Trump’s character and ethics were on full display in 2016. What makes anyone think 2020 will be different?

Published June 6, 2020

I’ve followed government and politics my whole life. A common refrain is that “not all Republicans are racists, but all racists vote Republican.” I’ve always felt this was true. The KKK and other white supremacist groups are solidly behind the Republican Party. Yet I also have good friends and relatives who vote Republican and I have never considered any of them to be racists.

HOWEVER, maybe I’m being too forgiving. This is why I like to keep politics out of my personal relationships. Everyone should be able to believe what they want to believe, I say. But the real reason is that I don’t want the debate, and my daughter tells me that makes me part of the problem.

Me? Liberal me, part of the problem? It’s not like I’ve just sat on the sidelines, I tell her. I wrote a 400-page book on the political divide in this country and strongly made my case regarding race and all other issues dividing the country. Is it my fault hardly anyone read it?

Then this morning I came across a comment by LZ Granderson, a black columnist in the Los Angeles Times. He basically says what my daughter was trying to tell me – that “nonracist white people” shoulder much of the blame for the racial discrimination that still exists in this country. “Those well-meaning individuals who personally would never discriminate against someone of a different race but who would vote for someone who does for the right tax cut.”

Bingo. I would never vote for someone like Donald Trump but I know people who did, who were willing to ignore his very public history of bigotry because other positions supported by the Republican Party were more important to them. (Or they bought the right-wing and Russian-orchestrated propaganda on Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

I know people who vote Republican because they are against abortion rights. I know people who vote Republican because they buy the bullshit that Democrats want to take their guns. I  know people who vote Republican because they fear “socialism” or immigrants or simply hate Democrats. And yes, I know people that vote Republican because of tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthiest individuals.

“We need to look harder at who we elect,” said John Kelly, a retired Marine general and Trump’s former chief of staff. “I think we should look at people that are running for office and put them through the filter: What is their character like? What are their ethics?”

Donald Trump’s character and ethics were on full display in 2016 and Republicans voted for him anyway. What makes anyone think 2020 will be different?