Schwab: For Trump’s base it’s personal — finance, that is

But if two of Trump’s richest beneficiaries are reversing course, is there hope his base will, too?

By Sid Schwab

Put up your umbrellas when you go outside, folks: Pigs are flying.

I heard from a Trump supporter who admitted, without the usual pretense, why he supports him. Were it me, I’d have been ashamed, but at least he was honest. The more-typical critics repeat Trump’s lies, deny the obvious, ignore my point and insist what I write is nothing more than baseless hate for Trump and his supporters.

It’s an easy way out, passing off criticism of Trump as blind hate. Were I to spend time in his company, it’s likely I’d find Trump’s arrogant ignorance repulsive, not someone with whom I’d want to spend more time. Rather than hate, I’d call that realistic. I know several Trump supporters, and I don’t hate them. Some, I consider friends. But I sure find their rationales repellent; particularly their all-too-common delight in seeing liberals upset by what Trump says and does. What a hoot; unhappy about making climate change worse, attacking the press, lying about pretty much everything, demanding to use the DOJ for personal vendettas against perceived enemies.

Silly libtards. Advocating a cleaner, cooler planet, a sustainable budget, access to health care, a president who’s occasionally truthful: what a bunch of haters. (Trump just rolled back methane reduction rules, the worst greenhouse gas. I do hate that. Everyone should. And who knew liberals could feel sorry for Jeff Sessions?)

Which returns us to the subject Trumpist. Until our conversation devolved — as he began forwarding an endless stream of repetitive right-wing memes based on misquotations and outright lies, preceded by gleeful “This will make liberals’ heads explode,” and when the barrage continued even after I’d respond with proof of their falsehood — we had exchanged a few borderline thoughtful emails.

I asked if and why he stopped caring about deficits, now rising to over a trillion dollars; whether he had children or grandchildren about whose health and future survival he worried, given the increased pollution and climate change we’re seeing. Did it bother him to see nonstop attacks on institutions designed to protect us from dictatorship? At first, he responded with by-the-playbook distractions and what-aboutisms. Eventually, though, he got down to it.

“I don’t care about any of those things,” he wrote “Trump’s tax cuts are making me rich.” (Paraphrasing, but not mischaracterizing the message.) (Newsweek: tinyurl.com/4CEOnotU) He’s the prosperous business owner at whom those cuts were aimed. Deficits, pollution, climate change, truth, democracy itself: not among his concerns. And if they’re the next generation’s problem, his kids’, and theirs, so what? It’s the current agenda of today’s Republican party in a nutshell, isn’t it? (YouTube: tinyurl.com/no-worry-4U)

I guess you could say such candor is refreshing. Better, I guess, than what I hear more commonly to excuse Trumpism: He’s draining the swamp (seriously, by what possible metric?), he’s fixing the economy Obama ruined (a tad unhistorical), he cares about every American (rich white males), he never lies (just passed 4,000), he’s fulfilled every promise (other than most). All said to pretend away the obvious, that they love him for what he hates. Oh, they don’t like it when I say that, but what else is there? Are they wealthy enough to be getting richer like my other pixel-pal? Don’t they have children who’ll need health care, breathable air and drinkable water? Deficits suddenly don’t matter? Dictatorship trumps democracy?

How timely then, after our exchange, to learn of two very wealthy and generous longtime donors to Republican candidates and causes who’ve announced their intent to fund Democrats. First was Ohio’s biggest Republican bankroller, billionaire Les Wexner, who seems to have had an epiphany when President Barack Obama visited Ohio last week. “I just decided I’m no longer a Republican,” he announced, and called Obama’s visit a “great moment for the community.” Among other things, he said he was “ashamed” when Trump refused to call out white supremacists. (Newsweek: tinyurl.com/wex-said-no)

Next was Seth Klarman, New England’s biggest Republican moneyman, who said, after assuring people he’s not a Democrat, “I think democracy is at stake. And maybe I’ll be able to convince some other people of that. And get them to support Democrats in 2018.” He too acknowledged making money under Trump, but, he said, “There are things more important than making money.” (New York Times: tinyurl.com/seth2pay)

Which is where my conversation with the Trumpist ended. At what price, is what I asked.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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