The view from Trump voters, 18 months in

If you have time for long read this weekend, especially if you are still struggling to understand how Donald Trump won the presidency and, even moreso, if you can’t imagine decent, rational-sounding Americans who not only voted for Trump, but who still support him 18 months after Election Day, I recommend this long, non-judgmental Washington Post project, published Friday.

It is the work of many months and many visits to small towns and cities in Minnesota (Austin), Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, focusing on the kind of voters that put Trump over the top in swing states, and on how they feel about him now.

If you are strongly anti-Trump at least give some of these folks a chance to tell you how it looks to them. Veteran Post political reporter Dan Balz is the writer, but his voice is seldom heard. He lets these folks talk. A few regret their vote for Trump. Most do not.

It’s long, but I don’t regret the time I spent reading it.

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Comments (41)

  1. Submitted by Kyle Anderson on 05/12/2018 - 06:35 am.

    Great Read

    I grew up in NW Illinois so I am very familiar with the towns featured in this article. I graduated college in 1996 and have lived in major metros since 1997. It is amazing the speed with which these areas have shifted from D to R. It is also amazing how I changed from a conservative R to a progressive D. I don’t think you can pinpoint anyone factor but where someone lives definitely has a huge impact on one’s politics. This article is a great read particularly if you want insight on the current state of the small town upper Midwest.

  2. Submitted by Sheila Kihne on 05/12/2018 - 09:04 am.


    I’m not from a small town, I’m a college-educated female living in the ‘burbs. Voted for Trump with bells on. Regret it? Not one bit. You guys keep stereotyping and “studying” the Trump voter. It’s quite entertaining. The longer you can’t figure us out– the better.

    • Submitted by richard owens on 05/12/2018 - 06:22 pm.

      I agree.

      There is no point in further analyzing the authoritarian personality in general, or what makes reactionaries reactionary.

      It is rather for us to see if Americans can find it in themselves to renew the social contract with their governments in a way that makes us a better country, a more perfect union, a better home for ALL our people that we can individually be proud of.

      It can’t hurt to know why people like you, Sheila, have been hurt by events or personalities or policies that somehow caused you such pain and suffering, but it won’t fix anything.

      It isn’t likely we can expect those whose resentment has been activated so strongly that they can condone our President’s behavior, even when he speaks and acts so cruelly toward his staff, toward our former friends and allies, and even toward his fellow Republicans. This is notably a vengeance response. They want to “get even.”

      These folks will never renew their social contract with their government. They have determined it is their enemy.

    • Submitted by Dave Arneson on 05/12/2018 - 09:24 pm.

      We understand why your a strong Trump supporter

      If a person was to google you name they would find all about you. You are described as ultra right wing Republican in City Pages. This would explain you views about Trump. There has been a big study done about people’s views over a number of years which came out this month, where people that are more apt have to voted for Trump where white, Christian, males. Of course this could include women as a subset, so people easier to understand you views.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/13/2018 - 02:07 pm.

      I’m not sure if Sheila realizes that people who spend lots of time “studying” a group of people, trying to understand what makes them tick, are the very opposite of “stereotypers.”

      The majority of American voters in 2016 did NOT vote for Donald Trump, and while I know that it’s uncomfortable to be an object of intense study–kind of like being a weird bug under a microscope–that’s what we’re doing: peering closely at you and listening to your thoughts so we can avoid lumping you all together. We’re also trying to avoid a repeat, of course!

      Please do read the article Eric links. It’s long, but surely we’re all more capable of reading it than our current President seems to be. Give it a try–the Trump voters it follows are really interesting, because they are changing their views of him, to rely on “results” while holding their noses. Not a stereotype in the bunch.

    • Submitted by Lisa Wilkins on 07/31/2018 - 09:38 pm.

      Trump supporters

      I agree, I am from the suburbs as well in NJ (nevertheless), I voted for Trump and recently was questioned by a liberal friend over my support of Trump. Apparently, this man thinks that I am a so called “Russian spy” as he clearly stated that I must be talking to Russians on facebook and that is why I supported Trump. Did you ever hear of something so foolish? The Democrats think we are mindless, spineless and thoughtless, that we cannot think for ourselves. Clearly they are mirroring their own image. I am entertained each day not knowing what we are going to hear come out of the mouths of these libs.

  3. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/12/2018 - 10:42 am.

    As a Democrat, I find it reassuring to see many 2016 Trump voters pretty upset at the man’s behaviors and speech. Even if they are willing to continue supporting him if he lives up to his promises (he made a stab yesterday at trying to fool them with a limp attempt at controlling drug costs), they don’t approve of him personally much more than the rest of us do.

    I have one caveat, though: Why didn’t this reporter include any Trumpite women in his interviews? White women voted massively for Donald Trump.

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/12/2018 - 11:27 am.

    A study in disappointment…

    A group of people disappointed by the “failures” of the US government wanting that government to now do more for them when they have elected a person who promised to upend everything.

