In 2016, Donald Trump got 38% of the presidential vote in Salem, while Hillary Clinton got 49%. So when I go grocery shopping, as I did today, likely around a third of the people I see are Trump supporters.
(I'm hoping his support has slipped a bit during the past four years.)
Obviously there's a wide gulf between conservatives and progressives these days. Yet being a moderate sort of progressive, in no way do I view those who want another four years of Trump as crazy.
Having been raised by a fiercely Republican mother, who never wavered on her conservative principles, I'm familiar with the traditional Republican mindset.
Small government. Capitalism. Anti-communist. Low taxes. Strong military.
Heck, until I was about sixteen, I devoured the issues of National Review that came into our house. My political leanings were as conservative as my mother's. I then became more liberal, especially after going to college in 1966.
I mention this because I could have a good conversation with a Trump supporter about the sorts of conservative principles I cited above. There are decent arguments on both the progressive and conservative sides.
But here's what I don't understand about those who voted for Trump and plan to do so again.
How can you go along with the attacks on American democracy that Trump is engaged in? This is something that I find unforgivable and indefensible.
Meaning, we can disagree about what elected officials should do once they are voted in. But fair elections should never be a matter of debate. Every American who is eligible to vote should be able to do so without hindrance.
Do you agree with that statement, Trump supporters? If you do, I'm encouraged. Maybe Trump is trying to lead a war on voting that lacks an army to back him up.
However, this doesn't fit with the acquiescence of Republicans to actions that deeply concern progressives like me. For example:
-- Trump has said that if he doesn't win in November, this shows that the election was rigged.
-- Trump is attacking vote by mail.
-- Trump favors voter I.D. laws even though voter fraud is almost nonexistent.
-- Trump wants police at polling sites, which is unlawful.
-- Trump opposes Postal Service funding that would support mail-in voting.
So how can Trump supporters claim to be patriotic Americans if they are OK with these attempts to prevent a fair election in November?
The most disturbing answer to that question is that Trump supporters would be fine with the United States becoming an anti-democratic authoritarian nation, if this enables Trump to have another four years in office.
If I'm wrong about that, and I hope I am, then I look forward to learning what other reason Trump supporters have for going along with Trump's attempts to discourage voting. Feel free to leave a comment with your explanation.