Reasons Why

Reading time – 2:01; Viewing time – 3:12  . .  .

I’m on a continuing quest to figure out how we politically polarized Americans can begin to talk with one another. To that end, I’m spending time with Trump voters, asking why they voted as they did. Here are some of the main reasons I’m hearing:

  • – Anyone but Hillary
  • – Wanted a conservative Supreme Court pick
  • – Angry at the establishment for all the broken promises and were attracted by a non-politician
  • – Didn’t want a 3rd Obama term

There’s no question that some Trump voters responded to his dog whistle racist comments, his refusal to repudiate hate groups and his calls for violence. But if you’re accusing all Trump voters of being racist, you’re a huge part of the problem of our national inability to work together. Stop it.

Because it’s critical that we Americans work together right now.

The President of the United States is engaging in petty schoolyard bully taunts with the infantile and diabolical leader of North Korea. You already know that Trump has called Kim Jong Un “Rocket man” and has threatened to totally destroy North Korea. Kim has called Trump “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and the stupid stuff fires back and forth daily. All of that would be laughable, were it not for the nuclear bombs that are a part of the threats.

There’s more, of course, but one reader texted to me that, “NEVER did I imagine that in my lifetime I would lose sleep over dying by being blown up.” That is what Trump’s bellicose rhetoric has done to a lot of people. It might be excusable if there were the faintest hope that there was an actual strategy to eliminate nuclear weapons in North Korea, but Trump has never shown the slightest interest in anything more sophisticated than name calling. So much for there being a strategy. Where does that leave the rest of us?

Ultimately, safety in the world is the key issue – nothing else matters if the nukes start flying – and Trump has undermined our sense of safety in the world. Do you suppose that the chest thumping that Trump’s rhetoric stimulates in his base is worth the threat of nuclear annihilation?

The long term version of the same thing is global warming. It’s going to get us – our children and grand children, really – and the longer we tolerate a president and 54 senators who deny global warming, the worse things will be. That’s why our participating in the guidelines of the Paris Climate Agreement matters, even if the Denier-in-Chief wants to make political hay with his base by scoffing at this mortal threat to humankind.

The bad news about both playing nuclear chicken and ignoring global warming is that initially each will cause great suffering and millions of deaths. The good news is that after a while each will cease to be an issue.

And that’s why it’s critical that we Americans work together right now.


Stay clear-headed about efforts to stop nuclear proliferation (I.e. more countries getting nukes and playing nuclear chicken with us). Read this, especially the last paragraph, and this. Thanks go to S.S.and J.C. for the links. Also, read this from The Gallup Organization.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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7 Responses to Reasons Why
  1. Bill Suhayda Reply

    Jack, you are adding to the fire here in terms of putting American against American with this very slanted and partisan letter. I resent the notion that Trump is the goof you make him out to be. The truth of the matter is that we got Trump because of the total corruption that has existed in Washington on both sides of the isle. And that has been going on for a long time now. Climate change hysteria is a politicization of science. I am a scientists and understand how foolish this entire notion of climate change hysteria has been. And we are at a point with leftists that any one not believing that we have man made climate change should be arrested. That is how insane this has gotten. Climate change has existed for the entire history of this planet. Man made climate change is yet to be proven. But in order to determine what affect man has had on the environment, we have to isolate the variables that man contributes to the equation. That is not possible. We cannot separate the variables from each other and determine how each is affecting climate. Man made climate change is a hypothesis that has not been proven. Trump has taken us out of the insanity of government as usual which has been the politicization of the IRS, DOJ, FBI et. al. Obama tore up the Constitution and lied to us about everything. And yes…….that is one of the big reasons people voted for Trump. We didn’t want our country to be turned into France. If you want people to listen to you, you need to give respect to those of us who understand that Trump is a better option than business as usual. You sir are not convincing at all that you understand why America went for Trump and continues to support him.

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      Bill, thank you for your comments.

      Perhaps we agree about the corruption in our politics, our “government as usual” as you put it. My view – and it’s held by about 80% of Americans – is that big money has corrupted our government. That’s why I do presentations about that, working to mobilize people to stand up against the corruption. It’s understandable that many Americans would vote for someone who is not a part of that system.