    Is the answer to possibly losing a game to throw the gameboard on the floor and then expect to morph into being a winner?

    These people suffer from a changing economic climate that they have not adapted to. Has the government changed the economy, or is it the corporations in their drive for quarterly profits who have driven the changes ? And what is the answer to that — put more control into the hands of the already wealthy and powerful by dismantling the structures that have genuinely improved the lives of the majority ?

    You do realize that the exact same auto manufacturers that manufacture 5 star safety rated cars in Mexico for the US market also make a version of those same vehicles for sale in Mexico that rates out at zero stars for safety. And the salmonella egg outbreak on the east coast is a result of the self-reporting corporation that somehow failed to notice rodent and insect infestation of laying plants. And there are corporate good citizens in the US who maintain essentially slave-labor facilities overseas.

    It’s all in what they can get away with.

    The US government may have its problems, but the answer to the disappointments and dislocations of the America of Trump voters is not the destruction of that system which can check that power.

    I would guess that the disappointment and disillusion which resulted in Trumps election is not so fixed and permanent that another leader who might address those issues in a a more radical fashion would emerge.

    That has been the pattern across the world so far–uneven progress intensify divisions leading to conflicts on a bigger scale while retreating into smaller affiliation groups. But Coca Cola, Ford, Apple and other corporate giants prosper.

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/12/2018 - 08:38 pm.


    There will always be -some- people who will vote for people like Trump (or for virtually anything, for that matter).
    The real question is how many. Party affiliation still trumps individuals for many people.
    Trump is still the least popular President of the last century. How unpopular we will know in November, and in 2020.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/13/2018 - 10:18 am.

      The two parties no longer have majorities

      The largest voting demographic now is “independent”. Granted, many independents were Libertarians or others who just didn’t want to call themselves Republicans for some reason, but that trend is diminishing. There aren’t enough Democrats or Republicans in most areas to get candidates elected, one candidate has to win the independent vote. This was one of Clinton’s problems, independents decidedly broke against her. Democrats assumed that Party affiliation would keep things “blue”… not so much. The flip side is Republicans likewise cannot assume that Party affiliations will keep things Red.

      I actually wouldn’t expect Trump’s numbers to diminish much unless some serious catastrophe hit his supporters, and they blame him for that catastrophe. The point is he’s perfectly beatable even if his numbers don’t drop any further. The fact is in most locations Republicans will have to reach beyond the Trump base in order to win elections, and they just don’t have a game plan to do that.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/13/2018 - 09:17 pm.

        The largest voting demographic

        may be ‘independent’, but most voters vote for one of the two major parties.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/15/2018 - 11:04 am.


          The nature of independents appears to be changing, but even if assume independents are mostly Republicans, that still leaves Democrats in a minority. The question isn’t how many Democrats we have, the question is how many liberals we have. For decades poll after poll has shown that American’s are more liberal than conservative, and that liberals are more liberal than the Democratic Party. So Democrats have stop assuming that appeals for “blue” will win elections, voters are becoming more and more color blind.

      • Submitted by Ed Day on 05/13/2018 - 10:50 pm.

        Independents are essentially Republicans

        I’ve knocked on many many doors to get out the vote each fall, and by far the most common response from someone identifying as an independent was similar to the guy who said he was a free thinker but “would not vote for a g&*& darn Dem in a million years.” He then proceeded to call me a libt***d and further insult me with a Tea Party-esque tirade.

        This was so common that when I saw polls, I’d just add 90 percent of “independent” or “undecided” column to the Republican side, and I’d have pretty accurate predictions on election day.

  6. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/12/2018 - 04:46 pm.

    And of course

    America (like the rest of the world) is increasingly urban.
    That demographic cannot be ignored; the only question is how rapidly urbanization (and other demographic changes) take place. ‘White and Rural’ is not the future.

    • Submitted by John Evans on 05/13/2018 - 12:34 pm.

      A sprawling, unenlightening read

      This does seem to be a small, aging and shrinking demographic. The question is why they flipped, and Broder doesn’t do a great deal to answer it. I don’t remember whether he interviewed a single person who actually flipped, just long-time local party activists. And the fact that they were all men does suggest to me that Broder’s project was misguided and probably doomed from the start to shed little light on the question.

  7. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/13/2018 - 09:32 am.


    I don’t why so many people have so much trouble recognizing the fact that there are idiots among us.

    Trump’s victory no longer needs to be “explained”, we know why he won. Trumps election was a perfect storm of complacent elite liberals and Democrats with a awful candidate, and decades of neoliberal elite leadership that finally produced a populist backlash. Democrats suppressed their populist candidate while Republicans failed to suppress theirs. Throw in some a Clinton campaign devoid of effective leadership making bizarre assumptions about “blue” walls and some funky electoral college math and voila Trump squeaked in. This did NOT surprise some of us.

    The lack of strong or even competent political leadership for decades, be it red OR blue, produced a comfortable status quo for the affluent elite while the majority stagnated and suffered under the weight of worsening conditions capped off by the Great Recession.

