We Really Don't Have to "Understand" Trump Voters Anymore
This isn't 2016 or 2020. It's 2024. We know who they are.
Hey everyone. Parker here.
In the coming months, you’re going to see a lot of stories like this one from The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins, urging us to “go to a Trump rally” or try to “understand Trump voters.” Enough. No.
Over the past few years, there's been a consistent call in the media and among political analysts to "understand" Trump voters. In 2016, and perhaps even in 2020, this push had a reasonable basis. The narrative was that these individuals, with perspectives and circumstances differing from our own, deserved a degree of empathy and understanding. Often, they were portrayed as the overlooked, the economically disenfranchised, those disillusioned with the American political status quo.
Real quick: here’s the part of the newsletter where I ask you to consider signing up for the free version if you’re new here and ask existing free subscribers to consider upgrading to the paid version.
However, as we inch closer to the 2024 elections, it's crucial to draw a line. Empathy is vital in a divided society, but recognizing when choices breach ethical and democratic norms is equally important. The 2024 landscape has shifted dramatically. We're not just dealing with voters disenchanted by the perceived political establishment. We're looking at a group that, despite having a range of GOP candidates echoing Trump's policies without his legal and ethical baggage, still opts for Trump.
The debate has moved beyond “economic anxiety” or “political alienation.” It's now about endorsing a candidate whose tenure and post-presidential period are marred by unprecedented assaults on democratic institutions, numerous criminal investigations, and a proven track record of fostering division. It's no longer about understanding their economic struggles or political disaffection. It's about comprehending why they continue to back someone who has repeatedly compromised the very essence of democracy.
This isn't to label all Trump supporters as inherently bad people. However, their ongoing support for Trump in 2024 is a deliberate choice that places certain political or ideological convictions above fundamental democratic principles, the rule of law, and ethical governance. This decision reflects an alarming tolerance, if not endorsement, of the erosion of democratic norms and a disconcerting comfort with authoritarian tendencies.
In 2016, and maybe in 2020, Trump voters could be seen as casting a protest vote against the establishment – a vote for change, albeit a radical one. But in 2024, after the full exposure of Trump's presidency, his disregard for democratic processes, his involvement in ethically questionable activities, and his role in deepening societal divides, continuing to support Trump is an unequivocal and conscious choice. It's a choice that speaks volumes about the values and priorities these voters hold. It signals a willingness to overlook, or even support, the degradation of democratic institutions, the flouting of legal norms, and the continuation of divisive rhetoric, provided it aligns with their political or ideological aims.
This is where empathy hits its limit. Understanding the motivations behind a vote for Trump in 2024 isn't just about grasping someone’s economic situation or dissatisfaction with politics. It's about coming to terms with the fact that these voters are supporting a candidate who has demonstrably put his own interests above the nation's, who has been impeached twice, and who continues to propagate baseless election fraud claims that threaten the core of democratic governance.
In the 2024 scenario, Trump voters are making a choice that extends beyond mere political preference. They are opting for a candidate whose actions consistently demonstrate a disregard for the rule of law and democratic principles. Supporting Trump after all that has transpired is an implicit endorsement of these actions and an acceptance of an America fundamentally incompatible with democratic values.
Facing this harsh reality is necessary. While empathy and understanding are important, they shouldn't blind us to what ongoing support for Trump represents. It's no longer just a political choice; it's a moral one. For those of us who value democracy, the rule of law, and ethical leadership, this is a choice we cannot and should not empathize with or understand.
As we approach the 2024 election, the stakes are too high, and the choice is starkly clear. Supporting Trump in this context is an endorsement of the subversion of democratic norms and a ratification of the divisiveness and chaos that have characterized his tenure. We don’t need to understand this choice anymore. Instead, we must recognize it for what it is: a threat to the fundamental principles of democracy and to the very idea of America itself.
This article isn't about demonizing a group of voters or denying their agency. It's about acknowledging the consequences of their choice in the current political climate. In 2024, to continue supporting Trump is to knowingly back a candidate whose actions and rhetoric run counter to the principles of a democratic society. It's a choice that, regrettably, leaves little room for empathy or understanding from those committed to preserving democratic ideals and ethical governance. There’s nothing more to “understand.”