perpetuate the fiction my grandfather started that he is strong, smart, and otherwise extraordinary, because facing the truth—that he is none of those things—is too terrifying for him to contemplate.”

    “He had all the confidence of a bully who knows he’s always going to get what he wants and never has to fight for it.”

    “That’s what sociopaths do: they co-opt others and use them toward their own ends—ruthlessly and efficiently, with no tolerance for dissent or resistance. Fred destroyed Donald, too, but not by snuffing him out as he did Freddy; instead, he short-circuited Donald’s ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion. By limiting Donald’s access to his own feelings and rendering many of them unacceptable, Fred perverted his son’s perception of the world and damaged his ability to live in it. His capacity to be his own person, rather than an extension of his father’s ambitions, became severely limited.”

    “Fred didn’t groom Donald to succeed him; when he was in his right mind, he wouldn’t trust Trump Management to anybody. Instead, he used Donald, despite his failures and poor judgment, as the public face of his own thwarted ambition. Fred kept propping up Donald’s false sense of accomplishment until the only asset Donald had was the ease with which he could be duped by more powerful men.”

    “By perpetuating his version of the story, he wanted told about his wealth and his subsequent “successes,” our family and then many others started the process of normalizing Donald. His hiring (and treatment) of undocumented workers and his refusal to pay contractors for completed work were assumed to be the cost of doing business. Treating people with disrespect and nickel-and-diming them made him look tough.”

    Nearly every pro-Trump and anti-Biden/Obama/Harris/liberal screed I’ve ever seen or heard could be attributed to at least one of the above observations.

    Unfeeling, jingoistic bigots with a false sense of superiority aren’t born but made. I think he stems from the same kind of rot as do most of his voters.

  74. Question—What was here before the election, and will still be here after the election? Two words: social media.

    A white LBGTQ university graduate (in physical education) friend goes one step further, in her belief in social media, by telling me with some heat that traditional media is no good, being owned by just a few people. I wonder if I am being too polite when she and others quote to me what they learned from social media?

    I told my friend how, due to people (first figuratively, then literally) swallowing a false covid cure, 800 died, more were blinded, even more were in hospital but escaped permanent blindness. I told how in India a government civil servant who went to a village to plead with people not to lynch was himself lynched, because folks were forwarding a social media claim that child abductors were coming to villages.

    In Finland there is a national effort to educate people that the Russians have state troll farms, with their president himself being one of the talking heads on a documentary.

    I think Americans need to educate each other, starting with not being so polite. Maybe I’ll make a T-shirt: “Social Media Kills.”

  75. I sympathize with your position. I am a cisgender white male (darned close to you in age too) and I live in Hall County Ga where my friends and neighbors voted for President Trump by 73.7% in 2016. I am taking comfort by what I am hearing on a larger scale. I just finished listening to 538s podcast where Nate Silver opined that Ohio was slightly more likely to vote for Vice President Biden than my own Georgia. Where 4 years ago the thought that either of them would vote for Hillary Clinton was simply ridiculous.

  76. I’d just note that some people are still in “abortions = dead babies” single-issue voting mode (in some cases partly due to miscarriages of dearly-wanted pregnancies). There are a lot of abortions every year; it’s actually unlikely COVID will beat that in any given calendar year.

    (others are concerned about having no negative consequences for free speech that they consider to be correct according to their religion – things like quoting Bible verses about homosexuality being a sin in the pulpit and not being sued being one example – and those I keep wanting to point to the book of Acts and say “okay, exactly how many of these people in the early Christian church were fine with *doing* sin so long as they could then get away with preaching Christianity without being whipped, thrown in jail, or killed? None? So, they’d use all the legal rights they had and then just take the punishment if they needed to say something that was deemed illegal by the authorities? Oh okay right then.” But it is a semi-realistic fear, anyway, if not a Christian fear – really, basically no one wants to lose their job over refusing to use a pronoun for someone who is transgender and instead avoiding pronouns altogether, for instance, but many people feel that using a pronoun other than the one that would have been assigned at birth is a lie, which does put them in a bind. Some just don’t like it. But for others, freedom of speech is a sufficiently Worthy and Important Goal that it is worth doing any number of ten-commandment-breaking sins. That latter part may fall under the truly unholy renaming of American Civil Religion as Christianity for some people, though.)