    The incompetent political class constantly opting for centrist non-solutions perpetuated perfectly resolvable “crises” for decades thus manufacturing policies of stagnation and gridlock. Worse, the intellectual process of centrism denigrated intellectual practice in general by constantly legitimizing quackery, fraud, and magical thinking. You can draw a direct line from Reagan to, Gingrich, Palin, to Trump. And you can easily observe the process of neoliberal centrism that met every new wave of toxic fraud and magical thinking with compromise and mediation. From “Originalism” to Libertarianism Democrats followed reactionary conservatives inexorable march towards the abyss.

    Which brings us to Eric’s question: “Why would reasonable people vote for and continue to support Trump?” The problem with the question is that it makes the typical centrist mistake of assuming that you’re trying to understand reasonable people. Centrist HAVE to pretend that frauds, liars, sociopaths, and magical thinkers ARE reasonable people in order justify meeting them “half way”. So Reagan, Gingrich, Bush, Ryan, Palin, et al were ALL reasonable people?

    The fact is once you dispense with the illusion that you’re dealing with “reasonable” people there is no mystery to solve or to question left to answer. Centrist just have a hard admitting that they’ve been compromising with unreasonable liars and frauds for almost four decades. The fact that they KEEP preserving this question tells us more about liberals and centrists than it does Trump voters.

    By the time we get to Trump’s election it’s actually not THAT difficult to understand why Trump voters were desperate enough to gamble on someone who “promised” a different kind of leadership.It’s NOT a mystery, we asked them, they told us. As for those who still “strongly” support Trump I have yet to run into a truly knowledgeable, informed, or attentive “supporter”.

    I’m not just dismissing or insulting people I disagree with, show me a Trump supporter and I’ll show you how they’re being stupid. I could provide examples but frankly, I don’t think I need to, you KNOW what I’m talking about. I’m not saying Trump supporters are necessarily bad people. They are fellow Americans, they’re entitled to their votes, and their opinions, and their speech. We can love them, work with them, play with them, and live with them… we just can’t let them make big important decisions, we have to show up.

    Why do they keep “believing” in Trump? Why is his “support” relatively stable? I hate to say it but it’s a psychological fact that IQ doesn’t increase over time, people don’t get smarter, and beyond a certain age they tend not to improve their intellects. There’s actually no reason to assume that these people will stop supporting Trump given the nature of their intellects.

    Basically, if we’re going to ask THIS question, fine… but let’s not pretend we can’t find the answer, let’s not pretend that something other than the bloody obvious has to explain Trump’s popularity (I haven’t ventured into racism, sexism, and totalitarian mentalities because those are all obvious). And let’s remember that Trumps supporters are a minority, we can vote these scoundrels out. In the final analysis one of the most influential reasons Trump won in the first place is that truly reasonable people didn’t show up; first when we needed a candidate that could defeat Trump, and then when needed a vote that would keep him out of the White House.

    I wonder if our energies are well spent trying to “understand” something that has been obvious for over a year. I wonder if our energies might be better spent figuring out how to move forward and push our political system into a coherent government that represents the majority, functions coherently, and makes timely and effective policy. Isn’t it time to look “past” Trump supporters and start building a better America?

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/13/2018 - 02:18 pm.

      I cannot let stand Paul Udstrand’s repeated calumny, that Hillary Clinton was “an awful candidate.”

      No, she was head and shoulders above the entire Republican and Democratic field of 2016 candidates, in terms of knowledge, extensive and relevant experience in government, detailed and carefully drawn policy proposals, diplomatic tact, and public poise. She is too self-contained and self-protective–she’s learned to be that way over decades of constant attacks on every aspect of her being and her life.

      But “awful”? Nope. Not unless you’re a man who simply cannot abide a leader who is not another old white man. Or a white woman who can’t stand the idea of having a woman lead our country, no matter how qualified she is.Patriarchy has deep, dark roots, and abides.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/13/2018 - 07:36 pm.

        Great Candidate? Maybe. Great Campaigner? Ah, no.

        When HRC campaigned in Michigan, her numbers there went down. Think about that one.

        While I’ll never vote for the candidate who seems like it’d be fun to have a beer with, connecting to average folks is a necessary skill in a democracy. FDR, a plutocrat, managed to do it. And it’s not like he was a light weight. Sen, Elizabeth Warren (last I checked a woman) clearly has the bona fides as a fighter for average folks. Of course, Wall Street probably wouldn’t pay her big bucks for a 60 minute speech.

        So is it any wonder that HRC, a true blue free trader, would have trouble in Michigan, a state that has bled industrial jobs since the passage of NAFTA, the first Clinton’s signature accomplishment?

      • Submitted by John Evans on 05/13/2018 - 10:36 pm.

        I have three objections to your assertion:

        First, you are not recognizing the very real anger at the neoliberal wing of the party, which was nearly as culpable as the Republicans for the Great Recession. The Democratic party is suffering its own populist revolt, and that weakened her support and badly eroded what should have been her base. This was her fault.

