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Some Interesting Articles and News Items

A few articles and news items that have caught my eye of late:

First, for Vox, David Roberts wrote a lengthy and thought-provoking piece that visited a similar theme to my recent blog post on the determination of the Trump administration and its acolytes to discredit in advance all those elements of society that do or might challenge his authority or veracity. The only thing wrong with Roberts' 6,000 word piece is the title; whoever allowed him to go with that hed in an age of SEO should be shot. But anyway ...

I also noted a couple of pieces about pre-election Trump supporters being on the receiving end of the Administration's incompetence and cruelty. In this CNN report, a man who "sold the equipment for his construction business in upstate New York and stopped making mortgage payments so he could follow Donald Trump on the campaign trail" (!!!) now opposes him in the light of the cold reality of Trumpian and GOP health care policies. And I particularly love the headline to this Washington Post report: "Trump supporter thought president would only deport ‘bad hombres.’ Instead, her husband is being deported."

There exists a liberal fantasy that Trump supporters en masse are learning the error of their ways and experiencing buyer's remorse, but there is precious little evidence of that. Yes, Trump's approval ratings are positively underwater for a president this early in his term, but they show that a steady 40ish percent are still behind him, despite overwhelming evidence of his lying, lack of comprehension of the issues, and fundamental inability to govern. And his numbers among Republican voters are comfortably in the 70s. Heck, in this piece, Daniel Dale interviewed Trump voters in Ohio, who acknowledged that he lies - and love him for it!

Little wonder, then, that Frank Rich is pushing back against the notion that democrats should attempt to win over the hardcore Trump voter. He closes his dissertation in New York Magazine by saying:

"The go-to explanation for the steadfastness of Trump’s base was formulated by the conservative pundit Salena Zito during the campaign: The press takes Trump “literally but not seriously” while “his supporters take him seriously but not literally.” If this is true, then presumably his base will remain onboard when he fails to deliver literally on his most alluring promises: “insurance for everybody” providing “great health care for a fraction of the price”; the revival of coal mining; a trillion-dollar infrastructure mobilization producing “millions of new jobs” and accompanied by “massive tax relief” for all; and the wall that will shield America from both illegal immigration and the lethal Mexican heroin that has joined OxyContin as the working-class drugs of choice.

There’s no way liberals can counter these voters’ blind faith in a huckster who’s sold them this snake oil. The notion that they can be won over by some sort of new New Deal — “domestic programs that would benefit everyone (like national health insurance),” as Mark Lilla puts it — is wishful thinking. These voters are so adamantly opposed to government programs that in some cases they refuse to accept the fact that aid they already receive comes from Washington — witness the “Keep Government Out of My Medicare!” placards at the early tea-party protests.

Perhaps it’s a smarter idea to just let the GOP own these intractable voters. Liberals looking for a way to empathize with conservatives should endorse the core conservative belief in the importance of personal responsibility. Let Trump’s white working-class base take responsibility for its own votes — or in some cases failure to vote — and live with the election’s consequences. If, as polls tell us, many voters who vilify Obamacare haven’t yet figured out that it’s another name for the Affordable Care Act that’s benefiting them — or if they do know and still want the Trump alternative — then let them reap the consequences for voting against their own interests. That they will sabotage other needy Americans along with them is unavoidable in any case now — at least until voters stage an intervention in an election to come."

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