Surprise, surprise. Trump voters are upset when they learn about the cuts Trump wants to make (“In Trump Country, Shock at Trump Budget Cuts, but Still Loyalty,” The New York Times, 4/1/2017):
Here in Oklahoma, I’ve [Nicholas Kritof] been interviewing many people like McCracken — fervent Trump supporters who now find that the White House is trying to ax programs they have depended on, to pay for Trump’s border wall and for increases in military spending. And they’re upset.
It’s harder and harder to feel empathy for these people in the way that all human beings deserves. They voted for a reality television celebrity who did and said just about every vile thing he could have during his campaign, and now they’re upset that they’re getting what they voted for. Let’s look at what the fine people of Tusla, Oklahoma have to say:
Rhonda McCracken is a kindergarten teacher and a Republican who voted for President Trump. Now she’s wrestling with the consequences.
McCracken’s deep-rooted conservatism is matched by a passion to support Tulsa Domestic Violence Intervention Services, a nonprofit that helped her flee an ex- who she says beat and choked her, once until unconsciousness. She became teary as she described how staff members at the organization helped her and her son escape that relationship.
“They saved my life, and my son’s,” she said, her eyes liquid.
So she is aghast that one of Trump’s first proposals is to cut federal funds that sustain the organization. “My prayer is that Congress will step in” to protect domestic violence programs, she said.
McCracken must not remember this:
And she must not remember the difficulty Republicans in congress had in voting for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013:
On Tuesday, a growing faction threatened to derail the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which passed the Senate with 22 dissenting Republican votes. A couple of months ago, Senate Republicans defeated a treaty on disabilities — rebuking their own party’s war heroes, Bob Dole and John McCain, who spoke in support of the measure. One can imagine that for their next stunt, Republicans will oppose a bill to help the elderly across the street, or vote against a resolution honoring motherhood and apple pie.
So yeah. It’s going to take a lot more than her prayers to turn around a proud sexual predator and a party controlling both houses of congress that hates women. Good luck, Rhonda.
Let’s move on to Billy Hinkle:
“Why is building a wall more important than educating people?” asked Billy Hinkle, a Trump voter who is enrolled in a program called Tulsa WorkAdvance that trains mostly unemployed workers to fill well-paying manufacturing jobs. Trump has proposed eliminating a budget pot that pays for the program.
Hopefully Hinkle is talking about priorities and not expressing shock like he’s never heard of the wall before. Trump mentioned it often enough:
Then there’s Ezekiel Moreno, another beneficent of WorkAdvance:
“We’ve moved out of an apartment and into a house,” Moreno told me, explaining how his new job has changed his family’s life. “My daughter is taking violin lessons, and my other daughter has a math tutor.”
Moreno was sitting at a table with his boss, Rocky Payton, the factory’s general manager, and Amy Saum, the human resources manager. All said they had voted for Trump, and all were bewildered that he wanted to cut funds that channel people into good manufacturing jobs.
But they shouldn’t be. Trump ran on cutting spending, as all Republicans do, and the only way to do that is to take stuff from poor and middle class people. As Kristof points out:
While conservatives often decry government spending in general, red states generally receive more in federal government benefits than blue states do — and thus are often at greater risk from someone like Trump.
Unsurprisingly, Trump supporters don’t have any idea of how spending should actually be cut:
“There’s a lot of wasteful spending, so cut other places,” Moreno said.
Payton suggested that if the government wants to cut budgets, it should target “Obama phones” provided to low-income Americans. (In fact, the program predates President Barack Obama and is financed by telecom companies rather than by taxpayers.)
And yet Kristof found that most of the people he interviewed still supported Trump and could imagine voting for him again in 2020. Even people like this:
Judy Banks, a 70-year-old struggling to get by, said she voted for Trump because “he was talking about getting rid of those illegals.” But Banks now finds herself shocked that he also has his sights on funds for the Labor Department’s Senior Community Service Employment Program, which is her lifeline. It pays senior citizens a minimum wage to hold public service jobs.
“If I lose this job,” she said, “I’ll sit home and die.”
If she loses the job, she’ll die. Buuuuut:
She said she might still vote for Trump in 2020.
That’s why a few days ago I said I didn’t believe Trump supporters were willing to give up on him for something as trivial as attacking the Freedom Caucus—I mean, that’s Trump. That’s what he does. These people are willing to sacrifice the programs without which they would not be where they are today, all because they still believe Trump is the strongman outsider sent to Washington to “shake things up.” I don’t know what it’s going to take to get them to realize that Trump is bad for them, and bad for people like them, and bad for everybody. Because taking away the government programs that saved their lives and livelihoods apparently isn’t enough:
Elizabeth Hays, 27, said her life changed during her freshman year in high school, when four upperclassmen raped her. Domestic Violence Intervention Services rescued her, she said, by helping her understand that the rape wasn’t her fault.
She’s profoundly grateful to the organization — yet she stands by Trump even as she is dismayed that he wants to slash support for a group that helped her when she needed it most. “We have to look at what we spend money on,” she said, adding, “I will stand behind my president.”
Oh, for fuck’s sake.