    So there might be a couple of additional things going on, although I don’t know whether either is particularly present in Darke County.

  77. Round these parts, Trump supporters are scampering into folks’ yards and either vandalizing or absconding with Biden/Harris signs.

    This is why their cries of “ma freedom o speech” give me a chuckle,” as does the “hypersensitive, easily offended snowflake liberal” meme.

    How weak and terrified do you have to be that you can’t stand the sight of your political opponents’ likenesses on complete strangers’ property?

    I’m also disgusted with the pro-life single-issue voters who have zero qualms about voting for eugenics programs targeting brown and non-English speaking people.

    Either they don’t believe this is happening or are perfectly alright with it so long as American born white women are legally prohibited from further endangering the white majority by aborting babies they do not want.

    Nope, still not getting good vibes from these folks.

  78. I feel like “they’re nice” has become the “they were just following orders” of 2020.

  79. @Chris Shorb & John Scalzi
    What would it take to turn Darke County blue?
    A pandemic that starts in rural midwestern CAFO feedlots instead of an illegal Chinese wet market.
    One that kills a lot of white people.

    Remember the swine flu pandemic of 2009? Here’s a refresher.
    https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/public-health/swine-flu-8-facts-about-the-world-s-last-pandemic-in-2009.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_swine_flu_pandemic

    The only reasons that the 2009 swine flu pandemic didn’t hit the US harder is because 1) it started in Mexico, not coincidently across the street (!) from Mexico’s largest swine CAFO, 2) Obama was president at the time and he appointed actual scientists to scientific positions, scientists who looked at was happening in Mexico and promptly cracked down on social interactions–remember how many schools were shut down & how people actually socially-distanced? Yes, as a nation we managed to do it, and 3) the guy in charge didn’t pretend shit wasn’t real.

    The US economy took a temporary hit, but recovered because decisive, INTELLIGENT action was taken at the beginning of the outbreak, when it was still outside of the US border, to minimize the damage to the US.

    The pandemic was quickly forgotten because it mostly affected brown people. It’s worth noting that the 2009 swine flu pandemic devastated the Mexican economy, pretty much like what Covid 19 is doing to the US economy now.

    It’s also worth noting that the likeliest place for the next major outbreak for a pandemic disease is any given CAFO in the midwestern US. It takes 129 lbs. of prophylactic antibiotics to raise a steer to market weight. Said antibiotics not only prevent animals who are literally knee-deep in their own feces from dying but it also delivers a market-weight steer in about 6 months that would otherwise take 4 years to reach the same market weight. The average CAFO also dumps more untreated feces than the five largest cities in the US combined–complete with antibiotic-resistant bacteria–into the nearest waterway.

    It’s also not a question of if a major pandemic originates from factory farming, it’s a question of WHEN. And WHEN the pandemic hits America’s heartland, where “real Americans” live, then and only then will the heartland realize that they’ve been on the razor’s edge for a long time and now they’ve fallen off. Right about the same time that they realize low taxes = not enough hospitals to handle an outbreak, to say nothing of other necessary resources needed to help those felled by the outbreak.

    As for what makes people vote for Trump?
    Most Americans have no idea how credit cards work, much less understand a tax return, let alone understand the tax system itself. They don’t understand the banking system and they don’t understand the financial system. Most of them don’t understand science or math in any meaningful way. More Americans believe in angels than in evolution. A smart guy who explains things that you don’t necessarily understand is a hard sell in politics. A demagogue who caters to your prejudices and tells you that if you vote for him, he will (magically) fix all your problems, usually by scapegoating a minority of one sort or another AND tell you your problems aren’t YOUR fault is a phenomenally easy sell.

