There were a lot of bad reasons to vote for Donald Trump in this past election:
“I hate Hillary.”
“I hate immigrants”
“I hate minorities.”
“Trump is a successful businessman.”
“Trump understands me.”
“Trump tells it like it is.”
“Trump is a leader.”
As dizzyingly divorced from reality as these beliefs are, you can look at Trump, listen to Trump, and understand how these noxious notions were reinforced. But what about the campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again?” That isn’t on the list. Ah, but it is, if you know how to interpret it.
Trump’s campaign slogan has a very different meaning to Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters. If you were a fan of The Donald, you understood the real message behind “Make America Great Again”: Get rid of immigrants, crush minorities, continue treating women as second-class citizens and trash the constitution and government red tape. That, to many voters, is how you make America great again.
It didn’t matter to Trump’s fans that he offered no concrete plans to stimulate the economy, create jobs, improve conditions in rural America, strengthen public education, make higher education more accessible…or do anything to improve the lives of the people who voted for him. Why that didn’t happen shows just how emotionally bound certain segments of the population are to the idea that they are victims of some grand liberal conspiracy. And Trump, the (supposed) billionaire, managed to exploit Ma and Pa Red State’s feelings of victimization and convince them he was going to put them back at the top of the ladder again.
It’s impossible to know how many Trump supporters have come to their senses since the election, but the number will undoubtedly grow as their healthcare options dwindle, the unemployment rate increases, water and air pollution worsen, and the trajectory of economic health in Midwestern and southern states continues to plummet. Obama can’t be the scapegoat forever.
The one question is, how long can Trump and company sustain the lie that he’s working to better the lives of the people that voted for him? How long will they swallow it?