        A second is that Hillary Clinton should have admitted that, after 25 years of being widely vilified, (mostly unjustly,) her image was badly tarnished; her negatives were just too high to allow her to attract much more support than she already had. There wasn’t a whole lot she could do to change that, and the press was, at best, very unhelpful. It’s not fair, but it’s true. A crippled candidate is not a good candidate, and Clinton knew that.

        A third is the role of popular misogyny: America may soon be ready for a woman president, but the first one is not likely to be a liberal woman. This isn’t Clinton’s fault either, but it is a reality. Her gender was a serious handicap, and she knew that as well.

        So, at least for these three reasons, she was a poor choice to be the Democratic nominee. So yes, I think she was an awful candidate.

  8. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/13/2018 - 11:12 pm.

    The HRC Hit Job

    Please note that when HRC ended her term as Secretary of State in 2013 her favorability was at 65%. Within a point of her all time best after 30 years in the public’s eye. Her decline from that point to the November 2018 loss can be primarily attributed to 3 items: Benghazi, emails and her personal campaigning abilities. Fix any of these 3 and she wins a close election. The first 2 were manufactured by her Republican opponents to go at that 65% approval rating and they were successful: no proven wrong doing; but, a relentless attack that dragged her to 50% by the time of her 2016 announcement of the intent to run.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/14/2018 - 09:59 am.

      Please note…

      By the time HRC was nominated she was the most unpopular candidate Democrats ever put on the ballot. Also note that her post Secretary of State ratings were her lifetime high mark, they did not represent her average popularity which was never impressive. She’s always been a divisive character.

      You can “explain” her drop in popularity if you want, you can claim that damage was produced by Republicans… but Democrats promised us that SHE was the only one who prevail against Republican attacks, THAT was one of their main justifications for her nomination… “Look at the Benghazi hearings!” we were told over and over again as if THAT was the glory days of the Democratic party and HRC.

      It’s interesting to note that a very large part of Clinton’s book details a myriad of liabilities and attacks that she’s always endured. She could never understand for instance WHY the e-mail controversy wouldn’t go away, or why she wasn’t connecting with Obama voters, or why the Goldman Sacks speeches stuck to her, etc. etc. She and her supporters like to wear all of these liabilities like a badge of honor but it never occurred to Clinton or her supporters that a candidate with soooooo many liabilities by definition, was a poor candidate.

      And I hate to say but while the Republican attacks on HRC were largely devoid of substance or integrity, she did earn her distrust among liberals and progressives. It’s been documented by a number of observers for instance that the dilemma of going “negative” has always been a dicey one for the Clinton’s because when they go negative- they go dishonest. Clinton made false claims about Obama during here primary battle against him, she did it again with Sanders’s. Her support for abortion rights has always been overly calculated, and the centrist “Third Way” triangulating nature of neoliberalism is inherently dishonest in that it pretends to be liberal but always opts for Republican policy initiatives, like her health care plan back in the 90s.

      While Trump is undoubtedly the worse president in US history, the more I’ve looked back at Clinton’s campaign and her management of it, the more convinced I am that a Clinton presidency would have also been a disaster, a decidedly lesser disaster, but a disaster nonetheless. Clinton supporters would have been happy to just see Hillary be Hillary in the White House, but the rest of us were look for a lot more than that.

      The point here isn’t to just “hit job” HRC, the point is that in the year 2016 our major political Parties were simply incapable of producing a decent candidate for President. This business of “studying” Trump supporters is actually in some ways a form of denial that pretends it was the voters, not the Parties that put Trump in office. If Democrats could lose to Trump, they can lose to anyone so they need to understand how why and how they lost. Even if they pick up a bunch of seats, or defeat Trump in 20, if they don’t have a game plan beyond winning those elections they’ll lose to another Trump of some kind in the future.

      I would recommend reading Clinton’s own book as well as “Shattered: Inside Hillary’s Doomed Campaign” by Allen and Parnes. And: “Hacks” by Donna Brazile.

  9. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/14/2018 - 12:42 pm.

    My 2¢

    There’s no single answer to the failure of the American electorate – and our electoral college system – to put in the White House in 2016 someone at least minimally qualified to run the nation’s executive branch.

    Clinton was not a candidate about whom I was enthused, but she spent a generation in public service, had acquired sizable knowledge and experience in both domestic and foreign policy, and while too much the establishment persona to suit me, she seems practically saintly compared to her 2016 opponent. I remain bemused by the ongoing attacks against her by people who call themselves “conservative,” but apparently have no idea what the term means, and in that context, I think Constance Sullivan’s 2nd comment is spot-on. As an elderly white male, I’m not qualified to judge whether someone is a genuine misogynist, but I do think several points have been utterly missed in labeling Clinton an “awful” candidate. The truly “awful” candidate is the one who now occupies the Oval Office for a few hours each day between tweet sessions and phone calls to sycophants. A constant stream of personal attacks and outright lies may make someone a good **campaigner,** but I make a distinction between the tactics of a campaign and the qualities, for good or ill, of the candidate her/himself.