    Right now, most American farming is propped up by subsidies. What happens when the government can no longer afford those subsidies? Right now, if you are a farmer, growing #2 yellow corn is about the best way to make money, in no small part because the government subsidies repay 150% of the cost of the entire crop before the first kernel is planted.

    What happens when the climate change that the Trumpists/Republicans don’t believe in devastates crops for a decade or more? It’s already happened–it was called the Dust Bowl and it destroyed the American economy.

    Right now, the American dollar is the de facto world currency. It’s like having an interest-free loan from the rest of the world. The American Treasury bill (aka the T-bill) pays out interest that is generally less than the rate of inflation. The rest of the planet buys them anyway because so much of the world’s currencies are literally not worth the paper that they’re printed on, which makes T-bills a preferred investment, even though they’re technically a losing proposition. (Ask South America about hyperinflation and how it kills a country’s economy.) The American dollar’s position as the de facto world currency is in large part why the American government can continue to run at a deficit. But a pandemic and economic crash can change that. That is the point at which the rest of the world will stop buying American debt, at which point John’s “nice” neighbors will stop being propped up by the American government, at which point the consequences of poor choices will become painfully clear. It is also the point at which it will be too late to do anything about it.

    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/treasurybill.asp

    https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/treasurybond.asp

    I expect that John’s “nice” neighbors will go blue if there is a major climate disaster like a prolonged drought and their livelihoods are threatened. Oklahoma is dependably red, but was reliably blue in the Dust Bowl years. Even the people in OH that aren’t farmers are indirectly propped up by federal subsidies–the stabilizing effect on farms and farmers translates to economic stability for all the businesses in the area, because the underlying economic base is stable, artificially so. It would be interesting to know how many of them consider themselves self-made and “not taking any government handouts.”

  80. Please understand that IN NO WAY do I actually wish or want a pandemic to start in red states or red counties or to start AT ALL. The question asked was “what would it take to flip Darke County” (or similar regions) blue?”

    I’m depressed that Americans apparently learn from nothing. 2009 should have been a giant wake-up call and it decidedly was not.

  81. The 2020 Darke County Trump tank is deep and perhaps a bit frantic

    Absolutely it’s frantic; victims of con artists have to deny louder and longer when evidence of the con starts to mount up. Especially when the reason they fell for the con is because of their own greed or venality. Your neighbors almost certainly told themselves that they had good reasons for voting for him, and his entire presidency made a mockery of those reasons. “Trump: Here’s Some Patriotic Imagery For My Hindbrain” is how they’re drowning out that growing and accurate feeling that they got played.

  82. I live in a liberal area, but I do see a lot of the team stuff you were talking about – the love people have for Obama is often removed from any of his actual policies or accomplishments as a president. He makes them feel a certain way. I voted for Diane Feinstein for years before I realized she actually was much more conservative than I.

  83. Some of my smartest in laws are voting for trump.

    They are not pro trump, they are anti- Democrat.

    The Republican from dog catcher to Presidential candidates have always been good at coming up with a consistent game plan and actually implementing it once in office.

    While a lot of Democratic candidates run on anti- Republican platforms. So my relatives have no idea what would happen if the Democrats actually get control of political office.

    The USA two party system seems to be broken and in need of change.

    I originally disliked Virginia’s limit of one term for Governor. I thought “lame duck” but then I found out how much time incumbents spend campaigning for re-election and I am starting to warm up to one term limits.

  84. Re: Trumpists as good people:

    I vaguely recall this scene in Huckleberry Fin where Huck is visiting this kindly old white woman.

    IIRC, she fixes a snack, warms him up then proceeds to let fly with a string of dehumanizing racial slurs about Jim.

    No joke, you haven’t seen creepy until you’ve observed a white person’s abrupt and seamless shift from warm, jovial empathetic human to snarling, tribalistic bigot.

    Also, unless their armed or poised to snuff you out, the ones who speak and act with the courage of their convictions are far less creepy than the ones whose saccharin smiles don’t quite reach their eyes.

