It’s about damned time somebody did this.
My editors had given me this assignment as something of a lark. The idea: Just as reporters from New York and D.C. trek into Trump Country to visit greasy spoons and other corners of Real America™ to measure support for the candidate, I’d venture from Trump Country to the most stereotypical bastions of coastal liberal elitism, and ask the people I met whether they still support Hillary Clinton. An innocent abroad, I would leave Hamilton County, Indiana, a deep-red suburb north of Indianapolis that Trump won by nearly 20 points, the kind of place where the Koch brothers are presently carpet-bombing Democrat Senator Joe Donnelly with $2 million in television and digital ads for his vote against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Once on the decadent East Coast, I would luxuriate in its undiluted upscale liberal consensus at bookstores, wine bars, cafes and other Blue State institutions peopled by NPR tote-bagging sophisticates. Perhaps I’d drop in on something activist-y, a meeting of Resistance types. It was a trip that would take me across three states, from a food co-op in Brooklyn to an unabashedly liberal bookstore in Bethesda, all in counties Clinton won by at least 60 percent or more of the vote.
You know going in that there’s no way that such an intrepid trek across a bizarre alien landscape could result in anything less than sidesplitting hilarity. And so it is. But the most important point comes early on; it’s one you CF long-timers will be quite familiar with.
But I also found there was something more to the Trump hatred—a kind of closed-off complacency that also translated into how they treated me. The more I persisted, and closer I got to the beating heart of D.C., the more reluctant people were to talk to me on the record. The whole trip would leave a sour taste in my mouth over how difficult it is to perforate the Blue Bubble. It wasn’t just the clichéd dispatches from Trump Country that Clinton Country voters had come to loathe—it was Trump Country itself.
Bingo. Now on to the ROTFLMAO-ing. I’ll bold-face some of the bits I find funniest.
Next, I chatted with Rod Morrison, 66, a British expat who became a U.S. citizen in 1994. Morrison also still supports Clinton, despite the buzzing business at his marketing company, where the majority of his clients are Republicans. He had come to the co-op to return some vegan cat kibble for Daisy, his aging tabby. Recently, his wife had switched Daisy to raw rabbit, which she seemed to enjoy. “Pascal won’t touch it, but Daisy and Mr. Rat gobble it up!”
Kelly took solace in his faith that Trump would soon be impeached, though he did not think Trump had ever spent an evening with Russian prostitutes. “I think his crime was financial,” he told me, adding that he didn’t believe a so-called pee tape would ever surface. “I don’t know if he’s indebted to too many Russian oligarchs or a money launderer or what.”
After chatting with Kelly, I stopped by a table in a plaza portion of the market, where I met Noa, a 24-year-old Clinton voter who worked at a New York City publishing house. She noshed on avocado, salmon and tuna sushi with a friend who didn’t want to give me her name. Nearby, a cellist inexplicably plucked out a classical rendition of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
“He doesn’t know anything about policy,” Noa told me, “so I’m not shocked that his policies aren’t good.”
Which must make it all the more stunning to this self-declared Supergenius that they’re working so well.
In the SoulCycle lobby, I met a wiry 45-year-old man who was dressed head to toe in black. A writer who used to work in journalism, he said he couldn’t give me his name because he was working on a writing project that was “kind of political” and he “doesn’t want people to be able to Google” his political beliefs.
Typical old-school liberal: gotta hide his true beliefs in order to hoodwink the marks into thinking he’s a “moderate.” Wonder to what degree that sort of deception might have oozed its way into his “journalism” work?
On the evening after I finished SoulCycle, I found a Rise and Resist NYC protest at Union Square Park in front of a Whole Foods. They had staged a protest once a week for the past four months. Others have been staged at Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and the Trump Building on 40 Wall Street.
For 45 minutes, in 37-degree temperatures, the protesters drew attention to black and white posters with “100 Reasons to Impeach Donald Trump.” The subtitle of the posters, printed in Trumpian all-caps, read: OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. ABUSE OF POWER. OVER 2,000 LIES. RACISM. MISOGYNY. EMOLUMENTS VIOLATIONS. UNDERMINING JUDICIARY. UNDERMINING FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. Reason No. 1, like most of the other reasons, was simply a Trump tweet: “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” And reason No. 99 simply read: “Shithole Countries.”
Now, a man named Martin Quinn, 47, the leader of the protest, was taking a fearless moral inventory of the president, pegging him with insults in reverse alphabetical order, from “Zealot” to “Ableist.” Quinn, I would later learn, was an editor at St. Martin’s Press, a book publisher headquartered in Manhattan’s Flatiron Building. Each time he would call the president a name, his fellow protesters would shout back “Impeach!”
If you decide to click on over and read the whole thing (and you really should), do bear in mind my Iron Law Of Progressivism, especially when you get to the rest of Quinn’s litany of Trump’s “crimes”: whatever liberals most ferociously complain about their hated opponents doing is exactly what they’re doing themselves.
Hoisting one of the Impeach signs was 74-year-old Jackie Goldenburg, who lived on the Upper West Side. She asked me where I was from. “Indianapolis,” I told her.