    I’m especially puzzled by continued attacks by those who like to call themselves “conservative” on both Clintons for deigning to make money after Mr. Clinton left office. Charging people for access is sleazy, and that attribute may be something Mr. Clinton is pretty good at, but he’s a rank amateur at that sort of sleaziness, especially in that “access to power’ context, compared to the current officeholder, whose ego and self-aggrandizement don’t appear to have any meaningful boundaries at all. What the Clintons are routinely criticized for, including criticism from fellow Democrats, is the sort of behavior that the current President engages in routinely, and which, it could be argued, is the basis for his personal fortune. The Clintons, at least in terms of their personal financial situation, simply became good Republicans after they left office. It makes a certain kind of sense for lefty Democrats to pillory them for doing so, but when Republicans chastise someone for trying to make money from their public persona and reputation, it’s pretty close to the height of hypocrisy. They’re truly calling the kettle black.

    What Donald Trump has revealed is the ease with which many voters, regardless of their intelligence or gender, can be taken in by a demagogue’s pitch. He has also revealed, sadly, the level of misogyny and racism percolating through a society that we too often think has risen above such things. We have not, and more’s the pity.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/14/2018 - 03:43 pm.

      The danger of false equivalency….

      “but I do think several points have been utterly missed in labeling Clinton an “awful” candidate. The truly “awful” candidate is the one who now occupies the Oval Office”

      There’s no law of the universe establishing that there can be only one “awful” candidate in any given election. So we tried turning an election into an unpopularity contest… we’re not going to do that again right?

  10. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/14/2018 - 02:23 pm.

    At the risk of seeming like someone who pays too much attention to current news, let me add that there is increasing evidence that the Russians had a lot to do in turning the tide against Hillary Clinton in 2016. And James Comey.

    Barack Obama put his 2008 conflict with Hillary Clinton behind him to work with her as his Secretary of State, and strongly supported her 2016 candidacy. So did Bernie Sanders. The fact that a large number of former Obama voters–primarily blacks–did not vote at all in 2016, and a large number of Bernie voters threw their votes away on Jill Stein or a write-in, if they voted at all (effectively electing Trump), meant that they were not interested in the fate of our country should Trump be elected.

    Hillary Clinton is not a populist, true. She’s too smart, too educated, too mindful of nuance in so many issues, and she really can’t talk down to people She always gets into the weeds of policy detail. I don’t understand how SHE is responsible for failures in the Democratic Party, how SHE is responsible for what Bill Clinton did. Her book is full of her accepting responsibility for her own weaknesses, but that doesn’t make her “an awful candidate.”

    I do know that lots of white women resented that she did not leave Bill Clinton or even divorce him, for the Lewinsky affair. That lots of white women resented her for becoming a viable national candidate for president and for imagining that she could run the country, rather than bake cookies.

    She was not a bad campaigner; she just didn’t cater to populist grand slogans and pie-in-the-sky solutions. And I will continue to blame those so-called progressives who either didn’t vote or threw away their vote for rigid ideological or emotional reasons, and therefore got us Trump.

    Hi8llary Clinton was a viable and admirable candidate for President of the United States. And I say that in all the horror I feel daily at the Trump tragic circus, which is our reality.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/14/2018 - 03:48 pm.

      Not to belabor the point but…

      While Trump’s claims that Russian involvement are “fake news” have certainly collapsed, and the details and mechanisms of the Russian intrusions is better understood, there isn’t actually any reliable data indicated that the Russians managed to reach anyone other than those who were predisposed to voting for Trump in the fist place, and hence, didn’t really influence the outcome in any significant way. The targeted audience the Russians reached were by and large Trump supporters.

      Every time this comes up we see Clinton supporters jump on it, and we hear this litany of excuses from Comey’s October surprise to the Russians. Clinton certainly could not catch a break, and she had laundry list of obstacle’s. But supporters just seem to realize that when they list off all these obstacles and excuses for Clinton’s defeat, they’re just listing all the reasons that Clinton was a weak candidate. We can’t talk about Russian influence for instance without wondering how Clinton could have been so vulnerable to it?

      The point is Clinton lost to Trump. The argument that the strongest candidate lost to Trump is simply a paradox. There’s simply way to conclude that Clinton was a “strong” or “effective” candidate… because she lost to Donald Trump. How is that not obvious?

      Obama may have forgiven Clinton’s dishonest attacks, but what choice does have? And the fact that they’ve “worked” it out doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, THAT doesn’t make Clinton honest.

      • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/14/2018 - 06:10 pm.

        Can we agree that it is tendentious to keep calling a reason for something, an “excuse”? We try to understand how people could come to a point where they would vote for an ignorant clown like Trump–to search for a reason–and we don’t call that trying to “excuse” them.

        Hillary Clinton did not lose the majority of American voters in 2016; she beat Trump by about three million votes. She lost the Electoral College, which grossly favors states with small populations. Most of voted for her, and didn’t conider her, then or now, “weak.”