    There’s something especially chilling about barely restrained, racially motivated rage, particularly when the warmth and humanity go out of their features.

    Their tone of voice and body language make very clear that the only thing between serious bodily harm is a fear of arrest or unemployment.

    I’ve seen this at the grocery store, at the bank, at boutiques, at restaurants and in the classroom.

    Just imagine Betty White going from warm and kind Rose from The Golden Girls to cold and cutting Ellen of Mamma’s family in 0.5 seconds.

    They might smile at you and chuckle where appropriate, but the “not of my tribe. Must kill” instinct is always, always behind their eyes.

    Perhaps this phenomenon is observable only to those on higher difficulty settings, but it’s why I have and continue to struggle with the notion of Trump voters as decent people.

  85. Part of the dysfunction with politics these days, and that should apply to any country with internet connectivity, is social media, as in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. We are the product in this model and the mechanism used to monetize the model has contributed greatly to the idea of selective reality. Cambridge Analytica(CA) comes to mind, but they are by no means an outlier in terms of manipulation via analysis of personalities through AI-based algorithms. CA took advantage of the model for its own purposes, but it was really only ‘tinkering’ with and ‘tweaking’ existing infrastructure. That infrastructure is the social media business model after all,

    What needs to happen before we can get back to a generally acceptable ‘reality’ is to globally institute the concept of Data Rights. Until that gets done, the Crazy that this world is becoming is bound to continue.

  86. Rural West Tennessee here. LOTS of Trump signs. “GOD GUNS COUNTRY”. Multiple signs per yard, and flags. Ugh.
    But our county also has a large percentage of African Americans. It was one of the few rural counties to go for Obama in 2008. We see some Biden signs. I wonder how many Biden/Harris supporters are afraid of vandalism. I guess we will see in November. I voted on Saturday.

  87. Sarah Marie, to my mind that isn’t the absolutely chilling scene in Huck Finn–it’s the one AFTER the famous letter-tearing scene, the one often considered the climax of the novel, where Huck says “All right, I’ll go to hell,” and commits himself to getting Jim free from the slave-catchers even though it goes against everything he’s been taught. Literally about three pages later, kindly Aunt Sally (under the impression that he’s Tom Sawyer) asks if anyone was hurt in the steamboat accident he’s just described, and he says: “No’m. Killed a [n-word].” And she says something like, “Well, thank goodness, because sometimes people do get hurt . . . ”

    Given that Twain is generally kinder to his female characters than the male ones, the scene terrifies me whenever I get to it. Which is why I can’t quite accept people who believe that the end of that novel is just Twain going on too long–Twain is making a point. This is a book about racism, not slavery, and the people in the world Huck has to live in are insane. They are capable of looking at a human being and seeing an animal, a piece of property, instead of what is actually standing in front of them. And that (to keep this relevant) is one of the things that frightens me about the obdurate Trump supporters: they are capable of looking at the world, at human beings, and not seeing reality. They may be “perfectly nice”–see Aunt Sally, or the people in Darke County–but they are insane and to live in the world with them you have to work on changing the world around them, not hoping that their essentially “niceness” will cause them to (suddenly or slowly) start to see reality and become sane. And you have to accept that they will fight you every step of the way, because why wouldn’t they?

    Twain’s view of the world is limited in some senses–but God, he got the insanity of his neighbors and far too many of his readers absolutely right.

  88. @brianduvie
    “Nice people” are nice because they are not challenged or threatened in any way, or asked to sacrifice for the benefits of others. “Nice people” can afford not to think about the issues raised because they don’t meet or regularly work or socialize with the disenfranchised. It hasn’t occurred to them that the life they save may be their own. By paying for socialized medicine (yes, you have it in some form or other unless you have a solo health care policy, ie., not a group plan from an employer that generally pays 70-80% of the healthcare premiums), you allow sick people who aren’t you to receive timely health care, instead of infecting multitudes of other people. Living in the “nice” bubble means that they never come face to face with the end results of their unthinking privilege.

