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written and sent just after Trump's 2016 election.
Three emails written to three different friends, shortly after the November 2016 general election in which Donald Trump was elected president.*
I'm not on Facebook anymore, but [P.]** shares funny and interesting things when his friends post them, and he passed along your post about wanting to know what motivated Trump supporters.
I voted for Bernie in the primaries. I didn't vote for Trump last week, but I did think about it really hard, and I didn't vote for Clinton either, and I wasn't surprised or depressed by the election results. In the end, this was the first election since I turned 18 that I didn't vote at all. I couldn't even bring myself to vote for Stein, which I'd considered as well.
I never felt that Trump supporters were all racist, bigoted, ignorant people. I believed that those people were among his supporters, but that the majority were poor, formerly middle-class, working class people fucked over by the past 40 years of neoliberal, free trade economic policies gutting the manufacturing and farming economies.
I also don't think they believe Trump will do anything better for them. I think many of them just valued his obvious ability to annoy, embarrass and upset the establishment Democrats/Clintons and Republicans/Bushes, which I also valued.
I agree with Michael Moore's analysis that Trump was a human Molotov cocktail.
Other people whose analysis I read, if you're interested, are David Stockman, Charles Hughes-Smith, Glenn Greenwald, John Michael Greer, Eric Zuesse, and especially Scott Adams (Dilbert creator) who wrote a great deal about Trump's skills at persuasion, essentially meeting people where they're at in their pain, and then, once he had their emotional support, moving them off the extremism…
On foreign policy, I was very concerned about Clinton's record of initiating wars while Secretary of State, and her current aggressive, demonizing, confrontational language toward Russia, and I was interested in Trump's comments about talking with Putin to establish a new balance of power and work on issues in Syria without triggering a world war.
In the end, I decided not to vote because I think the entire electoral governing structure is irreparably corrupt, and is in the process of collapsing, along with the global economy. I couldn't see the point.
If it's comforting to you at all, I've never found Trump more frightening or disgusting than anyone else in last year's presidential race. I think all of them - including both Trump and Clinton - were/are equally likely to continue pretty much the same policies to benefit the rich at the expense of everyone else, to the point where I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary because Kid 1 wanted to vote but wasn't old enough, and I didn't even vote in the general this year for the first time since I was old enough to vote.
Trump had a slightly better scam operation than Clinton, but I didn't and don't see any meaningful difference between them. In my view, Trump played the mainstream press in a successful gambit to get them to paint him as a monster, because that would bring out working class voters of all races and genders who are sick and tired of being treated with contempt by the wealthy elite class that includes the mainstream press.
I've kept very quiet about my political views throughout the entire last year because of the extreme polarization and manipulation going on and my own fear that not toeing the leftward line would get me into trouble with my friends and the people I work with on local food, water, energy stuff.
You are now one of only two people (other than P.) who I've shared this with. The other person is a friend who put up a Facebook post right after the election trying to gather more information about people who voted for Trump.
Mostly I'm sharing this in case it helps you be less fearful.
On the overall political stuff, I still don't feel much differently than I have for the past 10 years. We live in a culture of unsustainable complexity in finance, politics, government, food distribution, energy systems - and all of those things are coming unraveled because they can't be maintained.
I actually don't think the immigration rules Trump put forward are out of line - I think countries do need to control their borders under changing circumstances, and presidents have set limits and quotas throughout our history to respond to different labor needs, security threats and so forth. I agree with Ron Paul's recent observation that a better way to reduce refugee pressure would be for the US to stop bombing Syria and the other countries the refugees are fleeing. I also value Trump's willingness to work with Putin. I have no interest in a World War III, which is what the neocon and neoliberal people - including Clinton and Obama - have been pushing, to boost profits for the war machine.
I'm a little more concerned about manipulation of the left-ward end of the political spectrum by moneyed interests who would like to see more centralization (of currencies, central banking policies, etc.), because I would like to see much more decentralization of economic systems, and I hate seeing co-option being done by the likes of George Soros and the Koch brothers: using their money and the bodies of left-wing protestors on the streets to set the stage for a larger loss of national sovereignty down the road.
But in general, I'm sticking with local work that's within my control, and steering as clear as possible of federal policy debates and protests, because I don't think the federal government or the Federal Reserve are in any way accountable to the people - and I think they're no more unaccountable now than they've been for 40+ years. To me, Trump is a symptom, not a disease. The disease has been festering for decades.
I think the country will break apart within the next few years of civil unrest - and would have done so under Clinton as well - and I think it's to the benefit of the 1% to keep the poor and middle class Trump voters and the poor and middle class liberals, and the even larger bloc of non-voters (a group I finally joined this past November for the first time) of whatever color and gender and ethnicity fighting with each other, instead of joining together to fight the 1% and build decentralized, accountable regional governments ourselves.
*Found these while sorting and deleting old emails to clear out my Hotmail and Gmail accounts and switch to Protonmail.
**P. = my husband/partner