Trump supporters have been burning their MAGA hats lately, but not exactly for laudable reasons. To them, Trump has betrayed them by saying he will work with Democrats (even though I doubt he’ll actually do this since he lies about everything). If Trump has been losing his allure to some white supremacists and other members of the alt-right, it’s not because they are finally seeing him as the dangerous authoritarian despot he actually is, but because to them, by agreeing to work with Democrats, Trump has proven himself to be a RINO (Republican In Name Only) and therefore a traitor to their nationalist, anti-immigration sentiments.
But here and there, some people who voted for Trump are beginning to realize they made a mistake. Most of them seem embarrassed by this. They don’t like to talk about it, which gives the initial impression that Trump supporters have not changed their minds. But have you noticed how few Trump/Pence bumper stickers you see these days? How few people are publicly wearing MAGA hats? That’s because lots of people have been quietly removing the stickers from the backs of their Chevies and Ford SUVs and hiding the red ballcaps in the backs of dark closets. FOX News is now only the third most popular cable channel. MSNBC is now in first place. It wasn’t that way in November or January.
My daughter’s boyfriend, Zach, is a good example of one of these bashful Trump defectors. True, he was never very political to begin with. He wasn’t all that gung-ho about Trump even back in November and he would never attend a white supremacist rally, but he does come from a working class rural southern background where everyone votes Republican, no matter what. So when voting day arrived, Trump got his vote too. My daughter voted for Hillary, and I remember her saying that she couldn’t talk about politics with Zach even though they get along really well otherwise. He was annoyed that she voted for Clinton even though he was kind enough to not say anything to her about it. She said she could tell he didn’t like it one bit though. They went to the polls together, and he wouldn’t talk to her for several hours after that.
But lately, Zach has been having second thoughts.
The first sign that he was beginning to think he made a mistake was after the Trumpcare debacle. He admitted that his mother, who voted for Trump, but was covered under the ACA (Obamacare) was worried she was going to lose her health insurance. Unlike some Trump supporters, both Zach and his mom realized the ACA and Obamacare were the exact same thing. Zach adores his mother and does not want her to lose her healthcare, and admitted as much. He said he hoped Trump would stop trying to repeal and replace the ACA and just move onto other things.
A few weeks later, over grilled burgers, Zach said he thought that perhaps Hillary should have won the election. He said that, even though he still preferred Trump over Hillary, it really wasn’t fair that the popular vote didn’t count and the right thing would have been for Hillary to be president.
I almost choked on my cheeseburger.
Right after Harvey hit a few weeks ago (and Irma was gaining strength in the Atlantic and looking to be headed for the continental US), climate change came up in conversation. But it wasn’t me or my daughter who brought it up (since both of us know Zach doesn’t like to talk about politics with us) — it was Zach:
“You know, the past couple of summers have been much hotter than I ever remember. And now these hurricanes. I don’t know…maybe climate change is really a thing. Do you think maybe Trump is lying about that?”
Knowing that I studied science in college, and read a lot, he was ready for answers. So I had the opportunity to tell him what I knew about climate change, and that, yes, the man he voted for was lying.
He listened and then was quiet for a few minutes, thinking. Finally he spoke. “I don’t know. Maybe Hillary would have made a better president.”
I could have ran over and hugged him, but I just smiled.