        I am simply pushing back at any characterization of Hillary Clinton as “weak” when she beat Trump in all the areas that count for a thinking person. She was super-qualified for the office she sought. over-qualified, probably.

        I ask you, Paul, for whom should the intelligent and thoughtful American voter have voted for President, in 2016? Are you excusing everyone who voted for Trump, or for Jill Stein, or who didn’t vote at all, because Hillary Clinton had some (by comparison with Trump) minor failings?

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/15/2018 - 10:05 am.

          I’m sorry but…

          “I am simply pushing back at any characterization of Hillary Clinton as “weak” when she beat Trump in all the areas that count for a thinking person.”

          I’m sorry but now your claiming that thinking people don’t consider actually winning the presidency an “area” that counts in a presdential election. She lost the election, and she lost to Donald Trump, a “strong” or talented candidate simply could not have lost THAT election. Strong and talented candidates win BOTH the popular AND the electoral votes. Are you saying that the most unpopular president to ever walk into the White House was unbeatable? Are you saying that Trump was the perfect candidate, he was just sooooo good that Clinton nor any other Democrats could have beat him? Please. Trump did everything a candidate could possibly do to lose an election, and he STILL won. Russians or not the guy should have lost in a landslide, and in fact the Clinton people assumed that would happen right up election night… they were wrong, that’s obvious.

          Clinton’s defeat has been “explained”, Clinton supporters keep attacking those explanations, but they’re not offering different credible explanations. Russian interference for example simple doesn’t pan out because if the Russian program was a significant factor you would see a corresponding drop in Clinton’s numbers associated with that campaign. What we actually see is that Clinton’s already low approval ratings remained stable, and the people studying her polling numbers gave her a 90+% chance of winning on election night. If the Russians were hurting Clinton it would have shown up in the numbers. Claims devoid of compelling substance are excuses, not explanations.

          Who you or I think Americans SHOULD have voted for is irrelevant, the election is over, the votes were counted, Trump won. Obviously people don’t vote the way WE want them to. If you want to know what I think about Trump voters, please re-read my original comment on this thread.

          I voted for Clinton by the way BECAUSE I could see that she was losing, and the polls in MN were uncomfortably tight, I thought she might actually lose our electoral votes.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 05/14/2018 - 05:41 pm.

      HRC’s Incrementalism

      You mention Clinton did not “cater to populist grand slogans and pie-in-the-sky solutions.” What she apparently never grasped is that when many Americans cast a presidential ballot, it’s in large part a visceral choice.

      Bernie on the minimum wage: Fifteen bucks an hour!

      HRC on the minimum wage: I support a minimum wage of $12/hour.

      Bernie was front and center on this. Only after Bernie began making hay with it did HRC tepidly (key word here) inch her way to 12. But that more than bad campaigning.

      Obama’s big mistake on health care was compromising with himself right out of the chute. No single payer, no public option. he advocated a conservative plan in hopes of bring met half way. How’d that work out?

      So when lefties heard HRC compromise with herself on raising the minimum wage, it did not exactly motivate them to get excited about electing another center-left Democrat they’d have to badger in order to accomplish a signature goal of the left. Winning the White House is about giving people a gut feeling that you’re on their side. That’s not done with position papers, or tepid goals. Even if a $12/hour minimum wage is where you end up after getting elected, you don’t there by advocating for $12.

      After seeing the Tea Party influence the right for 8 years, lefties wanted someone who was a fighter for them and their issues. Not someone who was welcomed on Wall Street. In no way was HRC that person.

      “Fifteen bucks an hour is too much!” is not the mark of a good candidate, at least on the left. And HRC was not the right candidate for 2016.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/16/2018 - 11:16 am.

        Pies in the sky…

        Yeah, here’s the thing, those pies are now standard features of the Democratic campaigns all over the country, and while Sanders is the most popular politician in the country, Clinton remains the most unpopular. Sanders had a clear and compelling agenda that has become more and more popular. Beyond getting herself elected what was Clinton’s agenda again? This just comes back to the bizarre Democratic assumption that popularity, trust, and approval are irrelevant, and that the unpopular candidate is the most likely candidate to win. THAT was obviously a mistake.

  11. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/14/2018 - 08:34 pm.

    And not to forget…

    Trump lost the popular vote by 3m votes and won the electoral college by 70,000 votes over 3 states.

    Not exactly a landslide. He can ill afford to lose much of anything and what I take of the linked article he may not have mass desertions; but, he sure ain’t adding to his total and there seems to be a few defectors. And that is all it will take for him to lose in 2020 if he should find away to make it there and if he should elect to run again. The last 2 being the more likely end to the Trump era.

  12. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/14/2018 - 10:02 pm.