      You say that you are a scientist, although you don’t specify your area of expertise. I, on the other hand, am not a scientist, but I’m clear about what climate scientists have been telling us. 97% of them worldwide tell us that, 1. The climate is warming at a dangerous rate, and 2. Mankind’s activities are contributing to the warming through the burning of fossil fuels, waste products of massive livestock ranching and more. While I’m not in a position to critique the experts, I and millions of others find a 97% agreement to be most compelling and I’m curious why you don’t.

      Finally, you claim that I am, “not convincing at all that [I] understand why America went for Trump and continues to support him.” I suspect you’re right and I do not claim to understand. I’m trying to understand, which is why I’ve inquired about the motivations of those who voted for Trump (please review this essay). I truly don’t understand how so many good people can dismiss his egregious behavior (lying, victimizing, demonizing, taunting a nuclear dictator, exposing to Russia a spy of an ally, assaulting and demeaning women and so much more) and why they continue to support him. Can you help me to understand that?

      Finally, the question I have for you is whether you have similarly sought to understand those who find Trump unacceptable. We both have our work to do.

  2. John Calia Reply

    I wonder if you heard something like this from any Trump voters: “the progressive vision of America would destroy everything that has made our nation great: the free enterprise system, working toward equal opportunity rather than equal outcomes, and global leadership.”

  3. Jim Altschuler Reply

    I find myself wondering whether I should allow the purchase of my new home to go through, given the realistic possibility of nukes flying through the air and the resulting need for cash. What a dilemma! And no one in government is listening to my concerns.

  4. dominickpalella Reply

    Jack, the only reason why voters go the polls at election time is because it’s the only right they have to try to influence our political system. Once politicians take office, AS I’VE POINTED OUT REPEATEDLY, we have no right to interfere with their decisions. All we can do is protest, complain, or plead with them to do the right thing. Both Republicans and Democrats must stop accepting their subordinate roles to these public employees of ours. Unfortunately, even the smartest and educated voters still cling to an idea that our political system is democratic, while it has always functioned as an autocratic republic. Years of political indoctrination maintains these delusional fantasies for Democratic and Republican voters alike, despite the clear and present evidence that politicians do not pass laws that even come close to public polling on issues.

    Conservatives and progressives must stop acting against their own interests when they start recognizing they are wasting their time with political activists. Activists keep promoting 18th century reform tactics in this 21st century, which preserve political power entirely in the hands of politicians, and keep our citizens as outsiders in our political system. We must stop listening to politicians and pundits who try to instill fear in their republican voters against liberals, or fear in their democratic voters against conservatives. Most people in a community are not extremists. The politicians we allow to rule over us are the extremists! This is why I promote a way to actually influence their behavior, after elections.

    For those who want true representatives in government, my web site shows you how to vet and elect them. Moreover, you may want to consider running for office yourself, once you see how easy it can be to win debates, even with a multi-term career politician! I just updated the content this week, so if you’ve visited before, please take another look.

  5. Sharon Sanders Reply

    I’m always more pessimistic than you, but things are not looking good and I think that the media, by talking about Trump and Russia, leaves the average person with little to fight against. It’s nothing they can do personally except sign petitions and do a few rallies here and there.. However, if people get involved in the local issues, state gubernatorial races, they will feel like they’re accomplishing something. When you talk about the Koch Brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), having heard little or nothing about them, their eyes go vacant. In fact, most of the problems we have today can be traced directly back to them. So, people, meanwhile, can work in Northbrook with groups like Arise and Working Families to pressure the village to accept a $10 minimum, even though they opted out. There are many options we can work on besides Trump and all the insanity going on.

    • dominickpalella Reply

      Sharon, you are frustrated with our political system because you recognize citizens have virtually no power to influence their representatives after they take office. While we have First Amendment rights to protest, petition and complain, our US Constitution does not provide any obligation for officeholders to listen or respond to us. If we expect to change how our political system functions, we must be able to exercise citizen power over these public employees of ours. Otherwise, we will preserve the power of political decisions exclusively in their hands, with citizens continuing to have no right to interfere with them. I invite you to join my movement for a true democracy, electing representatives who will actually pay attention to us.