    FYI, it is actually possible to change the minds of Trump supporters, but you usually have to have an emotional/social bond with said person. I mention this because the BF has relatives who I adore but are Trump supporters. I pointed out (in a discussion of LGBTQ rights) that by disenfranchising LGBTQ rights, they were essentially saying that they didn’t care about bullied LGBTQ kids committing suicide. (The discussion was about bathrooms, natch, as relating to trans people.)
    They were horrified. It hadn’t occurred to them what the consequences of their bigotry were.
    They also stopped arguing for excluding trans people from the bathroom reserved for the gender that they identified with. More importantly, they stopped agreeing with anti-trans bigots on social media.
    So change is possible. It just comes in tiny incremental steps.

    @Another Laura
    Newspapers have been declining since the advent of the 6pm news. The *rapid* decline came when Teh Interwebs happened. Instead of getting a whole paper whether you agreed with everything in it or not, now you could choose the news you *wanted* to hear. Also, craigslist knocked the knees out of most newspapers–classified ads were cheap but reliable sources of income for newspapers and then social media delivered the coup de grace.

    When was the last time you placed a classified ad in a newspaper that wasn’t court-mandated? Or bought an actual newspaper instead of getting the news for free online? Choices matter.
    Full disclosure: I used to be in the business and am no longer in it for the obvious reason.
    Newspapers are a business. If you (the collective you) do not support the business, you should not be surprised when the business goes out of business.

  89. I live in a neighborhood called Hyde Park bordering on the north end of the University of Texas at Austin campus and not surprisingly votes Democrat. There are Biden-Harris and MJ Hager (DEM running for the US Senate against REP Senator John Cornyn) signs everywhere. And I’ve seen a few neutral signs saying, “I’M SO GONNA VOTE!”. I have yet to see a Trump-Pence sign in the hood. Hyde Park would hardly be considered a bellwether for Texas voting trends. However, since the 2018 mid-term elections Governor Abbott concedes that Texas is “violet”.

    I voted last week on the UT-Austin campus the first day of early voting in Texas. It wasn’t bad considering, everyone was wearing a face masks and there were lines marked with tape for safe distancing. Polling staff were behind spit screens with hand sanitizer. Disposable hand gloves and finger cots (condoms) were supplied for using on the touch screen voting machines. The new voting system is a hybrid digital with a paper printed ballet.

    I would have opted for a mail in ballet but according to Texas voting laws you have to be 65 years or older, or expected absence from the county, or have a disability, or confinement in jail to qualify for a mail in ballet. The age qualification for a mail in ballet is a clear restriction of voting rights.

    “Who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of age” (Twenty-sixth Amendment, 1971)

  90. @ Mary Frances:

    And she says something like, “Well, thank goodness, because sometimes people do get hurt . . . ” […] They are capable of looking at a human being and seeing an animal, a piece of property, instead of what is actually standing in front of them.

    That is exactly what the Nazis did in the Third Reich. They would look at a Jew, a Pole, a Communist, a gay man, a Jehovah’s Witness and not see a human being but vermin that had to be destroyed. ‘Aryan’ doctors have been quoted as saying things like ‘The only medical service a Jew will get from me is his death certificate” (and those weren’t necessarily Mengele type monsters but regular GPs in ‘nice and friendly’ neighbourhoods). This attitude is what lead to the insane war against Eastern Europe and the murder of millions of innocent people in killing factories like Auschwitz, Sobibor, Treblinka. It took Germany some time to get there, but it was done on purpose with the knowledge and approval of a terrifyingly large proportion of the general population.

    And this is the spirit Trump is cultivating when he panders to white supremacists and bigots of all sorts, and I’m pretty sure this is exactly what the people behind him want, e.g. Steve Bannon to mention just one. I don’t think they are actually aiming for a replay of the Third Reich, but apparently many don’t mind a bit of ‘Herrenrasse’ feeling or, in the case of the religious fanatics among his fans, a bit of ‘In the name of the LOrd’ smiting. A chilling prospect, really.

