Update 1: Originally published on Huffington Post in 2017 but I’ve decided that if I’m going to write for free, it’s going on my dumb blog instead of anyone else’s dumb blog. Also, Fareed has already done the show I reference here but I’m sure there will be 1,000 more Trump Voter specials by the end of the year so this piece is still relevant.
Update 2022: Remember the good old days when we all pretended Trump voters weren’t mostly motivated by racism?
On CNN tonight, Fareed Zakaria will finally tell us why Trump won with the creatively named television special, “Why Trump Won” because CNN thinks there are people who can’t get enough of listening to white people parrot Fox News and complain about the “maaainstream meeediaaa” every week.
“The Trump Supporter in His Natural Habitat” is a new genre of anthropological journalism where well-intentioned reporters roam across what they consider “Trump Country,” seeking enlightenment about the poor, misguided white people who surely must have an opioid addiction if they voted for Trump. These journalists see Trump Country as a place where everyone eats in diners and plays church basement bingo (when they’re not sharing needles, of course). To them, it is a desolate place where sun-damaged women wear cheap halter tops and men with beer guts sit on stoops, waiting for factories to reopen.
Reporter: *scrunched brow of empathy* Hello, Mysterious Trump Supporter. Please tell me all about the painful circumstances that made you vote for Trump.
Mysterious Trump Supporter: Mexicans are stealing our jobs and Muslims will blow up West Virginia once someone tells them there is a West Virginia.
Reporter: It seems that demographic shifts and national security are very important to you.
Mysterious Trump Supporter: *racist rant*
Reporter: *writes 4,000 words about demographic change and economic anxiety*
Reporter: Look how unbiased and understanding I am! Yay!
It’s amazing that Trump supporters keep agreeing to these condescending interviews but maybe it’s fun to be treated like neutered, little tardigrades who defy understanding and to be fawned over by “elitists” (who are mostly Jewish people with advanced degrees). Perhaps they just enjoy being evaluated in the same way Jane Goodall studied her precious chimpanzee friends.
Journalists have worn out the coal miner/rustbelt angle plus we’ve all seen enough of the evangelical ladies in their Chicos sweaters; we need to know more about the rest of Trump World. We demand 4,000 words a day about the weird billionaires and their Bat-villain fantasies. Are they just bored and ready to see some shit blow up? The yachting life sounds like a snoozefest so it makes perfect sense that they’d have to buy a U.S. president and some missiles after a few years of staring at palm trees and golf courses.
Evil Billionaires: We are so bored that we want to watch things go “BOOM” from our volcano dungeons and make a snuff film about the planet.
No, seriously, find out why they’re so mad. It’s weird.
We could also use CNN specials on the Country Club Trumpers. Not the just the clubbers with the helipads on their mountain houses but the sunburned dentists and vice-presidents of strategic planning who gather every Saturday in the 19th hole to drink beer and tell each other boring stories about 3-putting. It would be helpful to understand why these golfers are so afraid of ISIS here in North Florida.
ISIS Guy: Should we blow up Jacksonville?
Other ISIS Guy: Nah. We’d have to change planes in Atlanta to get there.
And why do these upper middle-class golf cart warriors still support Trump? They can’t be afraid of Mexicans stealing their regional marketing manager jobs.
Guy in Golf Shirt: *lighting cigar* I’m tired of paying taxes to support lazy food stamp people. Also, it would be bad if too many “lazy” people joined the club. *winks*
Guy in Golf Shirt: *sips 5th beer* Now, let me tell you a 30 minute story about how I almost made par on the back nine on Monday!
Finally, it would be awesome if the New York Times could devote a daily column to understanding the motivations of the women in Lexus SUVs with their Make America Great Again™ stickers. Sitting by the pool with diaper bags full of organic sunscreen and all-natural fruit snacks, no one is threatening the status quo for these women in Tory Burch tunics. So, what really motivates them to stay on board the Trump Train?
Lexus Mom: I hate Hillary because I hate myself and I hate women and I hate this extra baby weight plus I have a law degree I’m using to make goddamned popsicle stick crafts so fuck you all because I LOVE MY TORY BURCH FLIP FLOPS! *stabs reporter*
Maybe it’s time to turn the lens on all of these Trump voters without economic anxiety. Their stories may not be quite as compelling or sympathetic but it would certainly be fun to hear them defend their continued Trump support.
Or we could ditch this bullshit Trump voter genre completely. We’ve delved into those white thoughts and white fears for over two years now. It’s time to move on because we all understand exactly where these white people are coming from by now, don’t we?