    Yep, came from small town America, it was evident back there in 1969 that small town America was dead end, came back after 4 years in the Navy, tried again, it was still dead end, went to college for a bit, came back tried again, and again, etc. finally moved out in 1978, might say haven’t been back other than to visit. Talk to my friend Freddy at the local home town supper Club once every 5 years or so. His advice to his kids, there is nothing here for you. No it probably isn’t that way every where, but some of us saw the writing a 1/2 century ago. To those that are struggling, sorry the world left you behind, you missed the train, or chose not to get on it, and sorry to tell you, the clock will not turn back time, and no matter what “T” told you it just ain’t so.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/15/2018 - 10:40 am.

    One last time…

    I just want to repeat, this observation that Clinton was an awful candidate isn’t about beating down Clinton and her supporters. My concern, and I would hope that the general concern among Americans is that the neoliberal elite stranglehold on the Democratic party that put Clinton on the ballot still doesn’t get it. Their candidate lost to Donald Trump, the claim that they put their strongest candidate on the ballot simply cannot be reconciled with the fact that they lost to Donald Trump. Even if we assume that Clinton was the best candidate they had… we can only conclude then that they didn’t have any strong and talented candidates to choose from, because they lost to Donald Trump.

    Democrats needs to make better choices. They don’t get be THAT wrong, and still pretend they made the best choices. This is about moving forward with a clear understanding of past mistakes, it’s not about re-visiting the election or the nominations.

    Bring it back to the current article I’d reiterate that moving forward with a liberal agenda and producing better and more effective Democratic candidates is more productive than tracking Trump voters who aren’t going to change their minds about Trump. Given what we know about their mentality we shouldn’t be surprised by their intransigent support, and we shouldn’t expect it to change.

  14. Submitted by Joe Musich on 05/15/2018 - 09:21 pm.

    But I do so want these questions to asked of …

    of all Trump voters but particularly of those Dems who switched …
    Do you think you were “mainipulated” by your use of use social media to vote a certain way in the 2016 election ? Will the use of social media to influence people’s thoughts and feelings to affect the 2016 election affect your vote in 2018 ? Do you support electoral reform to prevent your vote from being influenced ? Is a “hidden or disguised” effort to affect your thinking on feelings on political issues a form of voter fraud ?
    I have not seen an data actual breakdown of what Russian purchased ads went to conservative and to liberal sites or maybe better set up as appearing if the were liberal or conservative. All I get is the ads were meant to create turmoil and disenchantment. How come no numbers ? We do know this influence manipulation occurred. We need to have a reasonable discussion. “No Collusion” means nothing. There is no denying that an effort at affecting people’s thoughts and feelings took place and may yet again. I guess what is making people uncomfortable is that if we as a nation admit to outside influence then we also will have to look at our own methods to affect voting.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/16/2018 - 10:13 am.

      These questions…

      For the most part these questions have been asked and answered, if you do some research you’ll find the information you’re asking for.

      Many of your questions are good questions, but their questions everyone should be asking, not just Trump voters.

      There’s little if any evidence that social media actually “flipped” anyone, and you won’t find many voters who will tell they feel like the were duped into voting for Trump by FB. There are no numbers because while we know that influence and manipulation were certainly attempted, we don’t know that it actually worked, and the odds are that it didn’t work. We know that most Obama voters who “flipped” just didn’t want to vote for Clinton for a variety of reasons, it’s that simple. Clinton was the most unpopular candidate Democrats ever put on a presidential ballot, we really don’t have to dig any deeper than that to discover why people didn’t vote for her.

      You have to remember that basically what the Russian’s or anyone else were doing here was a marketing campaign, or a gorilla marketing campaign. And then you have to remember that for the most part, the dirty little secret of marketing campaigns is that by and large most of them are not terribly successful. Think of Facebook for instance. Sure, it’s a little startling when you google carpet cleaners and then all kinds ads for carpet cleaners pop up on your news feed, but 99+% of those ads are irrelevant because you ether weren’t actually shopping for anything, or you already bought whatever it is you were shopping for. One thing we know about Cambridge Analytica is that they never delivered what they actually promised to deliver because the data mining model and algorithms they were using simply cannot produce those results. Just because people pay for stuff, even if they pay millions, doesn’t mean it works. The primary mission of all marketers… is to sell marketing. So yeah, brick an mortar retailers are spending billions on online advertising to get their ads popping up on our Facebooks and in our browsers, that’s good for Facebook, and it’s good us because it keeps Facebook browsers free… but it’s not going to save brick and mortar retail, it’s not actually “working”. The upshot of all this is that… you’re not going win elections with this hoopla anymore than you’re going to keep K-Mart’s open; which is why we can’t blame the Russians for Clinton’s defeat.

      Interfering in another nations elections is certainly a dastardly thing to do, but the US has been doing it all over the world for decades. It was just a matter of time before someone tried it on us. Here’s the thing: historically when US attempts to influence foreign elections failed, we just overthrew whoever managed to get elected and put our guy in anyways. The Russian’s can’t do THAT here in the US. If Clinton had won, Clinton would be our President.