  91. @ Bj:

    “The Republican from dog catcher to Presidential candidates have always been good at coming up with a consistent game plan and actually implementing it once in office.”

    I suppose that makes Trump an exception. He had no coherent, consistent game plan other than vague racism and noncommittal “America good” noise, promised a lot of things he didn’t even try to deliver, and stuck to generic conservative bullet points, rather than play the disruptor everyone expected him to be.

    But pointing this out to your in-laws is probably pointless.

    @ Sarah Marie:

    “I’m also disgusted with the pro-life single-issue voters who have zero qualms about voting for eugenics programs targeting brown and non-English speaking people.”

    That’s because “pro-life” IS eugenics, only under a hijacked name. Kind of like “right to work”.

    Once a fetus had been carried to term and delivered, “pro-lifers” are perfectly okay with it being summarily executed by the police, shot, bombed, or otherwise slaughtered overseas by the military, etc.

  92. Mary Frances:

    I remember that scene, as well, but I think I was more outraged than chilled.

    The juxtaposition of grandmotherly warmth with the casual employment of dehumanizing language was what made that moment especially chilling for me, because Twain leads you to believe that she, of all people, would be the exception among her neighbors.

    She isn’t Pap and is, by all appearances, completely devoid of the arctic roughness that characterizes the slave-hunters.

    It was that “oh no, not you, too” moment unique to a certain kind of horror movie that had and continues to creep me out.

    And I agree 100 percent with your observations re: Trumpists.

    Again, I come back to staunch anti-choice white women with passels of children tacitly endorsing the forcible removal of female concentration camp prisoners’ reproductive organs are a special kind of evil.

    They will proselytize and shout to all within earshot about the sanctity of life, a woman’s gift and her duty to be fruitful, yet they’re perfectly fine with man taking an active role in robbing “undesirable” women of that gift and preventing them from fulfilling that duty.

    The social and religious implications of their rationales are more than chilling, they’re unconscionable, because these prisoners aren’t women with a Godly purpose but animals that need to be fixed like common house pets.

    Ultimately, the message is that the price for encroaching on white people’s lands is your obligation to God and to your husband

    Zero tolerance, amirite?

  93. @ Bj:

    “The Republican from dog catcher to Presidential candidates have always been good at coming up with a consistent game plan and actually implementing it once in office.”

    Yes, it consists of filling their pockets and their donors’. From 2008 through 2016, the plan consisted of opposing everything Obama proposed, no matter how beneficial it might be for the country and it’s people. At present, the plan is to deprive millions of their health care at precisely the moment that the pandemic they have failed to control is killing hundreds of thousands, and creating millions more people with what insurers will see as pre-existing conditions.

    As in 2008, the Rs have once again driven the country into a ditch and strained alliances to the breaking point. The rest of the world is probably already tired of the US going bats*** crazy every time the Rs are in charge.

  94. Correction: “Again, I come back to the observation that staunch anti-choice white women who love on their passels of children represent a special kind of evil for their tacit endorsement of the forcible removal of female concentration camp prisoners’ reproductive organs.”

    Still awkward and wordy as hell but clearer, I think. 😳

    @

    Fatman:

    Agreed, but you left out the part where fetuses who strike out in the parental department are left to go hungry and homeless so as not to “tax” life’s overworked winners.

    After all, life is all about personal choices and personal responsibility.

    Smart babies are born to consenting, grown, white, wealthy, able-bodied females who don’t tempt their fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins or grandfathers.

    Losers born to non-white, poor, raped, drug addicted, intellectually disabled, pubescent, male-relative tempting mothers have only themselves to blame for selecting the wrong wombs.

    Don’t want to find yourself dead of prolonged abuse or neglect before you speak your first word?

    Make smarter choices.

    To be clear, I am by no means arguing that intellectually disabled women cannot be good mothers. What I mean is that there are jerks who’ll take advantage of them, which can and has resulted in unwanted pregnancies and fodder for the fostercare system.