Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - Page 9 News List

Fight must be against Trump, not the people who voted for him

By Nicholas Kristof  /  NY Times News Service

When Trump demonizes journalists as “the enemy of the American people,” that is an outrageous overstep. However, suggesting that Trump voters are enemies of the people is also inappropriate.

The third reason is tactical: It is hard to win over voters who you are insulting.

Many liberals argue that US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton won the popular vote and that the focus should be on rallying the base and fighting voter suppression efforts. Yes, but Democrats flopped in US Congress, governor races and state legislatures. Republicans now control 68 percent of partisan legislative chambers in the US.

If Democrats want to battle voter suppression, it is crucial to win local races — including in white working-class districts in Ohio, Wisconsin and elsewhere.

Yes, a majority of Trump voters are probably unattainable for Democrats, but millions might be winnable. So do not blithely give up on 63 million people; instead, make arguments directed at them. Fight for their votes, not with race-baiting, but with economic pitches for the working and middle classes.

Clinton calling half of Trump voters “deplorables” achieved nothing and probably cost her critical votes. Why would Democrats repeat that mistake?

Yes, the Trump camp includes some racists and other bigots, but it is a big camp, and let us not be so quick to affix labels on every member of a vast group.

This column might offend everyone, from Trump enthusiasts to liberals who decry them, but my message is simple: Go ahead and denounce Trump’s lies and bigotry. Stand firm against his disastrous policies. However, please do not practice his trick of “otherizing” people into stick figure caricatures, slurring vast groups as hopeless bigots.

We are all complicated and stereotypes are not helpful — including when they are of Trump supporters.

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