“Do you like basketball?” she asked me.
“Basketball is fine,” I told her. The question—roughly the equivalent of asking a Texan how many heads of cattle he owns—reminded me of one of Clinton’s emails that the State Department released in October 2015, in response to FOIA request. “Are you still in basketball-crazed Indianoplace?” Clinton asked an aide, employing an intentionally derogatory spelling of the Hoosier city.
Perhaps sensing my amusement that she would assume I liked basketball—some East Coast liberal’s idea of how Hoosiers spend the entirety of their discretionary time—she told me something that surprised me. She, too, was from Indiana. She came here to New York City in the 1970s, from South Bend. She studied English at Cornell and then attended law school at New York University.
I asked her occupation. “Outside agitator,” she told me. Sure, but what was she doing before she retired?, I asked.
“I was a vice president at JPMorgan Chase Bank.”
And there you have it: liberal absurdity and self-contradiction in a nutshell. Rich, sheltered, privileged elites complaining about capitalism. They got theirs already, and don’t want you getting yours. Now, with The Trumpening, they’re mad as all hell that you disgusting peasants seem not to appreciate their selfless efforts on your behalf, willingly taking up the White Liberal’s Burden to make you bend the knee to them for your own good. Which stupid obstinacy only confirms how much smarterer they are than you, just as they’ve always quietly believed. Thus:
The Acela hurtled deeper into Clinton Country. At some point, exhausted from SoulCycle and hoofing it around NYC, your correspondent fell asleep.
I awoke at around 11:30 p.m., somewhere in Baltimore, I think, and scrambled to interview anyone I could find. Most passengers, I discovered, had nodded off, too. Those I approached, dressed in rumpled business suits with their ties on their laps or laying in the seats next to them, all waved me off.
Finally, I approached two men in their 30s who were sitting a few seats back from mine. They worked in education policy, but declined to give me their names, the first of several dozen D.C. residents who didn’t want to speak on the record.
I asked them what they made of the Trump presidency so far. “You give a baby a pair of scissors,” the man said, “and they hurt themselves.”
Again: liberalism, nutshelled. This is all the Great Unwashed, the benighted proles out there in Flyover Country, are to them: babies. Nothing more. And what intelligent, compassionate person could possibly argue for babies being allowed to have any say in their governance—for giving them a pair of scissors?
Except when it comes to banning guns, that is. On that, The Wisdom Of The Children in its beautiful, piercing simplicity MUST be heeded.
All the above is mighty rich, but this is probably my absolute favorite gut-buster out of the whole thing.
Sitting in a nook near the window, Brian Gurr, 45, an energy consultant, sipped some black coffee. He studied the menu, which included, according to a sign in the window, “conscious cuisine” that fed a “happy tribe.”
Gurr told me that since the election, he was still working through some shock. But he was also trying to listen more, he said.
“I feel like people who are in Clinton Country are a little too quick to be critical of people in Trump Country, if you will, and maybe aren’t willing to give an earnest consideration of the opinions and emotions that drive people in Trump Country as they should,” he said. “People in Trump Country have quite a different value set than Clinton Country, and we need to respect those differences. When I look at people there, though, who are still supporting Trump, I’m a bit taken aback by that.”
Gurr said he thinks the country’s internal conflict stems from its rural-urban divide more than anything else. “That identity of rural versus urban is getting reinforced through the media,” he said, “and then people buy into that more and more.”
Wait, what?!? Might we have ourselves that most rara of avises here: a reasonable liberal, willing to be open-minded about people he admits to nothing about? Willing to reach out to explore the possibility, remote though it as, that the other side might actually have at least some valid reasons for their rejection of Progressivist totalitarianism?
Yeah. Right. Pull the other one, it has a bell on it.
“I’m fully guilty of living, working and recreating in a bubble,” he admitted. But, he does try to get out of the bubble sometimes. “I live in D.C., but I recreate in West Virginia,” he said. There, he hikes and mountain bikes, and he feels that connects him with Trump Country. I asked Gurr if he had any Trump supporters in his family. He didn’t, he told me, “but I kind of wish I did. Because honestly, I have yet to hear a coherent, rational argument as to why people support Trump. I think it’s an emotionally driven decision. It’s a rebellious vote against the status quo.”
To bridge that cultural and political divide, Gurr told me he was trying to widen his media diet. He had downloaded the Fox News app, and even occasionally scrolled through its headlines. Instead of just reading The New York Times or NPR, he now was also making a point of watching “PBS NewsHour.“ “Not a huge leap,” he admitted, “but they’re a little more moderate.”
Wow. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for that courageous dive into the deep end of conservative thought there, Lefty.
Okay, that’s a lot of excerpting, but plenty more of this worthy act of real journalism awaits your perusal. Like I said, you want to read all of this one, gang—especially if you’re still laboring under the sad delusion that there’s any point in even trying to bargain or debate with these people. The contemptuous words of these dullards will dispel that wispy fantasy like a strong breeze a-blowing.