      I wouldn’t worry about marketing, what I AM worried about is the fact that our election technology is vulnerable to hacks and no one is talking about it. After the Florida hanging chad fiasco electronic voting machines were deployed all over the county and subsequent tests have shown that many of them are extremely vulnerable. We have tests where hackers sat in their cars outside polling places and changed votes. Some of these systems have no reliable mechanism to detect hacks, or insure that the vote that was cast is the vote that gets transmitted after the polls close, and there no way to audit it. It’s likely that a well organized and financed program targeting our voting machines could swing a close election. There’s no evidence that this happened in 2016, but that’s only because nobody tried. The Russians for whatever reason just didn’t go there. It would be a huge operation requiring hundreds of agents, but it could be done. The problem is we have intelligence agencies jumping up and down warning Trump that the Russians will try again this year, and he’s telling everyone it’s fake news. We would need a coordinated national effort to safeguard our systems, but that direction needs to come from the White House. This is why the issue of collusion is so important. There is such a thing as collusion by neglect, simply leaving our system vulnerable… not doing anything… could be collusion. No one on the Trump team or anywhere else would even have to discuss this with the Russians, no phone calls, no e-mails, no meetings at Trump Tower, nothing. You just leave the door open without even being asked.

      So far the largest and most coordinated effort to rig elections in the US has been orchestrated by the Republican Party. They’ve spent decades implementing voter restrictions, and gerrymandering their candidates into office. Can we trust these guys will safeguard our system? I don’t.

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/16/2018 - 10:43 am.

    And just to follow up…

    Trump just eliminated the White House Cyber Security position.

  16. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/16/2018 - 11:32 am.

    Actually, Paul, advertising works. You just have to keep repeating (that’s what Trump does, incidentally, with his lies: call everything negative “fake news” and almost half of America believes you!). And I’ve seen numbers, from Facebook, that detail the hundreds of millions of “views” there were of Russian ads and fake Facebook account posts. A drumbeat of varied but planned intervention on our mind-set.

    They wouldn’t do it if there were no effect, especially when you have Donald Jr. and Jared–hand in hand with Cambridge Analytica–targeting certain demographics.

    Also important: The Russian hackers did get into several [seven, if I recall] states’ electoral systems in 2016 and later. The reasons why we haven’t heard much about that, is that nobody wants to scare us from voting, and the hackers seemed satisfied–that time around–with simply getting in. They’re waiting, now that they know we’re weak.

  17. Submitted by Joe Musich on 05/16/2018 - 03:14 pm.

    Okay where is the data…

    Regarding the Facebook ads purchased by individuals associated in one way or another with Russian efforts ? I want to know who took the brunt of the hit from this effort not that fact that it was done. That is a given…
    And as said the connection or possible working in consort with Cambridge Analytics is not being investigated is it ? So lots of money is spent on advertising for a reason. There also is no doubt about that. Essentially not enough digging or reporting about the digging if you will is being done. And we did it other places is only an excuse for those who are now in charge doing it again.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/16/2018 - 07:32 pm.


    Here’s an article from Nov of last year about who, how, and how many FB users got targeted by the Russians:

    And I think Frontline did a more recent investigation that was broadcast maybe a couple months ago?

    Both the NYT’s and Wapo did extensive coverage of CA’s origin and clients, and yes, if I remember correctly one or more of CA’s clients were Russian connected.

    Yes, advertisers and marketing people spend a lot of time convincing people that what the do works, but it’s a question of degree. Some advertising is better than no advertising, but there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors there, the wizard behind the curtain isn’t nearly as powerful as he or she would like you to think.

    Actually, Trump is failing, his repetition isn’t rolling over 50% of Americans. You can’t just look the polls Eric likes to keep track of, you have to dig into individual policy issues, and on those, I’m not sure there’s a single Trump policy that fewer than 60% of Americans disagree with, and those number aren’t budging. His “Fake News” claims are just bouncing around the same echo chamber, they’re not gaining new followers.

    • Submitted by Joe Musich on 05/17/2018 - 09:32 pm.

      An there you go…

      Thanks Paul. I’m not so sure wether it matters if Agent Orange’s messaging bouncing around in the echo chamber as much as that echo chamber being alive and well. As more media is controlled by the conservative outlook the less we will have of the counterpoint in the big picture. This group in my thinking is looking for a goal that may not be 50% but just enough to “matter” to sow disarray. Because this scam does not reach the magic fifty may also be less important then the number of people fed up and silenced. How many people out there are on “news sabbatical?” Folks are turning out in some of these off elections but what is happening to the total number of voters ? Believe me I do not wish for Fahrenheit 451 to come to pass. But it looks like may not be that dramatic. Just quiet capitulation and self censorship.

  19. Submitted by Gene Martinez on 05/17/2018 - 10:46 pm.

    Trump Voters

    I am sick of hearing from these people. We need to focus on getting a small percentage of non-voters who already agree with us to actually vote. Then we can ignore them. If you are still with Trump after 16 months, there is nothing to be said. You have made your choice. Time to kick your ass at the polls!

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